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ISB Success Story: Ruchir's Journey From Standard Chartered to ISB

Updated: Feb 25

Faith Career has been instrumental in helping people achieve their career dreams - be it a Tier-1 MBA in India or a Master's degree/MBA abroad. From London Business School to London School of Economics, from Indian School of Business to Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, hundreds of aspirants have been able to achieve their dream school by working with us. Some of their detailed testimonials are listed on our ‘Wall of Love’ here -

Ruchir Saraswat contacted us only a few days before ISB PGP Round 1 deadline. While on the first look, we weren’t able to find any typical ‘spike’ in his profile, but his high GMAT score, multiple leadership roles undertaken during college, and impeccable communication skills indicated us that he has a strong chance to make it to ISB. We immediately started working on his application and the rest, as they say, is history.

"Properly research about the school and about your future goals. Try to be as genuine as you can. If you are putting something on your resume then be ready to justify it very well. It won’t take much time for the interviewers to realise that you are bluffing about it. Also, don’t try to act very smart. Be humble and grounded and answer to your best of abilities." - Ruchir Saraswat

Below is an excerpt from a brief interaction with Ruchir who will soon be joining Indian School of Business (ISB), Class of 2024.

#1) Ruchir, can you please brief describe your profile?

My journey from being an Engineering Graduate to working as a Development Analyst for Standard Chartered Bank GBS allowed me to gain valuable technical skills in Data Base Management, SQL, Web Portal UI Design, Documentation, Development, Testing, etc., and learn agile methods of working. I had developed more than 300 files, delivered automation scripts, and supported cross-functional teams, which has also enhanced my teamwork and understanding of business requirements.

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

At my current role in SCB GBS, I just felt as if I was stagnated. And I decided that I cannot be at this industry 5-10 years down the lane. Working in IT was definitely not what I was looking at. Hence, MBA would have helped me to understand the business elements involved and understand the pillars involved in it and help me transition to a career where I would be able to contribute more and also have a sense of satisfaction. In the longer run I would like to get a hang of consulting and explore various other domains post that.

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

I got to know about Faith Career from an ISB alum. I then went on to search about them on Google and LinkedIn. From here, the journey began. I didn’t research in detail, I just believed in them and went on to work with them. I wanted someone who had experience in these things and someone who can properly structure my thoughts which would then reflect in my essays. My decision to work with them was comparatively late, because earlier I was under the impression that I would be able to do everything on my own. But after discussing with a number of alums, I chose to work with Faith Career

#4) What tips would you like to share with an aspirant who is writing their ISB application?

I would say that you must be as organic as possible. There is no scope of being pretentious. There is a strong possibility that everything that you write in your essays might be questioned in the interview. Thus, introspect, think deeply, and come up with points which describes you in the best possible way.

There is no shortcut or cheat code to achieve this. ISB receives thousands of applications. You need to convince the panelists about how you are a suitable candidate for the cohort and what you bring to the table. Quantify your achievements. That would play a major role while you are preparing to work on your essays. I would suggest to keep thinking about it every day. The more you think, the finer details you would be able to extract.

Faith Career will give you some bullet points around which you can focus your thoughts, and more or less that will define your structure for the essays. But your efforts would be needed here the most.

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

Faith Career's mentorship was really helpful in aligning my thoughts. I had a profile which was filled with extra-curricular activities and lot of leadership roles, sports and initiatives taken at work and in college days. Initially, I was sceptical about it because I felt that it is becoming too much of what I had done earlier and a few bits of things which was done at my current role. But Faith Career’s mentorship helped me to understand that these would act as my strengths and not weaknesses. This would give me a sense of diversity in my profile since I am an engineer, It will help me to showcase of what all I have done outside the box. My mentor’s words and strategy regarding the interview gave me the necessary confidence during the interviews.

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

Interview preparation matters a lot, you need to be completely thorough with your application and long-term goals you have mentioned. Whether it is Prod Man or Consulting, you should at least have a basic idea about the field you would want to go in. Prepare traditional answers which Faith Career will guide you and other question related to your profile. Be thorough with your work you do at your current organisation. Also, if possible, keep talking to various alums of the field you would want to go for in the future. I spoke to number of alums and got first hand info about their current role and clarity regarding what the job demands. Ask their interview experiences, it would just unlock different perspectives. Again, interviews are solely dependant on the panel, but it is always better to prepare for all the scenarios. Ask them how they handled the traditional questions of why mab and why isb? In my case none of these questions were asked to me.

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

  1. Tell me about your job role and responsibilities.

  2. How has the transition been between initial days of working/ training to shifting to a project?

  3. Product Management – You could have taken an online course and achieved this, then why this?

  4. What do you identify as your strengths and weaknesses?

  5. If given the opportunity, what would you choose OSC or SLC and why?

  6. What have you done unique in your job role/project?

  7. How do you identify yourself to be a unique candidate as compared to others when it comes for GSB?

  8. Since you have a diverse profile in terms of co-curricular activities, doesn’t it give an impression that you are into everything and not focused into one?

  9. Take me through various initiatives you have taken in your college/work life, if any?

  10. What makes you a good leader?

  11. Who is your role model in Cricket?

  12. What have you learnt from your role model and how have you inculcated those values in your life?

  13. Tell me about the hardest thing you have overcome in life.

  14. If you are not selected in a Leadership Role, how will you then go about it?

  15. Do you want to be a MS Dhoni of SLC or Ravindra Jadeja of OSC?

  16. Do you have any questions for us?

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

I would say I was not that nervous. I gave them a proper story, utilised my major life setbacks. Had an amazing conversation with them. I was a bit scared at the end when they didn’t ask any traditional MBA questions. But apart from that, It never felt as an interview to be honest. It was a legit conversation to understand more about myself and what can I bring to the table for ISB and how I can contribute further.

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

I would say research properly about the school and about your future goals. Try to be as genuine as you can, If you are putting something on your resume then be ready to justify it very well. Since it won’t take much time to realise that you are bluffing about it.

Also don’t try to act very smart and top of the world kind feeling, be humble and grounded and answer to your best abilities. If you are stuck, instead of making any wage stories, just say that you are not able to come up with an apt answer and move ahead. The idea is to not fake basically, you can attempt to answer it but be practical about it.

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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