2015 ISB MBA Admissions Q&A with Mr. Rupesh Bisht

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2015 ISB MBA Admissions Q&A with Mr. Rupesh Bisht

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Linda AbrahamLinda Abraham: My name is Linda Abraham. I'm the founder of Accepted and the moderator of today's chat. First I'd like to welcome all applicants to the Q&A today and I want to congratulate you for taking the time to learn more about the Indian School of Business. It's critical to your decision making process and your admissions chances that you know as much as you can possibly know about the schools you are applying to and even the schools that you were just considering. Being here today allows you to ask experts about the Indian School of Business, a top international business school. I also want to give a special welcome to Mr. Rupesh Bisht, Associate Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at ISB. Additionally, he looks after International Marketing, as well as the Young Leaders Program.

Thanks to everyone for joining. I'm going to take advantage of my position as moderator and ask the first question. Rupesh, what is new at ISB?

Mr. Rupesh BishtMr. Rupesh Bisht: So Linda first of all, thank you so much and it has always been a pleasure for us at ISB to be participating in the wonderful webinars you conduct.

Now coming back to the question about what's new and exciting at ISB, I would like to respond to that by saying two things actually, Linda. One, for the very first time at the Indian School of Business we have come up with a mobile application which is called an ISB 360 Degree app which is available on Blackberry 10, android as well as IOS platform. What this does for prospective applicants is it gives you an inside review, a ringside view of life at ISB. And this is essentially a persona-based application where you could identify and choose one of the seven personas we have created and this will answer most of the questions you'll have in mind. So in fact this is a very rich application with a lot of video from recruiters, from alumni, from faculty, certain students, as well as, senior members from the admissions team and I believe this will help you make an informed choice about the business school you would like to pursue your education in.

And the second interesting thing, this year at ISB is that again for the very first time, we have initiated 10 complete tuition fee waivers which means that the top 10 selected applicants in our merit list will automatically qualify for the complete tuition fee waiver which is roughly to the tune of 20 lakh INR and we are very happy and proud in doing that. And you also know that for the top 10% students at ISB, we have the merit scholarships which is either rupees 5 lakh INR or rupees 10 lakh and this is in addition to the means scholarship which we also award during the time of making that offer.

Linda Abraham: Thank you so much, Rupesh. Now, we do have some questions here from the audience. The first one is from Depinder. How much difference does the number of GMAT attempts make on admissions? Let's say four attempts, the highest GMAT score being 720. Do you consider the number of GMAT attempts in your admissions decision?

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: We consider at ISB only the highest valid GMAT score you hold which means that if you have taken the GMAT multiple number of times, we will only consider the highest score you have achieved, but this has to be a valid score and I believe that GMAT score validity is five years. We do not look at the average nor the latest, but the highest GMAT score you have.

Linda Abraham: This is from Pradeep. What is the scope or what kind of preparation does ISB offer someone interested in an MBA in media and entertainment?

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: Although at ISB, we do not have a specialization which is called media and entertainment, but if you look at our class we have roughly 3% students coming from the media and entertainment industry background. And typically if they want to pursue media and entertainment, they would specialize in marketing, strategic marketing is what we call it and there will be very many subjects which you can choose or electives which you can handpick depending on what you like and where you want to build your career going forward. And if you look at our placements industry wise, roughly 5% of the students in the last class have gone into advertising, media, communication, PR and entertainment and this we have grouped up as a single industry.

Linda Abraham: Okay, great. Now, what kind of resources are available at ISB for somebody interested in starting a social enterprise? This is from Niyati.

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: I would like to answer that in a slightly broader sense so that I also address some of the other queries. From the very inception at ISB, we have been extremely focused on entrepreneurship and encouraging entrepreneurs. To that effect, we have at ISB a specialization which is in entrepreneurship. We have a two-credit course which is called the Planning and Entrepreneur Venture where you come to the school with some kind of a V plan and using the existing ecosystem at ISB, you'll get to define that plan. And this year, we have gone a step ahead and set up a separate legal identity which is called the design labs at ISB. This is an incubator which will incubate a couple of projects from ISB and we also have a very strong venture capital connect and therefore access to capital is not as difficult as it used to be earlier. And we have a very robust system to promote and encourage entrepreneurship.

