We got an opportunity to speak to Piyush, who is pursuing his MBA at Kellogg School of Management. Following are the highlights from our discussion.

MBAFusion: What was your GMAT Score? How did you prepare for the exam?

Piyush: I took my GMAT in August 2010 and scored a 750. I prepared for about 2.5 months and mostly prepared during the weekends as sitting in a stretch worked out better for me. As happens with most of the engineers, Sentence Correction and Reading Comprehension were the major roadblocks for me.

Princeton Review and Official Guide 10 & 11 were my reference material. Apart from that, I also referred several blogs and websites such as www.beatthegmat.com that helped me keep up the tempo. Manhattan, PowerPrep and GMATPrep were the practice tests that I took. Specifically the GMATPrep was closest to the real GMAT. After every test I would sit and analyze my solution in detail as in what went wrong and why. Then I would set goals for the next test in terms of strike rate. This strategy worked extremely well for me.

I focused on going through reference material in the initial phase of my preparation. Tests were the focus later. I began with a score of 670 and gradually improved to the score of 730 in the mock tests.

MBAFusion: How did you go about shortlisting your schools?

Piyush: I mostly discussed with my seniors from IIT Bombay who had made it to B-Schools earlier. They had an indepth understanding of the US B-School system and the minute differences in the MBAs from different schools. One of my relatives who had graduated from Wharton School helped me immensely in identifying the schools that were the right fit to me.

I applied to 4 schools finally – Harvard, Kellogg, Wharton and Booth – all in the second round.

MBAFusion: How did you build your story?

Piyush: I started by thinking hard on what is my long term goal and how an MBA could help me in reaching them. Seniors helped me in thinking through the associated career options in a more structured way. I developed a strong sense that my chemical engineering background and the excitement I derived from working on biodiesel projects at IIT Bombay make a strong case for an entrepreneurial career in sustainable energy in the long term. In the short term, I had options – either work in a start-up in the sector or work with a consulting firm that focuses on renewable energy. So that helped me structure my story.

MBAfusion: How did you go about writing your essays?

Piyush: By end Sep 2010, I had a clarity on the schools I was planning to apply and was ready with my story. October, November and December were the months when I wrote my essays. I would usually spend only the weekend for working on my essays as my schedule was quite tough. I got my essays reviewed by 4 people – graduates and students from ISB, Wharton, Kellogg and Harvard. In the end, I got the essays finetuned by an English language expert. In just 3-4 iterations, my essays came to their final shape as the prework on story had helped a lot. The feedback from the reviewers were initially more about the disconnects in my essays and on choosing the right examples. They helped me to realize that I should put forward stories from my international work experience, people stories from projects and big achievements in student council at IIT. In the later drafts the feedbacks were more on language and the expressions I had used.

MBAfusion: How did you manage the recommendations?

Piyush: My past and present supervisor at P&G had recommended me. I met them, conducted an initial discussions and shared my resume as well as career goals. It helped them in aligning their recommendation to the key messages I was conveying through my essays.

MBAfusion: How much of preparation did you do for the interview? How was your interview experience?

Piyush: Kellogg interviews are mostly taken by alumni and are blind interviews. In my case, my interview was waived off and I was called for an interview in the last week of Feb, pretty late. I had prepared from clearadmit Wikipedia site on interview experiences and other online resources. With the limited time in hand, I could not go for mock interviews but was ready with the standard questions.

My interviewer was an alumnus, graduate of 2008. The interview was a more of a conversation and the questions were pretty standard ones to begin with. The key is to remain confident and treat interviewer as a friend whom you have met after a long, and you are excited to tell what you have done in all these years.

About Piyush

Piyush Gupta, graduated from IIT Bombay and is pursuing his 2-year MBA program at Kellogg School of Management.

Before Kellogg, Piyush worked with P&G as an Operation Manager and was responsible for major cross-border projects across India, Vietnam and Japan. He cofounded BioSynth, a student-run initiative to produce greener fuel within IIT Bombay campus.


© 2011, MBAfusion. All rights reserved.