Wednesday, November 30, 2011

ISB application in R2

I have finally pressed the submit button today. My ISB app has been submitted and it feels so good. Now there will be a small waiting period but I will be busy in preparing apps for other schools. This whole process of introspection was very tough for me. I struggled hard in the whole process. But in the end, I am happy about the outcome. As I told in my previous posts, I believe I have attained the zen of Essay writing and I am very proud of it. Today I gave some pointers to my friend about a mini essay for FMS Delhi and he complemented me genuinely for my good advice. If everything goes right, then I have just 3 weeks to prepare for ISB interviews. I should better get started.

Free Profile Review

I feel I have stated to get the hang of MBA admissions. I have decided to do review of essays of readers of my blog. You can send your essays to And that goes without saying that this service is absolutely free of cost :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Some helpful pointers gleaned from ISB Info Session

The ISB info session held in kolkata on 31st July was very crisp and professional. They started exactly at 3 pm. Number of participants was around 100. There were total 3 members from admission committee there. One young lady was the alumni of ISB itself and she opened the session by talking about the agenda of session.

The second member was somewhere around 35 and he had great communication skills and sense of humor. He started by showing a video of ISB which compared the career of a person to an F1 race. In that race, ISB acts as pit-stop break to give your career a new vigor. It was pretty cool video.

Then he talked about emerging markets. ISB is very clearly focused on the emerging markets. Someone who has association with emerging markets would definitely has an advantage.

The faculty at ISB is one of the best. They invite professors who are best in their respective fields. Industry leaders also come and take courses which still evolving and they do not just take a guest lecture instead cover a full course.

ISB wants to develop an integrative approach towards problem solving in their students. Innovation and sustainability require cross-functional teams working together. So integrative approach can be developed if students get a chance to work in teams consisting of members who are diverse in profile. ISB stresses a lot on diversity in terms of industry and function.

ISB does not has summer internship. Instead it has Experiential Learning Program(ELP) where real time consulting projects are awarded to students. There are also Faculty initiated Research projects(FIRP) in which students can work with a faculty member in a research area. ISB also has exchange programs in 36 B Schools across the world including Pakistan :). 70-75 percent of students who join ISB undergo career-shifts. So career-shift is encouraged and common in ISB.

The third member was an elderly one. He told that interviews and essays are very important in admission process. To excel in both, the key is self awareness and for that one must do a lot of introspection. Seniors at workplace whose work is impacted by your performance are ideal recommenders.

Last pointer is about essays. One should be clear about his future goals. One should be aware of his USP and what he is bringing to the table. These two factors are playing a very important role in this year's ISB admission essays.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

ISB info session

I registered 2 months back for the ISB info session. It was going to be held on 31st July in Kolkata. Covering more than 500kms in a day and spending precious one day weekly-off for a 2 hour session might not be a good deal but it was worth all the effort :)

I reached the venue(Hotel Taj Bengal) 3 hours before the session. The previous morning session was still not finished. So I spend my time exploring the beautiful hotel lobbies, tasting blueberry cake in Deli and having club sandwich plus Jamaican blue mountain in their promenade.

The session was crisp and info provided was more than their website. They talked about their value system and teaching methodology at ISB. There were three people from Ad-Com and they talked about the kind of people they are looking for. There was a Q&A round which cleared queries from the aspirants. After session, there was informal chat with the alums.

My next post would be having some pointers specific to ISB which I gathered at info session.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Destination and a new beginning

Ok, I admit that I should have posted this a long time back. I was hoping for a better result. Finally after so many twists and turns, there is only one word for my score - DECENT

710(Q-50,V-37,AWA-5.5) wrote on 7th July

There are mixed feelings. Inspiration, elation, sadness, confusion all blending in. Now What? Is this score good enough? Should I write again? The answer depends on my school selection and profile strength both of which are unclear to me. Therefore I have decided to close this issue by end of July by taking the help of a consultant.

