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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Indian School of Business

ISB is the one school that has been jumping in and out of my list. Everytime i think that ISB is the school for me, something or someone comes along and changes my opinion. And everytime ISB is dead and buried, it shoots right back up.
I plan to work in India post-MBA, so ISB seems the natural choice. However, there is so much to consider, for example:
  • Will 1 year be enough? esp considering that i'm seeking a move away from the IT sector and that the last quarter will be dedicated to job hunting.
  • Will i be able to handle the stress of a 1 year program?... word has it that you cannot afford to sleep for more than 6hrs/day :(
  • Will there be enough diversity? ISB is not an International Bschool... indians make up more than 95% of the student body.
  • Will there be enough exposure? ISB talks a big talk, but I believe the exposure it offers with respect to consulting projects, internships, funding/ giving a helping hand to entrepreneurial ventures, comes nowhere near that offered by the top 20 US bschools
  • Will I become complacent? Staying in India and mixing with the local junta, I should have no problem acclimatising to the environment at ISB. Thing is, i'd like to mix it up with different people, never know what to expect each day. Something that I can look back on 10-20 years from now, and say.. that experience made the difference.
Anyhoo, I had attended an Info session last month. Kept jotting down the major points in my notebook:
  • Last year they received 4000 applicants, and sent out 2100 interview invites. 560 were admitted
  • 1 in 4 applicants is interviewed, and 1 in 8 applicants is admitted
  • It is not enough for recommenders to be senior personnel. Your work should have had an impact on them.
  • Don't waste the essays dwindling on your weaknesses; focus on your strengths
  • The GMAT CAN compensate for a horrible GPA
  • No difference between R1 and R2 - absolutely NONE wrt your chances of getting through this. They gave a very detailed (and logical) explanation about this
  • While managerial experience is NOT necessary, Leadership experience most certainly is.
  • CABM certification used to guarantee an interview call, but that is not longer the case. It is still valued though.
  • Fixed Study Groups for 1st 4 terms, and 25% of assignments are evaluated collectively
  • ISB has come up with a deferral policy for those with less than 2 years of exp... it immediately struck me that this could be ISB's way of catching that elusive pool that they keep losing to the IIMs year in, year out.

Later in the session, a few alumni were introducted and the stage was open to questions. Most questions were answered professionally/ diplomatically, but there was one alumnus, an IT dude who was just way over his head and kept hogging the mike, try to add something to every answer, basically trying to steal the limelight. He was the sour point of the day, and I kept thinking how awful it would be to get stuck up with someone like him in my study group. I'm sure ISB will have regretted inviting him for the event, coz he was just plain awful, and a bad advertisement for the school.

At the end of it all, the staff and alumnus opened up to an interactive session for about 15 mins. They each took up seperate areas in the hall and chatted up with students. I made my way to the dude whose talk I really liked, and though I just had one question, I stuck around until it got over because a few people were coming up with real interesting questions, and he kept batting out amazing answers. One young strappy female walked up and gave the cliched "i'm interested in social enterprise". The dude then proceeded to point out that there is no enterprise that is anti-social. All enterprises are social, in one way or the other, otherwise they would not have any market. Anyway, at the end there were only 3 of us remaining talking to the dude, and he kinda noticed that I had been standing there for a while, just standing there with a stupid grin on my face. <Text removed>

Oh boy, I'm tired...

Over and Out!

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