ISB essay analysis and tips for 2023 intake

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The Indian School of Business (ISB) is one of the most popular business schools in India. Every year, thousands of MBA aspirants apply to the school in the hope of getting a spot in its highly sought-after Post Graduate Programme (PGP) in Management.

One of the key factors determining admission into ISB is the submission of a compelling essay. In this article, we will take a look at the ISB PGP essay questions for 2023 and some tips on how to write a winning essay.

ISB essay tips and analysis

What does ISB typically ask in its essays?

Based on our analysis of previous years’ ISB Essay questions, we know that ISB typically asks four types of questions:

  1. Why should ISB choose you?
  2. What are the leadership qualities you possess which will help you become a future leader?
  3. What are your career plans after ISB?
  4. Why ISB? (based on your career goals)

You must answer two essay prompts for the ISB PGP admissions for the 2023 intake (PGP). Both essays have a word restriction of 400 words. You must submit an additional reapplicant essay if you did not receive an admit in the ISB PGP 2022 intake.

ISB PGP questions for the 2023 admission

Essay 1: Peer Learning is a major building block of PGP at ISB. Help us in understanding how will you be able to add value to the PGP peer group through your personal and professional qualities/capabilities? (400 words)

Essay 2: What are your short-term and long-term career goals? How will Post Graduate Program at ISB assist you in achieving your goals? (400 words)

ISB PGP Essay 1 analysis

Essay 1: Peer Learning is a major building block of PGP at ISB. Help us in understanding how will you be able to add value to the PGP peer group through your personal and professional qualities/capabilities? (400 words)

ISB PGP Essay 1 framework

Follow this 5-step framework to write a winning ISB PGP Essay 1:

  1. List instances from your personal and professional life where you have created a significant impact, or which you see as an achievement
  2. Come up with leadership qualities and personality traits in these instances by thinking about the challenges you faced while executing these instances
  3. Quantify the impact (In your professional stories at least)
  4. Shortlist a few stories which have a good impact and 1 to 2 leadership qualities consistently featured in these stories
  5. Determine how you will use these characteristics to enhance peer learning at ISB.

Essay 1 analysis

Given the diverse pool of participants that ISB gets, it is not surprising that ISB focuses on peer learning as a core strength of the school.

Given a large number of applicants with a typical Indian profile, schools are forced to explore their potential to add value to the cohort’s learning. It requires applicants to disclose unique personal and professional qualities that can help them become leaders in the future.

The idea is to emphasize transferable abilities on the professional level and core talents on the personal level, while also delivering knowledge areas important to the business school experience.

When speaking about oneself, avoid making assertions that you can’t back up with solid proof and quantified impact. You may bring in your specific industry experience, specialized functional expertise, examples of strategic problem-solving, and demonstrated budgeting, team, or project management skills.

We also recommend emphasizing one personal quality and supporting it with relevant anecdotal evidence.

The next step is to recognize the distinctions and overlaps between personal and professional attributes. The distinction between what is inherent and what is acquired is sometimes blurry, and a personal attribute might be either.

The objective is to determine whether the quality has “global applicability” or is only important in certain situations. Being “entrepreneurial,” for example, means taking the initiative, being willing to take risks, and demonstrating a high level of ownership.

Interestingly, being entrepreneurial is a skill that can be applied globally and does not require you to have worked for a start-up or launched your own business.

At the same time, there are some personality traits that are expected. Do not make the mistake of demonstrating how “dedicated” or “hardworking” you are.

These are hygiene considerations; if you want to get into ISB and survive the difficult year that follows, you must be dedicated and hardworking.

What remains vital when you list the attributes – personal and professional – is to determine whether these qualities are relevant to ISB. It’s a good idea to show how these characteristics will help you contribute to the ISB class.

Engage in targeted research to find ISB events, activities, clubs, and other platforms that you would like to use in the context of your skills/qualities. Remember a time when you made a comparable contribution.

Remember, the goal of this essay is to convince the ISB admissions committee that your experience, skills, and qualities will add value to your peers.

The goal of the ISB adcom is to bring diversity to its class and this essay acts as a filter.

Coming together in a diverse class with people from all walks of life exposes you to a variety of viewpoints and opinions, which can lead to lively debate.

