The Indian School of Business has become one of the strongest graduate business programs in Asia. While it dropped from 20th to 34th in this year’s Financial Times’ Global MBA rankings – making it only the fifth best MBA program in Asia – 100% of its graduates secure job offers within 3 months of graduating and salary increases for graduates are still 152% over their pre-MBA pay! Competition for seats in this esteemed 1-year program is intense and the admissions process is highly competitive for native Indians. Here are ISB’s essay questions and my advice for how to answer them (in blue).
1. Attitude, skills and knowledge differentiate people. Elaborate with two examples on how you would differentiate yourself from other applicants to the PGP. (300 words max)
To answer this well, you need to know what makes you special. Think about who you are and perhaps even ask your friends and mentors for input to gain some perspective. ISB recently revealed in a summary of Myth Busters that it is looking for applicants with a “thirst for knowledge, involvement in professional and personal pursuits, willingness to learn and eagerness to contribute, well balanced personality with thought-provoking ideas and ability to challenge status quo,” so think about examples of these in your own background.
Once you have selected the two qualities you wish to highlight, make them come alive by sharing examples and/or evidence of them. While you certainly can split this essay into two 150-word sections of each quality, you do not have to be so even-handed: if one differentiating factor needs more space or just is more interesting, it’s worth giving it more room.
2. How does the ISB PGP tie-in with your career goals? (300 words max)
ISB’s Admissions Director has listed “Clarity of thought in terms of career aspirations and goals” as one of the three most important qualities sought in the ISB application essays. This goals essay is your opportunity to show that you possess that clarity. You must begin by explaining your goals. Keep in mind that these goals must “make sense” and stem in some way from your past. If entrepreneurship is in your future, it should really appear in your past as well. If you aim for a technology or consulting role, you’ll need to demonstrate that you know what qualities you will need to succeed in these and bring some proof as to your readiness for this career. You do not need an exact map of your future, but you do need to reveal a thought process, reasoning, and evidence of your ability to reach your goals through the ISB program. Highlight in this essay what makes ISB the perfect stepping stone to those goals.
3. Pick the most significant achievement (professional or personal) you have had and elaborate on the key learning you took away from it. (300 words max)
ISB is looking for leadership potential in its applicants, the ability to take responsibility then collaborate with, motivate and drive others to produce results. This essay is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate that you have these skills. An ideal achievement essay will show the obstacles that were in your way and how you used creativity, interpersonal skills, and intellect to surpass them and make an impact.
Please provide additional information, if any, that will significantly affect the consideration of your application to the ISB. (300 words max)
The open-ended nature of this question causes infinite hand-wringing, but it should really be viewed as a gift: here is your opportunity to share whatever makes you special. This could be from your work, community service, education, or travels. Don’t make the mistake of just listing an experience or award that is mentioned elsewhere in the application form. Instead, use this space to share why the experience was meaningful, what you gained from it, how you grew, and why you are better prepared for ISB and your future career or leadership as a result.
If you would like professional guidance with your Indian School of Business application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the ISB application.
International applicants (Non Indian Passport Holders) to the Indian School of Business (ISB) have a rolling application process. If you are shortlisted, you are likely to be interviewed within one month of submission of a complete application. However, in exceptional situations it might take more than a month. You will be informed about the decision within three weeks from the date of the interview.
As an international candidate, you might need additional time to arrange for visas, housing and financial aid, and to work on their English Language proficiency if necessary. Hence, you are encouraged to apply early.
Application for PGP 2014-15 is now open. It will close on January 15, 2014.
Application Deadline for Early Entry Option candidates is January 15, 2014. Offers will be made on March 31, 2014.
By Jennifer Bloom who has been helping applicants to the top MBA programs draft their resumes, application forms, letters of recommendation, and essays for 14 years. She is happy to serve as your personal coach and hand-holder throughout the entire process. There’s no time like the present to begin!