Updated: Sep 18
Both the Co-Founders of Faith Career are in awe of Aditya's success! Both of us had the opportunity to mentor him and Aditya proved to be a great mentee - not only was he sincere, dedicated, and kind, he also listened to both of us and did exactly what we said. Consequently, he received offer letters from 2 top-notch schools both in India (Indian School of Business) and abroad (Schulich School of Business, York University, Canada).
In this blog post, we have published our interview with him for ISB - he has talked about his journey & experience with our coach. We will soon be talking to him about his journey of applying to foreign B-schools with our Study Abroad Expert, Tanmay Singh. Stay tuned!
#1) Can you please briefly describe your profile?
Fascinated by the idea of creating things and transforming vision into tangible measurable outcomes compelled me to embark on the journey of Civil Engineering. In the past 5 years, I have successfully executed projects of varied nature, functions, and scale, amounting to a total of INR 300 Cr+, while managing a workforce of 1000+. This experience early in my career has honed my skills in problem-solving, project management, people management, risk management, and agility to respond quickly. As a certified GRIHA professional, I have had hands-on experience in employing sustainable building methodologies in my projects.
#2) Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?
My current work portfolio is limited to guiding the implementation of the strategies formulated by the organisation in the form of infrastructure and scale-up projects. Fuelled by the inquisitiveness about the strategic facet of running an organization & aspiration of building a strong business layer on my foundational skills, I wanted to leverage my existing experience to pivot my career from a tactical role to a strategic one. I wanted to get out of the frog’s well and utilise my proclivity for problem solving to solve larger business problems, creating more impact, and an MBA appeared as the logical step up for the same.
#3) Why did you choose Faith Career as your ISB application mentor?
I bumped into Faith Career through a LinkedIn connect’s recommendation with only 4 days to go for my ISB application. But as they say, if you’re willing enough, the right person appears. They sounded extremely confident and thorough with the ISB application, and they himself had the experience of interviewing ISB candidates, which made my decision even easier. Looking back, it was a great decision as working with Faith Career reinforced my confidence and structure of thoughts both in the application and the interview.
#4) What tips would you like to share with an aspirant who is working on their ISB application?
1. Believe: It’s important that you start your application with a lot of self-belief. Don’t reject
yourself; leave it on the school to decide.
2. Introspect: Introspect and introspect well! We often tend to miss out on some significant
achievements thinking that they’re pretty normal.
3. Categorize: It helps thinking in terms of categories of characteristics that represent you.
E.g. teamwork, leadership, risk-taker, go-getter etc. This might help you introspect better
4. Bring out impact: Quantify your achievements and highlight their significance. E.g:
Organised techfest for my college. v/s Planned and Organised central india’s largest
techfest managing a budget of INR 000 Lakhs & garnering footfall of 1000+ students across nation.
5. Communicate: I believe this is where the magic happens. Weave your thoughts and
achievements to tell a story about yourself which adcom can connect to. (Highlight the “why” behind your journey/achievement - this will help adcom know you and connect to your story better.)
6. Remember there’s an interview: Put in hooks in your entire application for the
interviewer to pick up on the D-day!
Introspect well and be organic throughout the process. This is where Faith Career will make your life pretty easy given you put in the required effort!
#5) How was Faith Career’s mentorship important while writing down the application?
The best thing about Faith Career's mentors is that they are as interested and invested in your application as you are. They helped me structure my thoughts well and highlight the most significant aspects of my profile in the essays while still managing to guide me on how to accommodate all the other aspects I had introspected of, in the overall application. More importantly, they guided me on what not to write in the application, which may later prove detrimental during the interview.
#6) How did you prepare for the interview after submitting the application? What all steps did you take to make yourself ready for the interview?
It is imperative to be extremely thorough with your application. I thought of every aspect of my application/achievements in terms of
a) Why I chose to do that?
b) What were the challenges I faced and how did I overcome them?
c) What did I learn through those experiences?
d) How will my learnings help me during my time at ISB and in the future in my aspired role/company.
