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Coffee With Chethan G K – NITT Alumni and an ISB Admit

6 April 2008 36 Comments
Hi All,

Chethan G K, is a 2005 passout from NIT Trichy. He studied Electrical and Electronics Engineering there. Chethan did an internship at ITC during his 6th semester vacation and finally got placed in ITC itself. He recently quit ITC to pursue a 1 year MBA at Indian School of Business (ISB). Its my pleasure honour previledge to host Chethan G K, the best outgoing student of NIT Trichy – 2005 batch and one of my favourite “Kandu” senior. Chethan has been kind enough to share some gyaan about the admission process for all the current and future aspirants.


Coffee With Chethan G K
Me: Sundar Rajan
CGK: Chethan G K

Me: Hi Chethan, Welcome to CWS! Congrats for your ISB admit. Can you tell us, when you started this whole process of app.. What are the various steps involved etc?

CGK: Thanks Sundar for your wishes.

My preperation for an MBA started when I was in College (Third Year). I got dumped in CAT twice in 2004 and 2006. After the second attempt, I started working seriously on GMAT. I never wanted to worry about Universities/MBAs when I started my GMAT preperations. It was very important for me to get a ‘good’ score in GMAT first.
It took 3 months for me to prepare for GMAT starting May 2007. After getting GMAT score (720/800), I sent them to Ten Universities of my Choice (5 free and rest paid @ 27 $/University). Once the scores reached the university, I started working on the applications of all the 10 universities. Every university/MBA charges anywhere between 50 $ to 250 $ for one application. As I started working on my first application (Essays in particular), I felt that I had set a very daunting task for myself in the form of 10 universities. Finally, was able to achieve only 6 universities in the end (ISB was also one among them). After sending the application, I waited for interview calls. Once ISB interview was done, I got the acceptance mail from ISB.
Me: How did you prepare for GMAT? Is there any specific book/ study method which you would recommend?
CGK: Barrons, Official Guide and Princeton review (online) helped me in concepts.
One of my ITC friend gave me a CD containing 1000 RC, 1000 DI and 1000 Sentence Correction problems. That was VERY helpful.
For practice tests, I bought a set of 5 tests from ‘crackGMAT’ at 20 $’ and two free practice tests downloaded from www.mba.com.
The sources for preperation are many. But selecting ones which suit you is very important. First thing I suggest readers to take the free practice tests in GMATprep software available in www.mba.com. It will help in understanding your areas of strength and weekness. Most of us Engineers are Excellent in Quants but weak in English. Same case with me. Thts why I alloted max time to English section. And mind you GMAT English questions are not only tough but cryptic.
‘Work on your weekness and develop your strengths’
Me: A lot of MBA aspirants are confused between ISB Vs IIMs. How did you decide ISB vs IIMs? What are the advantages and disadvantages of one over the other?
CGK: I had no choice of ISB vs IIM πŸ™‚ My ‘Plan A’ of CAT never worked out.. so ‘Plan B’ has taken me to ISB.
I have neither experienced ISB nor IIM to talk about advantages and dis-advantages, but with whatever info I have gathered about them, I will be able to comment only on the differences :
a. ISB has a 1 year program and IIMs are known for their 2 year program
b. The faculty of IIMs are mostly inhouse, ISB has both inhouse faculty as well as faculty coming from many Foreign MBA schools like Wharton, Haas, Kennan Flagler, INSEAD, London etc.
c. IIMs have alumni base of >40 years but ISB has an alumni base of <7 years but it is fast growing in corporate cummnunity around the world.
d. There are no ‘internships’ in ISB but there is a program called ‘Experiantial Learnining process’ similar to internship
e. A typical class of ISB will have Engineers, Military Captains, Doctors, Expats, TV reporters, National Hockey Palyers etc.. ie diversity in ISB is far more than IIMs (many of my friends in IIMs also accept this !!!!)
f. Average experience of class in ISB will be more than IIMs but it is reducing with passing year as more young ppl are being admitted.
Both IIMs and ISB are excellent and both have their unique brand value in Corporate world.
Me: What are the other colleges you have apped for? What are the important factors for applying for a foreign B school?
CGK: Applied to UC Berkeley (Haas School of Business), CMU ( Tepper School of Business), Indiana (Kelley School of Business), Purdue University (Krannert School of Management), Penn State ( Smeal College of Business).
Most important factor while applying to schools accepting GMAT (including ISB) are following:
a. Clarity of Goal in life
b. Fit of MBA program with your Goals
c. Essays – which are the only medium of putting your profile to ADCOM
d. Integrity of application (You doing your application and no one else)
e. Financial planning to pay the enomous Fees (Upto Rs 20 L in ISB and Upto Rs 50 L in US B Schools)
f. Preferably a mangerial experience for any Engineer.
g. IIT/NIT would defenitely help but would have less influence if the profile has International work-ex.
Me: What, in your opinion, are the differences between the B-schools abroad and B schools in India?
CGK: I have noticed this about every B-School I have applied. B-schools abroad have built their program and the brand around a particular ‘theme’. For Example Haas associates itself to ‘Learning through Innovation’, Krannert to ‘Art and Science of Management’ etc. but I dont see that in any of the Indian B-Schools (Including ISB).
Another starking difference is the thrust on Corporate Social Responsibility which Foreign B Schools give (Community programs etc), which is far more than what Indian B Schools give.
The Class of Foreign B Schools are also very Diverse, as I mentioned before in the context of ISB. Though ISB has diversity in Experience and Industry, but US B Schools have diversity in Nationality too. The cross cultural exposure you get in US B-Schools is enormous. But not to worry..from this year, ISB has also increased the intake of Foreign Students.
Other minor differences would relate to program structure, project works, Job opportunities etc.
Me: With the world becoming more and more global, what should B schools do to handle globalization? What do you think are the extra efforts that a student/school should put to cope up with globalization?
CGK: In future B Schools would be rated on the way they seemlessly integrate their students into the International business community (not just their own country). The ease with which Students would be able to handle Cultural shocks would be put to test. Most of the companies in India and abroad are going global and would want their managers to handle global teams productively.
B Schools need not cope up with globalisation, they must start exploting globalisation. For that, more international projects, Student exchange programs would defenitely help. Students must be trained in making decisions based on limited off-hand information as one would not be able to visit every place of Business operation.
Another most important step which B Schools must take is to develop Smart managers with Good Character who respect Human and Society. That is where the community development programs must become a part of the curriculum (to be graded with compulsory community projects) and thus impart the ‘human touch’ to the program.

Me: Thank you so much Chethan. This chat was quite insight, I would say! Thank you for sparing time amidst your busy schedule! On behalf of CWS and its reader base, I wish you all the very best in your MBA and your future careers!


Readers, hope you enjoyed this chat with Chethan. For previous episodes of Coffee With Experts, click here.

Also, submit your queries for an interview with a traffic police, police man, construction laborer & a beggar!
This can be done at Coffee Questions section. (See Right Or Click here).

Watch out for the next interview with Kannada Movie Star – Vashanth Akshay!! This has a lot of questions submitted by CWS Readers! This is indeed going to be exciting.


Originally Posted @ Coffee With Sundar – http://coffeewithsundar.com
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