2013 Indian School of Business MBA Admissions Q&A with Hima Bindu
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Linda Abraham: Hello. My name is Linda Abraham. I am the founder of Accepted.com and the moderator of today's chat. First, I want to welcome all applicants to the chat today, and I want to congratulate you for taking the time to learn more about the Indian School of Business.
It is critical to your decision making, and your admissions chances that you know as much as you can about any schools that you are applying to. Being here today allows you to ask an expert, the expert about this top international business school.
I want to welcome the expert. I want to give a special welcome to Hima Bindu, the Associate Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at the Indian School of Business. Thank you to everyone for joining.
I'm going to take advantage of my position as moderator and ask the first question, and that's, Hima, what's new at ISB?
Hima Bindu: Hello, everyone. I am very happy to be here. Linda, thank you so much for organizing this. It's a pleasure always doing things with you.
What's new at ISB? Very interesting question. We've just completed ten years of ISB, so we are getting into the next decade with a lot of new things planned. A new campus in the north of India at Mohali has commenced. There are 200 students who have enrolled.
Linda Abraham: Congratulations.
Hima Bindu: Thank you. This year in January, as you know, we have our AACSB accreditation. These are three keys things which have happened. We have around 770 students at ISB, which makes it, I think, the eighth-largest class in the world. With a billion Indians, we need more managers, but that's a good number to have. These are the things that are new.
Linda Abraham: That's great. That's wonderful. OK. We have some questions coming in from the applicants. Ashish asks: How much weightage is given to the GMAT score?
Hima Bindu: Ashish, there's no specific weightage given to GMAT scores. It is one of the factors that is taken in. The GMAT range at ISB is from 570 to 800. You may get a short list at 570 or even at 750 you may not get a short list. There is no specific weightage given. It is a holistic evaluation process. We look at your academic scores and GMAT scores just to assess whether you can cope with the program. That's enough.
Linda Abraham: OK. So the academics get you to the door; the other stuff is going to get you through the door. Would that be a fair characterization?
Hima Bindu: Yes. For example, if your extracurricular or leadership qualities are exceptionally good, the GMAT doesn't play a role at all. We're not going to assess that at all. So the greatest spikes you have in your profile.
Linda Abraham: All right. So, there's no formula. It's not formulaic. It's holistic.
Hima Bindu: It's not a formula. It's not a way to crack the system or a weighted system as a percentage given, but it's a holistic evaluation process.
Linda Abraham: Great. I have a question for our guests here today, the applicants over here: Can you raise your hand if are looking at this chat as an opportunity to learn more about ISB so that you decide whether you want to attend or not? All right. So we have 25% are doing research.
The next question is how many of you have already decided you want to apply to ISB and are here in order to enhance your knowledge of the programs so that you can make your application more effective? It's about 50%. Thanks. That's good to know.
The next question is from Mikhil who asks: Does ISB look for domain knowledge, vis-à-vis some sort of marketing, finance or operations experience in pre-MBA work? If yes, what is the weightage?
Hima Bindu: As I said, there is no weightage given to any. We look for domain knowledge and, obviously, a tech guy is not going to have marketing knowledge, or a finance person is not going to have operations knowledge. So we look for the depth in your work experience and the quality of your work experience. That's important to us.
A follow-up question is going to be: What should my designation be? I'm not a manager level person. That really does not matter. How well are you doing your job? What are the initiatives you've taken in your job? What challenges have you come across, and how did you solve them is what's important to us. The depth and quality of your work experience is important. We do not look for marketing, finance, or operations experience in your work, but what type of team skills have you exhibited, that's important.
Domain knowledge is one thing we look for. The other thing, which is a value, is a macro perspective of your particular industry, which is also important. Having a macro perspective of where your industry is progressing, how cloud computing is going to affect technology, how the recession is affecting the financial world, what type of auditing measures have been brought in, and what are the latest digital marketing trends that have come in and changed things.
That is in case you're in these particular fields. That's the type of knowledge we look for in your particular field. We do not look for a techie to have marketing knowledge or a marketing person to have knowledge in finance or an operations person to have knowledge in marketing.
Linda Abraham: OK. Great. Thank you very much. Varun asks: How does the admissions committee look at a re-applicant application?
