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Choosing Between IIM-B & ISB: The Tale of Two Admits

Posted on September 20, 2013

In conversation with Deepanshu Saini who shared his experience of his MBA journey through this quick chat we had with him. 🙂


Congratulations on your admit to ISB! Could you tell us a little about your background?


I have a B.E. Degree from BITS Pilani. I worked for ‘travelocity.com’ as a Business Analyst. I was the bridge between the technical teams in India and the various Business Operations teams abroad.


How did you go about preparing for your GMAT?


I had no intentions to of applying to ISB, but after attending an info session of ISB’s, I was inspired! Following this session, I began my GMAT preparation. I took the GMAT date and studied for 3 months. I felt that this time period was sufficient to prepare well for GMAT, in fact I realized that I could have finished my preparation in 1.5 months!


For the first few weeks, I started my preparation with OG. As I was working long hours, it was hard to devote time and return to the study mode, initially.


There were five sections in the Official Guide – two on Quant and three on Verbal. From each section, I took 10 questions every day, and I spent about an hour everyday on these questions. I finished OG in about 3 or 4 weeks. Then I started with the Review questions.


For the Verbal review, I got hold of e-books and I went through that for about three more weeks. After finishing my reviews, I was ready to take mock tests. I took off work for about 10 days and I took 1 test every day for 10 consecutive days.


Did you take the full-length tests or just the Verbal and Quant?


I took the full-length tests and that too at the same time as my GMAT was scheduled! This is because I wanted to condition my mind to make sure that I am not hungry or sleepy during my test hours. As my slot was 12 to 4, I took full length tests from 12 to 4 everyday for 10 days. I would eat lunch at 11a.m., just to experience the exact test constraints.


How was your GMAT test day?

When I took the real test, the essays were fine. However, I was a little exhausted after the essays and was not expecting my Quant to be that difficult. My last question in Quant didn’t go well. There was a break between Quant and Verbal and that particular question played on my mind. This is what a test taker shouldn’t do – he/she should relax during the break and then concentrate on the next segment of the test.
I was pretty exhausted after the two essays and in contrast to my mock tests I was running short of time in Quant. During my practice tests, I would finish my Quant 30 minutes prior to the end-time! But, when I gave the real test, I was left with 10 questions in last 10 minutes. So, I tackled Verbal with a fast pace and hence my accuracy went down a little. I ended up scoring 50 in Quant and 37 in Verbal and my GMAT score was 720.

So, it was your 50 in Quant that pulled your GMAT score up to 720?

Yes, it did, though I could have scored 740 on the GMAT! During my practice tests, I was scoring 750-780, I was a little disappointed that I got a 720 instead.

Were you planning to give your GMAT again despite a 720?


Yes, I wanted to take the GMAT again to improve my score. But on second thoughts, I didn’t want to miss the Round 1 deadlines of ISB. I didn’t really have the time to give it again and also apply for Round 1. To overcome this dilemma, I contacted CrackVerbal. I got to know about CrackVerbal from the internet. I scheduled a counseling session through the CrackVerbal website and I was directed to Arun.
During that time, I was also interacting with other institutes to help me with my application. But Arun’s thoughts struck me and I wanted to go with him. I had a gut feeling that we were thinking on the same lines. There was a comfort level right from the beginning. That is what drove me towards CrackVerbal.


Finally, I met Arun and I explained to him the complete story – what I have been doing, my work, my profile, my extra-curriculars and my GMAT score. He listened to me and chalked out a chart for me, portraying what my strengths and weaknesses are and we brainstormed to figure out what I should write in my essays. I incorporated his suggestions and I drafted my essays in some 15-20 days.  Some 7-8 reviews later, my the final draft of my essays were ready. 


Why did you choose ISB over other B-schools?


I wanted to apply only to Indian B-Schools because of the finances and recession in the market. I had also written my CAT and got through IIM-B. I had discussed this with CrackVerbal and they helped me decide on the B-school that suited me best – I decided to go with ISB.


That’s interesting! Choosing between IIMs and ISB can be a tough call 🙂


Who were your recommenders?

My Manager and Ex-Manager were my recommenders. When I applied to ISB in Round 1, I was wait-listed. Round-1 results were announced on 15th of November that year and ISB was going to announce some of the Round 1 short-listed applicants with the Round 2 short-listed applicants. Round 2 results were announced on 15th February.
However, at the end of January, I wrote an e-mail to ISB, asking for some clarifications and updating them with my professional accomplishments – I was promoted to a Project Manager role during the time I was awaiting the announcements from ISB.  I was also involved with a lot more social initiatives in Bangalore. I had tied up with the Ministry of Health, to set up a co-operative in Bangalore for people with disabilities who make handicrafts.

That was a really smart initiative on your part! 🙂


I also informed ISB that I have got a lot of calls from IIMs, but I prefer ISB! Again it was Arun who helped me out with the e-mail. I sent him the drafted e-mail, he reviewed it and shared his feedback with me. In the last week of January, during the final stages of Round 2, ISB considered my application and luckily got converted along with the Round 2 results!


How was your overall experience with CrackVerbal?


My CrackVerbal experience has been remarkable! I knew a lot of things before but I wasn’t able to articulate them well and convert them to essays. Arun literally gave ‘words’ to my ‘thoughts’. The way he interacted the first time, it was incredible!
Just after listening to my story, he was able to chalk out my strengths and my weaknesses and he precisely pin pointed what to write in my essays and what not to. I was very comfortable working with CrackVerbal. We had no hassles and we were able to understand each other immediately.


Thank you for taking out the time to speak with us Deepanshu and all the very best for your future endeavors! 🙂


Need help with your MBA application? Write to us at enquiry@crackverbal.com!:)

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