Siddharth Shukla – 710 on GMAT – Indian School of Business
In conversation with Siddharth Shukla who bagged multiple admits with a 710 on the GMAT….
Could you tell us a bit about yourself?I have a total work experience of about 6 years. I worked for 5 years with Godrej as the Regional Manager and soon after that, I started my own company in the E-commerce sector.
What motivated you towards an MBA?While working in Godrej, life was pretty good. I had got promoted out of turn and had settled down in life. There was nothing challenging that motivated me to work further. When I started my venture, I realized it’s really important to have a deep knowledge about the company or product that you’re managing because as an entrepreneur, people begin to judge you from every angle- your education, your background etc. I felt that an MBA from a premiere institute would stand out on my resume. I wanted to learn how people in this sector have that kind of confidence and connect to the outside world.
"As an entrepreneur, people begin to judge you from every angle- your education, your background etc. I felt that an MBA from a premiere institute would stand out on my resume.
How did you approach the GMAT? And what was your score?The hardest thing on the GMAT was to have things in order. GMAT is a test where you can’t lose your focus. The approach towards developing yourself for the exam is very specific and I was able to keep a specific approach while preparing. Since I’m an avid reader, I could manage with RC. I had a major problem with CR. I had signed up for Verbal classes with CrackVerbal and had specific CrackVerbal material that was provided to me- that helped. On the GMAT, it’s not about 10 hours of preparation, it’s about 1 hour with quality focus and dedication.
How was the day of the exam?Before going for the actual exam, I actually replicated it by giving mock exams. I gave these at the same time, wore the same clothes and the same bag and estimated the travel time it would take to reach the test center. I happened to score a 710 on prep 3, prep 4 and on the actual exam too.
Wow! You were well- prepped! And that’s a great score. What B-schools did you apply to?I applied to ISB, IIM-C, and NUS and bagged admits from ISB and IIM-C.
"Since I wasn’t in touch with studies or writing long essays for more than 6 years, I needed someone to guide me. The deadlines were fast approaching and I had 3-4 months to prepare for the GMAT, application, and interviews.
How did you go about with the Application process?Since I wasn’t in touch with studies or writing long essays for more than 6 years, I needed someone to guide me. The deadlines were fast approaching and I had 3-4 months to prepare for the GMAT, application, and interviews. That’s when I decided to go to CrackVerbal. I targeted B-schools according to the profile they offered and followed a clear discipline to get the process done on time.
How was the interview experience? What were the questions asked?The interview was a bit of both- easy and hard. I was interviewed by a Marketing professor who was quite easy going and an alumnus who was quite the opposite. He made sure to create a pressure situation during the interview to test my calm.
They asked me about my start-up and asked me to explain my balance sheet. I was questioned on my previous role at Godrej and why I left such a good paying job to plunge into entrepreneurship. The whole interview revolved around questions about my risk- taking abilities, my personal background, what I wanted to be in the future, whether I wanted to go back to doing business and so on.
"The whole interview revolved around questions about my risk- taking abilities, my personal background, what I wanted to be in the future, whether I wanted to go back to doing business and so on.
How was your experience with CrackVerbal?When I started preparing for the GMAT, I wasn’t really sure on how I should approach the Verbal section. Being an engineer, Quant was easy for me. For Verbal, it’s not just about vocabulary or grammar, it’s all about logic and how you interpret passages. I felt I needed somebody who’s been in my shoes and could help me with Verbal. My brother told me about CrackVerbal after hearing about them from other resources.
The first RC class I attended was a demo class. The way Arun teaches is quite different. He approached the subject in such a way that made realize that Verbal is achievable. When it came to applications, CrackVerbal helped me realize what I needed to portray in my essay, rather than just writing the essay for me. It was like more of a self-awakening thing. The approach by CrackVerbal was impressive. Their opinions truly mattered and they made sure I got everything done on time.
"When it came to applications, CrackVerbal helped me realize what I needed to portray in my essay, rather than just writing the essay for me. It was like more of a self-awakening thing.
