ISB application 2015-16: Significant Changes seen this time

The ISB PGP application 2015-16 (for class of 2017) sees significant changes this year. Mentor Mpact highlights these changes and discusses the impact of the same for applicants.

ISB PGP deadlines 2015 – October 15 and January 5

For the first time ever, ISB has changed its application deadlines – this according to us is a big shift. The application deadlines for 2015 are as follows:

DEADLINE October 15, 2015 (time: midnight IST) January 5, 2016 (time: midnight IST)
OFFER DATE On or before December 15, 2015 On or before March 5, 2016

While this change will of course mean that applicants get more time to take the GMAT and prepare their applications, it has a flipside for those applicants who are also targeting other top global B-schools. Most global B-schools have their R1 deadline in September-October and R2 deadline in first week of January. Hence, the ISB PGP deadlines this year coincide with other global schools. Previously, applicants followed a simple strategy – submit the ISB application first and then focus on other schools. However, this year, they will have to juggle between different applications and submit them all together. Moreover, ISB results will be released at a similar time as other top schools globally. Thus, for applicants for whom going abroad is only Plan B, it will be tough to follow the strategy of ‘wait and apply to other schools only if ISB is a reject.’

Our advice: start early and submit your application on time.

One professional evaluation

Like many other top B-schools, ISB this year has asked for only one professional evaluation for the ISB PGP 2015-16 application instead of two in the previous years. This surely would reduce the hassle for applicants and seems like less work on one front for them. However, it will also reduce the scope for any error, making it critical for applicants to choose the evaluator wisely.

Our advice: Take an evaluation from an individual who is well acquainted with your professional performance, preferably from a direct supervisor. Do not choose someone who simply has a big title, thinking that this will carry weight with the admissions committee, because that person will not be able to justify your case by writing specific pointers and examples about your profile.


Under the scholarship section there are many full, half and partial scholarships offered. However, there are 10 merit based full scholarships at ISB, which are available only to R1 applicants. ISB is ensuring that the deserving candidates are those applicants who are focused and have ISB as there first preference. For those contemplating between ISB PGP R1 deadline and R2 deadline, this should be an extra push to apply early.

Our advice: If scholarship is important for you, start your application early and apply in R1. But, if you think that your profile will significantly improve by R2, enhancing your chances of admission, wait for R2.

Application Buddy system 

The ISB PGP application 2015-16 has introduced a buddy system for applicants. Applicants seeking this service will be paired up with a current ISB student who will act as a mentor for the applicant. This should help applicants get first hand insights into the school – life at ISB, courses, placements, interviews, et al.

Internship Section 

ISB has added an internship section along with activities in the PGP application for 2015. Applicants can enter a brief summary of their part-time/internship experience, which was not possible in previous years. Many applicants (e.g. Chartered Accountants, for whom the article-ship is so much more than just an internship) can benefit from this addition.


ISB has significantly changed its essays once again this year and as an ISB alumnus myself who has been conducting interviews as part of the interviewing panel, this is always a refreshing change. I am confident that this shift will ensure that only the deserving candidates (who will give serious time and thought to the essays) get selected. The biggest shift in essays is their focus on very specific examples, leaving no scope for faffing. There is also some change seen in the word limit.

Essay 1: If we were to admit just one more student, make a compelling argument as to why that student should be you by describing an (only one) achievement in your personal/professional life that you are most proud of. What did you do that sets you apart from others? What did you learn? (400 words max)

Essay 2: Describe a (only one) defining moment in your personal/professional life when you had to make a risky decision, and explain what you did, why and the outcome?


Describe a (only one) situation in your personal/professional life when you had to interact with people from diverse backgrounds. How did it affect you and what did you learn? (300 words max)

Essay 3: What are your post ISB career plans and how will your past experiences and the Post Graduate Programme in Management (PGP) contribute to taking you there? (300 words max)

Essay 4 (Optional): Please use this space to explain any career breaks/provide any other information not covered elsewhere in the application that could significantly impact your candidature at ISB. Note: It is not necessary to write this essay. Please use this space only if there is something really significant that you would like us to know. (200 words max)

We will soon be providing our essay analysis in the follow-up blog.