PGP & EEO (Application Deadline: R1 - September 15th, 2018; R2 - December 15th, 2018)Essay 1: At ISB we value diversity as it enhances both the in-class and out of class learning experience. Tell us how would you contribute to the same? (400 words max)
Wow! ISB has never been so explicit on Diversity. This time, no mincing of words, no nuanced hints, and no subtlety; the thrust on diversity is categorical and overt.
Well, so be it! 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.
Educational diversity, Geographical diversity, nature of work diversity, duration of work diversity, and extra-curricular are all usual suspects that would up your diversity quotient. It should however be noted that mentioning a laundry list of diversity attributes, will not take you anywhere. For each diversity 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 consciousy chosen to work only with start-ups)
ii) Secondly articulate how that diversity attribute 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 diversity 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 IIT 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 diversity. Some may be working in development, some may be working as Lead, 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 expriences could all be potential candidates for diversity.
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: Enrolling in a Business School is an important career decision. Critically look at your career to date, the choices you have made, the key influences behind those choices, your goals for the future and how do you think ISB's PGP can help you in achieving your goals? (300 words max)
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 to do something in the future. Now, 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 embark you 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; 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 the school. 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.