How to tackle gaps in work experience or in academics?

Applicants to the PGP at the Indian School of Business (ISB PGP) are often concerned about gaps in their work experience or in academics. Applicants believe that such gaps would negatively impact their chances of admission to ISB. This blog post aims at addressing these concerns.

The concern is indeed genuine. ISB Admissions committee would ideally like to have candidates with a consistent academic and professional record. However, we live in a world that is far from ideal. Thankfully ISB Admissions committee realizes that and is very amenable to accepting academic or professional gaps, as long as the candidates are able to explain a genuine reason for those gaps. ISB Application has provision to explain gaps. Applicants should utilize this provision to explain their academic or professional gaps.

The gap after class 12, for preparation of Medical/Engineering entrance exam, is the most common gap that we come across for applicants. This is a very valid reason and is not at all looked at in a negative light at all by the ISB Admissions committee.

Many ISB applicants have multi-year gap after their graduation, in order to prepare for Civil Services examination. In fact, many applicants leave their well-paying jobs to prepare for Civil Services examination. It is common knowledge how difficult and unpredictable this exam is. In our experience, ISB is very open to accepting this as a valid reason for professional gap.

In fact, we suggest that ISB applicants project their decision to appear for Civil Services examination as a strength. After all, it requires significant risk-taking ability to take a decision to leave a well-paying job, to embrace the vagaries of Civil Services examination. Hence, your decision to prepare for Civil Services exam reflects your risk-taking ability, a significant positive personality attribute that you should depict in the application.

We come across many candidates from an Engineering background, who take a gap after their graduation, to prepare for the GATE exam. This exam is for admission to a post graduation course (M.Tech) or for jobs in public sector undertakings. This is again a valid reason for a gap in academics or profession.

This reason obviously does not require any explanation. Illnesses come uninvited and can result in significant disruption in one’s academic or professional life.

Note that we believe that a professional gap because of preparation for GMAT/GRE does not qualify as a great reason for a gap. Almost all students preparing for GMAT/GRE do find time to prepare, even while they are working fulltime. Hence, we do not recommend this.

Applicants to ISB PGP should not be unduly stressed about the presence of gaps in their work experience or in academics. Over the years, we have worked with numerous candidates who have made it to ISB, despite gaps in their profiles. Candidates should utilize the space provided in the application, to explain the reasons for the gaps.

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