And another initiative which we have taken here and this is supposed to be the biggest incubator in India when this shapes up so between ISB and the government of Telangana which is a newly formed state here of which Hyderabad is the capital and triple IIT which is called the Institute of IT Management. Together we proposed to set up a big incubator which will again incubate all kinds of projects be it in social space or purely profit centered.

Linda Abraham: That's great. Thank you. Thank you very much for that thorough answer, Rupesh. Here’s the next question. I have over a decade of experience in the IT industry but I have worked in various roles and led teams. How do I showcase my profile's uniqueness to standout in the crowd?" I think there's also a subtext in this question and that is, is there too much work experience?

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: I'll handle the second part of the question first, Linda. If you look at the class at ISB, you will see that we have 770 intake spread across two campuses, Hyderabad and Mohali, so 560 in Hyderabad and 210 in Mohali and for which the average experience is five years but the range of experience is huge. So it goes from two years to approximately 25 years and to add further detail to this, if somebody's worried about a lot of experience that should not be the case because you will not be in absolute minority here. For people who have more than eight years of experience, that percentage in our classroom is roughly eight, which means roughly 50 plus students who have eight plus years of experience.

From an impact-leading perspective while writing your application, I would recommend that you should rather focus on the quality of the work experience and trying to project and trying to bring out what kind of value have you added to the organization rather than focusing on a hard number which is the quantity of experience. We are not biased or prejudiced against anyone. We welcome with open hands people with diverse backgrounds and with diversity in terms of experience as well.

I would say that the essays you write and the recommendations you bring in are unique to every single person. No two essays and two recommendations are alike. It is a complete, open, real opportunity presented to you to highlight your case and what you should do is you should give a very good story around your complete profile, address different aspects of your personality in the different essays provided. And this year in fact we have four different kind of essays which you are supposed to write and we also offer you some choices in essay number three, so pick up the relevant one which appeals to you the most and the idea should be that we should get a good sense of who you are as a person when you are applying to ISB.

Linda Abraham: Sounds good. I have a very interesting question here from Manav. Okay, so his question is "I'm a prospective MBA aspirant and one of my shortlisted schools is ISB. Before I ask my question, I just want to mention that I recently started researching the requirements and submitting the applications. While doing so, I have come across various resources where the term leadership attribute is mentioned. However, none of the resources provide an explanation about how leadership attributes are calculated or assessed in evaluating a prospective applicant's profile. Can you please provide some insight into how ISB calculates leadership attributes possibly with examples?"

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: That's a very good question Linda and I shall be happy to address that. You already know that when ISB evaluates an application, it does so in three different and distinct buckets. Bucket number one is the academic bucket which will take into account all your academic performances in the past and your GMAT score as well.

Bucket number two is the leadership quotient bucket and the way we go about evaluating qualities here is for people who have significant amount of work experience, we would like to see your career progression. We would like to see what kind of value have you contributed, what kind of value do you bring on to the company you were working with. We would like to look at your awards, your achievements at work and also review very carefully what the recommender is saying about you and hopefully the recommendations which you yourself have submitted to us should give us a good sense of how has your performance been and will also talk about your leadership attributes.

There are some people who get worried. They tell me that they didn’t have an opportunity to display leadership because they never got to lead a team or for example, for people in the government sector, they say that promotion doesn’t come in that easily so it takes a while before you can get promoted. So my response to that is that we value all kind of experience and we have not specified any particular kind of experience. Even if you are in an individual-contributing role and you've done a good job, you have a strong application. Initiative is one big proxy we use to evaluate your leadership potential. Bring examples from your school days, from your college days of what kind of initiatives have you taken. Have you organized functions? Have you been instrumental in setting up something? You could bring out examples from your summer trainings, from your winter projects, etc., and all of these combined will give us a good peek into your leadership abilities.

Linda Abraham: Right. Obviously you're talking about ISB's approach but in general, looking at the vast pool of applicants that we deal with, the person who says, "I didn’t have the opportunity to show leadership" really sounds like he or she is making an excuse because you can show leadership off the job if you're in a private organization or you don’t have much opportunity for advancement in your job and when you take responsibility for a project outside of work or in college or an extracurricular activity, you can also have the opportunity to show leadership. So anyway, that's my two cents but Rupesh can speak for ISB. I'm speaking in general terms.

