Decoding ISB Essays


This year there has been a minor change in ISB MBA essays. First of all now aspirants are required to answer only 2 questions instead of 3.

The ISB MBA essay questions are as follows:

Essay 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)

How is this question different from the last year’s one?

Last year, the school provided guidance to the candidates on how to address this question. The question was: ‘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?’

As it can be gauged from the question, ISB wanted the candidates to justify their worthiness for the program and provided the guidance that they can use their most coveted leadership/team or any other achievement as a yardstick to prove their worthiness.

Esteemed B-Schools like ISB look out for achievers who have the ability to take risks, handle pressure, challenges, diversity. People who basically can make their PGP class more competitive, dynamic and conducive for growth.

Though this year ISB has removed the ‘guidance’ part from the question, the idea remains the same. Through this question, the admissions committee is still eager to learn about your risk-taking/ challenge handling/ team management/ leadership/diversity skills. To write a compelling narrative, brainstorm for the most important achievement of your life and present it as a compelling story. Remember the motto is to convince the admissions committee that you would be an effective contributor towards making the class a more dynamic one.

Since this time you are not limited to describe only one achievement, you can also choose to narrate a few outstanding events of your life that have shaped your persona, helping you to become an excellent leader, a versatile team-worker, a people’s person or a ‘go-to’ person.

Essay 2: Describe your short and long term career plans. How does the PGP fit in with those? (300 words max)

The admissions committee usually decides in favor of those candidates who have a clear vision of their goals. Clarity in thought reflects maturity. At this point of your career, when you are already equipped with a few professional and personal skills, you are expected to have a clear vision of your goals. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? 10 years? What is your ultimate ambition in life?

It is also important here to justify how do you feel the ISB PGP program prepare you for the accomplishment of those goals? What aspects of the program do you specifically find interesting and suitable for your ambitions?

You also need to mention how your academics and career so far have prepared you for your goals. Basically, in this question, you need to address the following equation:

Knowledge and skills acquired so far+ PGP= Goals, in such a way that the entire essay weaves into an excellent story of your past, present and future.

Essay 3: 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)

Why not utilize another opportunity to prove your worth for the program? We recommend using this space to detail an additional instance that efficiently showcases your risk-taking/ challenge handling/ team management/ leadership/diversity skills. The more you are able to communicate with the admissions committee, the better it is.

It is also a good idea to use this ISB MBA essays space to justify any gap in your education or employment or even the circumstances that led to a GMAT score below your expectations.