Hima Bindu: Varun, ISB is a very student friendly school. You can take the GMAT any number of times, and we'll take your highest score. You can apply to ISB any number of times, and we will accept your application. In fact, I think 20% of re-applicants make it to ISB because they were just not ready earlier. Now, because of gaining a broader perspective on their industry or more depth in their work experience, they're ready for the program.
A lot of them make it. And we are not prejudiced toward re-applicants. In fact, we welcome them, guide them and counsel them on how they can improve their application. For feedback on your application, you can write in and ask admissions for it.
Linda Abraham: That's great. So you give feedback on rejected applications?
Hima Bindu: Sure. Yes, we do.
Linda Abraham: Great. Sidharth asks: Could you update us on the curriculum changes planned for your MBA program for the next batch of applicants?
Hima Bindu: There are a lot of initiatives and rethinking that is going on in the curriculum changes. With Mohali coming in, we have to factor in exchange for ones not just between schools, but also between campuses. In case some students want to specialize in health care or infrastructure, we are giving them the option of going to the Mohali campus and finishing it there. While the Mohali campus people who want to specialize in operations or technology can come to the Hyderabad campus.
In addition to that, the curriculum team, headed by Deepak Chandra, the deputy dean, is working on trying to include an internship program. It's still at a nascent stage, and we will know about it only in another couple of months.
Linda Abraham: Great. OK. Harsh asks: I'm from a merchant navy background. How will I be able to apply within your application format? There are recommendation letters that apparently were difficult for him to get.
Hima Bindu: Harsh, there are quite a few merchant navy applications that ISB receives. You can request from the admissions team a physical recommendation form which is mailed to the address of your recommender, and he can fill it in physically and give it back. Most merchant navy people use the time when they dock into a certain port to give them the application and referral addresses so that we can receive it from them. You can use both options, whichever way you please, online or by snail mail, physically.
Linda Abraham: OK. Great. Ashish asks, “Can you talk about the strength of your venture capital and private equity network in India?”
Hima Bindu: Ashish, I really wouldn't know in depth about it, but I'll keep it in mind and take your email and give it to you. Venture capital and PE firms have been very strong. For recruitment at ISB, we've seen a lot of CAs make a transition into these companies.
Linda Abraham: That leads to my next question.
Hima Bindu: If you would like numbers on the number of VCs and PE firms that come on, I can give it to you once I check with the placement team.
Linda Abraham: That sounds great. Actually, this feeds into the next question which is from a different Ashish. He asks: What are the career options in finance post-ISB for a chartered accountant?
Hima Bindu: For a chartered accountant, are you an auditor trying to make a function shift into banking, or other things? For CAs, generally, they've made a function shift into the industry from auditing or retail banking, or other firms into the finance function of these firms. That are some of the career options that have happened. In addition to, of course, joining PE firms, and VCs. Citigroup, as you know, is a recruiter here. All the top finance companies like Goldman Sachs and the rest of them come.
I think most engineers are transfers rather than a CA. That's what history shows. CAs usually make a lot of transition into a different industry, but in the finance function, or they go to PE and VC firms.
Linda Abraham: That answers the question. Thank you. Percaush asks: It would be great if you could give us a brief, high level view, an overview of the complete program, the calendar, the curriculum, or something like that.
Hima Bindu: Percaush, it's a one year, full-time residential program that you have to stay on campus. It starts in April and finishes the first week of April. There are 16 core courses and 16 electives that you have to do. Plus, there is a 33rd compulsory study program that you'll have to do, called the Leadership Development Program.
The 16 core courses are the same for everybody. For the 16 electives, you can choose to specialize in entrepreneurship, finance, health care, technology, operations, marketing, infrastructure, and quite a few others. These are some of the specializations that are given. You have to do, at least, six electives in one particular stream to specialize in. You have to specialize in one stream, but the option to specialize in two is up to you. You may specialize in technology and finance or marketing and entrepreneurship. It is up to you.
Other than this, ISB believes there are three ways you learn at ISB. One is not just from the curriculum that is given to you and the faculty who teaches you, but the thing also is your peers are very diverse, so you learn from them. The third option is a lot of industry speakers are brought onto campus by clubs. We have over 20 professional clubs on campus. These are the three different ways you learn: from industry speakers, from your peer group, as well as the faculty who teaches the specific curriculum to you.
Highlights on the curriculum, I would say the experiential learning projects, the Leadership Development Program, and planning an entrepreneur venture. These are all very popular things that are chosen by students. You'll get more details on the web.
