MBAtious People - Kumar Anshul, ISB
Kumar Anshul is a Dentist turned Manager and is a candidate for prestigious ISB, class of 2018. Kumar scored an impressive 730 in his very first attempt of GMAT and is a voracious reader. He cofounded and served as the Editor in Chief of International Dental Journal of Students’ Research. He worked with the Ed-Tech startup Oliveboard as a Content and Marketing Manager
Hello Kumar Anshul, can you give a brief about your profile ?
I belong to a small district of Lohardaga from the state of Jharkhand, from where I did my schooling. I did my graduation from Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Manipal. I graduated as a Dentist in 2014 and did my compulsory internship in the hospital for one year. In August 2015, I joined Oliveboard (an ed-tech startup in test prep space) as Marketing and Content Manager. I applied to Indian School of Business in January 2016 and got a deferred admission through EEO (Early Entry Option). I will be joining the batch of 2017-18, upon the compulsory completion of 2 years of work experience.
You are a dental surgeon who got lured by MBA, how would you see this transition?
If you would look through my profile thoroughly, you will realize that this is not a random and abrupt career shift but a smooth transition. From my 2nd year itself I have worked remotely for various national and international organizations. After winning the Global ambassador competition by iversity (a German education startup), I worked with them for 3 months in 2012. Immediately after that, I got selected for the coveted position of an ESA (Elsevier Student Ambassador), after clearing the rigorous 3 levels of a quiz, an essay and an interview over the phone. I got a chance to work directly with the Marketing Head of Elsevier India for one year and I also ended up winning the ‘Judge the Book’ contest among the 55 ambassadors from 5 countries of the Indian Subcontinent. In my 3rd year I worked as the National Director of Memberships (Executive Board Member) for India’s largest medical student association- MSAI (Medical Students’ Association of India). Meanwhile, I had started my own venture with two of my friends- IDJSR (International Dental Journal of Students’ Research) in 2012 (in my 2nd year) and I got it registered under my startup in 2014.
So my decision of pursuing an MBA and learning the intricacies of business and management was nothing but an obvious choice post graduation. That was the major reason behind my decision to join Oliveboard as a Marketing Manager, instead of working as a Dentist so that I can learn more while working full time in an actual workplace. I am looking forward to the day when this transition actually happens and I begin my MBA journey.
What advice would you give to medicos who want to pursue a career in management after medical education.
The first thing which medical students and doctors need to do is to let go of the mind block that signing up for medicine/dentistry means your fate is sealed with hospital/clinic and patients. Undergraduation is the time when you actually open up to the world and its opportunities and even if you feel that it is not your calling after working for a few years, always remember you can always take a shift if you really want to. Time has changed and there a few doctors in all the top ranked management institutes in the country. So if you are convinced enough and you know why you want to pursue an MBA, think no further and take the plunge.
What was your preparation strategy for GMAT, especially in Quant.
I am not from Maths background so it was always a nightmare for me. I Bought Manhattan Strategy Guide and completed all topics. Then got myself GMAT Club Tets, tried 10 questions from 700 level but couldn’t solve a single of them. I decided not to touch those questions. I solved around 100 ‘600 level questions’ with 70-75% accuracy. Hence, out of 1500+ Questions in GC Tests, 1000 are still lying unsolved.
I solved OG 2015 + Quant Review 2015 + OG 2016 + Quant Review 2016 cover to cover. I also marked the questions I got wrong and revised a few days before exam. There are 25% new questions in 2016 versions of both the book and many questions which were present in 2015 editions are omitted from 2016 editions. So, it is a good idea to get all 6 books (OG 2015, VR 2015, QR 2015, OG 2016, VR 2016 and QR 2016).
For Verbal, I got E-Gmat Verbal Online subscription. Its SC is amazing (but you still need to be thorough with OG). I didn’t find anything spectacular in its CR. Didn’t touch its RC (neither the lessons nor the questions). After finishing, I started with its Scholaranium (700+ Questions). Did around 150 questions from SC (82% accuracy) and 80-100 questions from CR (72% accuracy). I got bored and didn’t attempt the rest of the questions (So, 60-70% of my Scholaranium is left unsolved as well). As already mentioned, I didn’t attempt its RC.
