ISB 2011 Interview experience- IT/ Semiconductor background

Interview Experience 1

Profile: Semiconductor 5 years

I1 = 2006 Alum, I2 = 2004 Alum, I3 = Professor

I3: First time in Hyderabad? You like the campus?

Me: Yes, it is my first time. The campus is just amazing!

I1: You had a look around?

Me: Only after the interview … laughs all around

I1: Walk us through your responsibilities at your work, what things you do, what things are you good at?

Response Quality: Perfect

I talked about my responsibilities in previous company, why I left my previous company and responsibilities at current company.

I1: So you make products for the automotive applications. Is this the industry you are focusing on?

Response Quality: Good

I1: Give us an application which you have worked on.

Response Quality: Perfect

I gave the simplest example I knew.

I2: What made you transition to finance?

Response Quality: Good

First I said though I didn’t do an undergraduate course in Finance, but I always had an interest in. I wanted to know the nitty-gritties of finance, how mergers and acquisitions happen and things like that.

Then I said, now let me step back a little and tell you why do I believe I can do that. I talked about my technical experience, that I have worked in the industry and seen it from both perspectives i.e. I have worked in the EDA tool company as well as a semiconductor design company. Now I know how market requirements transform into design requirements, and how design requirements transform into requirements for EDA tools. Also, its not that I just want to go into finance, I have worked hard for it. I talked about NSE, CFA and FRM.

Now I have skill set which is an amalgamation of knowledge of technology industry and fundamentals of finance. But there are still two things lacking, 1) hands on exposure on the financial industry and 2) knowledge on how to effectively use both my skills together in a corporate finance role. That’s where MBA from ISB comes in picture.

I2: But my question was that what made you interested in finance? Why did you enroll in the CFA / FRM course in the first place. Why not marketing or consulting?

Response Quality: Good

I won’t say that I always had the interest in finance, to be honest … with a nice smile. I started with NSE certifications, then I got interested and enrolled in CFA and then FRM program. After doing all this, I understood that corporate finance is the role where I can apply my technology knowledge with finance concepts. Its not that I want to completely switch industry.

I2: So the best way would be to go back to your company?

Response Quality: Perfect

I will look forward to a corporate finance role in any technology company.

I1: What really is corporate finance?

Response Quality: Perfect

I talked about the roles in corporate finance.

I1: What makes a good corporate finance professional? What is the difference between an investment banker and corporate finance professional?

Response Quality: Good, but not what was asked

I will explain this with an example. As I want to move into a corporate finance role in a technology major, I will take the example of Micromax. Then I talked about its history, its growth, its financial numbers. Going forward I am sure that they will acquire smaller companies and there I can play a major role as I have knowledge of technology as well finance.

I3: But the question was what is the difference between investment banker and a corporate finance professional?

Response Quality: Good, but not what was asked.

When an investment banker is going to acquire a company, he is just looking into the financial aspects of the company, such as cash flows, financial leverage, valuation etc. But from a technology background, working in a technology major, I know the technical aspects as well i.e. when we are acquiring a company, what technology it has, how is gonna benefit us in the future, what innovations there are doing right now. So that ways I have an edge over the other guy

I1: The question is not specific to you.

Response Quality: Average

I said, though I don’t have enough knowledge on the roles of an investment banker, according to my knowledge, when an investment banker is looking to buy a company he is just looking at the financial aspects, so he is basically on the sell side. But the corporate finance guy will be on the buy side of it, i.e I have to buy a company, which one to choose, which one has a good future.

I1: What do you understand about the NPV analysis?

Response Quality: Perfect

I explained in one line about discounting future cash flows, current investment and then calculating NPV.

I1: How would you explain NPV to your grandmother?

Response Quality: Bad .I could have answered in a better way.

I1: What is a discount rate?

Response Quality: Average

I talked about WACC.

I2: We are not asking how to calculate discount rate, but what actually it is?

I1: Lets take ISB. Evaluate ISB as a project.

Response Quality: Average

I thought they are asking that studying MBA at ISB is a project, so I started answering about the loan I will take, the opportunity cost of leaving my job.