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: Absolutely, Linda. What you said is quite valuable and even I mentioned that you could bring out examples from your summer projects or outside-of-work involvements.

Linda Abraham: Pradeep asks, "What kind of background does ISB expect from candidates applying with low work experience, say one year given that his or her GMAT is 700?" It's the opposite of the earlier question.

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: I would like to address that for GMAT, if somebody has very high work experience there is no reason or excuse for him to be okay with a lower GMAT and conversely, somebody who has low work experience does not necessarily have to get a very high GMAT score to get into ISB. And in fact you know, let me take this opportunity of highlighting this, and this is very important, because this is one material change we have made this year in our process and let me take just two minutes describing this. This will quiet a lot of queries and anxieties around GMAT score as well.

What we have done this year as in our application process, is everybody knows that the entire application to ISB is online and once you have written all the essays and application comes to us in a digital format and what we do is we take two separate printouts and hand it over to two independent evaluators. But the change we have made this year is that we are going to mask all GMAT score and the academic percentages. Your schools and colleges will remain there, but will not have any academic percentages or the GMAT score and this has been done to ensure that no bias or prejudice exists. And when the evaluators are reading through the application, they have only three things to say. They can say, "Yes, please call for interview, do not call for interview, or maybe." If both the evaluators agree then the decision to call for an interview is made, but if they differ in their opinion, then the admissions director will take the final call.

Now once a candidate is shortlisted for an interview, please do not assume that this is going to be a yes, no decision going forward. In the interview, it is going to be a panel interview with three members, two senior alumni and one senior admission staff and they are going to rate you on certain attributes. They are going to rate you on things like your communication abilities, your quality of work experience, your learning ability and the overall interview experience as perceived by them. And once they rate you on a Likert scale, we are going to assign certain weightages. Now we then go back to your application, pick out your GMAT score, pick up your academic percentages, add certain weightages to them, and this is how you get a final weighted score. This final weighted score will decide whether you make it to ISB this year or not and the same scores, the same merit list is used to award scholarships, both merit and means.

It's a little bit different in that you really are going to look at the academics very separately from the work experience and leadership, etc..This is an attempt to make it truly holistic, as we've always been saying that, this is a holistic approach we are following but there are certain material changes we have made to ensure that the process is indeed all second nature.

Linda Abraham: Now, Amit asks, and I think it's a good question for the applicants, "What is it that a business school learns from a GMAT score?"

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: I can speak for ISB here and this might hold true for other B-schools as well. Since this is a very rigorous and tight program at ISB, and this is fairly analytical in nature, GMAT score tells us about your ability to cope with analytics which is very important because in most of the case, methodology being erupted in the B-schools, you will get certain cases where there'll be a lot of numbers and you'll have to make sense out of it quickly, make informed decisions and move on to the next step very fast. And therefore, it is important that you have sound analytical abilities, which the GMAT score judges very well.

Linda Abraham: Right. Okay, now let's go back to the other questions here. Rajiv asks, "I have a low AWA score. Can I use the optional essay to set my TOEFL writing score to compensate for AWA? How do you use AWA?"

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: We are not very hung up on a particular attribute. Since this process is very holistic in nature, one particular spike will not get you into ISB or one particular weakness in a certain test score will not keep you from getting into ISB. It is the whole, overall view we make, overall opinion we form of you which gets you an interview call and then subsequently, other attributes are being checked on and this is how we make the evaluation. So do not be overly worried about a particular low score in one of the many attributes you use. If you have a low AWA, you should be fine because we don't assign a very high weightage to AWA and we don’t consider IR this year, if that is also a question in your minds.

Linda Abraham: Sriram asks, "What are the opportunities for one who wants to specialize in Operations Management at ISB and how is recruiting for high-tech manufacturing sector?"