Thanks a ton! Do you have any advice for other MBA aspirants out there?Everyone says the GMAT is hard and that you have to give a lot of attempts. I would say, create your own experience rather than relying on others words. It’s up to you how you approach the GMAT. Nothing is difficult if you have the right people to guide you and the right resources and the right approach. If you believe, you can achieve. Are you inspired by Siddharth's story? Leave your comments below!
Swati Kathuriya | Said Business School, Oxford
CrackVerbal helped me frame my ideas and sentences in such a beautiful manner that they attached a different value to my overall MBA application. We may not be writers, we may not know how to present our ideas in the right format, and that’s where CrackVerbal comes in. I converted MBA admits to two schools - Kelley and Oxford and decided to go ahead with my MBA at Oxford.
Vishnu Nair | Cornell University
CrackVerbal helped me realize that there was a special structure for each college in terms of problem, action and results. In my engagement with CrackVerbal, there were 5-6 iterations of the essays, but by the end of it I was sure that my essay was really decent.
Subhankar Das | MIT Sloan School of Management
10 years after college I felt I wanted to do an MBA & came to CrackVerbal for guidance. Not only did they help me score high on the GMAT, I also came back to them for applications! Their team helped me a lot, telling me exactly which courses were good for my profile. They train you for the complete application process and not just leave it at consulting for one particular course. My essays were not just looked at for correct grammar, but they would keep thinking & reviewing the stories with me & help bring different angles to make them shine out even more! From my GMAT to my MIT admit, CrackVerbal was always there. Thanks a ton! Read about how Subhankar bagged an MIT admit here. Follow Subhankar on LinkedIn.
Kaushal Vyas | Said School of Business, Oxford
I found CrackVerbal's insights into my essays to be very valuable. I wasn't able to analyze my essays from the point of view of someone on the other side of the table. Thankfully, CV provided me with this very kind of feedback. Moreover, they have a very good understanding of what different b-schools around the world expect from the incoming candidates. Each school is looking for a candidate with the ‘right-fit’. CrackVerbal was able to tell whether my essays were conveying enough about my being the ‘right-fit’. The feedback was extremely honest and precise. I can say that getting my essays reviewed by them was instrumental in strengthening my application and, eventually, in being shortlisted for the interview! Follow Kaushal on LinkedIn.
Rituparna Srinivas| Indian School of Business
I had an association of 2 years with CrackVerbal. I had continuous help from them right from the brainstorming session where they figured out what the different strengths were that I could highlight to the weaknesses I could improve on. They always had a very good schedule about how my essays and resumes could be presented better. Their pro-activity really impressed me. Read all about Rituparna's journey here.Follow Rituparna on LinkedIn.
Niladri Chakraborty | UNC Kenan-Flagler
CrackVerbal taught me how to talk to someone who is not from my background. I think it’s easy for us to get carried away and sprinkle our essays with technical jargon, but it won’t help in telling your story to the panel. This was a major eye opener. CrackVerbal helped me acquire admit to multiple schools: UNC Kenan-Flagler, Cornell Johnson & Simon Rochester. I decided to accept UNC’s offer that came with a $90,000 scholarship. Read all about Niladri's MBA journey here. Follow Niladri on LinkedIn.
Samvit Roy | Schulich School of Buisness
The best part about working with CrackVerbal’s applications team was that I was made to write my own essays and though the first draft and the final draft had the same substance, the final draft was amazing compared to the first one. It was a really great experience. Read about Samvit's MBA journey. Follow Samvit on LinkedIn.
Aneesur Rehman | Smith School of Business
The Admission MBA workshop by CrackVerbal was very insightful and gave me some direction to my application process. I availed CrackVerbal’s application services, and the expert advice on my essays along with the mock interview prep with Jaideep helped me produce great essays for my MBA applications. I also bagged a USD 40k scholarship for my MBA! Read about Aneesur's MBA journey here. Follow Aneesur on LinkedIn.
