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Getting into ISB – A Doctor’s perspective

Posted on September 30, 2014
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In a conversation with Bhargava, who completed his MBBS at the Rajiv Gandhi University and was bitten by the MBA bug.


It’s rather intriguing that a doctor, possessing an MBBS would opt for an MBA, what lead to your decision to enter Business School?

Some where in my third year of MBBS, I realised that I was more oriented towards the Healthcare domain from a holistic perspective rather than purely from the medical side of it. I knew that I would want to explore the Management aspect of the medical field more than being a practicing doctor.
After my college, I worked with a healthcare startup for a year in a management role, at which point I realised this is what I would definitely want to invest my career in. Over the past 5 years, I have been working at the same startup in various management related roles and took on rresponsibilitiesof that of a Hospital Administrator and a lot more.
An MBA had been on my mind for quite sometime and around two years ago I met someone from CrackVerbal at an MBA fair, and that’s when I learnt about CrackVerbal. They seemed to be an enthusiastic startup and I could relate to that since I too was working at a startup. That was the moment when my MBA plans really materialized.

How did CrackVerbal help you get closer to your MBA?

I availed CrackVerbal’s course for both Verbal and Quant. It was extremely helpful, especially since I was from a non-engineering background. I then worked with CrackVerbal for the essay package too, and thanks to them, I received an interview call from ISB.

Do you have any particular area of interest as far as the Indian Healthcare scenario is concerned?

My aim is to leverage technology to make healthcare more accessible and affordable. I have been working in the semi-urban and the rural areas of healthcare, I would like to continue working in that sphere while including the urban sector as well.

What schools did you look at applying to for your MBA?

I had previously applied to IIM PGPX program, but didn’t make it. The work experience they require is 10 years and I only had 5. I felt my profile was not strong enough. The one thing I was banking on was the fact that most people with 10 years of work experience usually have 5 years of work ex in an individual contributor role and the next 5 years in a managerial role. Whereas I had 5 years of experience in a managerial role. I was hoping this would help convince the AdCom into giving me an admit. But I didnt make it.
When I looked to apply the second time around, I was focused on some parameters – being from an unconventional background, I wanted a program that was very good. I also wanted the academic program to be a rigorous one. The third point was the school should open up plenty of career opportunities for me after my MBA and last but not the least was the cost, which had to be affordable and that’s what made ISB a good fit. So I focused on getting into ISB.

How did you choose your recommenders?

This was probably the easier part for me as I worked with the same organisation for 5 years, and was a part of it right from its initial startup days. I got to work with a lot of the senior partners closely and they all knew my work very well and knew me very well. I worked with the CEO for about 1.5 years, officially, but even before that, I would work with him. I chose him as one of my recommenders.
I think the advantage of choosing him as my recommender was not only his designation but also the way he portrayed my work. It was done in a far more impactful and better way than I could have ever done myself. I chose another supervisor of mine as a second recommender.

How was your interview with ISB?

It was very smooth & casual, nothing tricky. It felt very friendly and they let me lead the discussion. They mostly asked me questions on what I wrote in my essays.
One area they focused on was my post MBA goals, I had written that I wanted to get into healthcare strategy in healthcare delivery. They asked me what my current organisation’s strategies are and how our company responded to the market and related questions. They are very focused on your post MBA goals.

What are your plans post an MBA?

I intend on staying within the healthcare domain and my work over the past 5 years has been focused on Healthcare Operations. I would like to work in the Healthcare Strategy domain now.

Any words of advice for future aspirants?

In terms of GMAT preparation I think it’s key to maintain an error log. I had attempted my GMAT twice and the difference between the two attempts was I maintained an error log the second time around in a more disciplined way. I didn’t have too much time to prepare, so I made an effort to ensure I maintained one.
In terms of the essays, I used to participate in a lot of essay writing competitions and would win them. I felt I was a good writer because of that. I thought the essays would be easier than the GMAT aspect, but only when I got to it did I realise that your command over English, or the past experience you have in essay writing will not suffice. It was only after I worked with CrackVerbal that I got a good understanding of what is expected in terms of an application essay and what AdComs look for in them. I was told to read a few books available at CrackVerbal which helped me a great deal in writing my essays as well.

What advice would you give to people who are struggling with writing their essays?

I would look at it from 3 views – the first part involves understanding what the Adcoms look for in the essays. The questions are deceptive but once you understand what they are looking for, it will help you talk about yourself better. I feel working with experienced mentors at CrackVerbal, will help you get this understanding.
The second part of it would be introspection – this is something you will need to do yourself, in terms of figuring what it is you want to highlight, what you would like to speak about and what you feel are your accomplishments.
The third part is presenting this in a succinct essay, within a word limit of about 300 words. Here is where,your command over English will help you, but even then only working with experienced consultants such as the team at CrackVerbal will help you make the cut.
I would also add that it’s helpful to build a good rapport with your boss because their recommendations for your MBA application will really make a difference to your profile.
It’s quite a long journey with a lot of stress along the way but try and enjoy it as much as you can. 🙂

All the Best, Bhargava!

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