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: Sriram, you should go and take a look at our operations faculty and I feel extremely proud when I say that. We have an extremely strong operation management faculty at ISB. Today, if you look at the placement trend, E-commerce and operations roles are being offered a lot at ISB and I can look at some data and tell you that in the product development space, there are 2% of people which are going and again, in the product management space, 2% of people are going. This is the function space I was talking about. And you want to know exactly how many people get into manufacturing and high-tech, right? So specifically in the high-tech manufacturing and electronics we have 1% of the students which does not look like a very big number but if you look at our class 10% of 770, there are some roughly 10 people who go specifically in the high-tech area and then another 3% go into other forms of manufacturing.

Linda Abraham: Okay, great. We have a couple of questions in the Hyderabad campuses. First of all, do applicants have an option to select the campus of choice from the two ISB campuses and secondly, is there a difference in terms of the curriculum or the requirements of either of the two campuses?

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: There is absolutely no difference in the Hyderabad and Mohali campus and in fact the candidates do not get to choose or decide their own campus. They have a preference though which in certain cases is met and in certain cases we are unable to meet. The idea here is that we want to have exactly similar kind of class at both Hyderabad and Mohali and this is a promise we have made to the student community, to the faculty community, and to the recruiter committee. We have, in short, the quality of class is exactly the same and therefore come placement season, a company will post a job which will be on an electronic portal and everybody will have an equal opportunity to apply to it irrespective of which campus you are based out of.

Once the shortlisting happens, we ask the company, the recruiter, where would you like to visit? And they will choose one of the campuses to come physically to and what we do is we will fly all the shortlisted candidates to a particular location. It could be the Hyderabad or it could be Mohali and everybody gets to interview at one location for a given organization. There is absolutely no advantage or disadvantage in being at either of the campuses.

Linda Abraham: I see. Okay, great. One applicant says his biggest challenge is building a good resume which stands out in a pool of applications and can portray his true potential. Do you have any suggestions for somebody feeling that their resume doesn’t really portray the best of them? I think some people are challenged by the brevity of a Western style resume.

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: That is the reason, and I've talked about it in an earlier question as well, that we have four different essays this years and one of the essays is optional. And the idea of keeping an optional essay is because our application is very modular in nature and we are asking you certain things which you are happily telling us but if you believe that certain aspects of your personality or work experience which will add value to the application are not coming out, the additional, the optional essay is your opportunity to bring all those things to light. You should carefully choose what do you want to put in that optional essay and it should not be repetitive and should definitely be adding to what you have already mentioned in some parts of the application. And as I said earlier, that the essays are unique for everybody and it's very qualitative in nature so you have all the leeway of portraying yourself in a way which you think will add value to the application.

Linda Abraham: Could you speak a bit about the culture at ISB, on the ISB campuses?

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: Okay, this is a fully-residential, 51-week program which ensures that everybody lives on campus and you know that we have people from very different backgrounds and a huge amount of diversity exists at ISB, be it in terms of different geographical reasons, be it in terms of industry, be it in terms of function, age, gender, etc.. And you have lots of social and professional clubs here so you are free to participate or be part of any of the clubs which are aligned to your career objectives or to life as you would like to lead in general. In addition to that, you have a lot of visiting faculty coming to ISB which stay here for six weeks. Most of the times they are not here with families and they are very happy to grab a Budweiser with you during the evening so you could build your network here as well.

The culture is fairly open. It is very accommodative. We have people who can bring in different perspectives and people who can at least share different perspectives. And in fact one of the ways in which learning happens at ISB and does not get talked much about is the learning which happens in the cafeteria. So when you're having coffee with your classmates, you're going to talk about your work experience and they are going to share their experiences with you and really you are learning from each other. This is how life is at the ISB and a lot of fun opportunities also exist. It is not just work, work. You have ample opportunities for play as well. So basically to summarize, it's a wide buffet where you have to choose to your liking and to your career aspirations.

Linda Abraham: Yes, a very rich buffet. Okay, Aslam asks, "I'm an anesthesiologist. Have you had specialist doctors in your program before? How and where are they placed now?"

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: I'm not really sure whether I can comment about the specialist doctors but all I know is a lot of doctors do exist in every class at ISB and they have been able to make some very drastic career moves as well. For doctors, the career opportunities are many. For example, you can go to hospital or hospital chain management. You could go to pharmaceutical companies. You could go to medical device companies and I was referring to a drastic change and this example comes to my mind. We had an alumni who was a dental surgeon in the Armed Forces and he came to ISB and post ISB he made a transition to private equity. That is as diverse as it can get and as exciting changes that can be and I'm sure there would be people with different kinds of specialization at ISB and they have ample recruitment opportunities here as well.

