Prakula Uniyal, a Chartered Accountant with more than 4 years of work experience as a Senior Consultant with Ernst & Young decided to pursue 1 year management programme instead of 2 years as she found more advantages in the former. Despite having admission offers from Ivy League B-schools, she chose ISB owing to diverse student and faculty base and the future prospects.
In this interview with Careers360, Prakula shares her experience of life in ISB, which is forever buzzing with some or the other activities, pedagogy of the institute and career plans. For the ISB aspirants, she suggests that the most important factor is to know why they want to pursue MBA which would ultimately help them prioritize.
Read the full interview below.
Careers360: What are the factors which led you to pursue 1 year PGP from ISB?
Prakula: I have taken the course as the pros of a one year programme outweighed the pros of a two year programme. Mainly this was related to the Return on Investment between a working career, as a one year MBA seemed more convenient and would allow me to return back to job life within a shorter span of time.
Careers360: Which other B-schools did you apply for and why did you select ISB?
Prakula: I had admits from a few top Ivy League business schools. However, I wanted to work in India, hence, ISB was the perfect choice.
Careers360: Please share in detail the application and final selection procedure at your B-School.
Prakula: ISB application was an important milestone not just for me professionally, but also personally, as it helped me introspect and understand myself and my life goals better. I spent about a month on my application, most of the time was spent introspecting and finding answers to the essay questions.
My interview was over Skype as I was in New Zealand. It was a conversational interview where we had a discussion on my motivations for doing an MBA from ISB.
Careers360: How have you financed the course?
Prakula: My course was self-financed.
Careers360: How do you spend a typical day at the campus?
Prakula: I didn’t realize before ISB that so much could be packed in a day. Between club-activities, pre-reads, post-reads, group-projects, socializing, peer-to-peer knowledge sessions and alumni session, there is not much time left for anything else. Each term has a host of activities, like simulation games and inter-section competitions.
ISB is academically quite intense - Each contact hour would require at least 5 hours of pre-reads, post-reads and assignment work. The course structure at ISB is designed to enable you to forge friendships of a life-time. Most of the your academic and social life starts revolving around 2 sets of people – your study-group and your quad-group. Since most projects involve group work, week-ends are spent with your study-group. Quad-group are the 3 other people you share an apartment with, hence, they become a part of your larger social life.
Careers360: Was it difficult for you to adjust to the student life after a gap of many years? How did you cope with it?
Prakula: The 0-week with a mix of presentations and fun activities such as section wars, treasure hunt, alum bidding among and intense partying sets the tone for the year. The course-work is more project based and application based; hence, the transition was fairly smooth for me.
Careers360: What are the non-academic activities you are involved in?
Prakula: I am involved in various clubs and activities beyond regular classes. I was elected the President of the Women in Business Club. I am also a part of the Health-care and Consulting Club.
Careers360: How much industrial and international exposure does your programme provide you?
Prakula: All courses and projects have been designed with a real-world and industry perspective, for instance, in our statistics project was about predicting the credit scores for customers of a credit card company based through regression analysis of the historic data.
The programme and the school administration are extremely helpful and play the role of facilitators by organizing industry interactions; Experiential Learning Programmes where you work on a real-life project with a company are also really helpful. Further, each professional club has a very large Learning and development component – hence, they too ensure there is industry exposure in the form of study treks and industry visits.
Careers360: how would you differentiate the pedagogy applied by guest lectures delivered by academicians and industry practitioners? Please share the best elements from both.
Prakula: While Industry practitioners are more experiential, academicians are more theory led.
Careers360: How much is the rigour of the programme in comparison to the 2 year regular MBA offered at other top B-schools?
Prakula: 1 year programme is more crunched. However, it’s the right amount of time to grasp the essentials. A class with an average work experience of about 5 years really helps in this regard.
Careers360: According to you, what is the best aspect of your programme and campus?
Prakula: The collaborative learning environment and the diverse faculty strength are the best aspects of ISB according to me.
Careers360: Are you willing to participate in the placement process or plan to join your previous organization? Please share if you have any other plan after completion of the programme.
Prakula: I intend to explore the opportunities that come my way in the year-ahead.
Careers360: What are your expectations from the programme? How would you like to implicate the learning after completing the programme?
Prakula: I hope to gain from the learning environment and have a more holistic prospective to business.
Careers360: What is your advice to the aspirants of ISB opting for PGP?
Prakula: It's really important to know what you want out of an MBA. Business school provides you with so many opportunities and having clarity helps prioritizing.
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