So what happened to the overconfident guy who was claiming to ace in GMAT? Well he is still there, little shaken but still going strong. I have been through so many diverse and difficult situations in my life that I have learned the importance of calmness. After GMAT, the main thing that was bothering me was my self image. To counter this, I was repeatedly thinking - I AM MORE THAN MY GMAT SCORE. But still I was not convinced. I was in agitated state. So I just waited to get myself into calm mode again. I watched my favorite movies and had great food. Once I relaxed, the whole GMAT preparation journey went through my mind.

I started my preparation for GMAT in mid-April. I used to study on alternate days because of professional commitment, my own lack of self-discipline and extraneous factors like power-cut, social commitments. So basically I studied for around 35-40 days. +1 for getting a decent score in so less time.

On looking back, I feel I should have devoted more time for verbal especially sentence correction. On GMAT day, I performed well in AWA thanks to myohmy. Then Quants was a breeze as well. But in verbal I started slow. I still remember I spent around 5 mins for the first verbal question. Then I realized my poor beginning and brought about a sense of urgency while keeping my accuracy. I was going alright but my speed was a little bit slow. In the last I had around 8 questions with 8 mins left. I had to finish it anyhow and so there was guesses. It brought down the score in VA to 37 :(

But I am happy and proud. Feels good about the whole process and all in all it was fun. It has taught me to think in an analytic and structured manner. Now its the time for new beginning which involves school-shortlisting, essays and recommendations. Let another yatra begins.

P.S. - Since this blog was created to capture my GMAT journey, I am going to change its outlook and expand its scope to serve as my B-School journey. Keep visiting :)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The last week

Just 7 days more for my GMAT. I am super confident in problem solving and data sufficiency. As long as I am frequently using pen and paper, there should be no problem in these two sections. I commit most mistakes in these sections because of miscalculation and misunderstanding and that happens when I try to solve all questions in my head.

Reading comprehension can be aced as well. But sometimes I screw up a whole passage by reading it fast and not getting the meaning. I just need to consciously tell myself that there is no hurry and comprehension is of utmost importance. I also need to understand that all lines in a passage are not same. It is ok to read some lines twice or even thrice. But all in all after reading a passage, I should grasp its meaning fully. After that, I have observed that I was able to answer questions very fast and accurately.

Critical Reasoning has been my strong point till now. I have able to manage a good accuracy in this section. I guess this is because paras are small and I naturally read them slowly. Also while reading itself, I evaluate the passage and find any shortcomings in logic. So many times without even reading options, I have an answer. And when my though-out answer matches an option, I just know that has to be the answer.

And last is my biggest weakness - The Sentence Correction. I have been performing poorly in this section. And I think today only I discovered how I can perform well in this section. I used the elimination technique. Basically again it is important to use pen and paper in this section. After reading the question, I write ABCDE in the paper. Then I just cross out the options that I know were incorrect. That always leave me with two or rarely with three options. Reading them second time and comparing them gives me an answer which I found was correct more than 90 percent of the time :). It might sound obvious but earlier I was wasting focus and energy by predicting the right answer without even properly reading the options. That was a very bad strategy. I ended up scoring low and loosing my confidence. Instead of finding right, finding wrong works better for me in SC.

Last days, I am just focusing on OG-12. I am writing in a diary all the small lessons that I get while solving OG-12. On the G-Day, I will just read those lessons in the morning before going for exam. That way, the gist of my whole preparation will be absorbed by me in a small time.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Last Mile

Just a little over two weeks are left for my GMAT. Nerves are shaking and plans are made and remade but no solace to soul. My recent performance in GMATPREP-1(resetted) was disappointing. I again 690-ed with less score in verbal.

I performed well in quants. I could have done better because I wasted around 10 minutes in between by allowing myself a break. For some time I lost the confidence and was feeling sad. But today when I sat to review my performance, I got the rational view of my capability. I realized my mistakes were mostly due to less concentration. Since I came from work and was extremely tired, I guess some mistakes were allowed.

