The Indian School of Business (ISB) develops global leaders. It gives an insight on emerging economies and their unique business challenges.

This carefully-crafted one-year programme incorporates practical industry applications with a rigorous, cutting-edge, research-based curriculum. This has transformed several mid-career professionals to global business leaders of today and tomorrow. The PGP is meant to hone your skills and challenge conventional wisdom.

The academic model at ISB seeks to create global leaders in business and society. A student of the Post Graduate Programme in Management (PGP) is exposed to a variety of learning methods, be it team-based learning or individual case studies. As a student, you can decide your own academic gradient, based on your work experience, academic background and your appetite for a challenge.


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ISB Sample essays

If we were to admit just one more candidate to the Postgraduate Programme (PGP) at the ISB, why should it be you? (400 words max)

“We are the sum-total of our experiences,” says the famous psychologist, Thomas Gilovich. I am a highly self-motivated person and like to take initiatives which create a positive impact in my environment.

I share a symbiotic relationship with my writing, where my thoughts find life in my words and simultaneously, my self-motivation gets fuelled. I wrote my first poem on a beautiful flower at the age of 10, which got published in Hindustan Times. Henceforth, my mother always encouraged me to pursue this hobby. As I grew up, writing became an integral part of my life because it liberated my thoughts and gave a constructive vent to my feelings and observations. I have won multiple awards for my writing with a few notable publications in Hindustan Times. Last year, I got my own book “Light in the Creek” published by Sahitya Bharti Publishing House which is one of my life’s most satisfying achievements.

The other significant aspect of my life is about taking impactful initiatives where again my mother was my first inspiration. My mother is a school teacher and she used to teach underprivileged children for free after school. That is where I also developed a liking towards the cause of teaching. During my graduation, I led the Pratigya initiative and personally took a pledge to sponsor and mentor 3 girls in their education. With time, I developed a special bond with them and I could notice their growing confidence because of my encouragement. I continued to support them every year and the proudest moment of my life was when all 3 of them graduated high school and went to college in pursuit of their dreams.

I have carried forward these personality traits over to my professional career where I have been successful in driving initiatives at Deloitte which have created lasting impact. For example, one of my projects for our client Omnicare was running behind schedule and budget due to manual errors in code migration process. I proposed the idea of an internal tool which can help automate the process. My senior management liked the idea and the practical initiative. I designed an application to automate the code migration process. The application helped accelerate our project execution and reduced man-hours. Later, I got an opportunity to write an internal white paper on the application for knowledge-sharing purpose and I presented the paper at Deloitte Eminence meet from where the application was approved to be used in 3 Deloitte service lines. I have also kept my passion to bring positive change in my surroundings alive by leading the Deloitte CSR team in association with Literacy India, where throughout the year we organize volunteer visits and events, trying to enlighten the lives of underprivileged children.

Hence, I believe, I will be able to add value to ISB’s class by sharing the sum-total of my diverse wonderful experiences with my classmates during discussions and I look forward to creating positive impact in ISB through student initiatives.

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

Post-PGP my immediate career plan is to transition to management consulting role at tech strategy function and work with a global consulting firm such as Mckinsey, Bain, PwC or Deloitte. In long term, I aspire to climb up the career ladder in consulting industry and become a partner/director.

While working with PwC for 3 years alongside management consultants, I have become really fascinated with business strategy development. These experiences have motivated me to step up from implementation to strategy aspect of technology consulting.

At PwC, I have worked in multiple global engagements as a technology implementation consultant. The challenges of working on different technologies and clients have honed my problem-solving skills and enriched me with the ability to quickly integrate into cross-functional teams. I have developed excellent client-handling skills, technical proficiency and above all leadership skills required to navigate in fast paced consulting industry.

Besides interpersonal and technical skills, to make a functional shift towards management I need to gain fundamental knowledge of business and management concepts. This is where ISB’s PGP program fits in perfectly with my desired goals.

The combination of core and specialized courses, professional clubs, and ICON projects at ISB will enrich me with this fundamental knowledge. Also, ISB’s association with world’s top business school and the confluence of faculties from those school make ISB more desirable for global learnings.

Since most of our clients in IT industry are US based, having an insight into their business practices can give me a leading edge to succeed in my endeavors.  Through experiential learning program, I will have the opportunity to test the waters and utilize classroom learnings to solve client’s real-time business problem.

