What should be my preparation before joining ISB?

Blog post on action plan for candidates who get an ISB (Indian School of Business) admit

Congratulations on your admit to ISB! Admits to the PGP at the Indian School of Business (ISB PGP) are fully aware that ISB is going to be an intensely academically competitive environment. This is especially true for the core terms (approximately first 6 months of ISB-PGP academic year). What makes matters even more challenging is that each term in ISB is just bout 5-weeks long and so, one just does not have sufficient time to warm up to a subject and start building competency from scratch. This blog post addresses the components of your preparation before joining ISB.

Generally the results for PGP-R2 candidates come by mid-February. Since ISB’s PGP academic session typically starts in mid-April, R2-admits get typically around 2 month of time before the starting of the session at ISB; R1-admits get a longer time. ISB Admits are looking to best utilize this time before the formal ISB academic rigor commences.

Consequently, as the euphoria of ISB-PGP admit subsides, a question that ISB admits often have, is: in the days and weeks before the start of the session at ISB, can I do some pre-preparation, so that I am better prepared to go through the academic rigor of ISB?

This is the question that this blog post answers. We would address this question based upon the specific academic competency that you have, prior to ISB. In order to not make it exceedingly complex, we divide the ISB Admits into two broad buckets:

  • Candidates from science background and
  • Candidates from non-science background

Candidates from science backgrounds would typically be candidates from pure Sciences, Engineering, and Medical backgrounds. On the other hand, candidates from non-science background would typically include people from Commerce, Arts, Marketing, and Finance.

For candidates from science background, ISB’s first term often presents significant academic challenges, due to this one subject: Financial Accounting. When they join ISB, most students from Science background are not even aware of the difference between a “Cash flow statement”, an “Income statement”, and a “Balance sheet”. However, when these student join ISB, they have to compete with fellow-students, many of whom are from Commerce background (including Chartered Accountants), who have been living and breathing Financial statements for at least past 5-6 years of their lives! Unfair advantage.

Suggestion for candidates from Science background

We suggest that once you do get an admit to ISB, the best way to utilize the time that you have before joining ISB, would be to take some serious academic coursework in Accounts. This coursework should specifically address GAAP (Generally accepted Accounting Practices), Financial statements (including cash-flow statement, balance-sheet and income statement), how entries flow from one financial statement to another, and how reconciliation happens. Now a days, numerous online resources and platforms are available, to help build your knowledge from scratch in this subject.

For people who are from non-science background but are at least well-aware of financial statements, the best way to utilize their time before joining ISB would be to pick up concepts in Statistics. Statistics is the one of the four subjects in the first term at ISB. Students who have not had any serious acquaintance with Mathematics after class 12 or students who last studied Mathematics In class 10, typically struggle with Statistics. Do note that in PGP, Statistics is not just limited to concepts like Standard Deviation, Mean, Median, and Mode. Statistics in a MBA program would cover topics such as Regression Analysis, Confidence intervals, T-distribution, and normal distributions.

Suggestion for candidates from non-Science background

So, we would advise that you take up a course in Statistics that would address these advance topics in Statistics. This would ensure that you do not get overwhelmed, when formal Academics at ISB commence.

All the best and congratulations again on your admit to ISB. With requisite preparation before joining ISB, you have a one-year transformational experience awaiting you.

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