From IIT Roorkee to ISB Hyderabad – Agniv Dutta shares his experience

AgnivAfter putting in 2 semesters of rigorous training, mustering a 720 in the GMAT, and surmounting 3 grueling rounds of selection procedures, Agniv Dutta, one of our most diligent students, has finally been admitted to the Young Leader’s Program of the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad! His success stands testimony to the hard work and effort he put in to accomplish his goal of getting into a premier B School, setting the ideal for aspirants across the country and the world. In the following interview, Agniv generously offers us insights into his journey to the ISB – YLP.

Attention: The following are the views of Agniv Dutta. The opinions/arguments expressed here reflect Agniv?s personal deductions based on his experiences. Every individual is entitled to his/her opinion. This article is not intended to libel anyone, but to share a personal experience. He has presented reasons to support his opinions as far as possible; however, if anyone feels the contents of this article are false/ presumptuous, he/she may post a comment/ write back to us. If they are proven right, necessary action will be taken. Aret??doesn’t?necessarily endorse these views as its own.?

1.?Of all the stages of selection to the ISB ? YLP, which did you find the toughest, and why?

” The final round, i.e., the interview round of the YLP was perhaps the toughest round in the application process. I had never had a serious interview before and I was very scared. For the first two rounds, whenever I needed help I would pick up my phone and call Abhishek Sir or one of my friends for advice. But this couldn’t happen during an interview.

?The first task on my list was to overcome my fear of facing an interview. I wasn’t sure what to expect, whether it would be a stress interview, what were the possible questions that could catch me off-guard, etc. But after a bit of coaching from Sir, I was more confident to tackle the various questions.

While preparing for the interview, there was a lot of material to read, but little available time. I devoted as much time to the preparation as I could. It was rather exhausting, but I managed somehow. There was no short-cut available for this.?I had to read up a lot of material, especially on the things I had mentioned in my essays. I needed to be thorough with my resume too, and this included reading up project and internship reports and glancing through some of the topics I had mentioned under ‘Additional courses taken’ such as Economics, Banking and Finance and Business Management and Marketing. I was not sure of what they would ask me and so I was trying to secure all fronts. I also updated my knowledge in all major issues pertaining to world economy: this involved reading up blogs and several newspaper articles. I had also to prepare for the case study. Mid-semester examinations were also looming close. The process turned out to be very exhausting as I effectively had only a week or so to prepare for the interview.”

2.????? What does it take to score a 720 in the GMAT? How did you prepare for each of its sections? What was your routine like?

“I had devoted four to five hours each day for one solid month during my summer vacation in order to prepare for the GMAT. I had ordered the GMAT Official books along with Barron?s GMAT, Kaplan and some other books and concentrated on solving the various problems in them. For AWA essays, I would write the essays and mail them to Abhishek Sir, and he would review them for me. The most important thing was, however, writing enough mock tests (easily available online) because they help in establishing an efficient time management system for the test.”

3.????? Describe the most prominent experiences of the application phase. What does it take to write a winning SoP/Essay? Any secret formula?

“Writing the three essays for the second round of YLP was perhaps the most prominent experience for me during the application process. It made me introspect a great deal. I was able to convince myself more than ever before as to why I wished to pursue an MBA and what its advantages really were.

For writing a great essay, one needs to be very honest with one?s own self. These essays are the topics on which interviewers mostly grill the applicants and the former are experienced enough to catch onto bluffs in the essays. So the best way is to be honest and original. The essays should show that the applicant has clarity in his thoughts and ideas.

I would usually write a first draft of the essay, get it reviewed by Abhishek Sir and a bunch of my friends. After a great deal of remodeling over a week or two, when Sir was finally pleased with the essay, I would submit it.”

4.????? Describe your Final Interview and Case Study phase in detail. What happened? What were the questions asked? How did you answer them?

“My interview was on the 19th of September. The case study was scheduled at 8:45am and the interview at 1:40pm.

In order to prepare for the Case Study, I found the book ?A Case in Points? to be very useful. My topic for the Case Study was: A home video producing company?s contract with its distribution partner is on the verge of expiration. The distribution partner is one of the leaders in the industry. However, the home video producing company feels that some of the terms in the new contract may not be to its advantage. Should the company renew its contract with the same distribution company or should it establish its own distribution wing? Make your own assumptions.