Linda Abraham: Right. Amit asks, "Do you have exchange programs in international universities and how well is ISB known internationally?" And there was an earlier question about how well is ISB known specifically in Europe and United States?

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: Sure. To address the query about international exchanges, so currently we have exchange partnerships with 42 different B-schools spread across 19 countries which means practically around the globe and you could choose to go on a one-on-one exchange. Roughly, 100 seats are available every year and you follow a bidding process to choose your particular B-school for exchange.

To address the question about how well is ISB known internationally, let me answer that by giving you certain data. Currently we are a very new school in the B-school scheme of things given that we have been in existence only for 12 years and we have a very rich alumni base of 6,000 alumni today which is spread across 33 countries and roughly 120 cities globally. We have alumni in European region as well as in the US region. Personally I know some of them in Spain, some of them in France. Of course London is a big market for us and we aggressively do our outreach as well so we participate in the World MBA Tours and we also have the advantage of partnering with people like Linda here who also helped us reach out to international audience. I would say we are growing as a school and in the time to come, this is bound to go up.

Linda Abraham: Right. What are the industries that recruit most heavily at ISB?

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: Traditionally, consulting has been very strong at ISB. If you look at all the big and the known consulting firms, they will all recruit in large numbers at ISB. And the second area where most recruitment happens, function wise, is general management at ISB. And recently we have seen a spurt in E-commerce organizations and high-tech companies making a lot of offers because this is a growing area in India and a lot of VC and PE investment is happening in those spaces. The VCs would like to come and recruit for their investing companies as well. So in our initiative which is called Startup First, we invite companies in the early stage and growth stage who would recruit for senior management positions from the ISB talent pool. And of course, as I said, technology is very strong at ISB so all the high-tech companies; Google, LinkedIn, Amazon, Apple, etc., recruit in large numbers from ISB.

Linda Abraham: Now, I've got a question for you. Let's pretend for a moment that you've been working hard all day. It's late at night and you are reviewing applicant files. You're tired. What puts one applicant in the admit file and others in the rejected or waitlist file? What will make you late at night get excited about an applicant or an applicant file in a good way?

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: I would say the ingenuity of a person in writing essays is something which will strike me definitely. Typically I see a common pattern in the kind of essays people write. If somebody can break that wall and be very original or bring in a different perspective that would definitely excite me.

Linda Abraham: Okay, authenticity, creativity.

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: Yeah, those are all virtues which you would love to find in an application.

Linda Abraham: Right. Okay, here we go. Manav asks, "First of all thank you for answering my earlier questions." This is kind of the opposite of the question I just asked. "Can you list a few items that are real turnoffs, that you've seen in some of the applications you've received or perhaps in an interview?"

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: One of the tendency we have seen in failed applicants at ISB is they try to emulate success. They look at somebody who has made it to ISB and they try to crack the code and believe that if he emulates that person and do what he did or she did, that would get them into ISB. What that presents is that during the interview, the person does not appear very genuine because he is trying to fake and that's a real put off.

Another thing which is very commonly seen in interview is taking undue credit. We have seen that in a lot of team situations, a team performs well and an applicant who's part of the team and would have contributed for sure tries to take undue credit. So it appears like this guy who's applying to ISB is in fact a business head or looks like the CEO of the organization from the kind of examples and data he is giving us. That is also a put off to us.

Linda Abraham: Amit asks, "If you could talk about the curriculum at ISB, how much emphasis is placed on case studies and how are applicants evaluated if they are taught using the case study method?"

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: The learning methodology at ISB, at the very heart of it is the classroom learning, where we heavily focus on case methodology. Most B-schools do that, 80% of our cases are from Harvard and the rest of them are from the emerging market. Currently we also have a center for teaching and case development where we are trying to develop India's centric and emerging markets, centric cases which will later be used in different B-schools across the globe.

