Karan Jain's story is marvellous! Since he worked in Consulting pre-MBA, his profile was a little challenging to 'present' to the admissions committee. However, Faith Career's Co-Founder made his journey to ISB MBA as smooth as possible, finally earning him an offer letter. Karan has shared excellent insights about the ISB PGP interview and his 'Dos' and 'Don'ts' are worth reading!
#1) Karan, can you please briefly describe your profile?
My professional journey has been a stimulating blend of diverse experiences in technology and management consulting, with a primary focus on analytics. My illustrious clientele has included firms from the pharmaceutical, real estate, and government sectors, spanning multiple borders. I have been at the forefront of several pioneering initiatives that have integrated data insights with innovative marketing strategies, as well as assisting government clients in realizing their social impact goals.
Apart from my professional accomplishments, I have indulged my passion for social entrepreneurship, which led me to secure funding from none other than Google. While I was unable to turn this venture into a profitable business, I left a lasting legacy by transforming it into a volunteer initiative and creating a chapter within my college.
Moreover, my inclination towards mathematics has spurred me to author two research papers in prestigious international journals. Additionally, I possess a voracious appetite for knowledge, which has propelled me to delve into varied subjects such as history, economics, polity, wars, geopolitics, and global events. My passion for intellectual exchange has led me to curate an online and offline community of like-minded individuals, who engage in stimulating and thought-provoking discussions on diverse topics.
#2) Why did you decide to pursue the ISB PGP program?
Looking ahead, my professional goals are aligned with my extensive work experience, as I envision myself becoming a strategy consultant at a top-tier consulting firm in the short term. In the long term, my aspirations lie in leading the analytics practice of a consulting firm, empowering organizations to leverage data insights for informed decision-making, process optimization, and automation. Given that my current work portfolio is largely focused on government clients, I recognize that I may not have access to projects that span across various industries in the near future. As a result, pursuing the ISB PGP program is of paramount importance to me. As an aspirant for management consulting, an MBA program presents an ideal opportunity to prepare for problem-solving, estimation, and consulting case interviews, as a majority of the cohort comprises like-minded individuals. In addition to classroom instruction, case study competitions and live-projects will afford me the chance to work on real-time projects and acquire practical experience. Moreover, the ISB PGP program will enable me to collaborate with and learn from my peers, while fostering the development of a robust professional network. With my vast experience and a high-quality pedagogy, I am confident that I can acquire strategic business acumen and management skills that will equip me to realize my aspirations.
#3) Why did you choose Faith Career to be your mentor for ISB PGP program application?
Despite my extensive professional experience, I felt the need for a mentor who could guide me in preparing a strong application for Indian School of Business' (ISB) PGP program. I was seeking a comprehensive evaluation of my achievements and setbacks, both in academia and my career. That's when I stumbled upon Faith Career's remarkable breakdown of the profile structuring that impressed me. It was serendipitous that I discovered such a remarkable mentor and colleague through a fortuitous Google search. I was yearning for a mentor who could not only assist me in presenting my academic and professional accomplishments in a compelling manner but also acknowledge my past failures with grace. My mentor's expertise was precisely what I was seeking, as he provided a holistic assessment of my profile and the necessary guidance to create a compelling application for ISB.
#4) What tips you would you like to share with an aspirant who is working on their ISB application?
Before hastily penning down application essays, it is recommended that the applicant engage in self-reflection to assess their achievements, lessons learned, aspirations, and ultimate goals. Although the prompts may prompt individuals to emphasize their successes, it is important to not overlook the significance of highlighting one's failures, as valuable insights are gained through such experiences. Striking a balance between intellect, perseverance, and humility is critical in this process. It is essential to exercise patience, remain calm, and carefully consider the qualities that one would like to be remembered for. It is important to refrain from fixating on the eventual outcome or potential consequences, as it can interfere with the creative process.
#5) How was Faith Career’s mentorship important while working on the ISB PGP application?
As previously mentioned, Faith Career's guidance has been invaluable in helping me recognize the breadth of my accomplishments. Thanks to him, I came to appreciate that my co-founding of an education startup had a lasting impact as a college society, ensuring that my legacy would endure beyond my years at the institution.
