Over the last decade of its existence, ISB has evolved into a brand in itself – a sense of honor, prestige and accomplishment for everyone who has graduated from the Indian School of Business! Constantly ranked as one of the top B-schools in India and also as 20th in the Global Top MBA Rankings 2012, Financial times, London. ISB has a lot to offer to future leaders in terms of research based innovative curriculum, international outreach, global best practices and insight into emerging markets for career growth. So if you are an aspirant trying to put your best foot forward in your ISB application, this blog will give you a headstart.
ISB has been constantly ranked as one of the top B-schools in India and also as 20th in the Global Top MBA Rankings 2012, Financial times, London.
ISB has constantly maintained these esteemed rankings for five years consecutively. To add more feathers to its cap, ISB has also been revered with South-Asia’s first AACSB accredited school! Undoubtedly, MBA aspirants are not leaving any stone unturned to add ‘ISB’ into their CVs. However, in this helter-skelter, several myths have cropped up over the last few years. Most of these grapevines are related to the ISB application process. We are looking at the top 5 myths!
Myth 1: You are bound to get rejected with a sub-700 score!
GMAT is important. Very important! This is because to select among thousands of applicants, this concrete 3 digit number is of great help to B-schools world over. GMAT provides a good indication of a student’s logical application in a business context that will make him an effective future leader. But do not forget that GMAT is just a part of the selection process and not the selection process itself.
Any reputed B-School, including ISB looks for a complete package to fit in their MBA program and not just one aspect in isolation. There is a reason why an ISB application with a lower GMAT score are accepted. Else they could have just put up on the website “Applicants with only a GMAT score higher than 700 need apply”. According to the official ISB statistics around 25% of the entering class had a sub-700 score. Infact over the last few years we have had several of our own students get through with a sub-700 score getting!
According to the official ISB statistics around 25% of the entering class had a sub-700 score.
This myth is perhaps propagated by those who got rejected because the other factors such as weak essays, poor interview are intangibles that no one wants to admit. I have not heard an applicant say “I got dinged because my post-MBA goals were perhaps a bit fuzzy”. While GMAT gives a more solid reason – “I got dinged because I had a 690” makes the excuse a bit more palatable. Read on for a detailed Analysis on the ideal GMAT score range for ISB.
Myth 2: You shouldn’t apply with more than 10 years of work-experience!
Till date, ISB has created over 4000 global leaders who are spread over 25 countries! Though the average experience in the class is still a “young” with 3-6 years experience being the median on the curve, more and more mid-career professionals are seeking an ISB PGP to catapult their careers to the next level.
ISB PGP admissions committee understands the unique background such senior people bring in, and works hard with the industry to ensure that they are rewarded with a position that is commensurate with their talents and experience. While the usual career progression is into a managerial position (“LEAD”), the students with more than 8-10 years of experience are provided with opportunities to interview for senior management roles such as Country Head (“LEAP”).
Students with more than 8-10 years of experience are provided with opportunities to interview for senior management roles such as Country Head.
However, a caveat over here is that ISB (or any Bschool in the world) cannot guarantee placements. This is a known fact that there are fewer positions at such a level and that an MBA is not a “placement agency”. It is important that applicants with rich experience bring with them their own network, as well as understanding of their domain. ISB placement committee can ensure that the required groundwork is done to help facilitate the process.
Myth 3: The details in the ISB application form are not that important!
The online ISB application form that contains details regarding the applicant’s profile such as educational details, work-experience details, essays, video, and recommendations. Along with this there are also some details, which many applicants consider “minor”, such as extra-curricular, awards, languages known etc. However the admissions committee gets to review a file which contains these very details before it even gets to see your essays. Thus, these details on the ISB application form become the initial point of contact between you and ISB.
First impression may not be the last one, but first impression does take you to the next level, that is the interview! Thus, every aspirant should ensure that he/she reserves enough time to fill out all the details in the ISB application form completely so that it comes across convincing, interesting and unique.
The admissions committee gets to review a file which contains these very details before it even gets to see your essays.
It is very easy to create a login to see what are the details required. Do not leave out filling the form to the last date of the ISB application, when you will be hurried and might end up making mistakes.