You asked me how are students evaluated for a particular class. So it depends on the professor and the kind of course it is. For example if there is a course in Statistics, it is mostly going to be lecture and concept-driven and there would be tests, classroom tests, mid-term tests, etc. which will decide your performance. But there could be something like a marketing strategy course where most evaluation happens on group assignments, class participation. So it is a combination of a lot of different things which a professor chooses as he deems fit for his particular class.

Beyond the case method, I think I should also talk about applied learning at ISB which is very important and here what you do is, grasping the concept you have learned in the classroom, you apply them to real world business problems and you would try to solve them in something we call as the Experience Learning Program. And your learning is cemented when you experiment and you apply those concepts in real world business situations.

Linda Abraham: We have a question here from Depinder and he asks how are re-applicants viewed and what can a re-applicant do to improve their chances the second time around?

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: Sure. Every year at ISB, roughly 10% of the class is from the re-applicant pool which means that we are not biased against re-applicants and they do have a fair chance. And in fact what I've seen from experience is once the re-applicants have gone through a process once, when they applied the second time it tells us that they are very much focused on ISB and they make a lot of improvements and their application turns out to be very strong. What is really important for a re-applicant is the re-applicant essay. There is one particular essay which they are to write in which we want them to tell us how has your profile changed from the last time you applied to us? And this is a very critical essay and you should bring about all kinds of changes which you have experienced and the learning which you have gained or imbibed in that time, be it from your professional work sphere or from your personal experiences.

Linda Abraham: Great, thank you very much. Okay, Ting asks a question. I think it's a very important question. How many international students of non-Indian origin in the current batch and what kind of job offers do international students get in India or outside of India?

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: Well we have 25% of our class which has international exposure which means that roughly most of the OCIs, NRIs, and PIOs want to come back to India when they apply. To answer that specific question about non-Indian passport holders which are pure bred, non-Indians, that number is very less at ISB. I must admit that. In terms of employment opportunities for people outside of India, if you are from the European region or from the US region and you have a work permit there, you don’t have any visa issue, it is not very difficult for us to place you because we have got good connect with industry. But if you are an Indian passport holder it is likely difficult these days to place you in Europe and the US. But there are ample opportunities for people like that in the emerging economies in Southeast Asia, in Dubai, and that part of the world.

Linda Abraham: How is the record of ISB in placing students outside of India but in other parts of Asia?

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: If you look at data from last year, last year we had recruiters from six different companies making roughly 66 offers and I think if I remember correctly there were 44 international companies which participated and they have placed students in Singapore, Dubai, in Africa, Philippines, etc..

Linda Abraham: Does international experience provide an advantage to an applicant?

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: Since we value diversity a lot, what international experience tells us for a particular applicant is that this person has been exposed to a different kind of culture and a different kind of life and therefore, he should be able to bring insights from that experience in the classroom which is very valuable for others. In that sense, it will add value but the onus lies with you to bring that out in the essays or in other areas of the application. Just by the virtue of the fact that you have worked outside India for some time, does not mean anything to us.

Unless you are able to substantiate that with examples and how you are going to add value to the classroom and why did you acquire that experience, how does it add value and how is it in line with your career aspirations, it will not be very relevant. But if you are able to bring all these things, it is viewed very favorably.

Linda Abraham: Thanks, Rupesh. Correct me if I'm wrong that the comment you made about how this particular experience add value or has changed you or has provided you with a distinctive perspective would be true of domestic experience really as well as the international experience?

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: Absolutely, absolutely Linda. Yeah.

Linda Abraham: Now Niyati asks, "Do students have internship opportunities at ISB?"

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: Since this is a one-year program which is a very tight and compact program, we have something which I referred to earlier as the Experience Learning Program. This is in fact a product which is more mature than a summer training in the sense that here you are solving a real world business problem for an organization and the organization is paying for it. So how this works is, let's say a company has a real business problem and they will come to ISB with their problem and you as a student body are encouraged to form groups and pitch to the organization why you are the best team to handle that problem for them. The company will make their own decision. They will decide a team and then you will be assigned a mentor from ISB, maybe a faculty, a mentor from the company and together you are going to work on that business problem over a period of a couple of months and then you are going to make final presentations.

