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ISB Essays (for class entering in 2018)

The ISB applications are now open and the essay topics for admission to Class of 2019 are out. Deviating from previous years, ISB has introduced a change in the essay pattern. There are now only two essays, and the optional essay has now been removed. While the underlying theme for the two essays remains same, it has become more crucial than ever for both first-time applicants and re-applicants to use the word limit optimally to showcase their profile. Here are a few guidelines on how to approach the essays:

ISB Essay 1
If we were to admit just one more candidate to the Postgraduate Programme (PGP) at the ISB, why should it be you? (Max 500 words)

Objective: Simply put, the essay should answer the question ‘Why you?’. The admissions committee expects you to clearly articulate what value-add do you bring to the Class of 2019, both in terms of in-class and beyond class learning.

How to approach:
Look at your resume and identify strengths and attributes that differentiates you from your peers. On the professional side, have you worked successfully in teams? Have you taken initiatives? Were you able to make a business impact? On the extra-curricular side, are you passionate about an activity or a cause? Have you been able to contribute meaningfully to society? ISB, like most top B-schools, looks for candidates with multi-faceted and well-rounded personalities and you should be able to demonstrate these effectively.
The essay should intrigue the reader and make him/her want to know you better. Therefore, each of these attributes should be backed by real-life examples. It is also worthwhile to try and link these with clubs and activities conducted at ISB to demonstrate how exactly you will contribute to the off-classroom learning at ISB.

What’s changed:
ISB now gives you an extra 100 words to differentiate yourself. In our viewpoint, this increases the emphasis on the extra-curricular activities and the significance of a well-rounded profile.

Our advice to Reapplicants is that they must use these 100 words to actively address what has improved in their profile since their last attempt.

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

Objective: This essay requires candidates to answer the ‘Why PGP’ and ‘Why ISB’ question. The essay should clearly articulate where you are in your career trajectory, what are your post MBA goals and how the PGP will help you achieve those goals?

How to approach:
This is a critical question and we have often seen that it can make or break an application. A well-articulated essay should be able to map your current strengths to your post-MBA goals with ISB clearly serving as a bridge.
The right way to approach the essay is to research about future career options and confirm if they are aligned to your strengths, interests and accomplishments. It is often a good idea to talk to alumni to ensure that you are realistic about your goals. While articulating this essay, it is important to show clarity of thought by narrowing down your goals with respect to industry, role and function.
The last part of the essay is about ‘Why PGP’. Researching on the school’s website can help you find course curriculum aspects that can help you plug skill gaps and initiatives such as ELP and club activities that are well-aligned with your goals.

Few general rules:
Keep it concise: Crisp beats wordy, at any B-school and ISB is no exception. If you can say it in fewer words, you make a better impression.
Define impact wherever possible: Wherever possible, certify examples by defining impact, not only quantitatively but also qualitatively.
Personalize, personalize and personalize: The essays should be about you. Read each line carefully to see if it adds value to you as a candidate.

 

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