Linda Abraham: OK. Great. Thank you very much. We have a question from Jay, who asks: Could you share with us your expectation with the YLP program that ISB has recently started?
Hima Bindu: The YLP program at ISB has been started to catch talent young. We believe there's a lot of good, diverse talent that is there in the undergrad colleges. We wanted to tap into its potential and catch it. We are getting exceptionally talented people. I think we have over 1200 applications this year, of whom only 100 are going to be chosen. Less than 100 are going to make it. It is a very selective program, very aspirational, but it is top talent that we are selecting.
Linda Abraham: What percentage of the ISB class do you think will be made up of YLP students once it gets fully going?
Hima Bindu: At the outset, we thought it would be 10%, but it's still at its nascent stage. As of now, we're looking at numbers between 50 to 100 people in a class will be there. We'll start with 3 to 5% probably and slowly build up to 10% over the years.
Linda Abraham: OK. We have a question here from Rashid who asks: How good is ISB for younger applicants with, say, three years of work experience?
Hima Bindu: Actually, three to six years is a sweet spot. Around 85% of students at ISB make a career shift or a career transition. At three years, you're in the right position to decide where you would like to go and make that transition.
Linda Abraham: OK. Jiyan asks: How does the MBA program compare with similar programs offered at IIMs?
Hima Bindu: IIMs are also very good programs, and ISB is also a very good program. There is no comparison between both because it's like comparing apples to oranges. I know it's a very old saying, but that is the truth. IIMs have phenomenal achievements to them. They've been pioneers in management education.
On the other hand, ISB has been a pioneer in the one year program. It is for a peer group with 3 to 8 years work experience. ISB is ideally suited for a person with between two to eight years work experience. The faculty you get at ISB is from across the world, so they get different global perspectives. The research centers at ISB also contribute a lot to making the curriculum very cutting edge. I think these are the major advantages you get at ISB, but IIMs are also good programs.
Linda Abraham: Great. Mikhil asks an interesting question. He writes: I'm a software engineer by profession with 29 months of experience as of today. Can you give me some examples of instances which could portray my leadership qualities in work life? I'm just trying to understand what sort of instances really count. Now, obviously, my response to that question would be--well, I don't know your life, so I really can't respond in terms of your life--but perhaps you could give us some examples of people working in relatively flat organizations in the high tech world. How do they demonstrate leadership? I think that might be an easier way to answer that question since we don't know the gentleman asking it.
Hima Bindu: I'm really happy that he has asked this.
Linda Abraham: Good question.
Hima Bindu: Because most people say, "Oh, I'm a techie engineer. How do I differentiate myself?" So what I tell them, Linda, is, "You put India on the map of the world!" So you should be proud of that! Chin up, guys! We are extremely proud of our engineers.
Leadership demonstration need not just be in your work place. It can be in any sphere of your life. Let it be your extracurricular activities. Let it be some outside your work activities which you take up at the Red Cross, or the club or any hobby you have. All of these can be instances of leadership. It's not just one instance that you have to. For example, over the years, let me give you some examples of an Infosys engineer who was put on the bench. He loved music so much that he started a rock band, made an album, collected money selling the album, and donated it to the Infosys charity.
Linda Abraham: That's a great story.
Hima Bindu: It could be something very interesting like that, or it could be that there was a copy machine that's required on the floor. So he spoke to HR and operations, initiated the whole coordination, and got it out. In short, the team got a copy machine. Which yielded better productivity for them because people are not going out and to stay inside. It can be something small like that, but it could something major, also. What we are looking for is, are you proactive? Do you take initiative and try to make a difference to your environment? Let it be in the work place, or let it be in your home space.
Let's say that you've taken up your colony, and you said you were going to clean your colony. So you've launched a drive to plant trees, or launched a drive to clean up the slum near your colony. It could be any initiative like this.
A student I remember gave an essay on how he organized the Ganesh Emotion Festival in his whole apartment building and went on to describe how he learned a lot of lessons in being a leader there by organizing, coordinating, packing , managing money, all these lessons he learned. It could be anything. We don't expect you to become the vice president of India or something like that. Something in your own small way, what have you done?
Linda Abraham: That's a great answer.
Hima Bindu: Being proactive is what we are trying to gauge here.
