“If I were in the panel, I would never shortlist this resume.”

With that, he dropped my resume, the corner of which he had been holding with his thumb and index finger.

The single page resume floated in the air, before landing on the pristine wooden table.

What could I have said at this moment?

January 2005
Taj Palace Hotel, New Delhi
My interview for ISB

It was my first time entering the grand Taj Palace in Delhi.
As if the nervousness wasn’t enough, the grandeur of the place left me overwhelmed. 

I felt small.
A harsh reminder that I wasn’t supposed to be here in the first place.
Applying to an MBA program that preferred 2 years of work experience.
Real-life experience.

I had none.
All I had was a drop-out status.
And a confused state of mind.

My name was called out.

I open the door, to enter a large boardroom.
In front of me are 3 gentlemen.
Sharp suits. Cheerful faces. They looked smart.
Or maybe that’s what I thought everyone from ISB looked like.

Was I even a fit?

They introduced themselves.
2 alums and 1 from the administrative team.

They ask me for my resume.

I had a colored resume.
And it had a footprint, as a background.

“Why does your resume have a footprint?”
“Because it was my print on the sand I have walked on?”

I thought that was a deep, smart answer.

“Good thought. But most likely will not work in a corporate setup.”

Oh! There is something called a corporate setup? 

They asked me about my US experience, why I dropped out, what did I learn there. 

And then came the question.
“What would you like to do, post ISB?”

“I honestly don’t know. I am hoping I will figure it out through the year. My peers, professors and the setting will expose me to a lot more than I know today.”

“But still, what are your preferences?”

“Ummm – I really like numbers and I am good with them. So maybe, finance?”

“If I were in the panel, I would never shortlist this resume.”

The admin team member had the corner of my resume held with his thumb and index finger.
He made this remark, raised it above his head, and let go of the resume.
It came floating down, landing on the wooden table.

Which gave me 2 seconds to digest what just happened.

“In that case, I am happy that you will not be part of the panel.”

WTF! Was that rude? Too direct? Unnecessary? Cocky?

He smiled.
I heaved a sigh of relief.

3 weeks later, I received the email :))

ISB took a bet on me.
I had nothing to offer.
And I, till date, do not know why it chose me.

That 1-year just changed my life.
It changed everything about me.

Because while I went to ISB looking for a job and a career and a salary and a brand and a position and all the nice things, I went to ISB looking for myself. 

Who am I?
What am I good at?
What am I not good at?

And the ISB opportunity gave me those answers. 

Some people work hard to get the opportunity.
Some work hard once they get the opportunity.