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Interview on ITBHU Global

 

Frank and detailed analysis on how IndusMinds was born and reaffirms our ties with IITBHU. This interview was published back in 2008 and presents an unadulterated version from the founder:

How was IndusMinds born?

Q-1: Please provide background about the company and how it was started.

Like thousands of other applicants, we underwent the MBA application process couple of years back vying for limited seats in top MBA programs. The whole process was confusing at best and there were times when we were totally lost for direction. This was probably the first time when we underwent serious contemplation about issues which we never did earlier such as:
  • Why did we want to do an MBA?
  • What short-term and long-term career plans did we have and how did we plan to achieve them?
  • Instances where we demonstrated leadership skills?
I believe that my student leadership activities while at ITBHU helped me craft strong and cohesive essays which led to admits from schools in US, Canada and Asia (all came with scholarships). I joined UCLA Anderson School of Management in 2006 where I received the highest Anderson Fellowship award of $40,000 for being adjudged one of the best applicant among the thousands applicants. During my MBA, I received more than a dozen applications for review from students whom I hardly knew. Almost all of them got admit from the top schools of their choice and three of them also received fellowship awards from their schools. These students as well as my interest in helping ambitious and deserving Indian students to pursue their dreams motivated me to start this service.
We conceptualized the vision of a service geared towards helping aspiring Indian students more than a year back and have been guiding Indian students on a pro-bono basis over this period but we triggered the registration process for the company IndusMinds about a month back with its base office in Mumbai. We have plans to catapult this service into a full-blown venture in couple of years and hence the decision to register the company in India. All our team members are MBA graduates or students from top Business schools in US, Canada and Europe. I am also pleased to inform you that one of our team members Nikhil Bhatia (MBA, UCLA Anderson) is also an alumnus of ITBHU (Electrical -2002). The team is truly global in nature and our consultants are based in California, Toronto, Spain and India which enables us to provide quick turnaround time for our services.
Q-2: What types of services are provided by your organization? What are the profiles of candidates applying to MBA you came across?
IndusMinds provides consulting services in all aspects of preparing a strong application package which includes guiding students to:
  • Select schools based on their background and post-MBA career plans.
  • Prepare a professional Business School Resume
  • Prepare Essays that present a holistic candidacy.
  • Draft strategies for getting strong recommendations.
  • Prepare for business school interviews.
IndusMinds does not write essays for any student since this is not only unethical but also prevents students from presenting their stories in their own words.
An MBA student can come from any field and the class is not dominated by engineers. I had classmates who had varied profiles such as:
  • Ex-Navy Seal in US army
  • Hollywood actress
  • Management consultants / Investment Bankers
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Olympic Athlete
  • Professional from Social service background
  • Professional golf player
The most common profile of Indian applicants is that of an IT consultant from companies like Infosys, TCS, IBM, etc. They mostly apply to top 30 schools in USA, top 10 schools in Europe and to IIM/ ISB in India. Since IndusMinds is truly global in terms of the team, we guide students for applications to business schools all across the globe.
Q-3: What is the process for applying for MBA to US colleges? What are the parameters they are looking for?
The MBA application to global MBA programs such as in North America, Europe and Asia is a 15-18 month long process. The first step is generally to take the GMAT and aim for a decent score (preferably above 700 for Indian applicants). This is followed by school selection and then preparing the application package. Most schools require non-native English speakers to appear for TOEFL so it is highly recommended to have a TOEFL score handy as well.
Preparing an application (writing compelling essays, drafting a professional resume) is a very time consuming and exhaustive process. Students take about 1-3 months to complete the application package for one school.
MBA schools look at a variety of aspects such as a student’s academic excellence, leadership skills, extracurricular activities, GMAT score and finally the Application Package. Most schools also like to conduct interviews to a get a feel for the student’s personality and motivation. They want to know if someone has the potential to be a successful leader in the corporate culture after graduating from the MBA program.
Past academic performance and GMAT scores are things that cannot be changed. So that leaves an applicant with only the essays, resume and the interview. To differentiate an MBA aspirant from a large pool of other applicants, it is necessary to focus on the essays. The essays should complement the resume to strategically highlight different skills and experiences to project a comprehensive picture about the applicant. The interview should strengthen the attributes the applicant has described in his / her application. In the end, the admissions committee should visualize the applicant as a person who has the mettle to succeed in the corporate culture as a future manager.