People from different cultures frequently have different thought processes and approach problems in different ways. As a result, the more diverse a group, the more innovative its ideas and solutions will be.

This is what the ISB adcom wants to achieve. And why is the Adcom so concerned with peer learning?
A study by the Boston Consulting Group found that increasing the diversity of leadership teams led to more and better innovation and improved financial performance – companies that had a diverse management team were found to have 19% higher revenue than their non-diverse counterparts

Invest as much time as possible in writing these 400 words because these are going to be your most important 400 words that’ll decide your career trajectory. We, at Admit Expert, can help you write winning ISB essays. Write to us at contactus@admitexpert.com and get a free first one-on-one consultation with our admissions experts who are also ISB alumni.

Do you want to impress the ISB Adcom?

At Admit Expert, we have helped hundreds of students get into top MBA programs around the world. We would be happy to help you too.
Schedule a free call with us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you achieve your goals.

ISB PGP Essay 2 analysis

Essay 2: What are your short-term and long-term career goals? How will Post Graduate Program at ISB assist you in achieving your goals? (400 words)

ISB Essay 2 framework

  1. Briefly describe your job path to this point and the skills you’ve acquired.
  2. In the framework of your profile, present your short- and long-term goals, with the short-term career goal being as specific as possible.
  3. Discuss any knowledge or skill gaps that you may have, as they may be essential to your future ambitions.
  4. Finally, discuss how the ISB PGP can assist you in achieving your goals.

Essay 2 analysis

The career objective essay has always been a part of the ISB application since ISB like other top business schools wants to know about your short-term and long-term career goals and how ISB will help you achieve them.

We strongly advise you to paint a future picture of your career trajectory in which ISB as a business school plays a pivotal role.

Provide particular information on the industry, function, role, and other aspects of your ideal post-MBA job. Also, don’t get caught up in designations or positions.

It aids in keeping your short-term objectives compatible with your previous achievements. The recruiting company will value your previous work experience, so don’t downplay it.

The goal is to show that you want to make the most of the experience and exposure you’ve already obtained. It’s possible that you’d like to change careers or functions. Concentrate on the transferable talents that will help you succeed in your new position.

What you want to accomplish in the next 4-5 years will not be your final destination, but rather a route leading to a larger goal.

Connecting your short-term goals to what you want to achieve in the medium to long term will be interesting. Again, don’t get caught up with titles; instead, focus on describing the path you want your career to take.

Define your long-term goals for the foreseeable future – say, 8-10 years from now. Your goals may change as time passes and you gain more expertise, but you must start with a solid foundation.

Finish by stating why you believe an MBA is necessary and why you believe ISB is the best fit for your goals. Remember not to go overboard with your ‘why ISB’ statement, since it would be unrealistic to expect to be chosen solely on the basis of your ability to mention multiple groups, electives, and teachers at ISB.

The essay is more about you and how ISB continues to be the best option in your situation.

Do you want to impress the ISB Adcom?

At Admit Expert, we have helped hundreds of students get into top MBA programs around the world. We would be happy to help you too.
Schedule a free call with us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you achieve your goals.

Reapplicant essay

You do not need to write the reapplicant essay if you applied through the Young Leaders Programme (YLP).

Candidates who applied to ISB in past years must produce an essay describing how their profile has improved during this time. 

If you applied in R1 last year and are applying in R1 this year, you have almost a year to plan anew. Recapitulate all of your efforts to improve your profile.

If you applied in R2 last year and are now applying in R1, you have only had about 8 months, which may or may not reflect significant changes in your profile.

This is your best chance to show the school that you did some introspection to get a new viewpoint and that you improved your eligibility by upskilling or working on new projects.

Discuss new projects, new learnings from these projects, things you got to do for the first time, and interactions that impacted you and your career plans. Don’t forget to include experiences that helped you improve your core and soft skills.

If you presented a career goal last year that you were unable to justify in the interview, or if you have decided to pursue an alternative plan that you can validate, do not be afraid to make a statement.

Through this essay, you get a chance to prove to the ISB admissions committee that you were able to understand what went wrong the last time and that you made significant improvements in your profile based on those gaps in your profile.

We, at Admit Expert, have ISB admissions experts who can help you with your essay and overall application. Write to us at contactus@admitexpert.com to know more.

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