Updated: Sep 18
Abhishek Patwa's story is inspiring. Although he obtained his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering, he is currently working with a boutique consulting startup. Faith Career's Co-Founder recently interviewed him. Read on to find out more and stay tuned for more such stories.
#1) Can you please briefly describe your profile?
Xth CBSE – 9.6 CGPA
XIIth CBSE – 92.8%
Graduated in Electrical Engineering from COEP (College of Engineering Pune) in 2018. [8.04/10 CGPA]
Training and Placement coordinator from my department.
National Service Scheme (NSS) volunteer
Winner of the Technical Project competition organized by Alumni Association
Runner up in intra-college article writing competition
Started as a Business Operations Associate at ZS Associates
Worked with a Fortune 100 Pharma company based out of the USA
Targeting, Segmentation and Reporting related projects
Promoted to Associate Consultant
Worked as a Senior Business Analyst – Analytics at Radix Health (a US-based health-tech startup)
Currently working as a Business Analytics Associate Consultant at ProcDNA (a US-based Management Consulting startup)
Leading multiple teams and projects worth $ 1 Mn.
Worked on developing one of the first products for the startup
Involved in hiring of freshers and experienced professionals
Worked on Resource planning and deployment projects, Incentive Compensation and Demand planning projects
Hobbies – Playing sports (Cricket, TT, Hockey), Cooking
#2) Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?
My short term goal is to work in a strategy consulting firm such as MBBs. To pivot into a strategy consulting role, I felt that I need to bridge the gap between taking data and moulding it into insights and taking those insights and formulating and implementing strategies. With my current work ex., I have become adept at turning data into insights but now need to pivot onto the next stage. An MBA will help me bridge that gap as it will enable me to think from a holistic perspective.
#3) Why did you choose Faith Career to be your mentor for ISB application?
I came to know about Faith Career from one of my cousin who is an ISB Alum. I contacted them specifically for my interview prep and was pretty convinced about going ahead with him. This is because of two major reasons – Their well structured method of preparing for the interview and personalized feedback session post a mock. I did also like the richness of the material they provided for the preparation.
#4) What tips would you like to share with an aspirant who is working on their ISB application?
I would suggest the candidate to spend good amount of time drafting the essays. The essays need to be coherent, free-flowing, and have a story-like convincing career progression so that even if the panelists have not gone through your application, you are already ready with a story in your mind about your career progression when asked in the interview.
#5) How did you prepare for the interview after submitting the ISB application? What all steps did you take to make yourself ready for ISB's interview?
I prepared the set of questions shared by Faith Career and refined them post receiving feedback from them after my mock interviews. Also, I kept on reading about upcoming trends in the Healthcare industry by going through MBB (McKinsey, Bain, BCG) blogs. One other thing that I did upon suggestion by my mentor was to make a vision of what I had planned for my social media food blog page and which are the top 10 food blogs of India/world. Lastly, since I was a reapplicant, I also made sure that I could convince the panelists as to why this time my profile is more valuable for ISB.
#6) What questions were asked to you during the ISB interview?
1. How would my love for food help me during my MBA at ISB? (I mentioned that I have a social media food blog page)
2. How will I go about organizing Masterchef ISB and how will that help me and my peers during the MBA? (I mentioned about organizing Masterchef ISB in one of my essays)
3. How else would you contribute towards peer learning at ISB?
4. Tell us about some dishes that you invented/discovered.
5. Tell us about any interesting projects that you recently worked on. What was your role in the project?
6. Tell us about a situation where you showed empathy.
7. What went wrong last time? (I was a re-applicant)
#7) How do you think you performed in ISB's interview?
Since I was the first one to be interviewed by the panelists on the day, my interview started with a bit of grilling. I was asked to explain how my love for food would help me during my MBA at ISB. There were a few follow-ups on my answer to the question and I felt that they were not convinced from my answers. I also felt that the interviewers were genuinely interested in the type of projects I have worked on as they cross-questioned me a lot when I was answering the question – “Tell us about any interesting projects that you have recently worked on." I believe they really wanted to see if I am a fit for ISB and if I am clear about what I am speaking in my mind.
They were trying to test me from different angles. Initially they wanted a deeper understanding of the projects that I have worked on thus checking my communication skills (how easily am I able to synthesize my work in layman terms and make them understand). Post that during the middle phase of the interview, they stress tested me a bit by nudging me to ponder over if what I answered to the question –“ Tell us about a situation where you showed empathy?” was empathy or sympathy. They told me that it was common to show such behavior for anyone and asked what was special in what I answered.
Honestly speaking, immediately after the interview, I thought that I will surely be dinged again since I thought that the panelists were not convinced with some of my answers.
#8) What are your final ‘To-Dos’ and ‘Not-to-Dos’ for an ISB aspirant?
Things that you must focus on –
Prepare your career progression storyline and spend time on thinking about how exactly ISB will help you in your career.
For any B-school application, start reading upon key trends and upcoming disruptions in your industry. Develop your POV on a few upcoming trends.
Prepare a few thoughtful questions that you genuinely want to ask from the panelists.
Talk to people who have come to give the interview. It helps in relaxing. During my interview, there was one guy who was talking to almost everyone and I managed to strike a good conversation with him that helped me clear unnecessary thoughts from my mind.
Do allot a decent amount of time on preparing questions around your extra-curricular activities and hobbies.
Things that you must avoid –
Overthinking and making unnecessary 'What if?' scenarios in your mind before the interview. Go with an open mind and be ready with your story. (I know it’s easier said than done but that's what Faith Career's mentors can help you do.) If you are even able to do this partially, half the battle is won.
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