August 19, 2016

Up Close with Kanav!


1. Hello Kanav, first of all congratulations for grabbing the coveted Management Consultant job at AT Kearney. To begin with we would like to know about your Pre-ISB background.

Thanks a lot for the wishes Anshul and apologies for the delay in reply. I was caught up with work for the last few weeks.


I graduated from National Institute of Technology, Kurkshetra in 2011 and started my career in the field of Analytics. While, I was in college, I realized that my interest lies outside the field of technology. This realization came from the seminar and literary festivals held at our college and the various opportunities I got to experiment with myself and my interests in the 4 years at NIT Kurukshetra. I took up active debating, writing and paper presentations (though technically Power Point presentations) and tried to excel in them.

This experimentation helped me discover that I wanted to join the field of management consulting. But, since, NIT Kurukshetra doesn’t have any top consulting firms visiting for consulting roles in the campus, I chose to get into Analytics, the cousin or some may call, the younger cousin of consulting.

After working for around a year in Fractal analytics and Mu Sigma, I joined Jabong as an Analyst in their in house consulting team (known as Performance excellenceat that time). This role, in an aggressive start up, helped me mature as an analyst and as a manager. The experience I gained across marketing and operations instilled in me a new confidence that took me closer to my own business venture.

After around 20 months in Jabong, I left the company to venture my own retail start , a combination of offline (Calificar) and online ( retail. We aimed at carving a niche in the home décor and furnishings segment, but failed somewhere in our strategy.

That is when I decided to hone up my skills with a world class MBA program and ISB happened.

Instructions : Mention about your education (with academic marks and percentage) and work experience and any other certifications, hobbies, extra curriculars)

2. Which all colleges did you apply to? And what made you choose ISB?

Given the opportunities Asia in general and India in particular have to offer, I was very sure of settling in India and keeping this as my base.

Once, I was clear on this, ISB was an obvious choice for me.
However, I applied for two more schools – Stanford and Wharton. The idea was to go to USA for an MBA and spend upwards for 150, 000 USD only and only if it is from a college which has a world class MBA, has top notch consulting placements and is an educational institute of equal repute in India and USA.

I did not apply to other top schools like Harvard, INSEAD and Kellogg in Round 1 because of the time constraints.

But, when I converted ISB in round 1, I looked no further.

3. What was your USP in your ISB Application?

I don’t think I have a particular USP I would like to highlight, but having a CGPA in ISB in the top few %, having written editorials in some reputed newspapers, being an active participant in sports at state and national level etc might have helped get some eye balls on the resume.

But I don’t think there is anything in my resume which particularly shines out as a USP.

4. You got placed in one of the world’s biggest consulting firms. What all did it take to make the cut?

A lot of luck, sincerity of effort, clarity of your future goals and then giving everything you can do to get there.

5. Now let’s move towards a cliched question : How was life at ISB?

#LifeAtISB should be experienced and not narrated.

6. Since Round 1 Application deadline for this year is just round the corner, what tips you would like to give to an ISB Applicant?

I would suggest to everyone that you should be clear on what you want from ISB. Just to be precise, not knowing what you want and getting to ISB to discover that is a clear goal.
But, not knowing what you want in general and going to ISB without any expectation just because it is a good brand to be associated with, is something that should be avoided.

The thought process in general should go like this

1) What do you want in life? (Don’t know? Fair enough!)
2) Where are you in the present scheme of things?
3) What are your expectations from an MBA programme? Will that top up your present situation to help you get achieve your goals?
4) Does ISB offer what you expect from an MBA programme?

I would suggest everyone to just go through this thought process. It would definitely help the applicants better understand themselves and their expectations from ISB.

For the entire process, the important thing is to have your story ready as Lego blocks and ISB should perfectly fit in as one block.

Lastly, I would like to share one question from my Stanford application that helped me really discover some latent traits.

7. What is the most important thing to you in life and why?

Think through it and I bet you will discover a lot more about yourself.


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