Myth 4: Showing NGO/not-for-profit work is a must on your ISB application!
ISB is in search for people who bring varied perspective into the classroom discussions. That is why you will come across many interesting yet so-called “unconventional” profiles at ISB of people who have been involved in the society around us through various NGOs. However, it is a myth that ISB wants everyone who applies to have contributed to a social cause.
Though, it is true that such an association does impact your ISB application in a positive way, it should only be added if the applicant has genuinely done so. Association with an NGO just for the sake of embellishing your ISB application will actually reduce your chances of an admission!
Association with an NGO just for the sake of embellishing your ISB application will actually reduce your chances of an admission!
Integrity is a quality that is highly regarded in B-schools these days. Culturally Indians tend to use their times constructively in many other different ways – not just in social causes. So, candidates should look at creative ways of revealing their managerial or leadership qualities such as playing a sport, or being a part of rock-band!
Myth 5: The essays are the crucial aspects, the interviews can be handled!
Applicants place a lot of emphasis on the ISB application essays – a correct thing to do because it is through essays that B-Schools will actually get to know about who you are as a person, and what you bring to the table. However, it is also equally important that you focus on the interview process, through which the admissions committee tries to see if the person behind the essays is interesting in real-life.
Those 20-40 minutes are crucial because it is an opportunity for you to bring out real-life examples to convey your strengths and managerial traits. There is more to you than an application form and the ISB interview panel wants to see that. Don’t deny them the opportunity by trying to play safe and telling them what you think they want to hear. Or still worse talking something tangential to what you have mentioned in your ISB application essays.
The panel wants to know you better, and the only person who can help them is you.
Here is what we suggest to applicants facing an MBA interview – treat it like a conversation, not a quiz. The panel wants to know you better, and the only person who can help them is you. Just ensure you are able to articulate the main questions well – why you want to do an MBA, why specifically ISB, why is now the right time in your career, and why should they select you. The rest of the questions should be about what *you* have done in *your* life – something you should definitely not worry about!
I hope this article was useful in busting a few myths about the ISB apllication process for you. Did you believe in any of them before you started reading? Is there any other myth you would like us to answer? Do let us know.
For those planning to apply to ISB this year , please write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us @ 9008177800.
ISB Essays and Application Deadlines
|ISB Interview Preparation|
|Average GMAT Score|
Average GRE Score
|600 – 780|
303 – 335
|Total Applicants||Acceptance Rate|
|Class Size||879 (Hyderabad: 604 and|
|Average Work Experience||60 Months|
|Applicant Deadlines for ISB||R1: 15-Oct-2017|
|Decision Dates||R1: 05-Dec-2017|
|Length of Program||12 Months||Placement Information|
|Fees, Scholarship & Financial Aid Information for ISB|
If you are seeking for Indian School of Business admission for the year 2017-18, do not forget to take note of ISB 2018 deadlines that are listed in this page. Make sure that you have your application processed in time so that you do not miss the ISB 2017-18 deadlines for your Indian School of Business admission.
Note: ISB Essays 2017-18 remains the same as previous year and there’s no additional essay required for the re-applicants.
ISB Essays Questions 2017-18 (For Class of 2018):
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 objective of this essay is to gauge the value-add the candidate will do to the classroom, peer group and enhance the value of ISB community at large. The candidate must showcase his/her individuality demonstrating how it stands out and differentiated from the rest by highlighting one’s accomplishments, which reflect qualities of leadership potential, problem solving skill, perseverance etc. A direct link between the qualities one choose and ISB’s academic or non-academic resources elaborating how exactly he/she will contribute to experiences of the student body has to be substantiated. For instance,
- An HR professional can help CAS (Placement committee) in organizing Pre-placement talks and campus interviews for the school in a smooth manner.
- An Economics or Finance major can take part in leading Finance club and driving its activities
This is the platform for the applicants to best persuade the admissions committee of their worthiness from their personal/professional experiences. Key qualities/traits looked at are penchant to learn, management ability, leadership quality, initiative, collaborative mindset, and achievement orientation.
Other points to be considered for this essay
- Given that it’s a 400 word limit essay, one can articulate 2-3 attributes with examples.
