Kiran C of CEC 2003 batch conducted an e-mail interview with Ms. Swetha Sunder of CEC 2003 batch, the latter having been offered admission at the prestigious Indian School of Business (ISB). It’s my pleasure to share with you the same as hereunder. This, hopefully, will be useful to the students who seek admission at ISB or the institutions of the sort. Thanks to Ms. Swetha for her time and to Kiran for conducting the interview for us.
1) Could you tell a few things about yourself?
I am Swetha – A computer Science engineer from CEC 2003 batch. My paternal side hails from Palakkad and my mother from Tamil Nadu .I did my schooling in Trivandrum , Bangalore and Mumbai .Post CEC, I worked in Cognizant , Infosys and IBM with a total work-ex of close to 10 years. I am married to Sunder (A hardcore sales and marketing professional) and blessed with 2 cherubic boys – Kaustubh and Mukund.
2) How was life and work in in CTS, Infy and IBM? Why did you decide to leave tech?
I have had a wonderful learning experience in all the firms and engagements that I worked in. All these 3 organizations provide a very solid learning ground for freshers and open out many growth opportunities within a short period of time.
Though I am a mainframe professional, I had the opportunity to work on a diverse range of assignments – from business re-engineering to hard core development work . This exposure helped me understand the career options available to me as a techie and thus reinforced my decision to pursue an MBA.
3) Why did you decide to pursue an MBA after 10 years and two children?
Right after my graduation, I knew I wanted to do an MBA. But then the question was – When, Where and a clear Why .I was campus placed in S7 and so wanted to experience work for a few years. Then I prioritized on personal commitments like marriage and children. But the MBA plan was still on my mind. All my answers for an MBA fell in place now: I have the required industry experience and maturity to benefit from a management program; I am clear on what I am looking for when I embark on this journey and what I want out of it!
4) How will your family adjust to this?
Yes, its going to be a challenging time for all of us – my husband , 2 kids and of course me J However, the good part is that ISB PGP is only a 11 month program so even before we really get used to not being together , I will be back home . We plan to relocate to Hyd as a family and that should give us decent time for each other – though I will be in the campus. BTW, ISB has a good studio accommodation for married students – so that’s one more option I can choose to utilize!
5) Why did you choose ISB?
One, at this point I am looking at only a 1 yr pgm, given my years of industry experience. Two, ISB is known to have the best infrastructure, world class faculty, tie-ups with top international B-Schools and a diverse peer group – which are essential ingredients of a good management program/school. Three, ISB has a very active entrepreneurship club and somewhere there is an entrepreneurial bug in me .So to me, ISB is a good starting point to really start creating a roadmap for my long term goal.
6) What are the admission requirements at ISB?
For the ISB’s flagship PGP program: A decent competitive GMAT score, good consistent academics and decent extracurriculars. Full timeWork-ex of at least 2 yrs (this could be running your own business too! In fact, the entrepreneurs are welcomed even more…)
Pls refer to: http://www.isb.edu/pgp/admissions/admission-prerequisites
7) What did you think worked in your favour to secure an admit at ISB?
I believe that through my essays (part of the application) and during my interview, I could clearly articulate my rationale to pursue an MBA after 10 yrs of work-ex and my reason to choose ISB. Although, ISB values diversity in its student pool, you still need to have a spark/uniqueness in your profile to make it through .
8) Some IIMs give extra marks to women to encourage them to pursue an MBA, does ISB have a similar policy?
Well, extra marks…I am not sure about that. But if you are a strong woman applicant, you definitely have a better chance of making it to ISB due to the diversity factor. If you really think about it, almost every organization is talking about diversity hiring and balanced workforce now – so this is a great time for women to go all out and pursue their dream job J
9) What is your ambition in life? And how is this MBA going to help that?
My long term goal is to help promote grass root products in India and to create sustainable livelihood opportunities for rural households. I believe that this program will bring in a multidimensional approach to the way I think and provide exposure to various aspects of running a business – both of which are critical in the roadmap to my goal.
10) What are your fears and expectations from this course? How are you preparing for the grind?
I know that the 11 months, starting from April 2014, is going to be a roller –coaster ride for me. One, the ISB PGP has all the critical ingredients of a regular 2 yr MBA packaged into a lesser time frame and so bound to be hectic. Second, its been 10 yrs since I led a student life…so its going to be a challenge to unlearn and learn a few things J In terms of preparation, I plan to go there with a very open mind to assimilate as much as I can, from all avenues at ISB .
11) What fond memories do you have about life in CEC?
4 yrs at CEC have been the most extra-ordinary yrs of my life –also the most transforming ones in a way for me, as a person. CEC is a place which has given me friends who will last me a lifetime and beyond, a place where I learnt to think beyond myself and helped me become a more adaptive and flexible person.
12) First Step towards ISB?
ISB conducts admission information sessions almost all through the year in Tier-1 cities in India and a few international locations. These sessions are extremely informative to a prospective applicant to understand the admission process and provide an opportunity to interact with ISB Alum and the Admissions office. Being a part of this session gives you an insight on what to expect from the ISB PGP program and thus facilitates you to determine if it fits in your plan for your life.
Arunanand T A