PGP & EEO Application Deadlines:
R1 - September 15, 2019
R2 - December 01, 2019
R3 - January 01, 2020
Essay 1: There will be 900 students in the class of 2021. Why should you be one of them? (400 words)
For this essay, our task is cut out: to convince the admissions committee why ISB should choose you for this prestigious program. This essay needs lot of thought and introspection; after all, this is the first essay and will leave a lasting (if not the last) impression. So, no mincing of words, no nuanced hints, and no subtlety; the thrust on your uniqueness should be categorical and overt.
Education, Geographical diversity, nature of work, duration of work, and extra-curricular are all usual suspects that would up your uniqueness quotient. It should however be noted that mentioning a laundry list of attributes, will not make the cut. For each unique attribute that you mention, it is important to:
i) First substantiate your claim to that attribute (for example: All through my professional life, I have consciously chosen to work only with start-ups)
ii) Secondly articulate how that uniqueness of yours, would enhance the learning experience of your ISB batch-mates (for example: Courtesy my extensive experience in start-ups, I have cross-functional experience in operations, marketing, and strategy. Hence, I would be able to bring my real-life experiences to case-study discussions at ISB)
We believe that a maximum of 2-3 unique attributes should be articulated, for following reasons:
i) Essay reviewer's focus and recall would get lost, if you narrate more than 3 attributes; the essay will then be all over the place.
ii) The 400 word limit for this essay will not allow you to do justice to more than 3 attributes.
Warning! People from IT industry (Information Technology) background may feel that this was exactly the essay that they would not wish to write. Some may even feel that this essay means that their ISB aspirations have ended even before they have begun:).
We however, firmly believe that the IIM tag ("Indian, IT, male") has acquired notoriety, for mostly undue reasons. Consider the following:
i) Everyone is unique (sounds cliched, we know). The point however is that merely working in the IT industry does not take away your uniqueness. Some may be working in development, some may be working as Leads, some may be working in pre-sales, and some others may have direct client-handling experience. All these are differentiators that would set you apart!
ii) Also, nature of your work is just one part of your personality. Your extra-curricular, your interests, and your varied experiences would all add to your uniqueness.
Bottomline: This is an opportunity for you to let ISB know that there is more to you than what your resume and your GMAT score suggest. Approach it with enthusiasm, because your positivity will bring the essay to life!
Essay 2: What will you be doing in 2025 and 2030? How will the ISB PGP programme help you to achieve these goals? (400 words)
This is the good old classical statement of purpose (SoP). ISB wants candidates to be very clear in terms of how they want their careers to shape up, especially in the near future (3-5 years after MBA) and in the long term (8-10 years after MBA).
This essay is best addressed along 3 major points.
a) First what you have done in life so far (primarily on the professional/academic front)
b) Second what you want to do in future
c) Third how does ISB fit into the scheme of things
Clearly there are some experiences, attributes, and interests that you already have. This is your past. You have aspirations in life; you hope this to be your future. What is currently holding you back, from making your aspirations, your future? This is what this essay is all about.
Based upon what you have done in the past, and what you want to do in future, there are certain gaps in terms of skill sets, in terms of network, or in terms of competencies, that you want the b-school to bridge. So, you need to build a case that equipping yourself with these skillsets, network, and competencies will help you embark towards your future goals.
It is also very important that you do a good research on the unique offerings of ISB that would be directly relevant to your aspirations. Please note that mentioning ISB's attributes such as great faculty, good peer group, and interactive classes are in most cases a waste of space in the essay; this is because almost every applicant would mention these, and these attributes come across as generic (almost every b-school can claim to have these); imagine what the evaluator of the essay will go through, reading the exact same words one essay after another.
So, what will pay off are the very specific and unique offerings of ISB. These could be specific student interest clubs, any flagship events in the area of your interest, any centers of excellence and any specific research area that the school focuses on. In fact, if you have had a chance to visit ISB, ISB's Information sessions, or personally interact with any existing student, do highlight it, since this would demonstrate your interest.