Often I've seen that some of the recommendations, because they are very strong and very valuable for the companies, turn up getting pre-placement offers as well for students. This is a very important and effective tool for people who want to make a transition. For example if somebody was in IT and wants to get into manufacturing, and if they do a good ELP project in manufacturing, chances are that their transition will be easy.

Linda Abraham: Now several people before the webinar wrote in and asked about the kind of financial support opportunities that ISB provides in terms of either loans, merit scholarships, etc.

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: I mentioned earlier that 10 students will get complete tuition fee waivers, 10% of the class will get merit scholarships which is either rupees 5 lakh or rupees 10 lakh, and then we have a means scholarship which is open to people whose family income is less than rupees 10 lakh per annum. They have to write a separate essay why they need the scholarship and we will award some of those. Loans are very easily available at ISB. So if you have an offer letter from ISB and you are an Indian passport holder, it is a completely hassle-free process for you where you will get a loan without any mortgage or collateral. All you need is a guarantor and we have roughly 10 banks lined up and with very flexible payment terms for you.

Linda Abraham: Great. We have some very good questions coming in right now. One is from Sushain asks, "Can you please elaborate on job opportunities at ISB for students with a finance background? Thank you."

Mr. Rupesh Bisht Roughly 8% of the class of 2014 got a portion of this in finance and this could be spread across different functions. It could be corporate banking, retail banking, etc., so a portion of these are plenty. And if you look at our alumni today, in the VC and private equity space, almost in every organization you will find an ISB alum. But did they all get into P and VC straightaway after graduation from ISB? Not necessarily. They would have made their transition, probably joined consulting or other functions and then gradually moved to VC and PE.

Linda Abraham: It's pretty fast to get into PE right away. Manab asks, "You have mentioned that traditionally consulting is one of the biggest areas where ISB students have received offers and have been recruited. Therefore my questions are one, does ISB prefer an applicant who wants to head into the consulting industry post MBA or does ISB have any preference over applicants in terms of post MBA goals? Can you also please emphasize how important are applicants post MBA goals in general? And let me add a little bit to that. Does the realism, does the feasibility of post MBA goals play a role in evaluating an applicant's application?

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: I mentioned earlier that we do not have a prototype. We don’t have a prototype in our mind of a perfect applicant to ISB. We are very welcoming to very diverse kind of people and your post MBA goals do not have a direct correlation with your chances of getting admitted to ISB. Consulting happens to be very strong at ISB and this is because of the demand-supply equation. So because the demand for people getting into consulting is very high, therefore ISB makes more referrals to get more consulting companies and this gets perpetuated. And let me mention here that the student play a very active role in getting consulting and other companies to campus. This is how their application of the school builds up. Another area where we are very strong is of course technology as well.

Now for the 2nd part of the question, I would like to respond to that question by giving a certain example. So for example let us say that there is somebody with 10 years of experience in a particular industry and he doesn’t have a clear idea of where he wants to go, but would like to explore and find out. That might not be considered very favorably because a person with such a large experience should have some clarity, some sense of direction where he wants to go.

But if a younger folk had written something like that, we would be more accepting to that because a lot of times, what happens is people think that this is the perfect career project for them and post MBA this is what is supposed to happen. A lot of times I've seen that self-discovery happens. Your horizons widen because you meet a lot of different people and you get to know different possibilities. You evaluate your goals as you have mentioned earlier and sometimes those kinds of changes do happen but you need to have some sense of where you would like to go. You can't be completely blank and say that I would come to ISB and explore.

Linda Abraham: I sometimes like to use the metaphor of a weather vane. A weather vane can shift in the wind but a broken weather vane just spins around and goes in circles.

Mr. Rupesh Bisht: Very well said, Linda.

Linda Abraham: At this point I would like to thank all the applicants for participating today. We really appreciate your questions, your thoughts, and your time. I want to give a special thanks to Rupesh for joining us today. If you have any additional questions for Rupesh, please email them to intladmissions@isb.edu.

We look forward to seeing you at future Q&A's and admission events. Coming up next, we have:

Visit our event schedule page for our full list of upcoming events and details, or to register. You can also subscribe to our events list by clicking reminders on our event schedule page.

Good luck with your applications. Rupesh, thank you once again.

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