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Interview Date5th Nov, 2016
Work ProfileFamily Business/ 1 yearEngineering Services/ 2 years
Re-Applicant?No
Your Opinion on the approach of the interviewers and their key focusThe interviewers were friendly, smiling throughout. The tone was conversational. As a family business candidate, their key focus is to find out how well I know the market, the challenges faced, and a growth plan for the future.
Interviewers’ ProfileP1 – AdcomP2 – Alum

Qn: Tell us about your business.
A: We are a 25-year-old family business doing B2B sales & servicing of capital goods across India, catering to the chemical, pharma, plastics, paints, food processing, etc. industries. We have authorised distributors of several global brands of industrial equipment in India. We are based in Mumbai with a size of XXXX people.

Follow-up Qn: And what is your role in the business? What initiatives have you brought in?
A: I manage one of the product lines – a European brand used by several industries in their manufacturing operations – textile mills, printing presses, paper mills, electronics, etc. I oversee day-to-day operations in sales and business development. I manage a team of xxxxx sales engineers and XXXX service engineers. (Gave 2 examples of initiatives I have implemented to aid our sales engineers to target customers effectively and to train our service engineers to monitor existing customers efficiently. In last 1 year since I joined the company, my product sales have grown xx%)

Qn: Tell us some more numbers so that we can get a feel of your business.
A: I told them annual sales, number of customers, gross margin & net margin on our products, expected growth rate and target size for the next 5 years

Follow-up Qn: And how do you plan to achieve this growth?
A: I told them 3 specific strategies – growing geographically into new areas, adding new products to our portfolio, and providing engineering services to our customers.

Qn: And what do find different or challenging about working in a family business vs working for someone else?
A: More freedom and flexibility in working, but also more responsibility. I am responsible for the work of others so I understand the need to develop good leadership. Upskilling our employees is a major challenge we face. Another difference is direct accountability to customers as well as suppliers.

Qn: So tell us why you want to do an MBA?
A: Told them the skills I need to develop in order to grow the business, the weakness I want to overcome (eg – negotiation skills). Told them MBA is the fastest and most comprehensive path to developing those skills. Also, I can afford to take a year off from the family business as my parents look after day-to-day operations.

Follow-up Qn: Then why choose ISB?
A: Having already worked abroad, I don’t have the motivation to get international exposure again. My business is focused on India so it would help to go to a school where my peers are coming in with the experience of the Indian business landscape who can share their perspectives of doing business here. So in India, ISB is naturally the best choice with its great faculty, global ranking and diverse pool of students with industry experience.

Qn: Anything you want to ask us?
A: Not really, I already cleared my doubts at the info-session held in Mumbai few months back. Thank you.

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