Posted on March 5, 2021

Case Study #7: Indian Engineer’s Journey to Oxford and ISB at Thirty



Born and raised in Calcutta, West Bengal in India, Arjun completed Electrical Engineering from the West Bengal University of Technology. He worked with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in Chennai for four years before moving to the USA, where he worked in Dover and Indianapolis and later in Boston. Arjun enjoyed his stint with TCS in different roles, from Quality Assurance to a Developer to a product owner. Lastly, as a Project Manager, he managed almost $4 million for an insurance client.

Stagnation in his career after ten years of work experience propelled him to think about MBA. Being a go-getter, Arjun took the GMAT four times, and finally, he got his desired score and secured a seat in two business schools he applied to- ISB and Oxford, SAID.

The present case study showcases Arjun's career history, extracurricular activities, career goals, and highlights of our collaboration that led to his success.

Name: Arjun Bardhan

Age: 30

Country: India

Academic: Bachelor of Electrical Engineering

Institute: West Bengal University of Technology

Industry: Electrical Engineering

Work Experience: 10 years

GMAT: 730

Target Schools: Oxford SAID and ISB

Work Experience:

Arjun is an accomplished Test Lead/Project Lead with a total of 10 years of experience. Arjun joined TCS after completing a bachelor's in Electrical Engineering from the West Bengal University of Technology. After having worked for four years in Chennai, India, Arjun moved to the USA, where he worked in Dover and Indianapolis for the first few years and then in New Hampshire and the Greater Boston area as a Project Manager of a large-scale transformation project, managing a team of 20. He worked on several complex conversion projects in agile scrum and waterfall, leading a team of 25+ members. In 2016, Arjun won the Top 10 Project Manager Competition held organization-wide among over 4000 managers. In his decade-long career at TCS, Arjun also organized several CSR events and participated in many volunteering activities. He won many awards- ‘On the Spot Award,’ ‘Best Team Award,’ ‘Star of the Quarter,’ and ‘Star of the month.’

Extracurricular Activities:

Arjun is a multi-faceted personality. Since college, he has been actively involved in volunteering activities and community service activities. During his undergrad, as President of the Wall Street Club, he organized an investment workshop with more than 400 attendees.

Since 2015, he has been a part of the Annual Cultural Fest, SSN College of Engineering. He was instrumental in raising more than 6 Lakhs INR for various cultural fest events in college.

Arjun has worked in the co-ordinator's capacity for the Ashwin Maharaj Foundation, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, since 2016. He has helped the foundation raise funds for cancer patients. He arranged for the music club to perform music for cancer patients in the Adyar Cancer Institute. Also, he conducted the first Model United Nations with 400+ attendees from all over India as Under Secretary– Finance. In 2011, he wrote the screenplay for a short film in 2011.

Career Goal:

Although Arjun was doing well in his profession, the desire to be a global manager and contribute to society and improve people’s lives was always on his mind. Arjun wanted to work as a Senior Manager in product management or supply chain management to gain the independence to shape the projects. He was keen to work as a global leader on issues of Malnutrition and food wastage. Management consulting was also an alternative option on his mind.

MER's Approach:

Arjun approached MER for essay support for Oxford. After listening to his personal story and professional achievements, we started working together on his essays to showcase his candidacy for his target business school- Oxford Said.

Some of the key highlights of our work together are:

  1. We first evaluated Arjun's profile to get a complete picture of his attributes, aspirations, and professional achievements. We guided him in selecting the right story and presenting his candidacy to demonstrate his ‘fit’ with the schools' admission criteria.
  2. After brainstorming four different stories that he provided, we advised him to highlight his international experience and his personal and professional growth during his six years in the USin his additional information essay.
  3. It was challenging for Arjun to nail down which story would go down well with the ‘shocking trend’ essay. With his extensive involvement in social causes, it was challenging to identify one issue that was ‘shocking’ to him. Looking closely at the breadth of his engagement in all three areas, we advised him to choose world hunger because his involvement in this area was extensive.
  4. We segregated and synchronized the information provided by him to answer the two essay questions according to Oxford's mission and values. We gave him explicit directions about format and structure, along with guidelines to 'unleash' stories compellingly and thoroughly.
  5. Arjun had done a thorough research of Oxford and introspected to find his fit. He shared with us his reasons for his preference for Oxford. This helped us in showcasing his achievements in a befitting way.
  6. Arjun worked in discipline and never missed a deadline. We succeeded in building strong essays within two weeks, highlighting his career goals, achievements.


Arjun was accepted into 2 top MBA programs– ISB and Oxford SAID. Arjun decided in favor of Oxford Said Business School for two reasons. First, Oxford has a global student body. Secondly, the goal of Oxford aligned with his gaols of transforming society.

MER's Views:

Overall, it was a wonderful experience to work with a focused, experienced, hard-working professional like Arjun. We were glad to be a part of the process to help him realize his dream. We always received timely and articulate responses, which helped us in guiding him. His grit and determination to succeed inspired us to work with zeal on his candidacy. He was focused on his goals and did not allow failures to weaken him.Arjun respected our technical advice and guidance, which gave him clarity about the committee’s expectations. In Arjun’s words, we “empowered him to write essays better.”

You may click here for Arjun’s feedback on MER’s services.

We feel proud to have been a part of his MBA journey and wish him all the best for his career ahead.

MER requested Arjun to share his success story and provide advice to prospective students. He acceded to our request.

Conversations with Arjun:

Indian Applicant’s Journey to Oxford and ISB:

In this candid conversation with Poonam, Arjun shares his application journey to ISB and Oxford SAID. He talks about his background, career aspirations, application strategy, fit with Oxford SAID, and insights into older applicants' chances for MBA programs.

A year later, MER reached out to Arjun again to ask about his overall experience at Oxford. He graciously acceded to our request.

An Indian Engineer Shares His Oxford MBA Experience:

In this conversation with Poonam, Arjun talks about the intensive one-year program at Oxford and how it has helped him shape his future. He also gave students valuable advice about business schools' expectations, recruitment, networking, inner strength, and focus.

MER thanks Arjun for this kind gesture as his insights will help many prospective students.

We hope Arjun's experiences and advice will help the prospective candidates with application strategy, planning, and preparation and provide them valuable insights on Oxford business school. He has proved that you can get admitted to the top programs despite being an older applicant from the most competitive applicant pool ( Indian Male, IT).

You can connect with Arjun via LinkedIn or Facebook.

Free Resources:

Case Studies

10 Key Essay Tips with Examples

Essay Analysis of Top Programs-2020-21

MER Students Share their success Stories

Since 2011, MER (myEssayReview) has helped many applicants get accepted into the top 20 MBA programs. (Poonam is one of the top 5 most reviewed consultants on the GMAT Club.)

You may email Poonam at with questions about your application for MBA. You may sign up here for a free consultation.