REAL ISB INTERVIEW EXPERIENCES
Insurance / 4 years 7 months
|Interview Duration||Over 60 minutes|
|Interviewers’ Profile||3 panelists|
- Is this the first time you’re interviewing with us?
I am a reapplicant and had also interviewed with ISB the previous year. What made this answer a bit tricky was that I had applied in the last round in the previous year, and then in the first round in the next, and there was hardly a gap of 8-9 months in between. Apart from confirming that this was my second interview with ISB, also explained why I decided to apply again so quickly.
- Why did you not get selected last year? What do you think went wrong?
I had prepared well for this. Although my GMAT score had not changed, I had some important experiences to talk about from the past 8-9 months. I had prepared the reapplicant essay well during the application stage itself, and that helped a lot. Before I had applied for the current cycle, had discussed the shortcomings in my previous application thoroughly with GyanOne. Was therefore well prepared for this question, and was in fact expecting it.
- Why ISB?
This was a straightforward answer, because it was basically already answered by my second ISB essay. Still, I had to explain why my goal had undergone some change, and why I was applying to ISB with those revised goals. In between, one of the ISB panelists interrupted me and asked me to mention specific resources at ISB that I would make use of to achieve my goal. I had done my homework, and could reply confidently to this.
- Why MBA?
While this is a very standard interview question in almost any B-school interview, it became bit hard for me when one of the ISB panelists began to actively convince me that I did not need an MBA now. I had to go back to my career history, and explain the key gaps that I had that only an MBA could fill. I did not disagree with the panelist, but added points on what all I could achieve if I were to pursue my goals with an MBA than without. The discussion continued for some 10 minutes, after which the panelist agreed.
- What did you do in your family business work experience?And then questions regarding ERP, why required and how implemented.
This question was a bit of a surprise, because though I had been expecting questions on my family business, I was not expecting the ISB interview panel to go so deep into the details of projects I had done. At every point, I was asked on my specific role and contribution in every task and achievement. At points, I felt that the panel was trying to verify that I had actually contributed to the family business, and not just claimed it otherwise. I could explain the details well, going into the numbers and profit margins. Was asked some follow-up questions on industry averages, and I knew those too.
- What do you do in your current role? Details about it.
I was quite excited about this question, because my current role had multiple exciting elements that could differentiate me as an applicant. Spoke in detail about this. The panel was quite interested. Although some follow up questions were there, they were all in a positive spirit.
- How big is your team?
Explained the team size and the number of people I managed. Also answered some questions they asked on team size as a proxy for seniority, and how I manage conflict within the team.
- Give demo of your app.
I was not expecting this question in the ISB interview, but was nonetheless prepared for it, as I had conducted several demos for the insurance app I had helped create. In doing that, I went into a lot of technical details, which I perhaps should not have done, because I then got the next question, which threw me off a bit.
- What exactly is your role in this project?
To be honest, I was a bit dismayed to get this question, because I had just spent the previous 5 minutes explaining in detail how I had managed this project, and all that I had done. Once I got this question, I realized I had gone too deep into technical details without covering the impact part, and highlighting the different areas I had managed. I broke up the project into various parts, and spoke about my role in each.
- Tell us about one app in the BFSI sector that you like the most, and why?
An easy one, because I could draw directly from the competitor research on apps that I had done before I helped my company create one. This was followed by a light moment when one of the ISB panelists asked why I didn’t consider my own company’s app the best, and I quickly responded that I did, but I was only covering the next best app. Everyone laughed.
- Are you doing MBA because all your other friends are doing the same? Is this FOMO?
I answered this by telling the panel about my long history of applying to various top MBA programs across India, and not taking some of the ones (non-ISB of course) I had made it to in previous years because I wanted to set my sights higher. I could explain my commitment to an MBA and to ISB well in this answer, and there were no further questions. At this point, one of the interviewers left the room, and that made me a bit nervous.
PS: Later, I found that he had left the room to take an urgent call. The lesson here was not to read too much into external cues during the interview, and to focus on the questions.
- What will you do after ISB?
Covered this in detail in terms of both short and long term goals. They went into detail on all the parts – the mid term plan, the long term objective, and why that was right for me. Also asked me to consider some alternative scenarios for how I would achieve my long term goal if things did not go my way in the short and medium term.
- What about placements?
I had done my homework here, and could tell them about some companies I could potentially work in. GyanOne’s prep really helped me at this point, because they had gone over many of these points with me in detail, so I knew about the companies and the sector very well. There was some discussion with the ISB panel on average salaries and what I would do if my salary dropped. Tackled that well.
- 40Lakhs is a big investment. Are you sure about this?
They began this by giving me a calculation of where 40 Lakhs invested at a certain interest rate would take me, and how long it would take me to earn it if I earned just the average ISB salary. The panelists asked me to specifically give them a financial, and not philosophical answer, and shot down my response that I am not investing in the MBA just for money. I needed to go into a lot of details for this one. Not sure about whether they were convinced about this one. To be honest, this question made me sweat a bit, even though it was closer to the end of the interview.
- Any questions for us?
I had prepared some good questions to ask and the ISB panelists provided me detailed answers to each question I had. By this time, the interview had gone on for well over one hour, and I was a bit tired. Heard out their responses, thanked them, shook hands, and left the room.