Therefore, I believe, ISB’s PGP program is the perfect fit from where I would like to start nourishing my dreams.

Please use this space to provide any other information not covered elsewhere in the application that could significantly impact your candidature at ISB ,Note: It is not necessary for you to write this essay. Please use ( 200 words )

In March 2016, following my passion for entrepreneurship, I joined 3 member founding team of an app-based photo blogging start-up named “Pixtory”, in a part-time capacity.

Pixtory is founded by Rohan Karumbaiah, an ISB 2011 alumnus.  I met Karum through entrepreneur’s networking event where he was pitching the idea and looking for a team. I loved the idea and came on board to handle technical product development. I was the first engineer in the team.

I was responsible for spearheading product development and building of engineering team for the company. Utilizing my learnings of building the team of leaders at PwC, I put together and mentored a team of 7 great engineers who eventually made Pixtory a successful venture.

While I was building the technical team, Karum was putting in efforts to raise funds. This is where I first got to witness the power of ISB network.Today, I am proud to mention that  Pixtory is now backed by multiple venture capitalist firms.

After this enriching journey with Pixtory, Karum further motivated me to pursue an MBA and consider ISB as my first preference. Now, I am really excited and looking forward to being part of ISB’s collaborative community and strong alumni network.


Essay Question 1:

At ISB we value diversity as it enhances both the in-class and out of class learning experience. Tell us how would you contribute to the same?
A. What is ISB looking for:
This essay is really asking WHO are you.
Think of it this way, ISB already has your undergraduate transcripts, your GMAT/GRE scores, your work experience, your application form, your extracurricular activities, the awards and recognition you have received, and letters from your recommenders detailing your strengths and weaknesses.
Ask yourself: Why does ISB still want me to write this essay?
The answer is clear:
ISB wants to know more about you than the numbers / the statistics / the records reveal.
And you have a generous 400 words to do so.
B. How to approach this essay
There are many ways you can approach this essay but we would recommend writing 2 to 3 solid stories that showcase your personality. You can pick 2 stories if you feel you can elaborate on that. Else, if you are feeling adventurous and think you can do justice to 3 stories then do so.
Before you start writing the essays – sit down and write down everything you would like to talk about yourself. At CrackVerbal, as part of our admissions consulting process – we have a “Brag Sheet” that you need to fill out. You can however just write it on post-it notes. Just write 1 idea per post-it.
You may also ask for help from friends and family if you are having trouble recollecting stories. Best to avoid moms as they might have a larger than actual perception of your life achievements (which mom doesn’t! :P)
Once you have a bunch of post-it notes – you can categorize them into 3 categories:
(i) Work related achievements: this would be stuff you have done at work. Think of a large project or an important client or a side-hustle you worked on.
(ii) Personal achievements: this is stuff you have done in your personal life. Think of hobbies, or interests you have pursued – anything that makes you stand out.
(iii) Miscellaneous: this could be anything that doesn’t fit the above slots. Perhaps your family background or childhood may come into this category.
Now, try to pass each of the achievements you have mentioned through the following test:
(I) Relevancy Test:
– Is it relevant to your application?
– Does it showcase your capability?
(II) Recency Test:
– Is this something that happened in the last 2-3 years?
– If from earlier, does it have an overarching impact on me?
(III) Uniqueness Test:
– Is this something that is different from what my peer group does?
– Does this help differentiate my candidature from others?
At the end of the process you should be left with the top 2-3 things you need to speak about in your essays. In the CrackVerbal Application process, the mentor (an ISB alum) would walk you through the whole process.
C. How to structure your essays
So here is the deal: you don’t want to rush into the whole process. So the points need to be wrapped with something to open and close them with.
Here is the structure you need to follow if you are looking at picking 2 stories:
a. Introduction – 50 words. This is the preamble to the essay
b. Point #1 – 150 words. You need to say what quality, why you think so, and how you would contribute to ISB with that trait
c. Point #2 – 150 words. Again, repeat what you do for point #2
d. Closing – 50 words. This is the conclusion to the essay. If possible tie it with what you have begun the essay with
For a 3 story essay you can pick the following format:
a. Introduction line – 20 words. A good opening line to segway into the stories.
b. Point #1 – 120 words. Focus on the same story-quality-contribution triad.
c. Point #2 – 120 words. Same as above.
d. Point #3 – 120 words. You got the idea!
e. Closing line – 20 words. A closing sentence that wraps the whole thing in a nice bow tie.
D. What NOT to do on this essay
Here are the most common mistakes that people commit on this essay so beware:
a. Writing stuff from your resume: If there is stuff you have mentioned elsewhere in the application form then do not rewrite it here. Just focus on the subjective parts of the story so you can reveal the person behind the numbers.
b. Wasting valuable space explaining the problem in so much details that you are left with no space to explain your personal takeaways and contribution to ISB. Remember that the details can be explained in the interview.
c. Trying to stuff in too many qualities and ending up with nothing memorable. For example if you want to say you are empathetic, creative, passionate, life-long learner, a good listener, responsible, kind, a strong leader, honest, courageous, and self-aware … you will end up being none! Stick to just 2-3 adjectives and drive home the point.

