ISB admission, tips and suggestions for your essays

Disclaimer: All views expressed in this article are Mine and neither validated or endorsed by ISB. This is a personal blog where I list my personal experiences and viewpoints

As a current student of ISB (Indian School Of Business) I have been approached by many friends and acquaintances  about ISB application process ,essays and the new 2 minute Video. I have given the same suggestions to all of them and hence for benefit of perspective students putting it out here also.These are generic tips and possibly you already know them but still —People falter

Your Story Matters: I personally believe that your essays and CV, irrespective of what the essays questions are , are a means of knowing what’s your story. Your essay should answer the following questions

1. Why are you telling me that?: If you are talking about your work or your experiences , why do you want to talk about it? “Worked for 10 years in XYZ” means nothing.The question is also about why is it important? What skills are you trying to portray

2.So what?: This is a question of impact, if you led a team of 10 people the followup question will be So what? Why is that worth mentioning?, what did you do with it? Were you the youngest manager? Was that a big team as per your company standards?

3.Is it relevant for an MBA: Possibly the most important aspect for any resume or an essay.Remember your end goal, getting into an institute. You should be very clear on why does your skill set make you a better candidate for a management program?. You should be talking about various facets of your personality. If you were a kick ass programmer, no point just talking about all the awesome codes you may have written.Yes it is important to showcase that you were one of the best coder in your company but do not keep talking just about that. You have limited words, use them judiciously ,talk about leadership skills,talk about cross cultural experiences you might have had, team dynamics or even personal non-coding successes.If your CV and Essays just showcase you as an Awesome coder, you better be an awesome coder .Why get into an MBA?

4. Do the Dots connect: In your essays and CV you will highlight various aspects of your personality and your work. Now check if the dots connect? Is there a logical progression ? Ok so you want to be an entrepreneur ?Why? Why now? What have you done about it till now?You want to get into marketing from IT? What do you know about marketing?What have you done about it?.

Consistency has to be maintained. If you talk about starting your own company while your Goals talk about joining a BIG consultancy company and becoming a partner , it makes no sense. It is Ok to not wanting to be an entrepreneur, just writing this statement in your résumé will not give you any brownie points. Be clear what you want and why you want. It is surprising to see how many people miss this part.It seems intuitive but still people tend to falter

5. Still want an MBA?:And at the very end , everything that you spoke about , does that show a logical progression towards  management education? If not , you have a problem.Think hard on why are you applying in the first place? Getting into ISB is an expensive deal and will definitely put a lot of financial burden on most of you. You will need to pay huge EMIs to pay back education loan for many year to come. So introspect , the clearer you are on why you want an MBA , better it is for you and better are your chances


Some quick Tips:

1. Avoid vague statements, quantify things

2. Show multiple facets of your personality

3.Do not talk about Social work that you started a month before application deadline.Basically do not try to showcase NGO experience which very evidently looks like being done for putting into your résumé

4. Check for consistency

5. Be honest: even if you make it to the shortlist, interviewers will see through it


In the end, though stressful, application process is a big learning opportunity. You will do a lot of introspection and answer a lot of questions about what you want to be.You possibly will also need to defend you decision to your friends and family of quitting your job and putting 25 lakhs for ISB program , so make it worth it.  Use this time judiciously and have fun 🙂

All the best

PS:Not to scare you but remember your stressful days are not over if you join ISB, they will just start from day 1. ISB is a 2 year course packed into 1 year,application time will seem like a cakewalk once you are in  ;). It IS RIGOROUS but if you really wanted it in the first place, it is well worth.


Back to assignments ….Excuse any typos and errors

~By Madhur Chadha

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