UPDATE: The tips for the ISB 2012 MBA Application are now available online. Please review the tips and post questions or comments to the new post. Check out the entire 2012 MBA Application Tips series for more valuable MBA application advice.
The Indian School of Business is one of the newest graduate business programs in the world, but it has quickly earned a renown matching the leading American and European programs. Its Admissions Office recently released the deadlines and questions for the 2010 intake. My suggestions are in red below.
1. Give 3 reasons as to why you should be selected to the class of 2011? These reasons should ideally differentiate you from the applicant pool and should be backed with some data.(300 words max)
ISB is strict about its word limits; unlike most other programs, ISB will not allow you to submit even 301 words, so you must be truly concise. I suggest you stick to around 100 words for each “reason” for your selection but if one of your points can be concisely stated, don’t feel obligated to elaborate on it. Instead, use those unused words to offer more details of your actions and motivations on another point in the essay.
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 three – those that best demonstrate your achievements and impacts – then describe them briefly.
2. Describe a challenging assignment you have handled (at work or outside) to date. What were the challenges and how did you handle them? What were the personal learnings you derived from this assignment?(300 words max)
In my opinion, this is a much more direct question than last year’s essay 2 about contesting the election for student body president! Thank ISB for their pragmatism with an essay that highlights not an average assignment but one that is beyond the expected. The key to this essay is to show the multiple challenges facing you in this one particular assignment, explain just how difficult meeting those challenges were, and then spend the bulk of the essay explaining how you applied your creativity, interpersonal skills, and business acumen to overcome those hurdles. Be sure to include, and if possible quantify, the impact that this assignment had on the company or organization. And don’t forget to discuss the lessons you learned from the experience.
3. Briefly assess your career progression till date along with an assessment of your future career goals. Discuss how your career goals will be met by the ISB’s one year programme in management.(300 words max)
Graduate business programs 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 clarify why you made these moves and how each one added to your professional knowledge. 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. 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.
4 (optional) Please provide additional information, if any, that will significantly affect the consideration of your application to the ISB. Please do not repeat information which has already been stated elsewhere in the application. You may use this to clarify any breaks in education/work, inform about any other item which you think has not been covered elsewhere etc. (300 words max)
Since the essays for ISB are so short, I imagine that everyone will want to complete the optional essay. 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.
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Application deadlines for Indian Passport Holders are as follows:
Course commencement date: Mid April, 2010
International Applicants are subject to a rolling admissions process.