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An Indian Engineer’s Journey to 5 Top MBA Progarms, including HBS

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An Indian Engineer’s Journey to 5 Top MBA Progarms, including HBS  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 07 May 2018, 08:25
Poonam, founder and president of myEssayReview, is publishing interviews of her most recent successful students. This is the latest in the series. Here is a chat with Mansi, who was accepted into 5 top MBA programs –Kellogg, Wharton, INSEAD, Stanford, and Harvard. Mansi is headed to Harvard, her dream school.

Mansi’s interview will be published in 4 parts wherein she will share her background, goals, reasons to pursue MBA, unwavering preference for HBS, application strategy and preparation, advice on video essays, and much more


Part 1


And now Presenting Part 1 of Mansi’s interview wherein she discusses her background, Why MBA, career goals, and her preference for Harvard.

Poonam: Congratulations on getting admit offers from 5 top schools- Kellogg, Wharton, INSEAD, Stanford, and Harvard. This is phenomenal success. How does it feel?

Mansi: Thank you so much. Congratulations to you as well. I feel privileged and lucky as well.
Poonam: Thank you. You are being modest. You have worked hard for it.

Mansi: Yes, we have worked hard for it.

Poonam: Sure, we did. Thank you. Can you tell something about yourself? What and where did you study as an undergrad? And what do you do now?

Mansi: For sure. I was born and brought up in Chandigarh, a town in India. I graduated from IIT Delhi in 2012. And after that I joined oil and gas industry. I worked for Schlumberger in India and Indonesia for a couple of years. Then I joined Cairn which is an oil and gas company based out of India. For the last 3.5 years, I have been working with this company in planning and construction. Overall my total number of years of experience is 5.5 years.

Poonam: When did you start thinking about MBA? Why now?

Mansi: I started thinking about MBA seriously right after graduating from IIT. But first, I wanted to get right amount of work experience required for a business school. I took my first GMAT exam while I was in Schlumberger, but I wasn’t very serious about it and could not pursue my MBA plans back then due to my hectic work schedule. About three years back, I started thinking seriously and took conscious steps in my career to gain a holistic view of my industry. For example, I moved from an oil and service provider to an operator company. Also, I tried a business planning role, which further helped me to understand the oil and gas business.

Poonam: Good. What are your career goals?

Mansi: Post MBA, I want to pursue strategy consulting with a global consulting firm such as Mckinsey and BCG for a few years. The diverse and global experience that I will get through strategy consulting will also help me to accelerate my learning and career growth. Down the line, I envision myself as a leader in the Oil and Gas Industry itself. I see myself in more of a General Management strategy role which I am sure Harvard will give me ample opportunities for.

Poonam: You applied to Kellogg, INSEAD, Wharton, Stanford, and Harvard, and you are accepted by all of them. You are going to Harvard. Usually people debate between two equally great schools, but you had your heart set on Harvard. You were always very clear that you will go to Harvard. How is Harvard your dream school?

Mansi: Absolutely correct. I am really thankful that I got through all these schools. All these schools are really great in their own way. But yes, my dream school has always been Harvard. When I started my preparation, I wrote on a piece of paper HBS and put that on the wall. And every single day, I will look at that paper on the wall and aim for. I felt connected to HBS when I saw that my college seniors who went to HBS were making an impact in their respective industries. Their example inspired me the most to move towards Harvard. That is why Harvard was always my dream school. In addition, the case study method of Harvard appeals the most to me. Yes, I am clear about going to Harvard, my dream school.

Poonam: I am glad your dream has come true.

Note: Stay tuned to Mansi’s interview Part 2 wherein she talks about her application strategy, planning and preparation that led to her amazing success.

This interview was first published in myEssayReview blog. http://myessayreview.com/student-interv ... l-harvard/


For questions, email Poonam at poonam@myessayreview.com
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Originally posted by myEssayReview on 26 Apr 2018, 11:00.
Last edited by Narenn on 07 May 2018, 08:25, edited 1 time in total.
Combined all parts of the interview in one thread.
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Re: An Indian Engineer’s Journey to 5 Top MBA Progarms, including HBS  [#permalink]

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New post 07 May 2018, 08:19

Part 2



Here is Part 2 of the interview wherein Mansi shares her application strategy, planning, and preparation that led to her phenomenal success.

