ISB Essay Analysis

Indian School of Business (ISB) Essay Analysis 2020-21

Last updated on August 24th, 2020

Reading Time: 24 minutes

If you have decided to get an MBA, you would have definitely gone through the long list of B-schools across the world that you can possibly apply to, right? And if ISB is a B-school that you are considering, you might want to learn how to tackle the ISB application essays to get an MBA admit.

In this article, we will discuss the ISB application essay questions in detail and also provide you with tips on how to showcase your profile to the admissions committee at the B-school.

So, keep your pen and paper handy because you will have a lot of relevant points that you might want to note down.

But before we get into the ISB application essay analysis part, here are a few points that you need to know about the Indian School of Business.

Getting things straight

The Indian School of Business has been training and building young leaders for over 20 years now. With the experience of over two decades, the B-school has become a home to 10,000+ alumni who are continuing their journey in different segments of business, management and consulting.

Imparting knowledge the right way

Being one of the top B-schools in India, the ISB focuses on grooming future leaders for the world.

With an intent to become a world-class B-school in Asia, the B-school claims to be driven by thought leaders who are futuristic and innovative. And with its association with other renowned B-schools — Kellogg, Wharton, London Business School, MIT Sloan School of Management, The Fletcher School — the B-school is said to bring a global perspective to the programs offered.

The ISB has set five learning goals:

  1. Interpersonal awareness and working in teams
  2. Critical and integrative thinking
  3. Awareness of global issues affecting business
  4. Effective oral communication, and,
  5. Ethical responsibility

These goals are said to provide the students with a holistic learning experience at ISB.

What ISB is looking for

ISB does take into account the academic record of a candidate. Just like other B-schools, the admissions committee at ISB looks at your 12th-grade marks and your graduation grades while considering your candidature.

But that is not the only factor. They evaluate the GMAT score, leadership attributes and personal attributes of the candidate to see if they fit the criteria of the B-school.

There is no ‘minimum GMAT score requirement’ to apply to ISB. But you can check out the ISB websites to know the GMAT score range of the ISB admits.

And when they speak about leadership attributes, they speak of how the essays and letters of recommendation help them to evaluate the candidate’s qualities. You will get to know more about this when you go through the essay analysis below.

One of our students, Sreyoshi, who got into the Indian School of Business in 2019 mentioned in one of our live sessions that the admissions committee at ISB did ask her interview questions that would help them assess her leadership qualities. Though at the time, she just had two and a half years of work experience, they were trying to figure out the kind of initiatives she had taken at the workplace to understand whether she will be able to manage a higher job role later.

What’s in it for you

If you are looking to build your career in India, ISB is one of the best options out there.

With the current pandemic situation and the uncertainty of migrating to other countries, doing an MBA now at ISB will benefit you in many ways. 

The MBA program at ISB will help you wade through the recession period that has set in and also the bad job market. By the time you graduate from ISB, the job market will probably be much better ensuring that you get good job offers, be it in terms of the role or the monetary benefit.

And if you have a business idea that you want to build, you might even find a good classmate who could be your business partner.

Since the B-school is in India, you don’t have to worry about getting a VISA as well!

Now, let’s look at the actual essays that you need to submit to ISB while submitting your MBA application.

Indian School of Business MBA Essays 2020-21

There are two essay questions that you need to submit if you need to complete your ISB application. While both are in the usual essay format, there is a certain twist that the B-school has brought it while drafting the questions. You will understand this as you keep reading this article.

ISB Essay Question 1

Describe with examples the most important personal quality that you possess, which significantly enhances your prospects of being successful as a leader?

Word limit: 400 words

So, first things first. Re-look at the question and try to understand exactly what they are asking for – They are asking for that one personal quality of yours which you think is that important to include it in your ISB MBA application essay. And they have asked you to describe the quality with examples. While the quality has to be just one, you need to give them more than one example in the essay.

If you try to understand this ISB application essay question, you will realize that they are basically asking you to ‘pitch yourself’. This is very much the case with other B-schools like Harvard as well. They are all expecting you to tell them that one quality they wouldn’t see even after going through all your documents. And here, they want you to corroborate it with a story or a real-life example.

Figuring out that one quality that you wish to talk about is a challenge in itself. To identify the quality, you will have to be self-aware and you will have to introspect. You need to look into yourself. There is another way for you to identify this quality – ask people who know you well. We would suggest that you don’t ask your family members because it might not be reflective. But you can definitely ask other people who you think knows you the best. They could be your friends or even your colleagues. We are sure that some of you may even have bosses who will help you find this quality.

If you feel that this is not going to help you find the strength, you can head to the website, StrengthsFinder 2.0. They say that you cannot capitalize on your weaknesses and as a society, we believe in that. So, the platform might actually be able to help you find that particular quality that you are looking for in yourself!