- The experiences should focus be more on impact, challenges, learnings, showcasing drive – pushing the limits and challenging the norm with determination.
- Can write about something significant/ consistent extracurricular (Quizzing, Social Work, Sports) which one is truly passionate about and can speak volumes about and how he/she can contribute to the various professional and social clubs of ISB.
- Good if there is a demonstrated consistent upward trajectory of the aspect being mentioned.
- Not to repeat the mere facts which are covered in other part of the application unless there is a need to elaborate in this essay.
Essay Question – 2
Describe your your short and long term career plans. How does the PGP fit in with those? (300 words max)
The purpose of this essay is gauge the clarity of goals and purpose of an MBA. The applicant has to weave a compelling theme that suits his/her career vision with gaps identified between one’s previous professional experiences and future goals and it should all be knit very logically with an MBA from ISB serving as a bridge. While articulating how ISB fits the whole scheme of things, he/she has to be specific about the industry and type of role looking forward to immediately after graduation from ISB. It is very important from perspective of both the Admission & Career advancement councils of ISB, as they bear big onus of placing 900+ students.
Key things evaluated are
- How the candidate has developed this goal?
- Why it appeals to him/her?
- How ISB PGP will contribute to achieve the stated goals?
- Is the applicant prepared well enough?
Other points to be considered for this essay
- Can mention some of the unique offerings of ISB that would be relevant to his/her aspiration.
- How ‘One year MBA’ suits your career (Stating its benefits)
- Extensive ISB Networking opportunities
- Faculty model, academic services
- Professional and Social Clubs – Picking one or two clubs
- Specific electives, ELP and FIRP
- Industry Specialization – Healthcare/Manufacturing/Public Policy
- Mention of personal interaction with the school’s alumni, ISB’s Information sessions, do highlight – Has to be justified if asked during interview
- Avoidance of general mention of great faculty, interactive classes, good peer group, etc
- Particularly applicants with 8+ years of work-ex has to justify a clear career path with methodical explanation of career progression from the present to the planned future
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.
Note: It is not necessary for you 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)
ISB Essays Questions 2015-16 (For Class of 2016):
ISB Essay 1 Topic: If we were to admit just one more student, make a compelling argument as to why that student should be you by describing a (only one) challenging experience you’ve had in your personal / professional life. How were you tested? What did you do that sets you apart from others? What did you learn? (up to 400 words)
Analysis: Think about your strength(s) . Where did you exhibit this strength(s). What were the challenges and how overcoming this enhanced your soft skills and/or hard skills. How having this skill makes you stand out from rest of applicants. How does your experiences add to the culture at ISB and enriches the incoming class.
ISB Essay 2 Topic: Describe a (only one) defining moment in your personal / professional life when you had to make a risky decision, and explain what you did and why? (up to 300 words)
Analysis: What was the importance of this task to you/company/your team. What were the consequences of failure. Talk about thought process (Collaborative/alone) to manage risks. Actions taken and result. In the end sum up learnings.
ISB Essay 3 Topic: What are your post-MBA career plans and how will your past experiences and the Indian School of Business programme contribute to taking you there? (up to 300 words)
Analysis: An essay like this wants you to be discreet . Mention about functions and/or sector you will be targeting. What key skills gained at pre-MBA affect your choice. How will academic and non-academic life at ISB help you achieve your post-MBA career plan.
ISB Optional Essay 4: 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. (up to 200 words)
Analysis: Reapplicant : If you had asked for feedback after the reject last time try and talk about how you have overcome the weaknesses. How your profile has changed since last time and how you are a strong contender for the seat.
If applying for first time : If you have very high academic qualifications, extra-curricular activities , entrepreneurship experiences as this add weightage to the application.
However if you have covered all the attributes you wanted to highlight in your other ISB essays, it is not necessary to attempt this just for the sake of attempting.