I also reviewed my performance in verbal and realized that I did mistakes in CR and SC. The most interesting thing is that I was just reviewing my incorrect answers. When I reviewed the correct ones too, I found that I did answer some pretty tough ones too. So I am feeling good now as my preparation is not waste and I have improved.

Therefore my advice is to review all the questions after the mock. The correct ones especially will give you solace and confidence in your abilities.

I guess I am going to do great on 7th July. With calm mind and a smile on face, I, like a smooth criminal, will slice questions into pieces.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Another new motivation to B School Applicants

Yesss... the Stacy Blackman challenge is out there for the first time... check here. Prizes are only for 2 but they are really great. Competition would be intense. But participation itself will be so rewarding in terms of having greater self awareness.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mock-3 - Veritas

Scored 720(Q-51,V-38). Felt better. Again improvement is required in the verbal.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tryst with the Truth

Yesterday I had an appointment with the "truth". I came from plant at 2 pm and spent some time watching southpark. Then after a quick nap, finally I started the meeting with "truth" at 6.30 pm.

I was feeling very tired and could not concentrate on what is being asked. "Truth" asked me 2 questions for which I had 60 minutes to answer. I did it more quickly and did not bother about looking back at my answers. Then started the rapid fire round related to numbers. By the time I was finished with it, I was told that I would have to face another rapid fire round of questions related to words.

Too tired, I decided to utilize the 10 minutes break option given by him. I took it and decided to use it for a short nap. But I got lost in time and woke up after 2 hours. But "truth" was still there waiting for me. But I decided to postpone it and did let the "truth" wait for me.

So my plan of appearing for Veritas free mock GMAT was not as I expected. But today I will go and finish the verbal portion of the test. I am eager for the outcome of the result.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

32 days to go

Preparation is getting more serious and intense as the time is approaching soon. I was not getting time even for blogging. 31st May and 1st June were specially very busy days. I managed to celebrate my birthday amidst blackout as well as carry out my night shifts. If thats not enough, I also submitted my entries for the BTG Scholarship and the Reliance Stanford Scholarship. Although done hurriedly, I guess I learned a lot and did a decent job.

Mocks is the theme of this month with as many as 15 mocks to be slashed by 30th june. I appeared for GMATPREP-2 on 2nd June and it was discouraging in the sense that I managed to get only 650. Verbal was especially low. But the the good news is that the majority of errors were in SC and little bit in RC.

So I am happy that I can overcome my weakness because I am already on to Manhattan's SC guide and it will be done by 10th june. As for RC, I think it was only because my concentration was wavering and I was restless. Perhaps it was because of night shifts.

Anyways, today also I will appear for a mock and see what happens. Mocks give me discipline and a sense of urgency in my preparation. Bye till then :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Glass is Half Full Cliche

Its a cliche and is often overused. But very true and life saving quote. Count your blessings. There is nothing in this world that is black or white. Everything is in shades of gray. A successful person only focuses on the white portion. A depressed person always focuses on the black portion.

We attract negative thoughts more easily than positive ones. And we know that thoughts become reality. Now what we can do to be more positive. Let me produce some tips here from my journals.

1. Mind becomes what you eat - Literally, its true. Feed on natural food. Lesser and lesser fast food or processed food.

2. Yoga - Yoga helps. A lot. Period. How and why will make this article into a book. So not going there. But just do it.

One more tip that I personally use is that you should count your challenges too. But look at them and be happy that you are still doing great inspite of them. Let me do a similar analysis of my job here.

Challenge no. 1
Shift timings - I work in shift timings. Every week shift changes. Only one day off per week. Timings are morning 6 to 2, then afternoon 2 to 10 and night is 10 to 6 morning.
Blessing no. 1
Only 8 hours - I have to devote only 8 hours here. No more no less. Commute takes only 15 minutes. So I am getting a lot of time for preparation.