I1: No, what I mean is suppose we 3 are investing in a building of ISB. Now what is the discount rate.

Response Quality: Average

I talked about 3 sources of finance, debt, cash or equity and what rate will you apply for them.

I1: What is the equity return rate? We are not a publicly traded company.

Response Quality: Bad

I talked about the different models to calculate the equity rate of return.

I3: Suppose your marketing team comes up with a requirement for a chip with a $1 price. There is a lot of potential for that in the market. But your design team says, now we can not make it below $1.2. What will you do? You have to take a decision like a corporate finance professional.

Response Quality: Bad

I kept going here and there and kept saying that if the cost is more than the selling price, there is no use of producing that chip.

I3: What about Tata Nano? Its cost is 1.2 lacs and its selling for 1 lac. How?

Response Quality: Bad

I said the same thing, that if the project is not profitable there is no point in going ahead, unless you have committed to somebody and keep the brand name.

I3: So you mean, Ratan Tata took a wrong decision?

Response Quality: Bad

I kept messing up and said that Ratan Tata is a man of commitment.

I1: There is no point in decreasing shareholder’s value just for personal commitment. What do you think is the other reason behind the nano project?

Response Quality: Good

Finally I could think of the point they were looking for all this time. I said I am sure that with Nano, Tata is able to cover their variable costs, and in the long term they can cover their fixed costs. But if they are not able to cover even the variable costs, then their has to be a reason which only Ratan Tata knows … with a nice smile.

I1: May be he has gone old.

Response Quality: Good

I talked about Tata salt, how used to sell for no profit no loss and how they kicked captain cook out of the market and then again brought the prices back to no profit no loss, and praised Ratan Tata for his moral values.

I1: Plan-B?

Response Quality: Perfect

It has to corporate finance only. I will clear my CFA L-2 in June 2011 and complete the FRM program by the year end. I will also try to get some hands on exposure on the financial industry and then reapply to ISB next year.

I2: Why only financial industry? You can also move into a corporate finance role in your industry.

Response Quality: Good

Moving directly from technology background to corporate finance role is really difficult. Before that I need more exposure on the financial markets.

I1: If you get through ISB, and not land up in a corporate finance role?

Response Quality: Average

I will still remain in the technology industry and then in the long term move to corporate finance role.

I1: The challenge is that ISB is a diverse school and people will be there who are from corporate finance background. If they are gonna sit in the interview then the recruiter will prefer them.

Response Quality: Average

1. The guys from finance also don’t have CFA and FRM certifications. So I will be better on the finance fundamentals. 2. I have a skill set which an amalgamation of technology knowledge and finance, so that will be my plus point.

I2: That can be seen as a negative point also, as you have technology know-how, you can not take harsh decisions as a finance guy

Response Quality: Perfect

It will be a plus point as I know where the costs can be decreased.

I2: You have diverse interests. Which one is your favorite?

Response Quality: Perfect

Biking. I talked about PlanetWayRound. I also talked about India Bull Riders.

I1: Which bikes you have?

Response Quality: Perfect

I listed my 3 bikes. Then I said I hate driving 4-wheelers.

I3: But you guys drive the 4-wheelers mad .. laughs all around

Response Quality: Perfect

No. At India Bull Riders, the first thing we take care of is the road safety and following the rules and regulations. I joined the group just 6 months back, and I was promoted to the Sr. position because of the leadership I have shown. If anybody does anything irresponsible, we just expel him from the group.

I2: How many hours on the average you spend on bike?

Response Quality: Perfect

Sometimes 2-3 hours in a week, sometimes its 2-3 weeks continuous on bike. I have been to Leh, Kashmir and Rajasthan on my bike. I was also thinking of coming to Hyderabad on my bike, but with butterflies in the stomach, it was a bad idea … laughs all around

I1: Any questions for us?

Response Quality: Perfect

I showed my knowledge about the Fin club activities and ELP program and asked that what more steps will the CAS committee take to help me in the transition from technology to finance?