Essay Question – 2:

Enrolling in a Business School is an important career decision. Critically look at your career to date, the choices you have made, the key influences behind those choices, your goals for the future and how do you think ISB’s PGP can help you in achieving your goals?
A. What is ISB looking for:
ISB wants to make sure you are not another “cubicle rat” who is trying to win a ticket to a higher salary through ISB. They want people who have a clarity on their long-term vision and know exactly how the PGP (note its not an MBA) from ISB will help them achieve that.
ISB has only so many certificates it can award this year. It wants to make sure it goes to the person who deserves it the most. And person who deserves it the most will show:
(I) A very high “employability” factor – this will be a person who would not have a problem finding a job
(II) A realistic expectation from the ISB experience – this will be someone who knows exactly what he is going to gain from ISB and not expect it to be a magic wand that will fix all his/her problems.
(III) Clarity of thought – this will be a person who not only knows where he is headed but also knows how to get there. The chances of success are very high in someone who is clearer about the direction he is headed.
Given this, it is important that you come across as a person who has a “plan” in place through this essay.
It is also important you don’t fall for the typical “myths” that abound the internet about what kind of career paths are available post-ISB: Check out the 14 Post-MBA Career Questions that ISB Answers!
B. How to approach this essay
Before you even get started with writing you need to know WHAT you need to be writing here.
Start with the post-MBA goal – you may want to focus on the Simon Sinek style Golden Circle:
WHY you want to do what you want to do. This is the motivation for you to pursue your goal. Say you are fascinated by how technology can make the finance sector inclusive.
WHAT you need to accomplish in order to get to your goal. This is the road map of what you would be doing in order to accomplish your goal. Say you want to start a fintech company.
HOW you will get around doing so. This part is about the ways and means to reach your intended goal. Say you want a PGP and to work in the fintech sector for a few years.
You may also use Linkedin in your research to see the kind of positions you would like to pursue post your PGP. Here is a great place to get started!
Also spend some time researching about how ISB will help you meet your goals. There are plenty of resources for you to get this data from. The most important being the ISB website itself.
Learn more about the learning model, at ISB, the student life and the peer group at ISB.
C. How to structure your essays
The more you research – the more content you will discover for writing. However, there are only 300 words so you need to ensure you pick and choose the correct things over here.
So here is a format you may choose to write:
a. What has been your life story so far – 100 words. Keep it crisp and talk about the progress and growth. To paraphrase “Sacred Games” – what is it that has led you to this point in your life.
b. What you have realized you need to do & what you need to do to get there – 100 words. You need to talk about the next stage in your career and what you see yourself doing. You may also talk about the specific things you need to learn in order to do the role better.
c. How an ISB PGP will help you get there. Now that you have established what you want, you need to talk specifically about how you will utilize the resources and network at ISB to help you get there.
D. What NOT to do on this essay
This is a very tight essay so you want to ensure you utilize the words wisely. Ensure that you do not:
a. Talk about your CV / resume in the first part. Don’t repeat anything that can be found in other places of your application. Focus only on the growth aspect i.e. how you have evolved as a professional.
b. Keep your goals generic. This is a classic mistake where the applicant talks about how they want to be in a “general management” role. Or worse, talk about how they would like to use the 1-year to explore their career path. You need to be specific about your industry/function/role.
c. Write obvious things about ISB. We have a lot of students praising ISB for its “world class infrastructure and global faculty” – wait! ISB already knows how great it is. You do not need to tell them. What you need to tell them is how ISB can help you meet your career goal.

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