From IndiGo to ISB: Samarpit's Success Story
Updated: Mar 13
We are glad to share Samarpit's stellar success story with you. Not only is his story that of success, but also one which represents sheer perseverance. His ISB application was first rejected, and then waitlisted. However, he did not give up. He applied one more time with Faith Career's experienced mentor Dr. Kumar Anshul's guidance and received the prestigious offer letter. He will be heading to ISB next month and is excited to begin his journey. He talked to us and shared useful insights and tips for ISB applicants.
#1) Please describe your profile in brief.
I am a B.Sc.(Hons.) Statistics graduate from Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi. I have worked across top Indian airlines such as Indigo and Air Asia as a Revenue Analyst for 4 years. Post that, I switched to consulting, I am currently working with a unit of Indian Railways and assisting them with analysing the current policy framework and identifying new opportunities.
#2) Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?
Having worked in a niche role as a Revenue Analyst and in a broader role in consulting, I got a chance to explore the implementation part of a business. However, the overall strategy had always fascinated me. I realised that though implementation is critical, the strategies drive the business. An MBA would allow me to explore various subjects that are critical in strategy formulation and hence would allow me to do formulate same for businesses in future.
#3) Why did you choose Anshul (from Faith Career) to be your mentor?
A week before my ISB interview, I had started to feel the “unease” both physically and mentally. I was frantically searching for interview debriefs and questions asked in the interview, when I came across an actual interview debrief on Anshul’s website.
After reading that, I explored other areas of his website and eventually reached his LinkedIn profile. I came across some amazing testimonials and then immediately decided to have a word with him. I reached out to him on Instagram and that was “the beginning”.
He was considerate enough to get on a call immediately and then explained a couple of critical things about the interview. Post the call, I was absolutely sure that I had to work with him and the same decision turned out to be one of the best decisions.
#4) What tips you would want to give an aspirant who is writing down the ISB application?
I believe that ISB’s applications are more than just regular essays. I believe that ISB truly wants to focus on personalities and identify the best in them.
I believe with an intent to help the school understand the strengths of the applicant, he/she shall introspect on all the things that really keep them motivated and happy in general life scenarios. For instance, for me it was interacting with people, engaging in extra curriculars etc. Once these strengths/ interests are identified, the answer to the questions become more lucid.
Moreover, thoughts shall also be on the lines of where in the professional world can these strengths work the best. The application shall form a complete story with no self-contradictions.
#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?
Anshul played a crucial role in the interview preparation process. He really knows this game well! And the best part is that he knows what things are to be prioritised. He has a simple fundamental, which I believe worked the best for me as well, that is to stick to basics. Basics cover questions around work experience, motivation for doing MBA, having a plan B, identifying the strengths and weaknesses. He ensured that these were covered in a very efficient manner and helped me prepare on the cross-questioning which could occur at that moment.
I also believe that preparing a little more than required for the interview worked for me, in the sense gave that confidence. I tried and cover ET on a regular basis to keep myself ready for any general discussion that could come up. As a professional in the transport consulting, I also ensure to read industry reports across various domains in the transportation such as railways and aviation. Reading was a very crucial step I took toward preparing for the interview.
#6) What were the questions asked to you during the interview?
1.) Tell me about yourself.
2.) What went wrong last time?
3.) Why do you wish to pursue an MBA degree when you're already in consulting?
4.) Enough of professional stuff, tell me how you will add to the ISB cohort.
5.) What do you see yourself doing in 5 years? (After I told my plans, they did some cross questioning)
6.) Is there anything else which will help us to evaluate your profile better?
7.) Do you have any questions for us?
#7) How did you think you performed in the interview?
Honestly, I had no clue of how the interview went.
The panel that interviewed me ensured, from the beginning, that the entire atmosphere was calm and interactive. Since I was a re-applicant, that was the beginning of my interview. This was followed by an introduction, reasons for doing an MBA, something on my extra curriculars, 5-year plans and anything else that would help them analyse my profile better.
I was not really cross-questioned on any question except the one on 5-year plans. The panel was very much interested in knowing about my extra-curricular activities, on which I believed I had managed to convey my experiences and learnings in a sturdy way.
I had prepared for almost all the questions asked in the interview, but I was also trying to not sound like a robot. By making a couple of jokes, one liner, I tried to keep the interview candid. On one question on my 5-year plans, I believe that I could have done better.
The panel did not really show any emotion, however showed interest in knowing my stories and point of opinion.
#8) What are your final ‘To-Dos’ and ‘Not-to-Dos’ for an ISB aspirant?
To begin with the 'Not-to-Dos' –
To not treat ISB as the good ‘ol B-school – Though the PGP program at ISB is competitive, the school accommodates all, the focus is on the individual and not just on the ‘feathers in the cap’.
To not be the post MBA guy – B-schools realize the extent to which people in their career, especially in the early stages, make impact, hence, reasonable goals are the way to go. The more believable it is, the more beautiful it looks.
To not listen to Anshul – While preparing, I had a terrible habit of being all over the place. Anshul clearly directed that the basics need to be addressed first and right he was. It always better to have a direction during the preparation and Anshul ensured I not only had one but followed the same as well.
To not do it at the same time – Completing the exams and application can be a daunting task. Applications should be done with a calm and relaxed mind. It is always better to first get done with the exam and subsequently then focus on application
Now 'To – Dos'
To know the academics – This step is extremely important and begins at the time of exam preparation. Before deciding to study for GMAT/GRE, one must always give a mock of either to identify which exam suits better and only then go ahead with serious preparation.
To READ – I cannot emphasise how much reading helped me during the preparation. Reading is like a superpower, improves everything from vocabulary, comprehension, intel on a variety of matters. One must dedicate a few fixed hours on reading up news/business stuff.
To be able to say NO – To prioritize the dream is what made the difference in my story. It is not like to completely shut oneself in a room for days and months. However, while in the preparation zone, breaks should be earned in a hard way.
Below are few more success stories that you might find inspirational ✨
Smriti’s journey from Ambedkar University to London School of Economics (LSE) – https://www.faithcareer.org/post/progress-story-smriti-s-mpp-offer-letter-with-35-scholarship
Nikhil’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
Yash’s story of making it to Top 3 Canadian Universities (York University [Schulich School of Business], University of British Columbia [Sauder] and McGill University [Desautels]) - https://www.faithcareer.org/post/progress-story-yashashwat-s-mim-application-journey
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