Poonam: Mansi, you started preparing for your application pretty early in the game. I remember you reached out to me in July, 2017. We started working in July and we wrapped up all the applications by December end. Can you share your application strategy, your planning, and preparation with the prospective applicants?

Mansi: Yes Poonam, as you rightly said, I started preparing for GMAT in March, and I took my GMAT in June. And then I took a couple of weeks to decide about the schools, which schools should I apply in Round I, which schools in Round II, and then of course come down to my Consultant. The first part of my strategy was doing away with GMAT and getting a score that I would not have to think about second attempt. I gave my best and earned a good score.

Poonam: You got stellar GMAT score. Can you please tell the viewers your GMAT score?

Mansi: Sure. I scored 770. I was expecting somewhere around 740, 750. I think by the last week of preparation, I brought it up to 770. I then kept it aside and didn’t have second thoughts about retaking it.

After GMAT, the second part of the strategy was actually to decide the consultant. I knew that I wanted one. And to be honest, Poonam, I will not be just praising you blindly, but it was a tough decision. I had talked to five six consultants, and by the time I reached out to you, I was totally disheartened, as all the consultants I had talked to were very discouraging. I am not sure what their strategy was, but they were extremely discouraging. What I really liked about you was when I told you my experience; you were very supportive and encouraging. You encouraged me to apply to all the top schools including my dream school Harvard. So I think that choosing a right consultant is very important. As for me, I like to have positive encouraging people around me, I cannot function well when people around me try to pull me down and vice a versa. So the second part of the strategy was choosing the right consultant. You have given me enough time and you have gone beyond your comfort zone, holidays, during your travel, and being in different time zone, you were always extremely supportive and positive.

And then the third thing was finalizing target schools and dividing them between Round I and Round II. Though I started early, but still, I had just two months for Round I, July and August, Harvard deadline was early September, was really keen on applying to Harvard in Round I, but I remember you advised me to apply to Harvard in Round II. To be honest, that was the best suggestion from you till date. Even now I am sure that had I applied to Harvard in Round I, I could not have made it. I was very eager and very ambitious. At that time, I was really pissed off at your suggestion.

Poonam: I know you did not like my suggestion at that time.

Mansi : Yes. honestly, I was pissed off, but now I just can’t thank you enough for that advice. It gave me extra time to work on the stories, have that confidence in myself, think about goals and where I want to be. I think that was the one of best decisions I have ever made. I wanted to apply to Harvard, INSEAD, Stanford, Wharton, and Kellogg. And the essays of Harvard and Stanford are tougher than other schools’ essays in the sense that they are not direct. They do not ask why HBS, or why Stanford; they really ask about you. So I moved these schools to Round II. Also INSEAD’s application is very long. In no way it could have been done in month or two months. So I moved INSEAD also to Round II and applied to only Wharton and Kellogg in Round I. I remember that by the end of entire application process, we even discussed that the way we structured and distributed the schools did really made a good sense for us to have enough time for each of the school. So the third part of the strategy was to distribute schools in different rounds to have enough time for preparing each of the applications.

Poonam: Absolutely.
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Re: An Indian Engineer’s Journey to 5 Top MBA Progarms, including HBS  [#permalink]

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New post 07 May 2018, 08:21

Part 3



Now presenting Part 3 of the interview wherein Mansi shares the most challenging part of the application process and how she overcame that challenge. Mansi also offers her advice on video essays.

Poonam: Looking back, what was the most challenging aspect of the admission process? How did you overcome that challenge?