The cost varies depending on the geography and the duration of the program. For a two-year full time MBA program the average cost can vary from $100,000- $125,000 (inclusive of fees and living expenses). For a one year program the cost is usually $75,000- $90,000. These are just average figures and will vary depending on your life style.
Q-4: What are the common mistakes made by candidates while applying? How will your service be helpful to them in improving their chances for selection?
Some of the common mistakes that applicants make are:
  • Undermine the importance of essays and focus just on good GMAT score. 700+ score are very common for an Indian applicant and this is probably the most competitive pool.
  • Focus on technical skills in their essays. It’s good to know that you are a software geek but that doesn’t qualify you for a managerial role.
  • Not connecting the dots. Everything from your undergraduate, corporate experience, MBA and short-term and long-term career goals are small parts of your holistic picture. I find students lacking the skills to smoothly connect these dots.
  • Networking. Talk to as many people as possible and get as many views on your application as possible. For instance ITBHUGlobal has a forum for MBA (Abroad) where I have been an active member like few other MBA candidates. Utilize that to post your queries and get the feedback from people who have been through the process.
  • Selecting school purely based on some ranking. The rankings are based on certain criteria which is unique to the company generating the rankings. As an applicant you should focus on what you want to do after MBA and then select schools which can help you achieve those goals.
IndusMinds helps students select the right school and then works with them to devise a positioning which strengthens their candidacy for the schools of their choice.
Q-5: What are the differences between management schools in US and India about screening process for candidates to MBA programs?
The Indian B-schools (such as IIMs) place a great deal of emphasis on exams (CAT, GD and interviews). Being a top performer in IIMs can open doors to lucrative offers which is unlike the schools in the West. Networking and soft-skills play a very important role at US B-schools hence the emphasis on knowing you more as a person. Moreover every school in USA (and Europe) has a different specialty so they look for students who display an enthusiasm for their philosophy. As an example, UCLA is renowned for entrepreneurship so if you plan to be an entrepreneur then UCLA might be the best school for you. Just make sure that this message is loud and clear in your application as well.
ISB follows a similar format as US B-schools and pays attention to essays which present a true picture of your candidature as a future manager or corporate leader. Of course, GMAT scores are important as they are a proof that as a student you can survive the analytical vigor of the MBA program.
Q-6: Please provide brief profile of you and your team members.
I graduated from ITBHU in Metallurgical Engineering in 2002. The engineering days were the forming years of my life where I was very active in student leadership as Secretary of Literary Activities, Managing Editor of Reverberations, and Media Coordinator of National Youth Festival etc. The literary side of my undergrad years has been really helpful when I applied to business schools. I started my corporate career at Infosys where I worked in Pune and Bangalore. In 2004 I moved to Belgium as an onsite coordinator which opened doors to new roles and responsibilities. Witnessing the business battlefield closely I realized that I still needed more skills to efficiently solve a business problem (not an IT problem) which triggered my MBA journey. UCLA Anderson has been an enriching journey where I graduated in top 15% of the class as a member of the Anderson Honor Society. Just like ITBHU days, I have been active in student leadership such as VP-High Tech Business Association, Executive Board member of IS Associates etc and MDE-Fellow.
During his days at IT-BHU, Nikhil Bhatia was active in sports activities, having represented the college in Basketball and Squash. He was the Vice-Captain of the IT-BHU Basketball team in 2001-02 and a member for all 4 years of college. He was also part of the core organizing committee for IT-BHU’s Sports Festival – Spardha. Nikhil started his career with HCL Technologies in Gurgaon and in 2005; he was posted on a client project in the US as an IT Consultant. It was during his 1.5 years in the US that he applied and got accepted to UCLA Anderson School of Management. During his MBA, Nikhil has been active in various leadership roles such as President – South Asian Business Association, Management Development for Entrepreneurs (MDE) Fellow (a program that pairs MBA students with Entrepreneurs in the US to solve their business problems) and Vistage (a network of successful CEO’s in the US).
Q-7: Biplav, thanks for your valuable information. We hope it will be useful for candidates seeking admissions to reputed management schools abroad.

Thanks Yogesh. I want to reiterate that hundreds of our alumni have made it to the top B-schools and they had similar profile as someone reading this interview. They just came out of their comfort zone and strived for success.

 

Contact us for free 30-minute evaluation and evaluate if IndusMinds is right fit for your MBA dreams.

 

IndusMinds in News

IndusMinds has been in media for all the right reasons. Read on:

IndusMinds interview on BusinessWeek

IndusMinds interview on ITBHUGlobal

Forums-Ask IndusMinds

IndusMinds has been active on various forums where we have been helping prospective MBA students. Check out these forums:

Ask IndusMinds at BusinessWeek

Ask IndusMinds at GmatClub

Ask IndusMinds at BeatTheGMAT

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When I started the process, I was confused. The team at IndusMinds helped me realize what I was worth of and enabled me to gain admission into a good school with fellowship award as well.