Entrepreneurship/Family business

ISB Interview Exp. (Startup) : Manager at Silicon Valley Startup

This is the real ISB PGPPRO interview experience by a candidate who has 11 years of experience as a Software Engineer. He has a Master’s degree from The University of New Mexico.

ISB Interview Experience - Manager - SIlicon Valley

The ISB interview was conducted on February 12, 2022. As per the candidate’s information, there were three ISB PGPPRO alumni in the interview panel.

Interview dateFeb 12 2022
Work profileManager at Silicon Valley Startup
Re – Applicant?No
Interviewer’s Profile3 Interviewers, all PGP Pro Alum
Your Opinion on the approach of the interviewers and their key focusThe Interviewers were very friendly. They were professional in their approach and seemed like seasoned managers. The round was supposed to be 45 minutes but we went on for an hour. The conversation was very engaging and at the same time very thorough. 
Suggestions and Preparation Tips for Prospective StudentsIt’s very important for applicants to have a very clear goal about what they want to achieve from the course and why they need the course to achieve their long term goals. “I want to switch streams to marketing or finance” is not enough. Through the professional or personal journey thus far, the applicants should have displayed the passion and tangible accomplishments to support their next step. During preparation and mock interviews if taken, applicants should make sure they put their best foot forward. Being cheerful and engaged in the interview is a key factor. 

Q: You’ve had a very successful career in Engineering Management and in the Silicon valley, why would you like to do an MBA – given that you already have a M.S  from the USA?
A: I Informed them  about my short term goals and long term goals. I discussed how the coursework would help me quite a bit for my short term growth in my company and what I would like to learn. I also told them about my long term goals and how the MBA would help me with them.

Q: Then why did you choose to do your MBA in ISB?
A: I talked about how the class in ISB PGPPro is made up of a diverse set of top professionals from a variety of industries – and how it directly benefits my long term goals. I went over  my long term idea and how it was quintessential to work alongside the class and learn from their experiences.

Q: Now that you are planning to come back, don’t you see it hard to adapt to the Indian system and the way it’s done in India?
A: I talked about how that’s something I am keen on learning. Given that my entire professional life thus far was in the USA, I walked them through how the professional culture is different and how I can learn and give back – both in class and at my day job. 

Q: You talked about your long term goals, how does MBA help you in your short term goals?
A: I went on to explain how I would like to get to the senior levels of management and how the courses I take would help me. I also talked about the courses I plan on taking and how interaction with fellow students who are also managers can enlighten me about some of the strategies and processes I could use to grow within the company. 

Q: What’s your management style and how do you manage your team?
A: I explained to them my management style. I told them that I believe in being a peer, a mentor and a leader. I talked them through how I step inside the shoes of the other person when discussing anything. I also talked about how leaders have to be empathetic and cared. I told them that modern managers should be representatives of the team to the rest of the org and also be the representative of the company to the team. 

Q: PGPPro is going to be a very intensive course. Since you are planning to move to India and also grow your team in the current company, how do you think you will manage your personal, professional and academic life?
A: I talked about how I discussed it with  my management before applying to the course and gained their support. I also let them know that I have been with the same company for a long time so I knew the company and products enough that I won’t be required to spend too much time learning the know-hows in the company. I told them about how my support system in my family and professional network is strong and that I would have their support through the journey. 

Q: I read from your portfolio that you are hugely involved in the security compliance efforts in your company – can you walk us through it?
A: I walked them through the different things I do at my company regarding security compliance and audits

Q: What’s the biggest challenge you face in that process?
A: I discussed how the processes are not the most established in startups and how we have to establish them as we find lapses in it. 

Q: Let’s say you are about to acquire a top customer – but to close the deal, you have to cross the ethical boundaries of security and get it done. How would you react?
A: I told them that ethical boundaries of business should never be crossed. I told them that the repercussions of such a short sighted misstep can be large. Crossing such a line for a customer might cause audits to fail and thus would impact the company as a whole. It would tarnish the image of the company and would create irreparable damage. I told them that a good product will bring customers over time. 

Q: Outside of work, what are you?
A: I told them about my hobbies and how I was a motorcyclist and about my planned next adventure. I went on to give more personal details about myself. 

Q: Do you have any questions for us?
I asked about their experience at PGPPro. I asked them about how the programme transformed them as leaders and what changes they saw in their personal and professional approach.  

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