Saikat Ghose || HEC Paris MBA 2015-16


It was six months ago, in March 2014 that I first learnt about Backspace, or Partha precisely from a friend and well wisher. A fellow Backspacian himself, he had voiced effusive about his experience and his way into ISB. At that point, I was preparing for the GMAT, and the changing rules of the game made me strongly believe that I would need expert advise. Probably landing here even earlier would have bettered my GMAT score. Nevertheless, all is well that ends well. Something told me this was the place, and the conviction with which he spoke made me feel there was something in there for me.

Circa early May 2014, I had just finished my GMAT on my own but was not sure if the borderline score of mine will be good enough. I wanted to give the next steps a go. I quickly gathered Partha's contact and had a word put in through my friend, having known by then that Backspace can send back people who do not have enough backup of their skills. Two days later, an appointment was fixed with Partha, and a forward looking man like me was a little taken aback by the 'Back' in Backspace. 7:30 PM on the fateful day of May 7th 2014, I dropped in at Backspace and there has been no looking back since. Partha has been a silent mind reader, philosopher and even an agony aunt to me. I have repeatedly poured my heart out when I was bogged down by the too may extraneous events that life has decided to burden me with, and never was he impatient. He has been with me like an ATM or shall I say All Time Help, polishing my CV even at the dead of night, as I had missed doing it in time.

I wanted to get into a prestigious global MBA and Partha had read me right by then. First suggestion was HEC Paris, but I never imagined at that stage that I would make it to a global Top 10 college. Initially I went through the motions writing essay after essay, and Partha would send them back umpteen times for redoing. When I finally submitted my application, I was not sure whether I would make the first cut. Partha was on the other side of thought and started with interviews immediately. Ten years of workex and handling international clients, I thought I knew how to speak. Here came the shock, a business interview is a different ball game altogether. The questions can be subtle to downright on your face, but they all test your character and mettle. Strategy to Philosophy, Sports to Economics, Politics to Academics, what not was part of this repertoire of questions. Not to mention the presentation that I had to do for HEC on a subject of my choice, which very few other schools demand. And I have to mention the transformation that my initial presentation made at Backspace. Incidentally that presentation turned out to be the highlight of my interviews. Three weeks to prepare and two interviews back to back, it was race against time. I do not know how many times I went for mock interviews and it was not till the last day that I felt a little good about myself. Partha was unrelenting, ironing out every flaw he could find. 'No taking chances', he would say. The interviews and the wait, Partha would eagerly wait to hear from me after every interview I faced just like my mother used to wait after every examination I appeared for. I still sit and think of the many questions on the interviews that were as if snatched from Partha's mouth.

Here I am today, with an offer from HEC, and I still pinch myself to make sure it is real. Global Top 10, something I had not dreamt of even 10 weeks earlier. I am still to find out enough means of finance and make all arrangements, but today have the sense of confidence back in me. A turbulent life over the past 3 years has had a huge toll on me, and the new dimension HEC will add is to be found out. But surely, Backspace put me 'back' a few paces to the person I was, confident and go-getter, which I will with God's grace and mercy try to retain for the rest of my able bodied life. GOD IS GREAT!!


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