ISB Essays Questions 2014-15 (For Class of 2015):
Essay 1: Innovation or doing things differently it is said is a key to future success. Could you substantiate or negate this idea based on your experience. Please provide examples from your own experience – either examples of your own innovation or examples of others whom you have worked with. (300 words max)
This essay gives the candidate the opportunity to showcase his/her ‘Out-of-the-box’ thinking and ability to go against the tide when required. This essay holds the key to differentiate yourself from the peer group in terms of creative problem-solving abilities. A key point to highlight in this essay is your ability to get buy-in from other stakeholders, as innovative ideas usually face some criticism/opposition from various quarters (since they are ‘different’ by their very nature). Bringing forth this point would further highlight your convincing capabilities.
Essay 2: Applying to and enrolling in a Business School is an important career decision. Critically look at your career to date, the choices you have made, the key influences behind those choices, your goals for the future and how you expect to benefit from the ISB experience in achieving your goals. (300 words max)
This essay is important to showcase that the candidate has charted out his/her career goals and is clear about what s/he is looking to achieve professionally and how ISB features in this journey. Use this essay to highlight your long-term planning abilities and demonstrate to the ISB admissions committee how you would achieve your career goals. This is also an opportunity to showcase how ISB would play a critical role in helping you achieve your professional goals. We suggest that you highlight your career goals immediately after MBA and weave them into your long-term goals to demonstrate how you are a long-term thinker.
Essay 3 One of the following:
A) This experience completely changed my way of thinking.
Here you may choose to write about an achievement, a failure or just an experience which has led you to change your way of thinking and the manner in which you approach life (personal or professional). While describing the situation is important, detailing your learning from the experience will help the admissions committee understand the significance of your achievement. Here’s your chance to project your depth of learning basis the experiences you have been exposed to.
B) An instance when you went out of the ordinary to achieve something significant, but in hind sight feel you could have done better.
This essay will help the admissions committee understand your maturity of thought and your ability to objectively appraise yourself. While writing this essay, please focus on describing the achievement, the challenges you faced and how you overcame them. Mention gaps in your approach and how plugging those gaps would have helped you improve results.
C) Tell us about your role in a team that made a significant contribution to the organization
Here’s your chance to showcase a situation when you contributed significantly to an organisation as part of a team. While it is important to show how you as a team succeeded, don’t forget to highlight the innovations/ solutions you suggested and quantify their results.
D) Contribution to peer learning and engagement with the ISB student body are important aspects of the ISB experience. What contribution do you expect to make in this direction during the one year at ISB. (200 words max)
Choose a passion, hobby, skill or just your unique personal/ professional experience to talk about here. Read about the project work and clubs at the ISB and clear mention how you will be able to contribute to these activities because of your unique background.
Essay 4 (Optional) Please provide additional information, if any, that will significantly affect the consideration of your application to the ISB. (200 words max)
If you do attempt to write this essay, then please choose at most 2 pieces of additional information not highlighted in any application essay. The additional information could relate to your family background, personal experiences, professional experiences or hobbies. While writing this essay, please be sure to detail how your skills, background or experiences will help you contribute to the ISB.
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Successfully admitted in ISB (2014-2015) so far…
Under Graduation GPA 8.35 Work experience 1 year 8 months GMAT Score 720 Industry/Sector Indian Auto Major
"Hi GenEdMBA team,
Thank you so much for your support guys! You made all the difference. I was concerned of my chances as I had average GMAT Score. It was only through your counseling sessions and essay reviews that I was able to highlight my profile, achievements and objectives in the best manner possible leading to my selection. My admission to ISB Early Entry Option wouldn't have been possible without your support and guidance.
Sameer Ahuja | Admitted in ISB (2014-2015) MBA Aspirant from Delhi
Under Graduation GPA 8.1 Work Experience 4 years GMAT Score 720 Industry/Sector Major Manufacturing and Supply Chain Co.
I have read through a couple of times the latest version we have. Please look into it one more time before we can wrap this up.
As a next step, I am planning to jot down pointers for my recommendation. Once I have it, I will get your thoughts also before asking the the team members to write the recommendation. Once the recommendation is ready, we can look into it before submitting.
In parallel, I am also going to fill up the application details, I will reach out to you at regular intervals with specific queries.
Let me know if you have any thoughts/ suggestions around this.
I am very happy with the way essays have shaped up and looking forward to building a solid application as well.
N Chandra | Assisted for ISB Essays 2014-15 ISB Aspirant seeking help for ISB MBA programme.
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