Linda Abraham: Thank you. That's a great answer. The next question is from Lundita: How strong is ISB in terms of international exposure?
Hima Bindu: ISB's international exposure is very good because we have a portfolio faculty model where we have around 50 resident faculty, but over 100 faculty come from across the world and teach. That's a major global perspective you're getting. Plus, we have exchange programs with 36 schools, right from around 15 schools in the U.S., to China, to Hong Kong, to Europe, to South Africa, to Australia we have exchange programs. So your global exposure by way of exchange students, as well as you going on an exchange program to these schools, is tremendous. You can take advantage of it.
Linda Abraham: Great. About what percentage of your graduates take jobs outside of India upon graduation?
Hima Bindu: When you look at it during placement time, Linda, it works out to something like 35% or so, but when we take a call on it, audit it, a year or two later, you will find that around 55% of our alums from the same batch are located outside India.
Now it has become a very flat world. There is nothing like global and local placements. Emphasis may recruit you and post you in Australia, but the initial three months you are probably training here. Deutsche Bank may recruit you, but post you in Delhi. So that doesn't necessarily mean you're going abroad.
So I think we have around 400 or 500 alums in the U.S., and a couple hundred in Europe. The very interesting thing is I did coffee with alumni, and you wouldn't believe it. There were 18 alumni, all doctors and pharmacist people, in Basel, Switzerland.
Linda Abraham: Really? That is a very cool thing.
Hima Bindu: They're all working for Novartis, Glaxo, Smith-Kline or Pfizer because they had offices that are based there. All of them in strategy or business development roles there.
Linda Abraham: That's great. All right. Thank you. Another question from Sidhartha. Could you talk about the merit-based financial aid available for ISB students?
Hima Bindu: Sidhartha, we take into account your academic scores, your GMAT, your leadership potential, all of these factors into it. Based on your selection, you're given a sort of a rank in the whole selection process. Depending on the rank you get, you get a merit scholarship. The top 20, I think, get around 10 lakhs, and the next 20-30 get around 5 lakhs. That's a merit scholarship. Your merit scholarship is not based just on your academics or your GMAT, but it's on the overall performance in the admissions selection process.
Linda Abraham: Great. Thank you. Ashish asks: How much weightage is given to essays for selection at ISB?
Hima Bindu: Again, as I told you, it's not a clinical weightage procedure. It's not a formula. But we try and assess your characteristics as well as leadership potential from these essays. More often than not, you will find that your interviews are started and led based on these essays. We are trying to gauge the depth of your work experience and the other characteristics from these essays.
Linda Abraham: Wouldn't the essays be great places for you to tell the kinds of stories that you were relating a few minutes ago in terms of leadership?
Hima Bindu: Yes. They are. Actually, Linda, there's a third essay we have, that we do not want to make it too siloed an essay question, so the third essay, by the feedback over the years, is “is there any additional information you want to give us about yourself?”. So they can use this to project. In case we haven't covered anything in your essays, you can do it now.
Linda Abraham: Sounds great. Those kinds of essays are really gifts to the applicants to showcase what they really want you to know. All right. I think this will be a really easy question. Mishan asks: When does the ISB application go live?
Hima Bindu: It should have gone live today, but maybe, tomorrow. Actually, we had a deadline as May 1st, but we are having a video essay this time, so they are trying to put up the link for the video essay uploading.
Linda Abraham: I see. OK.
Hima Bindu: We're all set. The video essay you have to attach.
Linda Abraham: That should be fun. Mikhil asks: Can you provide some “don’ts while applying to ISB? Thanks for the question.
Hima Bindu: OK. This is a very important technical question. Please do not imagine yourself from the applicant's point of view, but from the selection point of view. Most often than not, when we ask a question as to how you auditioned, we get so many essays where you say, "I am confident," "I am a heartbreaker " "My manager wasn't there, so I took up this challenge and completed the task."
Imagine yourself as somebody going into a company, let's say a Deloitte or a Microsoft or an Emphasis or State Bank of India, and asking this question, as to who is confident here. How many people will raise their hands? Who is willing to take up the challenge when the manager is not there? When you imagine the response, probably 80% of the people there are going to raise their hands to that particular question. So it is really not a differentiating factor. Please think about it when you give these answers because they are seriously read and assessed, and it can be a great thing to differentiate yourself.
