The Indian School of Business is an excellent program for those interested in advancing to management roles in a broad spectrum of industries and those seeking positions in the consulting industry (20% of graduates earn consulting placements) and technology field (28% of graduates choose this industry upon graduation). Interestingly, while median salaries for graduates of a top US program like Stanford and Harvard only exceed the US national average by 240%, graduates of ISB can expect to earn 522% of the Indian national average wage upon graduation*.
ISB has overhauled its essay questions this year, only maintaining their standard of 3 required essays and one optional while changing the phrasing of all of the essay prompts and increasing the total word limit by 200 words (ISB is one of the few schools that actually require the strict adherence to its word limits). My comments are in blue.
Essay 1 (400 words maximum)
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?
This is a great question because it allows you to shine the spotlight on whatever aspect of your candidacy you feel makes you exceptional. Look at your career and extracurricular activities and identify the area in which you have achieved the greatest impact, ideally reaching a level that few other applicants can match. This is not just about a title or award you earned; the essay needs to highlight the obstacles you navigated and the challenges you overcame to reach that pinnacle. Don’t forget to discuss some of what you learned about yourself, leadership, and management.
Essay 2 (300 words maximum). Choose one of the following 2 options:
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.
A risky decision means there was a lot to lose and there was no clear path forward. This essay offers applicants an opportunity to demonstrate their appetite for risk and their decision making process – was it based on data, market research, networking with experienced mentors in the field, gut instinct, or some other technique? A good essay will be able to point to significant results and impact from the risk.
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?
Similar to option 1 above, this potential topic includes an element of the unknown: when faced with a diverse team, a leader must analyze how the cultural and/or professional backgrounds of the people involved may affect the project and take action to smooth the interactions. This is a great opportunity for applicants with international work experience to share the cultural insight they have gained.
Essay 3 (300 words maximum)
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?
This question is similar to last year’s essay prompt about career goals but is much more focused on what you have done (compared with last year’s emphasis on why you chose those paths). This essay demands a clear definition of what field and role you hope to enter upon graduation, the business skills and insight you have gained that will be essential to succeeding in that role, and how ISB will complement that knowledge.
Essay 4 (Optional) (200 words maximum)
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.
Use this space to explain any gaps in your career but also take advantage of this opportunity to grant deeper insight into any leadership role or impact you have gained, emphasizing how this experience has prepared you for ISB and your future career.
Round 1: October 15, 2015 (11:59 pm India Standard time)
Round 2: January 5, 2016 (11:59 pm India Standard time)
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