Handshakes and good byes …

Total Time: 30 minutes


Interview Experience 2

Profile: 4.5 years in IT Services & Semiconductor, GMAT: 690

There were two members in interview panel.

I1: Lady from Ad-com

I2: Alumni

Here are some of the interview questions:

After formal greetings, they started with my college experience.

1. So you are from XYZ College. How did you get admission to college (as college had changed the admission process sometime back)?

2. How was your experience in college?

3. What are your job responsibilities at work place?

4. How do you manage your team? How do you assign the tasks to team members? (As I had mentioned in my essays that I have led different teams)

5. (There was a cross question on this as I said that I will assign the task on the basis of expertise and criticality)

How do you make sure that there is no gap in team, if any critical member of your team leaves the company?

6. What techniques/measures do you take to keep the team motivated and focused?

7. How do you rate your team compare to other teams in your company? Tell us about some achievements which your team has accomplished.

8. What are your post-MBA goals?

9. (I talked about my product consulting role in High-Tech industry after MBA)

So can’t you achieve the same goal being in the current position and company?

10. Who are the major competitors to your company? If given the chance, which company would you join after MBA?

11. Briefly tell us about your initiative. (As I had mentioned about my initiative)

12. What were your roles and responsibilities?

13. What is the revenue model of your business venture?

14. Then they asked about my hobbies. I had mentioned that Indian traditions fascinate me.

So they asked what do you like about Indian traditions/culture.

15. Do you have any questions for us?

Most of the questions were asked by Ad-com lady. And at several occasions, there were cross questions.

Environment was quite friendly and stress-free.

Total Duration: 20-25 Minutes.

ISB YLP -Young Leaders Program admission process, structure, deadlines

ISB YLPYoung Leaders Program

ISB introduces a first-of-its-kind initiative in India, the Young Leaders Program (YLP) for undergraduate students, and your platform to take the first step towards becoming a global leader in the corporate world.

YLP provides guaranteed admission to a future, much sought after, One Year Post Graduate Program(PGP) at ISB, contingent upon completion of one year and nine months of work experience.

Key benefits of this Program

During YLP you are not only encouraged to learn and apply the knowledge so gained at your workplace. The program also accelerates career growth during the two pre-PGP years vide structured cutting edge learning and mentorship programs and concludes with admission to the PGP in Management.

The youngsters who make it to this program enjoy the following benefits;

  • Guaranteed Admission into the one year PGP: The admit, during his final undergraduate year, will secure admission into the future PGP, contingent upon completion of one year and nine months of work experience.
  • Cutting edge Learning and Mentorship Program:
  • The admit will be mentored by experienced ISB counselors to enable him/her navigate his/her career path during the two pre-PGP years.
  • During his/her work tenure, the admit will be attending four intensive weekend programs on the ISB Campus at a gap of six months each.
  • YLP Scholarship: Each youngster who makes it to this program, will be granted a YLP scholarship of ` 1 Lac, in addition to the existing need, merit and corporate scholarships which all PGP students contest for.
  • Build Network: The admits will be connected to a group of YLP peers-like minded high-end achievers – as well as the ISB student community and alumni. Admits can interact, share their experiences and build a network for life.

Program Structure

March – Pre-final year Apply to Stage 1 of YLP
July – Final year Shortlisted candidates to apply to Stage 2 with GMAT scores
September – Final year Final Selection Process on campus
October – Final year Admission Offers
Summer – Year 1 of work Attend YLP Learning Weekend 1, complete graduation and start your job
Winter – Year 1 of work Attend YLP Learning Weekend 2
Summer – Year 2 of work Attend YLP Learning Weekend 3
Winter – Year 2 of work Attend YLP Learning Weekend 4
Winter – Year 2 of work Apply for ISB scholarship and attend interview
April – Year 2 of work Join ISB PGP*

YLP admits unable to complete 1 year and 9 months of work experience by April, year 2, have an option to join by April, year 3.


Application Process

Fundamental Essentials: To be considered for admission, an applicant must be in his/her pre-final year of graduation.