CR– I also tried to do CR from CR Powerscore Bible. Couldn’t solve many questions and gave up in the mid. CR was always frustrating for me. In the end, I decided to stick only with OGs and VRs (both 2015 and 2016 editions). Also did a few (around 60 ) questions from Gmat Prep Question Document downloaded from GmatClub three days before exam.
SC– Re-revised all questions from OG 2015, 16 and VR 2015,16 2-3 days before exam. Was confident as accuracy in these questions was 90% (and had done well in E-Gmat SCs as well).
RC– I had only attempted 5-6 RCs (all from OGs) before the actual exam. Comprehension was never an issue as I have been a voracious reader (My Goodreads analytics show that I have read 43 books in 2015 and 12,500 pages in total). Even last night before the exam, I read one short story by Alice Munroe.
Mocks- Princeton 1- 630, Princeton 2- 650, Gmat Prep 1- 700 (got a few questions which I had already solved before in Verbal) , Veritas- 650, Gmat Prep 2- 620 (10 days before the exam). Didn’t bother to look for the solution of questions I did wrong as I was too frustrated and had almost given up (But had to take the exam anyway as I had booked the dates during the beginning of preparation itself). Never took any mocks after that and decided to build upon what I already knew.
It was an amazing feeling to score 730 (Q 50, V 39, AWA 5.0) right in my first attempt after 2 months of preparation.
What would be the general strategy to maximize ones chances in GMAT?
I cannot stress more on the fact that how much important are the official questions. I see many people preparing from all resources that are unofficial, for 5-6 months and still getting less than 700. You should be through with your OG+ Quant Review+ Verbal Review and once you are done with it, you must invest some money in Official Mock tests and Question Packs (GMAT Prep). You can also download these questions from GMAT Club for free. Stick to the official questions, revise well, make sure you manage time well during the test and 700+ score will be a cakewalk.
I have written extensively on GMAT Preparation on my blog. You can follow the blog here. Also, use the comment section of the blog in case you have any queries and I shall be happy to help you out.
Why you chose ISB among other premier Business schools in the country?
According to the 2016 Rankings by the Financial Times, ISB is ranked 29th in the world (next only to IIM Ahemdabad, which is ranked 24th). Also I prepared for CAT for 20-25 days before realizing that it will require a hell lot of effort from my side (I was only targeting IIM A) and in that time I can easily read a few more books or learn a new skill. I got to know about ISB and GMAT and immediately dropped my CAT Preparation and got myself enrolled for French Classes (Language and Literature is my only hobby). It took me just two months to get a good GMAT score and another 20 days to apply to ISB. Hence, taking the GMAT + ISB route rather than CAT + IIM proved to be fruitful to me in many ways.
Also I firmly believe that you learn more from your peers than from your professors. The kind of diversity that ISB offers is completely unheard of in any other Indian B-School (A batch of ISB has engineers, doctors, journalists, media professionals, Indian army, national level athletes, multiple patent holders, merchant naval officers, lawyers, HR professionals, people from advertising and PR and so on). Also, the fact that it is just 1 year course, makes it further suitable for me who wants to start working early.
What is the dream you want to pursue in long term ?
I have a knack for Marketing and that's how I made my venture (the Dental journal) successful. During my undergraduation, I have freelanced as a social media marketing professional for more than 10 clients. And post graduation also I have joined Oliveboard in Marketing profile. And though I love this profile, I lack any theoretical background. For example, I still don't know how to take objective data driven decisions. Now I want to learn the intricacies in Marketing and build a strong theoretical and analytical know-how of Marketing and work in a corporate as a Marketing Manager.
Your idea about 'Being MBAtious'
I see a number of MBA Aspirants solving numerous questions day and night from their 2nd-3rd year itself. Please note that while you are banging your head with these questions (which are way beyond the entrance exam level), someone else is working hard to build his/her profile. And on the day of interview, it is obvious that that person will be given preference to you. Stick to the exam level while you prepare and do everything you can to improve your profile, because that will differentiate you from others. There are a myriad of things that you can do while you are in college- Join an NGO, get a foreign language proficiency certificate, work on a startup idea, read more books to expand your mind, improve your network, look for interesting internship opportunities, start a blog of your own, get your research paper published and so on.
I got to know about MBAtious while I prepared for CAT for those 20-25 days and I must mention that the amount of hard work that has been put to build up this forum is huge. I urge everyone to use this website to the maximum of their capacity as it is a great source of questions, knowledge as well as success stories.