Challenge no. 2
Pollution and Hazard - There is no doubt that it is there. Flue gas, dust, graphite particles and heat emitted by molten steel are just the pollution creators. Talking about hazard; everyday climbing up the cranes, risk of carbon mono-oxide at top floor, faulty structures...
Blessing no. 2
Conditioning - I love toughness. I am talking about tough, army like men. For quite a time, I was working to be more like it. God has given me this opportunity to do it more quickly. Now I am much bold and fearless, thanks to my surroundings.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Seeking Frequent Help is Surest Way to Stall

Growth requires resistance. Without resistance, there is no addition of potential. So when it comes to GMAT preparation, if you come across a difficult problem, seeking solution immediately is stopping yourself to grow out of that problem.

When you come across a problem, your mind starts to find solutions to that problem. You should gift your mind that opportunity. After brainstorming, if you seek help, then it is going to be branded in your mind forever. Also the mind has its share of exercise and practice. This is the way to learn any trade and making it the second nature.

Personally for me, Mathematics is my second nature and I do not have to exert myself or brood over math problems. But for Sentence Correction, I sometimes spend up to 30 minutes on a single problem and still ends up being unsure of the answer. It is because its various rules are still not itched into my memory and to burn them I need to bear the pain of thinking hard. So basically I try not to seek the solutions and instead try my level best to come with an answer with an explanation. After that, when I see the solution, there is an AHA moment and the learning remains with me forever :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

When you get an MBA, you never know who you will meet at the top

The business world has more variety than ever, and tomorrow’s entrepreneurs are a part of that. From new students at business colleges to the top online MBA programs, the young people aspiring for a business degree show off a wide range of experience and ability. I wonder and try to figure out what kind of achievements B-Schools look for in an aspirant. Nowadays people are distinguishing themselves in quite innovative ways. Today I came across this article about eclectic mix of people at ISB-2012 class. Just reproducing here from the article few lines that matter.

Class of Achievers

It is not just academic excellence and work experience that the ISB looks for. Many of the students who joined the class have demonstrated multi dimensional leadership abilities. They are strong achievers in their own sphere of work and also across areas that they choose to focus on. Among this talented group are -
• India's first Audio Book Author
• A doctor, who is also a State Home Secretary
• A commander in the Indian Naval Force
• Film Directors, Playwrights and Poets
• Trained Dancers and Choreographers
• Certified Sky Divers and Scuba Divers
• Several Academic Rank Holders

So next year, when you enter into your dream B-School, an army of smart people will be there. Be ready to belong there :)

Goodies along the Way

One great thing with GMAT and MBA apps for International B Schools is that you get so much encouragement in form of scholarships. Recently found a great one, thanks to A and CrackVerbal.

This is a chance to study at Stanford for free of cost under Reliance DhiruBhai Fellowship Programme. The deadline is near - 31st May 2011. So hurry up. Finish the application and give your best shot.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Past week was tough since I had to manage home-shift along with my job. I am feeling its impact now and not feeling well from this morning. 20 min yoga and a light breakfast did help. Also I am happy that I solved 40 questions of CR from OG-12 and got 37 of them right. Also the incorrect ones were also just-missed.

I am performing quite well in RC and CR recently. My accuracy and speed both has increased. Now why this happened? I believe for me the catalyst was the understanding of one crucial point. And that would be that there is seldom perfect answer rather there is a best answer. When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. So the trick is to eliminate the impossible ones and then choose the most appropriate ones from the remaining options. This realization has worked wonders for me.

After completing CR today, I moved to SC. And there all my high went down. I quickly realized that SC is going to be my Achilles Hill. I was taking a lot of time on each question and was also unsure of the responses.

To improve SC score there is unanimous advice given by everyone. Manhattan SC guide. I have that guide and I was planning to use it after finishing OG-12. But it seems I would have to change my strategy.

The preparation is going in the right direction so far. Once I start taking mocks, it will be on a totally different level.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Journey So Far...

With just 43 days left for my G-Day, I would like to see how far I have come.

1) Finishing OG-12... Well I have not finished OG-12 because my strategy of finishing was not giving me full benefits. Instead I am nowadays reading Manhattan's strategy guides and solving OG-12 questions along the way. This is working more beneficial as I understand the concepts in a better way. Also the study is more methodical. I am already done with more than 60 % of OG-12 and hope it would be finished by 10th June.