Application process – Stage 1

Candidates applying to Stage 1 will need to submit: Application form, One essay and Application fee

Application process – Stage 2

Candidates shortlisted from Stage 1 will then be asked to submit: GMAT / GRE score, Two essays & One Evaluation

Application process – Stage 3

Candidates shortlisted from Stage 2 will be invited to the ISB campus for the Final Selection Process which will include an interview.
The YLP admit, in year 2 of work, will be entitled to contest for a merit based scholarship (and a need based scholarship, where applicable) vide a separate application and interview process.

Admission Calendar

September 15 – October 15, 2017​

Important Deadlines
Stage 1 March 25, 2017
Stage 2 August 31, 2017
Stage 3 September 15 – October 15, 2017
Results October 31, 2017

ISB essay questions 2012

The deadlines for the two rounds of admission are as follows:

Cycle 1
Application Deadline: September 15, 2011
Offer Date: By November 15, 2011

Cycle 2
Application Deadline: November 30, 2011
Offer Date: By February 15, 2012

All deadlines are 23:59:59 Hrs Indian Time.

These deadlines are for Indian passport holders. For international applicants (those holding non-Indian passport), ISB follows a rolling admissions process, the timeframe to apply for which is from April 8, 2011 till January 15, 2012. The application fee for the program is INR 3000 or USD 60. For re-applicants, the application fee is INR 1000.

ISB Essays 2012
There are 3 mandatory essays, as usual and one additional essay for re-applicants. The essay topics for 2011-2012 application have also been published and are as follows:

ISB Essay 1
Please detail, your two most significant achievements. These could be either professional or personal but relevant to your application to the ISB. (300 words max)

ISB Essay 2
Where do you see yourself three years after you graduate from the ISB? (300 words max)

ISB Essay 3
Please provide additional information, that will significantly affect the consideration of your application to the ISB. (300 words max)

All the 3 essays are required essays and exceeding the word limit is strictly not allowed.

ISB essays 2012 ( for class of 2013)

The deadlines for the two rounds of admission are as follows:

Cycle 1 Cycle 2
Application Deadline September 15, 2011 November 30, 2011
Offer Date By November 15, 2011 By February 15, 2012
Acceptance Date 15 days from the date of the offer 15 days from the date of the offer

All deadlines are 23:59:59 Hrs Indian Time.

These deadlines are for Indian passport holders. For international applicants (those holding non-Indian passport), ISB follows a rolling admissions process, the timeframe to apply for which is from April 8, 2011 till January 15, 2012. The application fee for the program is INR 3000 or USD 60. For re-applicants, the application fee is INR 1000.

ISB Essays 2012
There are 3 mandatory essays, as usual and one additional essay for re-applicants. The essay topics for 2011-2012 application have also been published and are as follows:

ISB Essay 1
Please detail, your two most significant achievements. These could be either professional or personal but relevant to your application to the ISB. (300 words max)

Essay tips:

Remember to focus on the two underlined words: significant and relevant. When we say significant we’re talking about something that you are really proud of, something that stands out in 25 or so years of your existence. The second word ‘relevant’ is a little bit tricky. ISB would get thousands of applicants for a few hundred seats every year. By mentioning the word ‘relevant’ the admission committee wants your help in making its lives simpler. Relevant means something that showcases the qualities that the Adcom looks for in an ISB admit (leadership, analytical, sharp etal). For e.g.

a) Single handedly managing an important company project reflects leadership, people’s skill

b) 800 on GMAT (yes, it is possible!) shows tremendous analytical prowess

Having said that the fact that you won the gully cricket player of the tournament isn’t too important for the ISB Adcom. It’s important that you filter your achievements on both these parameters: significant and relevant. Additionally it is important that you do not repeat an achievement, which is apparent from your application, unless you think it worthy of occupying another 300 words, in which case make sure you really bring the experience live.

