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An Admit to ISB with a 750 on the GMAT!

Posted on April 03, 2014

In conversation with Saurabh Gupta who bagged an admit to Indian School of Business with a 750 on the GMAT! πŸ™‚


Congratulations Saurabh & thanks for taking out the time to do the interview with us! What was your profile like before you decided to pursue an MBA?

I graduated from NIT Trichy with a B. Tech. in Computer Science. I worked with Morgan Stanley as a software engineer for a couple of years after that, and with Zynga for about a year as a developer before moving to Data Analyst role within Zynga. I wanted to move towards products side and Zynga is one of the best places to learn product analytics.

What prompted you to take up an MBA program?

Since college, I’ve realised that I am most motivated when I work at something that touches the lives of people directly. Hence after gaining experience at Morgan Stanley as an engineer, Zynga seemed to be the best place to go next.
At Zynga I felt I could be more involved in the product decisions which a proper understand to the business would facilitate, hence the MBA.

How did you go about preparing for the GMAT?

I knew I needed coaching to keep me focused and save time. I looked out for options on Pagalguy, for the best institutes in Bangalore. Crackverbal seemed to be the best bet. I went ahead and joined CrackVerbal.
Initially I would fail to practice regularly and lost touch with the basics. I decided to take it more seriously and took a more dedicated approach to my preparation. I also took off for a couple of weeks from work before the exam. You can read my entire debrief here.

How did you shortlist B-schools and were you focused on Indian B-schools alone? If yes, why?

My experience was in technology and Social Gaming. I like the field of Social Gaming. Hence, I looked for schools which focus on technology and products. I realised this includes only some US Schools and ISB. Additionally, ISB’s program is more affordable than the rest. πŸ™‚
Applying to US B-schools is obviously a huge cost, I wanted to apply to my dream B-schools and this list included MIT Sloan, Kellogg, Berkeley Haas & UCLA Anderson. My aim was to get an admit this year, if not I would continue with my current position as it was an interesting one that allowed me to explore the business side of things.

How did you go about the MBA application process?

I wrote my GMAT in August, 2013 and Indian School of Business Round 1 deadline was on 15th September. Because of the time contraint, I felt it best to work with CrackVerbal for my applications and it was totally worth it! However, despite this, the quality of my initial drafts were not the best; so CrackVerbal advised me to push my application from Round 1 to 2 to get more time to rework my essays and put my best foot forward. That worked.
By this time, I had shortlisted the US B-schools I would like to apply to. I once again worked with CrackVerbal for my US applications as it was a lot of work to do so on my own.
The interview was very friendly. I had three alumni in my panel. I was asked about my profile, my current work, the Indian gaming industry and suggestions to improve it, my career prospects in the gaming industry (since I wanted to return back to the same industry), my strengths and weaknesses. I felt it was an earnest attempt at getting to know me better.

What are your short-term & long-term goals post your MBA?

In the long run, I want to handle multiple products in a products oriented company, or start my own company in this space. I feel working as a Product Manager in the gaming industry is the first step towards that, although you don’t really need an MBA to become a Product Manager. However, if you have sound business knowledge across different functions, you are in a much better position for success.

What advice would you give to future MBA aspirants?

It is very important to believe in yourself and prepare well for the GMAT(3 months of regular prep is optimum for an average Indian aspirant). Also, you would need a lot of time figuring out a lot why you want to do an MBA and while you’re selecting schools. Make sure you set aside time for that along with your preparation time. Good guidance goes a long way and people are generally helpful in this community.

What was your experience like with CrackVerbal?

Awesome! They were very understanding and went out of their way to help me in my MBA journey – right from GMAT prep till my Indian School of Business interview. The faculty and the admission counsellors are of very high quality and they understand the Indian applicant well. I availed their services for GMAT Verbal Prep, essay writing, and interview prep. Although it amounted to a lot, it was totally worth it! πŸ™‚

Any interesting anecdotes from your MBA journey? πŸ™‚

I had just began searching for people who were in a Product Management domain after doing an MBA from my target schools. I came across one such profile and hastily contacted her so I could learn more. This didn’t turn out well as there were many spelling mistakes in my e-mail, and I failed to share any background information. Since then I make sure I write proper mails!
The other interesting incident was when I went to a junior’s place for a party. When I got there I met her flatmate who seemed familiar at first but I didn’t think about it much. However, later while talking to the junior of mine I realised that her flatmate teaches at CrackVerbal and had taken a practice session. That came as a surprise. πŸ™‚

Thank you for that wonderful chat Saurabh! The entire team at CrackVerbal is thrilled at your success and wishes you the very best! πŸ™‚

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