Mansi: The most challenging part of the entire process would be introspection. It is not about building some kind of profile for the business schools but actually thinking through your stories and diving deep into yourself and deciding what you really want out of your education and life. I think that was the most important and critical part. It initially was very challenging, but as I started diving deep, discussing with my friends and family, and with you, I got a good perception of what others think about me, what I think about myself and how to match it. If it is same, then it is good, if not, then I have to think how to bridge it.
I think the most challenging part was building my story and having that confidence to present my story, especially for Harvard and Stanford essays. To me, brainstorming ideas and writing essays was the one of the most critical part. I suggest that instead of asking what ad com want to hear, take your time, say a month or two months and dig deep into your stories and decide what you want to present to the Ad Com.

Poonam: This is immensely valuable advice, Mansi. How about video essays? I think video essays are also very challenging.

Mansi: Of course. You have to go in to minor details about the application. I really cried after Kellogg’s video essays. That was the first video essay I did, so I was very stressed out. I think my Kellogg’s video essay did not go well, and I am not sure why. I prepared a list of 50 to 60 questions and memorized the answers for all the video essays which now I think I should not have done. I remember you always advised me to be spontaneous. But when those three questions appeared on the screen, I was really taken aback. I did not know what to say. First 10 to 20 seconds I was just staring at the screen blankly and did not know what to say, I was not prepared for the spontaneity.

So I think, being yourself, being calm, and being stress free helps you to be able to think in those 20 seconds that you get for your response. So if you are stressed, you will just lose those 20 seconds in a blink and will not know what to answer. If you are calm, then you will have time to look for two to three points, and then discuss it in two or three lines. Sixty seconds are not much; even if you say three lines, the time is gone. The questions are very simple, simple in a way that something you can relate to in your everyday life. For example, introduce yourself or talk about your hobby, or a global problem that you are concerned about. These are pretty simple questions, and if you think calmly, you can easily get to the questions and the answers, but if you are stressed out, then it is not easy.

Poonam: Exactly, confidence and calm approach is the key to doing well in video questions.

Mansi: My experience with INSEAD video essays was totally different. I submitted my application, and a couple of hours later, I dressed up in my business suit and submitted the video essays as well. INSEAD video essays went so smoothly because I had learned enough from my experience of Kellogg’s video essays. So I suggest that applicants should just be prepared for the important questions which you would be for any interview, such as ‘why MBA’, ‘why this school’, ‘what are your short term, and long term goals’ etc. For the other questions, you cannot have a list. Just be prepared for being stress free and spontaneous and you will be fine.

Poonam: It’s true that Kellogg’s video essays prepared you for INSEAD video essays.

Mansi: Exactly. INSEAD was a cake walk after Kellogg’s video essay.

Poonam: Absolutely.
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New post 07 May 2018, 08:23

Part 4



Now presenting the concluding part of the interview wherein Mansi shares her success mantra and her personal interests and hobbies.

Poonam: What is the Mantra of your astounding success? Not many people are able to achieve what you have achieved. That is why I would like to know about the Mantra of your phenomenal success.

Mansi: That is a tough one. I think everyone will have their own set of ways to achieve their goal. For me, number one mantra is hard work. In life, there is no short cut to success. It is the way you look at things. You have to have sleepless nights, and long days, and give enough time to achieve your goal, sacrifice other things in the life, and still maintain a balance. As you had rightly suggested- start early. The best way is to start early to give ample time to application.

The second Mantra is ‘strategy’. If I had pushed myself to apply to Harvard in Round I and had not listened to you, I am sure I could not have accomplished it. The kind of story that I had in Round I or the kind of confidence I had in my story in Round I was much less compared to what I had in Round II. Again, I came to know myself a lot more in four five months than the two months I had before Round I deadlines. So you have to strategize really well because your dream school deserves the best of your time, your strategy, and your hard work. I would advise applicants to give it enough time and thought, and strategize well.

The third Mantra is the ‘introspection’. Indian applicants have never gone through such a process; they have only prepared course material and taken exams. But B- school application is entirely a different process. It does have an exam which requires a lot of introspection, and it also has an interview process which truly focuses on your soft skills. Lastly, working on your weaknesses is also very important for which self-reflection is the key because unless you know your worth yourself, you will not know what you are weak at. Especially for the interview processes, you should be confident of handling your weaknesses and what you can do to mitigate them.