ISB Essay 2

Where do you see yourself three years after you graduate from the ISB? (300 words max)

Essay tips:

Most of the people I know from ISB, are doing fairly good for themselves three years after they graduate, but none of them is running a successful hedge fund, or running a 1000 crore company (except may be if they were already doing so pre ISB). The point is you need to be realistic when responding to the essay. At no point will the Adcom be impressed with the size of your aspiration, what they are looking for is how sure you are of what you want from ISB and convincing are you in you in your story to reach that end goal. It is important you think for several hours, even days to what you really want from ISB and then realistically extrapolate where you are currently (in terms of career, skills) to a SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound) goal.

ISB Essay 3
Please provide additional information, that will significantly affect the consideration of your application to the ISB. (300 words max)

Essay tips:

This is your chance to speak about something that you have not been able to talk about in the application. Your best bet here is to pick up a compelling story about an event or achievement that has defined you. The filters remain the same ‘significant’ and ‘relevant’. This essay may also be used as a bridge to bring back the reviewer to the foundation of your personality. So essentially this essay serves either of two purposes:

a) To help you reveal a part of you that has not been mentioned anywhere. Some candidates try and justify a weakness (say two JEE attempts or really poor grades). But be careful, in that way you may bring unwarranted attention to your weak point that the Adcom may not have considered. In that sense it is a double edged sword.

b) To reinforce to the Adcom certain strength of yours.

In both the cases try not to repeat, what the Adcom already knows.

Ideally the first two essays are the big hurdles. The third essay in most cases would not be the deal breaker; it would be an interesting point for the interview stage. Nevertheless if used wisely, the third essay can help you significantly strengthen your application.

All the 3 essays are required essays and exceeding the word limit is strictly not allowed.

ISB interview experience 2011 ( class of 2012)

ISB Interview Experience 1

Profile: Indian/ Male, Research & Analytics (for class entering in 2011- R2)

I was interviewed at Delhi by panel of three.

1) First question: social Responsibility: I clearly mentioned abt my social work I did and the learning from it in essay three. I had mentioned the time lines as 2004-2008. They started off so whats with bankers and social work. My reply was simple. I used to actively work in this area but post 2008 I have stopped working. But since I do want to contribute I contribute monetary and that is what I would do going forward since I want to concentrate on my career/family for next 5 years. But I do contribute to a particular school and follow it up religiously as to how is the money used to that they said so u r not doing any socially responsible work. to that I mentioned that first appreciate the fact that I have written that I used to work actively and now contribute monetary and second I have just chosen another route to contribute to social cause.
2) Tell us about a difficult situation / failure u had and why?

3) Third question on my career: u want to say in the same industry and almost similiar role then why MBA? To which I answered that MBA could just accelerate my career growth. They asked then what if u dont get through to which I replied I might take a little longer to reach to the level I want without an MBA.

4) Fourth question: Your salary is currently way above what average salary ISB offers: why join at all? I said it was more about the role and my plans to stay in India. To which they asked everyone says that. To which I answered I left a London job with salary in pounds to come back to India in the same company. It shows that I really care abt the role and not the salary. Cross questioned again: so u won’t take up a job in Goldman Sachs?

To which I answered with a pause of 5 secs? where in India? and gave that idiotic smile!

Cross question: u will take a loan for ISB / Repharsed to will u take a loan. Answer: no so that line of cross questioning ended there.

5) Why ISB? Simple answer provides me world class education in India at very low cost to brand ratio

6) Which companies r u targeting?

7) What company do u want to start? Just mentioned that I want to start a algorithmics trading firm in 3-4 years of time after networking in the industry.

These questions were all mixed up.

To be honest I think I was little off the mark by using couple of sentences: “please let me finish” and “appreciate the fact that I have clearly stated that I don’t do the social responsibility part now actively”.


ISB Interview Experience 2

GMAT: 670, Profile: Indian/ Male, Automobile Industry : Sales & Marketing.

My essay topic : Motivation.

There were two person in panel Lady ‘L’ and Sir ‘S’

My interview started on an informal note, while L came to invite me to interview room , while walking through the lobby she asked me which car I drive and then while discussing it we enter room.

Formal Introduction, I was offered a sit, and the discussion continued.

S: Which Car you prefer to buy?

Ans: I gave all funda about what one need to see while buying a car.