Once you find the quality, you need to remember that you have to give the reviewers reasons to believe that you possess that particular quality. And you cannot be vague about it. You cannot just say in your ISB application essay that you are hardworking or trustworthy. You need to give specific examples to back those claims.

You can use 400 words to narrate your stories and this space is very valuable. You should not just use words to fill up space. You should be choosing your words. And those 400 words should be able to build your stories and claims. And in this case, you might be able to provide two of your best stories.

Here is an exercise that you can do: Create post-it notes and compare them. One category of your stories could be work-related whereas the other category could be of your personal stories. This will make it easier for you to compare them and pick the best stories for your ISB essay.

Now, once you have picked your personal quality and the two stories, here is how you should go about the essay:

    1. Announce your personal quality upfront

    2. Mention the stories that to corroborate your claim

    3. End the essay by convincing the reader how this quality makes you a good leader

Let us consider an example here. If you are someone who likes to give back to the people and that is a quality that you think would define you, give instances from your work life and personal life to prove it. You could talk about the time when you got everyone together for lunch to discuss a topic and probably even an instance when you taught your co-workers something or contributed in some way to the knowledge-base in the company.

Note: If you are talking about two stories, it will be best if you can find a story from your work life and another one from your personal life. This will bring a balance to your claim and the essay. 

As mentioned above, end your essay strong and with that, you need to have convinced the reader how you are going to be the best choice for ISB.

To bring this structure in your ISB essay 1, you can use 50 words at the beginning of your essay and 50 words at the end. You will probably need at least 150 words each to tell your two stories. You can add 10 or 20 words to the introduction and conclusion of your essay. You can make this decision.

ISB Essay Question 2

What are your short term and long term career goals? How will Post Graduate Program at ISB assist you in achieving your goals? 

Word limit: 400 words

Whenever you are approaching a career goals essay, you need to focus on telling the B-school that you are employable. You need to convince them that you are employable. Let us look at how you can convince them through your essay.

You might have worked with a company for several years or maybe you have worked with different companies over the years. You could have been a part of any of the teams that they have in the organization. What you need to bring into your essay are the transferable skills that you have and those that you have acquired. You need to tell the story of your journey so far.

One point that you need to remember here is that they are not looking for a replica of your resume here. They already have the document. They don’t need you to tell them that all over again in this essay. You should give them a quick synopsis of your career. And then you move on and speak about the growth and then you speak about your career goals.

When you speak about career goals, you need to speak of how you think that you would fit into a particular role. You might want to get into consulting or become a venture capitalist. You need to tell them and convince them that you will be a perfect fit for the job role.

Let us give you an example of one of our students who approached us for our application services. He had five years of experience working with one of the top e-commerce companies. And he said that he understands technology at a grassroots level. He was confident that he will be able to help any company digitize their offerings and that he will be able to build it all for them.

This is a great post-MBA career goals story. So, when you write the essay, look at how you will contribute if hired by a company.

The next point that you need to focus on is how the ISB program will contribute to helping you achieve the post-MBA career goal. One request that we have for you here is that, please do not go to their website and copy-paste the details provided by them. They know what they offer. You don’t have to tell them that. But what you can speak to them is about the knowledge that ISB can give you and the potential opportunity to make connections at the B-school. These are relevant points.

To bring this structure in your ISB essay 2, you can use around 70 words to tell them what you bring to the table and approximately 100-150 words to tell them about your post-MBA career goals. You can utilize the remaining 170 or 200 words to speak about how ISB will contribute to helping you achieve your goals.

There is no hard and fast rule that you should dedicate the given number of words for each section in your essay. But this will probably be the best way to go about it. You can make minor changes based on your story.

So, if you’re applying to ISB this year and feel that you need expert guidance to brainstorm and help you bring out your story through the essays, feel free to reach out to us.

Before you leave, if you are looking to apply to ISB, you need to know the deadlines, right?

So, here are the Indian School of Business MBA application deadlines.

Indian School of Business MBA Application Deadlines

If you really want to get into ISB, you might want to keep these deadlines in mind. Moreover, with these deadlines, you can now plan your MBA application process better.

Indian School of Business MBA Application Deadlines

Round 1 September 20, 2020 

Round 2 Yet to be announced

So, here we leave you with the most important points and dates that will help you get into ISB.

If you would like to watch what our GMAT and MBA Expert, Arun Jagannathan has to say about writing your ISB essay, you can watch the video here.

And as mentioned earlier, if you feel that you need more help in drafting your essays or reviewing your application or let’s say, even brainstorming your ideas, you can always reach out to us.

You can click on the image below and get in touch with our expert.