Swetha Vasu | UNC Kenan-Flagler
I happened to attend CrackVerbal’s essay writing workshop and by the end of it, knew I wanted their help. Today, with admits from 5 schools - UNC Kenan Flagler, Tepper, McCombs, Georgetown and IE Business school, I’m glad I made that decision. They were detail-oriented, insightful and flexible! Read more about Swetha's B-school journey here. Follow Swetha on LinkedIn.
Amiya Kumar | Smith School of Business, University of Maryland
The Admissions consultants at CrackVerbal worked very closely with me. They helped me delve deep into my reasons for doing an MBA, my short term goals, my personality, professional achievements and my over-all expectations. This initial brainstorming helped me discover my interest towards politics, social research and also gave me some thought direction for writing my essays. I was able to give a definite structure to my essays and also CrackVerbal puts every candidate in touch with an external consultant who is an alumnus of the concerned B-school. In this way you also understand the expectations of the B-school when they evaluate your profile. Read about Amiya's MBA journey. Follow Amiya on LinkedIn.
Akshay Phadke | Boston University
I worked with CrackVerbal on my applications for Kenan Flager and Fuqua School of Business. The Admission Consultants at CrackVerbal helped me create some great stories that I could showcase on my MBA applications. After working on two schools with CrackVerbal, I understood the structure of approaching a B-school application. This made it very easy to craft my application to Boston University. So, yes the constructive feedback from CrackVerbal on my previous applications helped me replicate it on my application to Boston University. Read about Akshay's MBA journey. Follow Akshay on LinkedIn.
Ishan Saxena | Indian School of Business
As soon as the application process started, things spanned out very well and I had better clarity towards my goals for my application. I knew I was going in the right direction. The brain-storming sessions with CrackVerbal were critical in the whole application process.
Gautham Muthukumar | Indian School of Business
CrackVerbal has amazing coaches. Their classes are not only filled with English fundas, but also with some very cool strategies for GMAT. Applying his strategies guarantees an increase in the GMAT score. CrackVerbal’s admission workshop is an eye opener for anyone who has no clue about MBA admission process. Read about Gautham's MBA journey. Follow Gautham on LinkedIn.
Avinash Satish | Indian School of Business
CrackVerbal helped me articulate my thoughts better and shape up my essays well. I worked with Arun and Vasudha, and they both did go out of the way to help me with my applications. Arun connected me to people in his network, and I could have very useful conversations regarding the choice of schools and interviews. Vasudha and I worked over-time to make sure I had my essays out within deadline dates! Follow Avinash on LinkedIn.
Sachin Sharma| Indian School of Business
The qualitative help from CrackVerbal during applications helped get my story in place to create the most impact. CrackVerbal can guide you to the right approach and help streamline your application in the right direction. Follow Sachin on LinkedIn.
Saurabh Gupta | Indian School of Business
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 counselors 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. Read about Saurabh's MBA journey. Follow Saurabh on LinkedIn.
Suchith Majumdar| Indian School of Business
CrackVerbal is something that I would say given me a lot of motivation and has added value to my entire MBA experience as well. They have helped me in every way right from the GMAT prep to the MBA thought process. Their videos and posts, those useful bits of information that they give you, have benefited me in a lot of ways. It has given me a new perspective altogether. Regardless of whether you are a student or not, I would say you should definitely follow them because the gyaan that they give you is priceless. You cannot find it in a book or anywhere. It's a knowledge bomb. They are very dedicated when it comes to students. Their interview prep was also something that helped me in a great way. After my mock interview, they helped me break down my interview to its granular parts. They made me understand that everything you say needs to be backed up and reinforced so that when you talk, you gleam with confidence. I felt this was a real eye opener that helped me crack the admit to ISB. Follow Suchith on LinkedIn.
Shailika Reddy | Indian School of Business
CrackVerbal Mentors helped me articulate my stories and give structure to my essays. This made all the difference to my ISB application! I would definitely recommend working with CrackVerbal for your MBA applications! Follow Shailika on LinkedIn.