This is the real ISB interview experience of a candidate who has 4 years of work experience in Banking and Finance sector.
The ISB interview was conducted on February 27, 2016. As per the candidate’s information, there were two alumni in the interview panel. In his opinion, the interview was mainly focused on the work experience and career goal clarity.
|27th February, 2016
|M.Com, CA and CFA Level-1 with 4 years work-ex. A little more than 3 years at Ernst & Young (EY) LLP, Mumbai in the corporate and international tax division and 1 year in the family business in the corporate debt syndication domain.
|P1 – Alum
P2 – Alum
|Your Opinion on the approach of the interviewers and their key focus
|They look into the work-ex very deeply. Extremely focused on your post-MBA goals and its clarity.
Qn: So you live close by! It must be nice not to travel too far from home.
A: Yes, definitely. Came in a couple of hours early in order to settle my nerves and get an opportunity to interact with other applicants.
Qn: That’s good. So I’ve gone through your application. Can you run me through your application?
A: Mentioned about CA-Final, experience in CA internship while auditing banks such as PNB and BoI, global experience at EY in corporate and international tax, need for shifting to the family business and work-profile in a family business.
Qn: You have an interesting profile. Can you tell me about your experience where you assisted the wind power plant to reduce its interest cost?
A: Followed the STAR approach and explained how I helped my client reduce its interest cost by exchanging an Indian Rupee loan for a foreign currency (USD) loan.
Qn: Follow-up question on Hedge cost related to the USD loan and how much it impacts the client given the recent depreciation of Rupee against the dollar.
Qn: That’s interesting! It is good that the client had quite some buffer to cover up for the Hedge cost.
A: Oh yes! We selected *client name* specifically for getting a favourable Hedge cover. Though the client is covered for movement up to INR 68/ USD, beyond that rate, the client needs to shell out additional funds to cover for further depreciation.
Qn: Alright. So you seem to have done well at EY and are managing clients well in the family business. Why do you think you need an MBA now?
A: Mentioned about the whole transition from tax to debt finance. Need for private equity with a focus on solving operational issues my clients face presently.
Qn: I still don’t understand why you require an MBA?
A: Gave a backdrop of the present economic scenario in India – Impact of the devaluation of Chinese Yuan, falling exports and rising NPAs in public sector banks. Linked it with a need to solving operational problems that clients face to cut costs and increase turnover. How strategy consulting fits in well. Long-term – how PE funds require prior multi-functional and multi-sector expertise in strategy consulting for investing in portfolio companies.
Qn: So you want to get into PE in the long-term. Why ISB then? Why not a school in the US?
A: Explained the benefit of 1 year MBA, focus on India, how its helps given that my long-term goal is to come back into the family business that is India-centric.
Qn: So why not the USA? All major PE funds are based out of the USA. How does being in India help?
A: Yes, agreed. But ultimately even if the partner sits in the US, he needs to contact the Indian partner while investing in India. He can’t take decisions independently sitting in the US because problems are very India-focused that only the Indian PE team can understand and solve effectively.
Qn: I see that you stick with your beliefs. But why not attend the best schools in the USA? The PE industry is doing well there.
A: Explained how the portfolio faculty model ensures I get the optimum mix of global faculty with prior work-ex in those top schools amalgamated with the Indian ISB faculty. Gave examples of Professor Sarang Deo (at Kellogg before ISB) and Professor Raveendra Chittor (Strategy courses).
Qn: Do you know Professor XYZ at ISB?
A: No sir, I don’t know him but as I was mentioning, I don’t really see the need to go in the US when the faculty having taught in those schools come at ISB itself. It’s a perfect match of global pool with local Indian research.
Qn: Tell me something that’s not mentioned in your application.
A: I discussed a NGO project and how ISB will provide me an opportunity to develop leadership traits to take up a leadership position in the NGO project….The need to work across diverse teams, develop leadership skills and get an opportunity to apply them at ISB.
Qn: Why not do the reverse? Why don’t you join the project now, apply the skills there and then come to ISB?
A: Mentioned how I presently lack the skills needed to manage diverse and multiple teams on such a large scale. Discussed how debt finance and tax provides only a narrow outlook and need to widen my horizons. I wouldn’t want to take the risk to show my leadership position, just for the sake of taking the risk when I know I don’t possess that leadership ability at present.
Qn: You mentioned about conflict-management as something you look to develop while at ISB. Wouldn’t you have done that while managing a team at EY?
A: Explained the assignment where I did manage conflict amongst 14 overseas EY partners as a part of the newly set up GCR team at EY. How I convinced them to provide competitive bids in spite of facing opposing views by all the partners.
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