Linda Abraham: I'll tell you what, let's ask the audience some of these questions. How many of you would step in if your boss got sick and couldn't complete the project? Just raise your hands on your bar. How many of you would step in and take up the challenge? Anybody else would step up and take the challenge? We have about 60%.
Again, if 60% are doing it, and I'm sure some of you aren't doing it because you're not paying attention or because you don't want to feed in to what I'm trying to point out, then it's a large number. I think that just supports Hima's point. You're coming to these conclusions that apply to 60, 70, 80, 90% of your competition, then you're not really saying much about yourself.
Hima Bindu: Yes. The second “don't” I would like to talk about is do not give false information or information you can't prove or stand up to. This is something you may be quizzed on in your interview, and it will reflect very badly on your application later on. It will give a bad impression of you, so do not exaggerate or fabricate anything. We like a nice, clear, honest, and straight from the heart application. That's what's important to us. We like genuine applications.
Linda Abraham: That's always good. Two excellent points. Thank you for the question. Thank you for the answer. Hima, I should tell you, there are many, many thank yous coming in through the question window. I'm just not repeating every single one of them, or I haven't repeated any of them so far, but your insight and answers are definitely being appreciated by the applicants.
Sidharth asks: How does ISB weigh international exposure of IT students who easily get international exposure and sales professionals for whom this kind of exposure is impossible? Again, I'm not sure that the assumption is 100% in that it's easier for one group of people to get international exposure than for others. Assuming that the assumption is valid, and that it's easy for one and hard for the other, how do you take that into account?
Hima Bindu: Like I said again, what you do in your work is more important than the exposure. You'll be surprised how many international people just go and are sitting and coding on the laptop, haven't even taken a weekend off. The first question we try and test their exposure is, "What do you do outside of work?" Most people try and prove how hard they're working 24/7, trying to finish a programming code, and haven't seen the London Bridge, or haven't seen the Statue of Liberty working in New York.
So it really, really doesn't add international exposure. You can probably be sitting in India and have a much, much broader perspective of the world and world affairs right here. This is decided, by us not to worry.
As a salesman, if you have been the best sales person here, if you have made the best Paan (an after dinner condiment eaten for digestion like mints) shop, that is what is important to us, but not what type of exposure. You could have traveled to ten cities, but really gathered no exposure or got more work experience. But if you use this exposure to interact with different cultures, broaden your perspective on the world, taking on learning from different types of people, and learn team skills on how to handle multi-racial teams, that's a very good add on for you. But we will never discount a sales person who has beaten all sales records in the company earlier. That's to his credit. Each one has their own achievements.
Linda Abraham: I hope that the audience here is taking away a very clear message that Hima is sending. This is not about labels or just checking boxes. "I’ve got international experience. I have X years of experience. I have this high in GMAT. I have this high a grade percentage." It's really about what you have achieved, where you have contributed, where you have made a difference, as Hima said earlier. This theme is so present in so many of her answers. I hope it's coming through that it's not just about checking boxes or international experiences. "I sat in a hotel." Well, that doesn't count.
You led a sales team effectively in India, never set foot outside of India, but really contributed to your company's bottom line, motivated others, and showed leadership. That's far more important. On the other hand, if you were a major contributor on an international assignment, that's also fantastic. To me, this theme is coming through loud and clear. I hope it's coming through on the other end, too.
Let's get back. We have a few more questions here. Rashid asks: Can you elaborate more on the video essay this year?
Hima Bindu: This year, we have a very interesting video essay. It's something in which you have to speak about a topic that's given to you. You have to speak about it for one and a half minutes on video and upload it along with the application.
Linda Abraham: Is the video expected to be a talking head video, just the student addressing you via the video, or is it supposed to be something more?
Hima Bindu: Yes. The student addressing the video, speaking on the topic.
Linda Abraham: OK. Great. Next question from Percaush. How do the exchange programs work, the international exchange programs? Is it a complete semester or a certain number of weeks? How does that work?
Hima Bindu: Exchange program usually happens during the 7th and 8th terms of the school. Each student has 4,000 bidding points. They can use these bidding points to select the relatives of the exchange they want to go to. It is a global practice across schools.
The exchange period varies on the school you go to. The London business school exchange program is around five weeks. The UCLA / Berkeley one is for three months. So depending on the school you go to, the time period of the exchange will vary, when you go and when you come out. Like in UCLA, you go in the end of March, but come out only in the end of June. The tuition cost of the exchange program is included in your fee. You don't have to pay anything extra. It's just your living and your flying expenses that you have to take care of.