S: Asked me about profitability of the business for dealership in sales etc.

Ans: Gave ans as per data.

S: Asked about my sales targets and all.


S: What will you do if I double your target, and gave three options.


S: Few more question about my profile and more about my job profile.


S: Talk about nano.


In between one question came in about what I will do after my MBA.

Ans: Gave the funda.

L: So , you were President of college, what was election procedure?


L What significant work you did as president. .

Answered .

S: Why does Electric vehicle failed in India?

This was a turning point as I myself have worked over an electric vehicle. So gave him short comings of electrical vehicle and introduced my innovation. Till now approx 15- 18 mins has passed.

S: Lots of questions about vehicle , its technology , current status, commercial viability etc etc etc.


S : So why mba ,why not work on my innovation.

In between L asked when did u get time to work over it.


L : So what do you do in your leisure time?


Any question.

I had a genuine question about ELP asked them and they replied .


ISB Interview Experience 3

My interview was at the Taj Palace, Delhi. As soon as I arrived, I was given the customary essay to write. The word was ‘orange’. The waiting room was a little tense but soon, thanks to some enterprising applicants, there was much mirth and gossiping. Interviewers flocked in into the waiting room from time to time to escort the candidates to the interview room. However, I was called into the interview room through the intercom.

There were three members in the panel. Since they only introduced themselves with their names, I think they were probably

A. one lady, probably alum

B. one prof

C. one either prof or adcom member or alum.

Shake hands and interview starts.

Prof B: How has the morning been?

Me: Its been a cold day so far.

Prof B: So Mr. P, have you prepared for the interview? How have you been spending your time?

Me: I would be lying if I said I haven’t prepared. Just some standard questions.

Prof B with an evil grin: Hahaha. We’ll stay off those kind of questions today.

Me: <choked to death>

There was a barrage of questions after this related to my work about which I had written in my app. Didn’t carry through too well.

Questions on hobbies, can my company sponsor my MBA, what I am going to do post MBA.

And finally, the ‘Any questions for us’.

Ended on a nice note. But it would have been so much better if I could have answered the work profile questions better.


ISB Interview Experience 4

Profile: IT Male, 8 yrs exp, GMAT 670

Alumni 1 (A1) , Adcom1 (Ad1), Adcom (Ad2).. Ad2 didn’t ask any questions.
The essay word was “profit”
A1. What is wrong with TCS? Why MBA after so many years. ( 8 yrs of experience) ?
A. told them about my long term goal of starting my own enterprise..etc. etc.. etc..
Ad1. You said that when everyone was shying away from the government project u joined it. y? ( I wrote in my essay that the project I joined was marred by delays)?
A. told them how adventurous I am and how govt. experience could have give me the much needed diversity
Ad1. What is it working in a government sector and tell me the challenges u faced?
A told them about the challenges..
Ad1. What are the 3 most challenging situations u have faced in last 8 years of your work.
A. I didn’t prepare 3, I prepared 2. but somehow when I was explaining the second one the discussion went into different direction.. thankfully.
Ad1. Case Question ( you are a senior official in goverment land allocation project in Andra Pradesh and you have to implement an IT system. ? How will you go about it.?
A. . I will hire someone like Mr. Nandan Nilekani who is an expert in this area.. couple of other points
Ad1. You have worked in London, how was it different from working in the government sector?
A. some generic stuff.. they are more managed in london etc.
Ad1. What is basel2 ( I worked in lloyds bank, london)?
Ad1. You are six sigma certified? what is six sigma?
Ad1. Can such quality processes improve the systems?
A. I said they can but in india we dont follow process very well
Ad1. And why do you think so?
I talked about cost to quality and stuff.. we are not serious about IT because it is not mission critical
Ad1. You must have read about the Citibank fraud? Can IT system prevent such frauds?
A. We can prevent frauds upto a limit..but cannot control people’s intentions..
A1. How is the chinese restaurant doing ( I told in my essay that I helped my friend with opening the restaurant)?
A: I told its not doing good.
A1. What are the problems and what are your suggestions about it..?
A1. Do you have any questions for us. ?