I was well prepared with the traditional ‘Why MBA?’ and ‘Why ISB?’ questions, and with questions concerning my current job role. My main focus during preparing for the interview was on developing a good understanding and knowledge of both, the industry that I am in and the industry I aspire to be in (my short-term & long-term goals). My mentor at Faith Career helped me with the structure to do my research with respect to my current/aspired industry. I connected to ISB alums as well, who are currently working in the industry/company that I aspire to be in. This really helped me develop an understanding about their roles/responsibilities and the direction of where the particular industry is heading. Moreover, I read multiple articles published by McKinsey, Bain, BCG, etc. which were relevant to me.
The mock interviews with Faith Career reinforced my confidence. However, he had warned me to be prepared for the inconsistencies in the ISB interview!
#7) What were the questions asked to you during the interview?
Total Interview time: 25-30 minutes.
A) We have gone through your essays and resume. Can you take us through the highlights that you want to convey?
B) You've written that you've organized various sports events at college and at HPCL. Were they ongoing events or did you introduce them? Did you face any friction in organising these events?
C) How do you evaluate the development in real estate sector in urban cities?
D) Do you think it varies from city to city. Why?
E) Do you often read about the happenings in this industry?
F) You told about the PhII project. What was the biggest challenge that you faced in the project?
G) I see you've written about strategy consulting. Suppose you're asked that the user engagement for Instagram is declining. How would you go about it?
H) You talked about identifying the cause and algorithms, consumer preferences, reels. Let's say everything is same and we keep it the same. How would you go about it?
(The adcom kept on following up on the same question, trying to create a stressful situation.)
I) No, let's just say there's no new competitor. Basically everything is same. Let's say engagement is declining for all the platforms. But you still have to 2X it. (answered)
J) What kind of market research would you do?
K) Tell me what are the possible reasons for decrease in the engagement.
(answered & talked about policy reforms, etc.)
Thanks Aditya! Do you have any questions for us?
#8) How did you think you performed in the interview?
My interview was going pretty well and I was driving the interview as per my strengths until it
took a totally unexpected turn and I was asked about strategy consulting case which I wasn't
expecting and had not mentioned anywhere in my essays. However, I could manage to tackle the situation as I went in with a very open mindset. There were multiple follow up questions on the same topic and the interviewers where trying to test my capabilities of problem-solving and of thinking creatively under stress. Thus, I wasn’t very sure of how well I did in my interview.
Following are small tips that helped me navigate the interview:
- I went in with the mindset of enjoying the conversation with some great professionals,
consciously not attaching results to the interview. This helped me remain calm and
composed, and not look intimidated with the ‘surprise’.
- I prepared my content and basics in a manner that could allow me to mix-match and
mould the same data/knowledge in any kind of a question. Not going in with an
expectation of the interview to go in a certain manner definitely proved useful.
- Remember to put in pointers in your intro which you would like the panel to ask you
#9) What are your final ‘To-Dos’ and ‘Not-to-Dos’ for an ISB aspirant?
I have tried to cover major points in the previous question. But if I had to re-emphasise on
something, I would say:
MUST TO DO:
- At every step, think with the point of view of the person on the other side (be it adcom or
the interview panel), and mould your story so that they are able to connect to you.
Introspection is key!
- Be authentic. Believe in yourself and go in the interview with an open mindset.
NOT TO DO:
- Reject/Select yourself before the school does.
Below are few more inspiring success stories from Faith Career ✨
Smriti Dhawan's journey from Ambedkar University to the London School of Economics (LSE) – https://www.faithcareer.org/post/progress-story-smriti-s-mpp-offer-letter-with-35-scholarship
Nikhil Bhonsle's story of bagging offers from 5 B-Schools in the UK with scholarship, without a GMAT score - https://www.faithcareer.org/post/5-mba-offer-letters-in-4-months-without-gmat
Yashashwat Srivastava’s MIM journey from IP University to the Schulich School of Business - https://www.faithcareer.org/post/yashashwat-s-mim-journey-to-the-schulich-school-of-business
Mimansha Dublish's MIM journey to ESCP Europe (ranked 5th for MIM in the world) - https://www.faithcareer.org/post/escp-mim-mimansha-s-story-of-perseverance-success