Aayam Ankan – Sales and Marketing experience and a 700 on GMAT to ISB.
In conversation with Aayam Ankan…
Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I did my graduation in Chemical Engineering from SRM University in Chennai. Soon after that, I worked in sales and then moved to marketing. I have a total of 6 years of work experience and the domains that I worked on were mostly automation systems and aerospace.
What motivated you for an MBA?
Well, there were two things. After engineering, I immediately jumped into sales, because even while I was in college, I knew that manufacturing was not my thing. My inclination was always towards something else.
I didn’t have a degree in marketing, and I realized I needed that in order to make faster progress.
When I was working, I understood that if I have to change jobs, the industry isn’t just looking for someone with experience, but also for someone who has a degree from a premier institute. I didn’t have a degree in marketing, and I realized I needed that in order to make faster progress.
Secondly, like most people, I felt like my education was incomplete if I didn’t have a Masters degree. I wanted to do it from a place that was not just about the brand and environment but from a place that would give something back to me.
How did you go about with your GMAT Prep?
I started preparing in 2012. I was struggling with work so I took time and practiced each sub-section of the Verbal section for one month. I just prepared from the OG for 6 months. I used to get 620 and 640 in my mock tests. I understood that there was a lot I needed to do. Work picked up and I got distracted but I kept in touch with CrackVerbal and in 2014, I was back.
I revised my Verbal section since that was where I felt I needed improvement and after a week or two, got a 720 on my mock, and finally got a 700 on the actual test.
I actually prepared well in 2014. I took a friend along so that I had company to prepare together and we both ended up getting the same scores in Verbal and Quant and an overall 700.
I had actually given two attempts. The first time I felt like I was well prepared, but only got a 650. I revised my Verbal section since that was where I felt I needed improvement and after a week or two, got a 720 on my mock, and finally got a 700 on the actual test. And I decided to go ahead with that score!
What was the difference between both the attempts?
I realized that when it comes to the GMAT, it is more about patterns than knowledge.
When you’re preparing for different tests, you miss the pattern that the real test has. That was the difference between my 650 and my 700.
What were the B-schools you had in mind?
Some essays I wrote on my own, and some I took CrackVerbal’s help for. I applied to NUS, Memphis, Berkley, Cambridge, ISB and IIM-B and got admits from Memphis, IIM-B, and ISB.
How was your experience with CrackVerbal?
I consider myself as one of the oldest students of CrackVerbal. I was constantly in touch with them. Although it took years to get my GMAT prep and exam done, I got constant guidance and motivation from CrackVerbal.
Even though I worked on my first few essays by myself, it was only when I worked on my NUS application with Arun that I understood how to put forth in a way that it’s understandable for the reader.
CrackVerbal classes helped me get my grammar right. I referred this book called Manhattan which had clear explanations for Sentence Correction.
When you’ve done a lot of good work and you’ve gone out of your way to do something extraordinary, but you don’t showcase that properly, you lose out on a lot. Even though I worked on my first few essays by myself, it was only when I worked on my NUS application with Arun that I understood how to put forth in a way that it’s understandable for the reader.
Everyone’s making sure to do their best and it’s very important to have a guide at this point to mentor you and that’s what I got out of CrackVerbal. I had the best guidance which best showcased my work.
It’s true that you took a long time to reach your goal, but ultimately you achieved it and that’s great!
Do you have any pointers for other MBA aspirants out there?
I would say there are 100 factors that matter in while preparing for an MBA. It’s a different scenario for everyone. You’re lucky if everything falls into place. Keep trying to make it work.
The advantage I had was that since I was in the same company for so many years, I knew the system well enough to plan my studies.
Understanding the pattern is a zone that you get in. If you don’t push hard enough, you won’t reach there.
For GMAT, the pattern is really important.Understanding the pattern is a zone that you get in. If you don’t push hard enough, you won’t reach there. You have to be in that zone to write the GMAT.
You might probably take a month to understand the pattern. Just the knowledge would not do. You will be able to time yourself well if you know the pattern. Leave the rest to hoping that everything else will fall into place.