Linda Abraham: Great. Thank you.
Hima Bindu: It is one whole term that is done in the exchange school.
Linda Abraham: Mikhil asks: How important are past academics in the application process? Does ISB believe in the philosophy that hard workers are those who have performed consistently in past academics?
Hima Bindu: Academics definitely are important, but they are not the be-all and end-all of your applications. If you have average academic scores, but you have done well in your GMAT, that is confirmation enough for us that you will be able to cope with the program, so we will take you on. Sometimes, if everything is weak, we may have a concern that you may not be able to cope with the program.
We've had people who have been average, below average, who have been flunked in their academics also, but they've given reasons as to why they flunked and how they have pulled up their grades, or the GMAT score have assured us that they're quite good in their quant skills.
Linda Abraham: OK. Well, this actually kind of addresses the next question we have. Striharsha asks: Following up on the points you've raised, would an honest application addressing your shortcomings in lieu of exaggerated claims be a good approach? It sounds like a solid approach to me. Shall I read the question again?
Hima Bindu: Following up on an honest application, yes. It is a good approach. For example, I love quoting this. That one student wrote that, "The way I'm different from the rest of the class is that I've failed at everything I did in life, but from each failure of mine I've learned."
He was immediately short listed because we wanted to see, and he went on to elaborate on what he learned through all these failures. That was very good. If I remember right, he flunked chemistry thrice.
Linda Abraham: Oh my goodness. Well, he wasn't applying for a Master's in chemistry, so it's OK.
Hima Bindu: Yes. That, he was.
Linda Abraham: Right. How many rounds of applications does ISB have? And is it to one's advantage to apply for the first round?
Hima Bindu: We have two cycles of application. The first cycle is September 15th. The second cycle, November 30th is the deadline.
Linda Abraham: OK.
Hima Bindu: It depends on how good you are. If you need more time to give a better application, get a promotion and apply, or get a better GMAT score, then you go for the second round. If you are prepared in every way, why don't you apply in the first cycle, get admission and sleep on it, and make the transition smoother to school. It's up to you whichever cycle you use because the odds are the same, the chances are the same, and it really doesn't matter which cycle you apply for. Just check on all your essays. If you feel confident enough, just go ahead and apply.
Linda Abraham: Great. What role does post-MBA hireability play in admissions, in your acceptance decisions? Idealistic goals? Realistic goals?
Hima Bindu: Clarity of the goal you want, and how much that transition is possible, is important, but that is not the only basis on which we choose them because most technology people want to become investment bankers, and we know it isn't possible. When investment bankers themselves are being laid off now, that is impossible.
Are we going to be prejudiced about that and say we can't place them, so we won't short list them, which is also wrong? We believe in the business of education. We would like to give learning to students and choose the best ones and try and help them in the career transition, whatever the field. If it doesn't happen, too bad. But we will never discriminate against them because we feel he doesn't have an achievable goal. We will try and help them in whichever way we can.
Linda Abraham: OK. Great. Mikhil asks, and I think this is probably a fairly straightforward question: All the information-providing initiatives, like info-sessions, coffee and meet a student, etc, seem to be not active at the moment. When will they be up?
Hima Bindu: We were waiting, Mikhil, for the application to go online. Once it goes online, we are going to start all of our marketing initiatives, starting next week probably.
Linda Abraham: Actually, I think you're starting it now, this morning, with this! It's morning for me! I'm starting it!
This is from Vishwana and he asks: Will the new IR section on the GMAT influence admissions at ISB this year?
Hima Bindu: We will have a look at it, but it really won't influence anything because we have people with old GMAT scores that are applying, and the IR scores are going to come in only from the second week of June, from June 5th onwards, so it will not be a major factor this year for sure.
Linda Abraham: How did recruiting go for ISB graduates this year?
Hima Bindu: It went very well. In fact, you'll be getting a press release in the next couple of weeks on the recruitment statistics and other things. It was good. In fact, very good for a bad economic period.
Linda Abraham: That's true. It's definitely a tough period. Varun asks: When will rejected applicants receive the feedback on their last year application, or how could a rejected applicant who wants to reapply request feedback on the rejected application?