I started off by using the approach that had been suggested to me by Abhishek Sir: objective, due diligence, alternative-risk-consequence, decision parameters and references, recommendations and how to implement. The important thing to remember is that there is no right answer and the target should be to properly justify your take on the topic. In my case, I suggested that the home video producing company should try to establish its own distribution wing in order to be independent, while most of the others had mentioned that establishing one?s own distribution chain would involve a too high and an unnecessary cost.

?Mine was the first interview after lunch. I had been waiting my turn for a long time and was actually getting impatient. I borrowed a pair of earphones from my friend, Aditya Garg (who was also there for his interview) and started listening to music. It was Aditya who, sometime later, tapped me on my shoulder and pointed to the interviewer, who had been standing there, calling out my name for some time.

This was my first ?Big? interview and I was very much aware of my tongue. All that was going on in my head was: don?t sweat, don?t fidget, don?t stammer, etc.

There were two members on the panel. The first thing that I did after entering the interview room was apologize for not having responded immediately to the interviewer?s call. Luckily for me, the interviewer hadn’t minded, he just smiled and said, ?Music is a good way to unwind.? *Phew*

The first question that was asked to me was: Why MBA??I was prepared for this question. It had required some bit of research and a lot of introspection, but I had come up with a good enough answer. My response included how I hoped that MBA would teach me how to structure and organize a large business, how a formal degree in business studies would help me improve the business model used by my dad to run his business, hone the basic senses that I have developed watching father expand his business, networking, global exposure, discipline, provide me with a playing field for creativity, develop my skills of multi-tasking, negotiation, leadership, strategizing, and so on. I was cross-questioned regarding each of the points and it turned out to be a particularly long discussion.

The next question was based on one of the essays that I had submitted: Describe in short how you planned and finally won the elections for the Student Affairs Council in your third year and what did you learn from the experience.?As soon as I was done answering this question, they asked me if there was any particular event during the contest that I now regret and if I should have done things differently. In this case, I mentioned instances where I had to make empty promises of votes to people knowing fully well that I could not fulfill my commitments. In some cases they had led to grudges. But I went on to add that since the elections were over, I have tried my level best to make it up to the people. However, I made it clear that I still stand by what I did then because it was necessary.

Next, I was asked: ?What is it that makes you special or different compared to others in your college??? In reply, I pointed them towards my academic records, achievements in sports (especially Inter-IIT Football), social service, certain characteristic qualities such as diligence, multi-tasking and perseverance, and my efforts in order to become a conscientious leader (at this point, I was asked the meaning of ?conscientious?).

I was also questioned a bit on my essay regarding my short term and long term goals. One of the interviewers mentioned that it seemed to him that my goals were too varied and maybe a bit out of sync. I had to convince him that I had clarity and also suggested some business models that I could use. He seemed pleased. 🙂

Overall, the interview lasted around 25 minutes, but I was hardly aware of time flying by. It was a pleasant experience.”

5.????? What do you think were your biggest strengths and the reason for your being selected to the ISB ? YLP?

I feel that the main reason why I cleared the interview is that I had had clarity in my ideas. I hadn?t bluffed in my essays and was very clear as to why I wanted to do an MBA and what my future goals were. Luckily I was able to convince the interviewers of these facts. Moreover, throughout my years in IIT Roorkee, I have worked hard in order to construct a decent enough profile: I have concentrated on academics, sports, extra-curricular, social service and leadership roles equally. So I feel that this is another reason that might have aided my application.”

6.????? How was your experience at Aret?? Would you recommend it to others? Why?

“It has been an amazing journey for me at Aret?. I have learnt that English grammar is not an obscure thing, but has logic to it. I would always look forward to the classes at the weekends. They were interesting, especially due to the heated discussions that we had when people disagreed on an answer. The discussions would go on for several minutes, until each and every one was satisfied—Abhishek Sir made sure of that. There was no dearth of study material and quizzes; class notes and soft copy material were provided in plenty.

Abhishek Sir is definitely a great teacher and also a good friend; a lot of credit for my achievement definitely goes to him. He helped me shoot the video, coached me for the GMAT, reviewed my essays and prepared me for the interview. I would call him at odd hours and he was always there to help. So a BIG ‘Thank You’ is definitely in order.

Thank you, Sir. :)”

You’re most welcome Agniv. Thank you for sharing and for making us proud!

All the best!


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