My mentor also emphasized the importance of not only earning qualifications, but also quantifying one's achievements. For instance, in my case, I secured hospitality and automotive part sponsorships worth Rs 250k, which put my accomplishment into clearer perspective. Additionally, my mentor engaged me in extensive discussions to help me crystallize my aspirations and fully comprehend the transformative opportunities offered by ISB, thus quelling any remaining doubts.
#6) How did you prepare for the interview after submitting your ISB PGP program application? What all steps did you take to prepare yourself for the interview?
In my application, I made sure to provide a comprehensive overview of my professional journey, highlighting my contributions to various critical projects that I have been a part of at different levels of the hierarchy. Along with that, I emphasized my avid interest in global events, which I nourish by actively participating in a specially curated community that conducts bi-weekly discussions on diverse subjects such as History, Economics, and most notably, Geopolitics.
Furthermore, my mentor imparted valuable advice on the art of interview, which was of immense help in curbing my tendency to over-explain. He taught me the significance of cultivating a sense of curiosity while keeping things concise and to the point.
#7) What questions were asked to you during the ISB PGP interview?
Question 1 Please tell me about yourself. Question 2 Multiple questions regarding my job switch from Company A to Company B and further to Company C Follow up questions - Reason for switching - Highlights of your role
- Were these switches deliberate - Your role at EY is boring compared to real estate, is that so ? - Managerial options explored
"Why ISB?" was asked many times.
Explain geopolitics within a minute.
Since you worked in a motor racing club, any recent highlights from F1 racing?
A basic inquiry about my journals in Mathematics.
Why not foreign universities? (This question was answered while answering why ISB)
Why not progress your career via jobs and EY? (Answered while "why ISB" question)
- There were no questions about my awards.
Why switch from real estate to EY?
Any question for us?
- I asked regarding a SIG on Geopolitics.
- Should I read any pre requisite?
#8) How did you think you performed in the ISB PGP interview?
During the interview, I exercised precision and clarity while responding to a diverse array of questions spanning across my professional and managerial tenure, the nature of projects I undertook, and my keen interest in geopolitics. I ensured that my communication was concise and purposeful, avoiding superfluous verbosity. Additionally, I adeptly incorporated my co-curricular achievements into the conversation without disrupting its flow, deftly navigating the trajectory of the interview. Furthermore, I engaged in light-hearted banter, showcasing my affability and ease of conversation.
#9) What are your final ‘To-Dos’ and ‘Not-to-Dos’ for an ISB aspirant?
Do Not A) It is paramount to avoid intentional vagueness while responding to interview questions, as this would expose one's inadequate articulation and communication abilities. B) Likewise, refrain from utilizing sophisticated terminologies and technical knowledge unless you are entirely confident, as the interviewers are proficient in identifying authentic candidates. C) Furthermore, avoid over-elaborating unless directed to do so, as it may give the impression of being long-winded. D) Lastly, it is crucial to maintain a positive attitude throughout the interview and avoid any negative comments about previous academic or professional experiences. To Do A) It is imperative to possess a thorough understanding of one's accomplishments, particularly if numerical figures are involved.
B) Additionally, exhibiting good manners and self-discipline is crucial.
C) Maintaining a cooperative and collaborative demeanour with the interviewer/s can help build rapport.
D) When discussing one's successes, a modest approach is recommended, while recounting one's failures in a positive light can demonstrate personal growth.
E) Concise and lucid communication is vital. Taking a moment to collect oneself before responding, along with a smile, can create a friendly atmosphere.
F) Maintaining eye contact and avoiding assumptions regarding the interviewer's perspective is also key.
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/smriti-s-stellar-journey-to-the-london-school-of-economics-and-political-science-lse
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
Ambuj Tripathi's story of triumph: From SBI to Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) with Scholarship: https://www.faithcareer.org/post/ambuj-tripathi-s-story-of-triumph-from-sbi-to-rotterdam-school-of-management-rsm-with-scholarship