Updated: Sep 18
Faith Career's Co-Founder recently talked to our student, Dr. Lalitya Sripada (BDS), who secured a seat in the prestigious ISB with a whooping scholarship of Rs. 16.5 lakhs. She is currently working as a Relationship Manager with SBI and has big dreams of venturing into Venture Capital (VC). We have witnessed her determination and are certain that she will realize her dreams! We are very happy & proud of our mentee and wish her well in her journey to ISB & beyond. Stay tuned for more such success stories!
#1) Can you please briefly describe your profile?
I majored in Dentistry and practiced as a clinician for twenty months. During my final year of college, Finance sparked an interest in me and I explored different academic content and courses in Finance. After twenty months of clinical practice, I decided to make the switch. I left an opportunity to pursue an MDS and MBA at a few IIMs and started as a Probationary Officer in one of the Public Sector Banks. I gained exposure in multiple areas and had an opportunity (PO) to work in the SME vertical as a Relationship Manager. I deal with corporate and non-corporate clients and provide debt and investment services. I have been with the bank for 4 years now and I am currently looking to switch to investment firms.
#2) Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?
Five years of dental school, coupled with 2 years of post-college experience have given me technical skills and insight into the workings of the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. In my current role as a Relationship Manager, I assess the financial needs of a firm and recommend appropriate financial products. I wanted to capitalize on my knowledge and experience in both Healthcare and Finance and work with firms that specialize in delivering financial services in the healthcare space, especially public healthcare. Post MBA, I would like to work with investment firms that offer financial services to the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. An MBA provides me with an opportunity to advance my academic and practical skill set and build a network to realize my goals.
#3) Why did you choose Faith Career to be your mentor?
I came to know Faith Career through an ISB alumnus. On the very first call, I was convinced that I will immensely benefit by working with them for my interview preparation. I took this decision since the mentors had a similar profile as I had and thus, I would be able to get accurate guidance.
My mentor also had great clarity of thought and can clearly communicate what one needs to work on and thus improve their chances of securing admission. Through their blogs and testimonials, I understood that he is patient and would be invested in the preparation as much as I was. I worked with him for 4 days and I should say whatever I have heard and read about him is justified.
#4) What tips would you like to share with an aspirant who is working on their ISB application?
I would recommend at least one month’s research before submitting the application. One needs to understand their requirement first before choosing a school. To further assess that, one needs to understand the program, its structure, its strengths and weaknesses, and only then should one attempt the essay questions (in the application). It does take a lot of introspection and patience.
It’s alright to not know the answers - I found mine while writing them. I spent hours going through the website, trying to figure out how the program is right for me and how I am right for the program. It doesn’t matter what one studied, or where one worked as long as one can confidently communicate the reasons and adequately justify. There is an opportunity for everyone.
#5) How did you prepare for the interview after submitting the application? What all steps did you take to make yourself ready for the interview?
My interview preparation was streamlined after I started working with Faith Career. They conducted an initial orientation session giving various key information and tips to streamline the preparation. As advised, I went through my profile in detail, trying to formulate possible questions ( and their answers) that may be asked during the interview from my application. We made sure I had answers for all the obvious questions and moved on to the questions that may follow. In addition, I practiced three mock interviews with Faith Career and my friends to replicate the interview setting and get ready for D-day.
#6) What questions were asked to you during the ISB interview?
1. Your profile is very diverse and different. Tell us more about your career.
2. What exactly is your role?
3. How did the revised MSME classification affect your role?
4. What are the challenges start-ups face with banks?
5. What kind of skills do you have to fit in as a VC?
6. How do you identify companies that you want to invest in? What are your criteria?
7. Why VC and why particularly healthcare?
8. Why are banks unable to help entrepreneurs? What deficiencies have you identified in terms of regular banking finance?
9. If you identified a company for funding and your team members are against it, what do you do in such cases?
10. Tell us about a significant event in your life, something that you are proud of. What did you learn from that experience?
11. Let's assume that you can’t get into VC. What will you do?
12. There are not many investment firms that hire from ISB. What is your plan B?
13. What do you do besides your work/academics?
14. Tell us about one great travel experience.
15. You mentioned you have done some community service doing COVID. Can you tell us about it?
16. What will you bring to the table at ISB?
17. Do you have any questions for us?
#7) How did you think you performed in the interview?
My interview was held on the campus and for a first-timer, the sight of the campus can be overwhelming. I conversed with other candidates and it helped me stay calm. Soon my name was called, and I was greeted by a friendly alumnus and was taken to the interview room. There were two other alumni waiting for me.
I expected a stressful interview but it was more of an engaging conversation. They asked me about myself, my previous and current work experiences, my career plan, and my interests and hobbies.
They were assessing if I had the right communication skills, the ability to work with/lead a team, the right reasons for doing what I am doing, and the ability to pursue such a demanding program and career thereafter. Thanks to my mentor’s guidance, I already faced three mock interviews (with him) and was prepared for almost all kinds of questions that could be asked in the final interview. During and after the interview, I was confident and felt that I was able to think and recollect my thoughts and was able to give coherent answers to the questions. I must say that my interview went astonishingly well.
#8) What are your final ‘To-Dos’ and ‘Not-to-Dos’ for an ISB aspirant?
1. Start your application early and do your research about the school through the website and by interacting with ISB's alumni.
2. Know about the program and how it is useful to you. Assess yourself and know your strengths and weaknesses.
3. Don’t be too anxious. You have the answers to most of the questions and anxiety is detrimental to clear thinking.
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 MBA 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