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An MBA Admit to ISB with a 690 on the GMAT

Posted on March 18, 2016

In conversation with Kotnis Kollu, who scored a 690 on the GMAT and cracked an admit to ISB.


Could you tell us something about yourself?

I did my bachelors in Engineering from Hindustan college of Engineering, Chennai. Post that, I took up a Sales & Marketing job for a company called TurboTech, based out of Bangalore. I was responsible for the sales of steam turbines and spent about 3 years there.
Soon after that, I joined my family business called Medequip in 2014. We deal with Defense and Healthcare products and I am responsible for marketing and sales for defense products and HR activities with regard to Healthcare.
These roles gradually helped me develop an interest towards General Management.

What was your motivation behind doing an MBA?

One of my primary motivations was my interest in general management, sparked by my role in my family business.
I’ve never experienced the classroom concept of management education. Whatever I had learned so far was on the job and I knew that the general management perspective would help me run the show better.
Also, coming from a sales background, I knew how important networking was and this motivated me to apply for an MBA.

Can you tell us something about your GMAT prep? Were there any obstacles you had to face?

When I started preparing for the GMAT, the hardest sections for me were SC and CR. After attending an info session from CrackVerbal, I decided to take up the Verbal course in 2012.
Last year, I took up the live quant course by Junaid because it had been quite some time since I graduated, so I needed to brush up on quant.
For SC, certain key concepts stuck with me throughout the preparation phase. The process of elimination taught me to systematically eliminate answers based on the rules that were taught to us.
I extensively used this during my Prep and scored a 690 on the GMAT.

What material did you use to prepare for the GMAT?

I used the GMAT OG for Verbal and quant. The rest of it was the material from CrackVerbal. During the last month of my prep, I used the CrackVerbal advanced questions that were provided online.

How was your experience on the day of the exam?

I could have definitely done better on time management. In verbal, I assumed that I wouldn’t get more than 3 RC passages. I spent a lot of time for certain SC questions and didn’t have much time left towards the end.
I think it is very important to take practice tests which will help you understand the GMAT pattern better. Also, I think it’s very important not to let the performance in one section affect your mindset on the rest of the test. The essay on the other hand went really well.

What were the B-schools you applied to?

I applied to Great Lakes Institute of Management in Chennai and ISB and managed to secure an admission to ISB.

Congratulations! Could you tell us how exactly you went about the ISB application?

My first conversation with regard to applying into ISB was with Vijay. That one hour conversation really gave me a lot of clarity on thought- what to expect from my MBA and how to approach the application process.
What amazed me was the fact that, even though it wasn’t a paid service, CrackVerbal was generous enough to lend one whole hour to me. The conversation was really valuable and it definitely helped me widen my perspective on doing an MBA.

What do you think made you stand out in your essay?

The diversity quotient really worked for me. The fact that I came from a high value sales background and later shifted to a diversified general management role really stood out as a strength.
Also, certain activities during my engineering days like enrolment in NCC really helped me showcase myself better. As an added advantage, during my college tenure, I was selected for flying in the Tamil Nadu, All India NCC.
Also, in my final year, as a team we set out to build an aircraft. These points definitely helped make a good impression on my essay.

How was your interview experience at ISB? Was there any particular obstacle you had to face?

My interview went great and lasted for about 30 mins. It had all the standard questions like- ‘Why now? Why MBA? Why ISB?’ But obviously, they weren’t asked directly.
One thing that really helped me out was understanding what exactly went into the big chunk of my application.
Secondly, I had to stay confident. I think it’s very important to not get worked up by looking at people around you. Focus on your application and be able to convey that well enough to the AdCom panel. With all of that, I think you have a sure shot of getting in.

How was your experience with CrackVerbal?

The kind of support that I got from Arun really amazed me. When I enrolled in the Verbal class, CrackVerbal followed up on my GMAT prep at least once a month, asking if there was any way they could help and if I was able to put in the desired number of study hours. I think that motivation really helped me.
The entire eco system of CrackVerbal really wants you to succeed- that’s the USP of CrackVerbal. It’s not just what I picked up in the classroom- the whole experience was worthwhile.
I was never a serious student. But the kind of support and push that CrackVerbal gave me with regard to class videos, document and other material helped me prepare better for the exam.

We’re so glad to have helped!

Any words of wisdom for MBA aspirants out there?

For GMAT, I would say time management and enough practice will help you in the long run. Until and unless you book your slots, you’re not going to be in serious preparation mode. The earlier you book it, the better.
For MBA aspirants, I think it’s important to look back at everything you’ve learnt in school, college and from your work experience- if you really sit and introspect, you will surely find areas you’ve excelled in and if you’re able to present that really well, it will more or less guarantee an interview call.
Are you inspired by the story? Leave your comments below!
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    1. Hi Sylvi, Could you tell us in which area would you want help on? The GMAT or your MBA applications? It would help us serve you better if you could give us some more information about your GMAT prep progress, your scores and your mode of study.

      Thanks! Hope to hear from you soon!

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