Poonam: That is right. It is a process of self-discovery, and by the time you reached Harvard Application, you had already discovered yourself.

Mansi: Absolutely.

Poonam: And I have memorized all your stories by heart.

Mansi: Yes. I know. And sometimes, I was actually amazed, when you would return my essays with comments that this example does not fit this essay as much as the other example. You remembered all my stories which at times I had forgotten. You rightly said that this is a process of self-discovery. I also remember the 30 minute Harvard interview that happened in Mumbai; those 30 minutes felt like 3 hours, as we had a conversation which I would normally have with somebody in 3 hours. It was short, yet it covered almost every aspect of my life, professional as well as personal. If I had not known about myself that well, I could not have given that 3 hours’ worth of information in thirty minutes.

Poonam: True. It has truly been a long and arduous journey. You must have made many personal sacrifices as well. Would you like to share those with us?

Mansi: Yes, Poonam. Very rightly said. You have to work hard towards what is really important to you. And in that particular process, you have to sacrifice other things to achieve what you really want to. As you are aware, I am married, and I had sacrificed a lot of my family time. At the same time, I am really thankful to my husband who has been immensely supportive all this while. I had to miss family time, festivals, get -togethers, and weddings. I am blessed to have a supportive family and husband. I will share this one particular incident when we were celebrating Deepawali at my in-laws place in Mumbai. I had gotten my first interview invite from Kellogg which was right after Deepawali, and my husband prepared for all pooja and stuff while I was preparing for my interview questions. So yes, I had sacrificed a lot of different things- birthdays, family functions, TV and movies, but I am sure that at the end of day, those are totally worth it.

Poonam: Definitely. They all must be very proud of you for this extraordinary achievement. I am proud of you.

Mansi: Thank you, Poonam. Yes, they are.

Poonam: Let us talk about something outside of professional area. What are your hobbies, interests? What are your favorite books?

Mansi: As you know very well, I love to dance. Throughout my entire application process, I used to go for my dance class at least once a week to rejuvenate myself. I occasionally read science fiction. I am not a regular reader though.

Poonam: You are a certified Scuba diver as well.

Mansi: Yes. I am a certified scuba diver. I have dived in many countries such as Malaysia, India, Maldives, and Thailand. I can dive up to 18ft. Next month, I and my husband are going to Thailand for another diving trip after a gap of one year.

Poonam: Very good. Mansi, will you like to share anything that I have not asked?

Mansi: I have discussed almost all the aspects of application process. Again, key parts of your application process are- have a strong GMAT score, partner with a good consultant, strategize in which Round and which schools you apply to, start early, give yourself enough time for self-reflection, and definitely work hard. There is no short cut to success. Give your best. I am sure you can achieve what you want.

Poonam: Thank you for sharing your story. Your story will be inspirational for the prospective applicants.

Mansi: Thank you, Poonam. This is not only my story; this is your story as well.

Poonam: It is really nice of you to think that way.

Mansi: This is a process you can’t do alone. This is a process where you need supportive people around you. So equal amount of thank you to you as well.

Poonam: Thank you so much. It was my privilege. I really enjoyed being part of your MBA journey. And I wish you good luck with Harvard. I hope you will have a wonderful time there. I will like to get in touch with you later.

Mansi: Definitely. I will keep you updated with my case studies at HBS.

Poonam: Wonderful. Thank you. It was a pleasure chatting with you.

Note:

• Please click at the following link to watch Mansi’s

Video Interview:

https://youtu.be/5gmTESri_8Q
• You may connect with Mansi via

LinkedIn :

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mansi-dhiman-439b2449/
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Re: An Indian Engineer’s Journey to 5 Top MBA Progarms, including HBS  [#permalink]

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New post 27 May 2018, 02:51
Friends,

For those interested in knowing how Mansi acheived this rare feat, here is
video debrief of her GMAT prep.

Happy study prep :-)
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Re: An Indian Engineer’s Journey to 5 Top MBA Progarms, including HBS   [#permalink] 27 May 2018, 02:51
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