Monday, July 13, 2009

ISB Application Essays

The ISB Application for the class of 2011 is open now. You can access the application at ThinkISB advisors spend a good amount of time understanding the various aspects of the application and below you see an in depth analysis of the most important part of the application – the essays.

Give 3 reasons as to why you should be selected to the class of 2011. These reasons should ideally differentiate you from the applicant pool and should be backed with some data. (300 words max)

The purpose of this essay is to understand whether you’d be a value add to ISB. Please understand that you do not need to come across as exotic, rather you need to come across as someone who would be able to contribute to both in-class and outside class activities. While proven involvement in extracurricular activities can be a pointer – ensure that you are able to link your extracurricular activities to activities performed by student clubs at ISB. Case in point if you’re interested in quizzing and drama you could mention the manner in which you could contribute to the Quizzing and Theatre clubs at ISB. Do understand that merely mentioning participating in clubs will not make the cut. You have to ensure you mention your exact nature of contribution.

A second pointer could be learning that you’ve gained from your career progression so far. Make a mention of how you would be able to contribute to your study group and to specific courses as a result of your professional learnings so far. Understand that while a lot of applicants may have the same professional profile as you – what will differentiate you is the manner in which you apply these learnings to your curriculum.

A final pointer could be a synopsis of your personal strengths – backed by examples on how you’ve used these strengths in past – and how these strengths would enable you to enrich the classroom experience at ISB. An important pointer while writing this essay is not to be overwhelmed by the 300 word limit. In fact when you write the first draft – try not to be conscious of the word limit – describe as many distinguishing factors as you possibly can. We can then decide which to retain.

Describe a challenging assignment you have handled (at work or outside) to date. What were the challenges and how did you handle them. What were the personal learnings you derived from this assignment. (300 words max)

For this essay, it would be better if you chose a crisis situation or a near failure situation. The whole purpose of this essay is to gauge how well you can attend to situations that would test your mettle. The situation can be challenging because of a variety of factors – your inability to handle the pressure, demanding team-mates or your inability to comprehend the difficulty of the assignment. You have to describe specifically what made the situation challenging for you and how you dealt with the challenges. Do understand that your reaction to the challenge will also change – you would probably start with feeling overwhelmed and then create a plan of action on how to handle the challenge. You also have to explain how you’ve evolved as a person and a professional as a result of this assignment. Another point you need to consider is – you need to showcase this essay as a description of your leadership ability. At the end of the day you will need to showcase leadership – that makes you handle challenging situations with aplomb.

ISB Essay 3
Briefly assess your career progression till date along with your assessment of your future career goals. Discuss how your career goals will be met by the ISB’s one year program. (300 words max)

Start with explaining everything you have done in your career post your undergrad/grad degree. Be sure to include any awards or achievements garnered along the way. Then explain how you career progression links to (or has given rise to) your career goals. Mention what your short-term goal is – it has to be a specific profile/position you are targeting post the ISB PGP. Then trace a career progression from your short-term goal to your long-term goal. Do understand that for your short-term goal you will need to mention specific positions at specific companies – make sure to verify whether the companies come to ISB to recruit. Your long-term goal has to be a work position around ten to fifteen years down the line from your short-term goal. Explain how specific learnings from the ISB PGP will enable you to attain your goals – make a mention of specific courses, clubs etc at ISB. In case you have interacted with ISB alumni or attended ISB information sessions or scheduled an ISB visit – mention how your decision to apply to ISB has been influenced by these events.

ISB Optional Essay
Please provide additional information, if any, that will significantly affect the consideration of your application to the ISB. Please do not repeat information which has already been stated elsewhere in the application. You may use this to clarify any breaks in education/work, inform about any other item which you think has not been covered elsewhere etc. (300 words max) Optional

The topic here is self-explanatory. Unless you have any of the reasons mentioned above or any significant extracurricular that have not been covered anywhere else in the application, please leave this section blank.

Re-applicant Essay

As a re-applicant focus on the improvements you have made in your profile – both and work and outside work in the duration of this one year. If you have received a re-applicant feedback from ISB mention how you have taken specific steps to improve your profile according to the feedback that you have received.

Do let us know whether you found this post useful. Drop us an email at to call us at 9010917222

Friday, July 10, 2009

ISB and Younger Applicant

As a younger applicant (anywhere between 2 and 3 years of work experience), your application needs to demonstrate accelerated career progression, leadership and professional maturity. One method of demonstrating professional maturity is by showing very clear career goals – you have to convince the admissions committee that you are looking at pursuing a management education so early in your career – simply because your career goals require a thorough understanding of management concepts at this point. Accelerated career progression by highlighting participation in cross-functional activities and through awards and achievements that you’ve earned at work. Your recommenders will also need to play an important role in endorsing your career accomplishments. Leadership can be demonstrated by taking on initiatives at work and outside work – like perhaps starting a language club at work or creating a knowledge repository. Considering your relatively brief career span – participation in leadership activities at the undergraduate level will also be paramount.

For a detailed analysis on how to improve your candidacy as a younger applicant, please contact us on or call us at 9010917222

ISB and Older Applicants

As a one-year full time management program, ISB is very attractive to older applicants. When I say older applicant, I mean someone at least a good three to four years older than the average age of the school. ISB’s 2008 average age was 28, so if you're 31 or older you would possibly fall into that category for ISB.

As an older applicant – one of the most important concerns you need to address will be the placement concern. In the current economic scenario, the admissions committee knows that it will be harder to place you than younger applicants – and this concern could be a possible reason for rejection. You will need to use your career goals essay to alleviate this concern. Your career goals will have to be extremely detailed, you will need to identify positions, companies and your areas of responsibility post ISB. You will also have to show that your reason for entering a management program is not simply because you have hit a plateau in your career.

Another potential area of concern will also be how well you fit in with the rest of the class. You need to demonstrate flexibility and adaptability in order to prove that you’d be an asset to your learning team and not just because of your work experience.

For in-depth advice on how to structure your application essays as an older applicant, please contact us on or call us at 9010917222.