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INR 16.5 Lakhs Scholarship: Riya's Successful Journey to ISB

Updated: Feb 25

Riya Maimoon has a great story to tell. In addition to doing well in her undergraduate degree, she participated in national-level quizzes, National Youth Parliament. She was a part of NSS as well and that's when she developed a proclivity towards Public Policy which is what she aims to do after graduating with an MBA degree from ISB. Faith Career's Co-Founder recently interviewed her. Read on to find out more.

UPDATE: On April 4, 2023, our student Riya received an additional scholarship of INR 2 lakhs from ISB.

#1) Riya, can you please briefly describe your profile?

Growing up in a family where majority of members worked in the government sector and participating in various national-level quizzes, National Youth Parliament, coordinating with various teams of IPAC (Indian Political Action Committee) operations to work for campaign designing and on ground research, and being active in various social activities through NSS during my graduation has led me to develop a keen interest in Governance and Public Policy over the years.

I’m particularly grateful for the 3-year long opportunity that I got at Make a Difference (MAD) in “Transition Readiness program” where I was part of on-ground intervention team facilitating career counselling, vocational training enrollment, and financial support for young people exiting out of shelter homes.

#2) Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?

My primary motivation to pursue an MBA degree is to scaleup and grow in my career and move to leadership positions. An MBA from ISB would leverage opportunities for a candidate like me with young corporate experience.

#3) Why did you choose Faith Career to be your mentor for ISB application?

I was doing deep research on ISB, how to crack ISB, how to get shortlist and all and I was going through many blogs and websites. It was then that I came across Faith Career's blog. After my one to one conversation with one of their mentors, I felt super confident about his approach towards the application process and worked with him as my mentor. It was a great decision to work with him.

#4) What tips you would want to give an aspirant who is working on their ISB application?

I would like to share two tips with aspirants. Research well about the program and the school. Work hard to get success and remember that feedback matters a lot.

#5) How was Faith Career’s mentorship important while writing down the application?

Faith Career's mentorship helped me in gathering my all scattered thoughts. My mentor helped me in articulation and made me understand how the process advances and what are the benchmark points in my profile to attract the adcom. Throughout the process, he took care of all the fine details of my profile and helped me to cut what was not important. Knowing what to eliminate itself is a great art and I learnt this from my mentor

#6) How did you prepare for your ISB interview after submitting the application? What all steps did you take to make yourself ready for the interview?

As soon as I submitted my application, I started preparing for my ISB interview the very next day. According to me, this makes a lot of difference in one’s candidature because it gives a lot of additional time to prepare. During my interview preparation process, the feedback from my mentor and the expected questions from his document were greatly useful as the entire real interview would revolve around those questions.

#7) What were the questions asked to you during the ISB interview?

1. Tell me something about yourself.

2. Tell us something about your work.

3. What impact you’re making with professional experience in your day job?

4. Why not UPSC? Why did you give up so early?

5. Coming from a family with majority of family members from the government sector, why you want to move to a corporate career?

6. You talked with ISB alumni who are working as Public Policy Consultants. What learnings from ISB helped them to become better Public Policy Consultants?

7. Tell us about few electives which you discussed with alumni to get good knowledge on public policy consulting.

8. Tell us something about the work you done with KEC international (internship)?

9. How does ISB fit in the picture?

10. In which sectors in public policy consulting do you want to work and why?

11. Why do you want to work for women & poverty?

12. If you want to make some impact in developing women from marginalised sectors, what about matriarchy society still existing in north eastern India?

13. Tell us about few monuments you visited in Guntur & their history.

14. Tell us about one of the old monuments you visited and it’s history. Did it make an impact?

15. Are you aware of any projects in Telangana where public policy consultants are making impact?

16. You said that Public Policy Consultants have Social Thinking. Differentiate it from Corporate Thinking and name any example of projects where there was 100% success according to Social Thinking.

17. Bureaucracy follows Top Down Approach (as said by me). How do you make impact from bottom up approach?

18. Anganwadi people also get data from the grassroots level and makes some impact with their service. Help us in understanding what else can be added to make the work more effective?

19. What else India needs to change to gain equilibrium in tribal parts and marginalized society?

20. Do you have any questions for us?

#8) How did you think you performed in the interview?

My interview went for 55 minutes & I was grilled. I wept as soon as I came out my interview room. The interviewers were checking if I would be the fit for the school, would my young & diverse knowledge would help me in my ISB journey.

#9) What are your final ‘To-Dos’ and ‘Not-to-Dos’ for an ISB aspirant?

Be as authentic as you can. Read your essays before your interview.

Don’t panic, no matter how difficult questions the interviewer might ask you. Don’t brag about yourself.

Below are few more inspiring success stories from Faith Career

  1. Smriti Dhawan's journey from Ambedkar University to the London School of Economics (LSE)

  2. Nikhil Bhonsle's story of bagging MBA offers from 5 B-Schools in the UK with scholarship, without a GMAT score -

  3. Yashashwat Srivastava’s MIM journey from IP University to the Schulich School of Business -

  4. Mimansha Dublish's MIM journey to ESCP Europe (ranked 5th for MIM in the world) -

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