Hima Bindu: You have to write to firstname.lastname@example.org, and quote your application number. They will give you feedback.
Linda Abraham: That's pretty straightforward. Do you have any suggestions, obviously if you're going to get feedback, you're going to get very specific suggestions, but do you have general suggestions for rejected applicants, or just get the feedback, and that would be your general advice?
Hima Bindu: For rejected applicants, you should get feedback. See what areas you can improve on. For example, you may get feedback that your academic scores are weak. There's nothing you can do about it. Probably, your GMAT score is something you can improve. What you can do is train in your other areas. Like taking initiatives, starting a marketing club in your particular organization, volunteering for the Red Cross blood donation camp, or organizing a blood donation campaign. These are good things to put in your resume, so that's one thing you can do.
The second thing is I really, really would suggest you speak to people in your current industry, or the industry where you aspire to go into, think who you have as a role model, and try to sketch a path you would like to go on. Talk to them. Get clarity on your goals. Speak to alumni of ISB about what are the possible transitions and what are not possible so that this gives you a focus on what you should put down in your essays. Try to use these insights in making up that application.
Linda Abraham: Great. OK. We have a question that was sent in yesterday from Jay. He writes: I am an engineer with a strong engineering background and a vision of a start-up consultancy. What are the personality traits and qualities that ISB would hunt for in me as a YLP aspirant? Well, if he's already working, I don't know if he's even qualified for the YLP.
Hima Bindu: You won't qualify for YLP. You have to be a pre-final student for YLP.
Linda Abraham: That's what I thought.
Hima Bindu: But Jay, if you're looking at consultancy, strategy consulting in anything, believe me that you will need a lot of analytical skills. They should be very strong.
Linda Abraham: And that's what you would look for. What about ISB as preparation for entrepreneurship?
Hima Bindu: Actually, Linda, that's a dream of ISB that India needs a lot more entrepreneurs, and we really do not want to place students. It's a great place for entrepreneurs to come to. Number one, in the curriculum, we have something called “planning an entrepreneur venture” where 80% of students actually put down a sketch of the business plan or the dream business they have in mind. They're guided by faculty as well as senior people from the Wadhwani Centre for Entrepreneurship Development. Wadhwani Centre for Entrepreneurship Development is the oldest center at ISB which helps entrepreneurs.
So once they put the business plan down, that's one aspect they have. They have experts who guide them on their business after graduation in case you want to set it up. The hard thing is, ISB on campus has an incubator. A student who has passed out can stay on campus. Their EMI, or their loan payments, are paid by the school if they have been selected, while they set up their entrepreneur venture. They don't have to bother about the interest on the loan; it's paid for by the school. They actually incubate and help you set up your company.
Linda Abraham: So they actually have office space, let's say, and things like this?
Hima Bindu: Yes. Office space is given. There is a whole research center with experts who will help you in telling you who are the venture capitalists who are working in this particular field, who can finance you. What are the best financing options you can go for, where your raw material is cheaper. These are experts giving you advice. In fact, we have a lot of alumni PE and VC people looking for such ideas to invest in.
Every year, we have a conclave called TIE ISB where PEs come in with around 50 million in funds, and students are given an opportunity to pitch to them. And if they can sell their ideas, they walk away with the funding right then.
Linda Abraham: Great. Sounds wonderful. I think we have time for one more question from Sidhartha: Who makes for better recommenders outside the work place between peers, customers, seniors?
Hima Bindu: Sidhartha, you should be the best judge of that. A person who can judge you best, who knows your work best, whose work is affected by your work, who knows your contributions to the work place, and what a difference you've made. These are the people who will stack up. If it's outside the work place, where have you done your best work? That's going to be important. You can judge best who your recommender should be. It need not necessarily be a peer or a boss. It could be a customer where you worked very well on a product.
Linda Abraham: Sounds good. I want to thank you all for participating today. Special thanks to Hima for providing wonderful insight and great answers to ISB, the curriculum, the admissions process. Really, it's been wonderful.
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Good luck with your applications!
Hima, thank you once again. I want you to know that there are lots and lots of thank yous coming in on the screen.
Hima Bindu: Thank you, everyone. It was a pleasure speaking to you all. Any time, you can write to us, and we'll be happy to answer. Linda, thanks so much for organizing this, and we'll be happy to do it any time.Continue exploring our free resources with our MBA Admissions 101 pages