2) I have written one Mock GMAT so far. Thats OK and I am satisfied. There will be one more mock in the month of May and the whole June would be dedicated to mocks and reviews. Mocks are very important and I intend to appear for as many as 12 mocks.

3) So all in all, I am going to finish OG-12, Manhattan's 8 strategy guides, 12+ mocks and if possible Princeton's Verbal Workout. It feels right. I want to say here that Manhattan's material is excellent and I have simply fallen in love with it. I don't think I need any other material other than it.

Please let me know if you agree with me? Are you also studying the same way? I have feeling that this strategy is laser focussed and well rounded. I need your opinion on this.

Take care then..

Sentence Correction - Subject Verb Agreement

Yesterday's Mock taught me the importance of practicing daily and remembering the rules. Subject Verb Agreement in Sentence correction is easy to do if one has done an intensive reading through out his life. That person will be easily selecting the right answer without even knowing the grammatical rule behind it.
I too got quite success like this. But I believe its important to know the rule also. Because GMAT creators know this and they might tweak with the question. Therefore I am trying to familiarize myself with the rules. Instead of memorizing them, I am looking at them regularly so that they become my second nature. I am posting here one such revision note.

All the best for your journey fellow Bloggers.

My First Mock

I today appeared for my first mock GMAT. It was the GMATPrep-1. I scored 690(Q-49, V-34). Not so happy with my performance. It should definitely go up.
One thing is reaffirmed that Mocks are very essential. Start them early and appear for many mocks. They are going to help immensely in the preparation.
So now I will take a break and after that will proceed to complete my essays for BTG scholarship.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Sine Curve that is my Inspiration

Success depends on continued efforts. Make more efforts. Main cause of failure is fading of inspiration. I am having these moments in my life when I have to put effort to meet my goals. The motivation and the resolution just slips away. How skillful you maintain your motivation is indeed an art.

That rage of fire is missing. I need that fire every minute in my life. Otherwise the game is over. I today went for walk as the weather was pleasant. Following things came to my mind as the reason for my sluggish progress.

1. Believing I can do everything - When I started my GMAT journey in April, I had only 4 goals for the next 6 months. First is 8 hours of sleep. Second is 2 hours of yoga, meditation and exercise. Third is 8 hours of duty in the plant. And fourth is devoting my remaining time for the preparation of GMAT and MBA apps. But over the time I started to get involved in other things. Like playing guitar, attending functions, watching a movie. People say taking occasional breaks is good but this is not working for me. I always think that today I will relax and from tomorrow I will be super disciplined. And it never happens. So the message is clear. Be BRUTALLY clear to your initial commitment and stick to it like fevicol. You have to SACRIFICE. There is no other option.

2. Forgetting my Failures - I was highly motivated to crack GMAT because of my previous failure in 2-3 affairs. Simply remembering my failing moments make me strong and more determined. I instantly forget all my pains and start putting more efforts.

So I am going to try these two actions items and watch the outcome. I have to study and finish one chapter from Manhattan SC guide everyday. Also on Monday I will be writing my first ever mock GMAT. So I will update the score that day. Now I should leave and study. Bye.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

And Essays

Today in the morning when I was feeling helpless, I started thinking about life after gmat. To calm my nerves, I started imagining that I have scored a perfect score in gmat. But the next step scared me. Application essays seem like an ocean with no predetermined formula or structure. In GMAT, I can quantify my progress and have a rock solid plan but for essays I had nothing.

To be honest essays are haunting me from last one month. I assume my fellow gmat-takers would agree that its difficult to focus just on gmat and not worry about the apps. People say to me about not worrying about them and just focusing on gmat. But I am not able to do that.

In my spare time especially in plant when production is happening smoothly, I tend to think about my achievements, my goals and my influences. I think think think but nothing concrete comes up. Also I am not able to pen down my thoughts because I am unsure what I am doing.

