Insights into the IIM Lucknow Executive MBA
In conversation with Sreejit Kurup who scored 760 on the GMAT and made it to IIM Lucknow for executive MBA.
What was your background like before you thought of doing an MBA?
I did my engineering in 1999 and have been working since. I had 12 years of work experience when I decided to do my GMAT. I was working with Oracle till then.
What prompted you to do an MBA at this point of time?
Although I was in a management oriented role at Oracle, I felt I needed a better understanding of how the various departments functioned, for instance the sales department’s responsibilities and why they are stakeholders in the business etc. This is what prompted me to do an MBA.
After being away from studies for so long, how did you deal with the preparation for your GMAT?
I initiated my GMAT prep with the OG. Later, I realized I would need some external stimulation for my prep. I signed up for classes with CrackVerbal and used their material to study for the test.
I had a schedule in place – I would take up each day at around 4:30 a.m. since I was a morning person, and study. I also took my GMAT mock test and the final test in the morning since that was most suited to me. I primarily focused on the Verbal section of the GMAT during my prep, since being an engineer, Quant was still manageable.
What was your final GMAT like?
My final GMAT was very tough. After the first few questions, the level of difficulty was quite high.
What score did you end up with?
I scored a 760 with 44 in Verbal and I think 49 or 50 in Quant.
That’s quite a good score! 🙂
You possessed very good work experience, an excellent score, and a clear-cut motivation – how did you go about choosing the schools you would like to apply to for an MBA?
I didn’t want to leave India so I chose ISB, IIM A, B, C &L. By the time I could apply, the deadlines for IIM A & C were over. That left me a choice between ISB and IIM L&B. I finally went along with IIM Lucknow.
The reason I decided on this was because I only had 12 years of work experience and I didn’t want to wait for another year to try my luck with the others. Also, though there are differences between the IIMs, they are still pretty much all in the same league.
How did you go about your application essays?
The essays essentially revolved around the past work experience, whatever questions there were, I tried to relate to my work experience and also added some aspects of my personal life. Further, the questions were focused on leadership skills and one’s attitude, I tried to bring that aspect out as well.
How did you go about preparing for the interview?
I got in touch with CrackVerbal at this point for the second time. They helped me get in touch with alumni of ISB and the IIMs. They helped me prep for my interview.
Did the mock interviews with CrackVerbal help you for your final interview or did the final interview seem very different?
The mock interviews definitely helped me with my final interview. Thanks to the mock interviews, I knew what sort of questions to expect, which is not easily done on your own. In fact I even recommended some of my friends to CrackVerbal after I learnt how critical they were to my final interview prep. 🙂
Most people don’t view IIMs on the same level as international B-schools. – do you feel Indian B-schools, for experienced professionals, somehow lag behind the international ones?
During my work, I attended some lectures at London Business School, this helped me experience their teaching methods.
Post work, I was with IIM, and after experiencing both spheres, I feel there is a difference especially in terms of the teaching style and the exposure one gains in an international scenario. Of course this is a very subjective thing.
You were with the IT industry prior to your MBA and felt you wanted to learn how other departments function. Did the MBA help you switch your function with ease?
Personally I don’t feel it helped me shift functions. Being in the IT field and then shifting to say a Finance domain, isn’t easy especially with the executive MBA programs. It’s quite rare to see people managing to shift since you are viewed as a fresher but companies will find it challenging to hire you as they can’t pay you like a fresher.
Your class would have had a much higher average work experience than say the PGP program, what was the average work experience?
Yes, the average work experience was around 9 years and I think it keeps increasing. This year it’s more than 9.
Do you feel IIM Lucknow managed to effectively place all of their students in their dream jobs?
Yes, placements were carried out well. The way I see it, some had their aspirations met, but most were just satisfied.
What advice would you like to give to future aspirants?
People who want to do such an MBA should properly research the program and understand what they will gain from it. There were a lot of people who came with very high expectations which were not met. One should definitely research the possibilities before they do an MBA.
There were some who realized after doing the MBA, that their work would have gotten them the same thing and the program was not needed.
People who simply want to gain knowledge will find this to be an excellent platform as the depth of knowledge that the faculty has is immense. We also have an Executive Fellowship Program at IIM Lucknow, which allows you to pursue research in a subject of your interest.
This program was something I found very helpful as well. It fine tunes your thought process and makes you consider all the little details. To me, this is not something I would have imbibed on my own. It certainly expands one’s horizons.
I also feel that post 10 years of work experience; it becomes very difficult to get placed. Some people come with a sabbatical option where they take some time off to study, without quitting. If that option exists, I think one should definitely opt for it.
Thank you for taking out the time to talk to us Sreejit! You have certainly given us some thought provoking ideas to share with our readers. 🙂
You’re welcome. I too felt it’s a good platform to get my experiences out so it can benefit people who are considering an MBA!
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