Indian School of Business (ISB) Essays – 2016-17 Analysis (Class of 2018)

Timelines for PGP 2017-18 and Early Entry Option 2016 application

Cycle 1:

  • Application deadline:15th October 2016, 23:59:59 (IST)
  • Interview timelines (tentative): 1st November 2016 – 10th December 2016
  • Admission offer date: 15th December 2016
  • Offer acceptance deadline: 10 days from date of offer

Cycle 2:

  • Application deadline:15th January 2017, 23:59:59 (IST)
  • Interview timelines (tentative): 15th January 2017 – 28th February 2017
  • Admission offer date: 5th March 2017
  • Offer acceptance deadline: 10 days from date of offer

ISB Essays Questions 2016-17 (For ISB Class of 2018 and ISB Intake 2017):

This year the ISB application has 2 mandatory essays, 1 optional essay and 1 additional essay for re-applicants.

The ISB Essay topics for 2016 are as follows:

Essay Question – 1:

If we were to admit just One more candidate to the Postgraduate Programme (PGP) at the ISB, why should it be you? (400 words max)

The admissions committee wants you to tell about aspects about your profile that most other applicants cannot describe. If someone else can tell the same story, don’t write about it. Hence, pick the most unique situations and impacts.

The main objective of this essay is to gauge what value-add will you bring to the ISB community that will enhance the value of both in-class and outside classroom experience for your classmates. Look at your resume and identify how you have differentiated yourself: have you earned fast promotions? made significant business impacts? built teams of unprecedented success? Identify the top few – those that best demonstrate your achievements and impacts – then describe them briefly.

Some unique points could include:

  • Your in depth industry knowledge
  • Your unique professional background eg. cartoonist
  • Your wide range of interests like taking initiatives or adding value in community through social work along with corporate job
  • National level sports player
  • For each point, use examples to make a strong argument. Also, try and link these with the resources (clubs, courses, etc.) available at ISB elaborating how exactly you will contribute to your peers at ISB.

Essay Question – 2

Describe your your short and long term career plans. How does the PGP fit in with those? (300 words max)

This is a clear goals question with focus on how an MBA from ISB will help you achieve these goals. The idea behind such a question is to judge candidates from the perspective of clarity of goals and purpose of an MBA.

This is an extremely important question and hence it is important to have a clear and well researched answer in place. Whether your goal is to continue in the same industry/function or to make a switch, there should be a clear identification of gaps between one’s previous professional experiences and goals for the future and it should all be knit very logically with an MBA from ISB serving as a bridge.

A great essay is the one that manages to clearly link the three aspects –1) career goals 2) past professional knowledge 3) why/why now MBA and why ISB.

Career Goals: It’s good to be realistic about your goals and hence it would be great if you talk to alumni and do research on school website to align your goals with the positions offered at ISB. To discuss the development of your career you should emphasize briefly on how did your experiences shape your goal and how do they reveal the appropriateness of your goal. It should highlight on how you developed this goal, why it appeals to you and how an MBA from ISB will contribute to your goals.

If your goals are very different from what you currently do, devote space to explaining how you have prepared for the career change, why you are suited for this work, and how you have discovered that it is a fitting career for you.

Imp: Many candidates are given the feedback that they got rejected because their goals were very broad and generic. Hence, it is critical to explain your goals in detail getting into the depths of the industry scope, role, etc.

Career Progression: AdComs are seeking applicants with clear paths behind and before them. You may have worked for a few companies and held different roles, but it is important to explain “how each one added to your professional knowledge”.

Why ISB: Finally, this essay demands that you explain how ISB – better than any other business program or career move – will help you prepare for those goals. The purpose is to convey the message to the AdCom that you are making an informed decision in applying to ISB. Explain how specific learning from the ISB PGP will enable you to attain your goals – make a mention of specific courses, clubs etc at ISB. In case you have interacted with ISB alumni or attended ISB information sessions or scheduled an ISB visit – mention how your decision to apply to ISB has been influenced by these events.

Essay Question – 3 (Optional)

Please use this space to provide any other information not covered elsewhere in the application that could significantly impact your candidature at ISB.

Use this essay to highlight something significant not covered in the previous essays. Share an extracurricular or professional experience that further demonstrates your exceptional qualifications and ability to contribute both to ISB and a recruiting company in the future. This essay should not be wasted giving justifications for a low score in a particular academic year. Instead, use this to highlight on your strengths. The same has been emphasized by ISB on several admission sessions. In case you don’t have one central theme, limit the essay to explanation of 2-3 important points.

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All the best!
Mentor Mpact