"Begin with the end in mind" - I remembered this line and realized I must understand the essence of admission essays. And right now I am totally clueless about it. Understanding the essence or core is more like a zen thing. Its like understanding poetry or philosophy or music. Only after a person has spend a considerable amount of hours spending on these things, they start to truly understand it.

After preparing for 1.5 years for CAT(Common Admission Test), I now truly understand CAT. After failing 3 job interviews in a row, I now truly understand interviews. After spending 4 years or so reading books about philosophy and spirituality, I truly understand it and after spending 20 years with 4 musical instruments(in an amateurish manner), I truly understand music(at least I think I understand).

I have started to understand GMAT too. But I am a new pupil for admission essays. So again the same line - "Begin with the end in mind" helped me. I have decided to read 3-4 sample admission essays daily to understand what end product I want. There is some pretty good material on the internet along with the adcom's comments. It really really helps. I can get a feel of its powerful impact just in one day when I went through 3 admission essays today morning.

My dear fellow GMAT takers, please try doing this and let me know your opinion...


Monday, May 9, 2011


My detailed plan is not working. Something or the other is coming up and breaking my concentration. Its summer and heat is unbearable. After finishing everything, I planned to sit for my study today at 9 and there was a power cut. Cannot study as I study from my laptop.
I got so frustrated. Got out at 11 and found one cafe opened. Now sitting there and contemplating the situation. Clearly this is a test and a pretty tough one. I got to keep going in spite of setbacks. Got to remember these lines in tough times

"For all your days prepare,
And meet them ever alike:
When you are the anvil, bear-
When you are the hammer, strike."

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Detailed Plan for MileStone-1

MileStone 1 – Finishing OG-12 (By 15th May 2011)
PS - 230
DS - 174
RC - 139
CR - 124
SC - 140

I am already done with some questions. So subtracting that, my target would be
PS - 198
DS - 140
RC - 131
CR - 114
SC - 105

With a total of 8 days with me, My daily target would be
PS - 25
DS - 18
RC - 17
CR - 15
SC - 13

AWA would be done on the off day. Also your first mock has to be taken on the off day.


Scholarships are great motivators. Beat the GMAT 2011 is having this scholarship for all the international applicants. I recommend everyone who is writing GMAT this year to apply for it.
I want to thank Beat the GMAT for encouraging students.


My itinerary is simple. I do not foresee any hiccups except one. And that would be this.
I am expecting the maximum damage to be of 6 days. And in those 6 days also I am hoping to get an hour or two to be in touch with the material.
I am allowing this interruption because it is very much in line with my goal and I have a plan for using this idea and starting a club in my dream college. My IT background plus experience in developing programs and games should help me here.

Take Off

Still not started properly with my preparation. There are some other chores which are keeping me from GMAT prep. Meanwhile I will share my study plan -

/* Taken from my gmat diary */

It is always advisable to start with the OG. Therefore my first milestone would be to finish OG-12. The second milestone would be to finish Manhattan’s material which would give me ample practice with the problems. I am targeting 8-10 mocks before the D-day. Mocks are going to start from 8th May 2011 onwards.

1. MileStone 1 – Finishing OG-12 (By 15th May 2011)
2. MileStone 2 – Finishing Manhattan’s Series(By 31st May 2011)
3. MileStone 3 – Finishing Princeton’s Material(By 15th June 2011)
4. MileStone 4 – Finishing Kaplan plus other Material(By 30th June 2011)
5. 8 Mocks(To be updated)
Accumulating Mocks -
2 gmatprep
1 manhattan
2 barron
1 veritas
Total 6 so far(To be updated)

I hope I stick to the plan and the schedule.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Beginning

Today I registered for the GMAT. I have been preparing for it for last one month. After skimming through OG and surfing through internet, I believe that GMAT can be cracked in 2 months. My D-Day is going to be 7th July, 2011
It is a feeling of satisfaction. Now the game is serious. I can feel the focus developing inside me.