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.
ISB PGP Class Profile
ISB PGP Placement Statistics
ISB Winning Sample Essay -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? (400 words max)
While growing up, academics was my prime focus and my relentless pursuit helped me crack IIT-JEE exam and join IIT Roorkee. Few months in, while exploring life beyond academics, I tasted my first big failure when I lost the student elections for the post of councillor. This loss made me realise that it is not sufficient to be just good at academics to succeed in life. Although it was a tough loss, it made me understand the importance of making connections and developing interpersonal skills.
Another significant experience from which I learned valuable lessons was my fully funded internship to Singapore. In Singapore, I travelled extensively, explored new places and made new friends. The program exposed me to the cultural and societal nuances of students worldwide which helped me increase my sensitivity to diversity and taught me the importance of understanding someone’s perspective before reaching out to bridge any gaps.
After graduating, I joined Policybazaar.com where I got the opportunity to work for its sister startup company, Paisabazaar under the mentorship of its CEO. My team and I were responsible for the development of a product which provided customers with a PDF copy of their credit score reports and based on the report, a sales representative made calls to cross-sell other financial products. The product did not take off as expected and after talking to various customers and understanding their pain points, I realised that it was very difficult for the customer to understand the financial report itself. I guided my team to change the delivery model of the product from PDF download to an interactive, easy to understand web report. This interface change led to customers spending more time on our website which gave us ‘on the spot’ cross-selling opportunities. This change helped us improve our conversion rates by 24% and revenue grow by 280%. I was awarded by my CEO with an early promotion, for my willingness to go above and beyond my job responsibilities to understand customer perspectives and pain points.
Now, I can confidently say that the ability to understand customer perspectives, and to bridge the social and cultural gaps has helped me achieve success in my career. I believe, my learnings from the fintech startup space, combined with my interpersonal skills of making resonance and understanding perspectives, will enhance both the in class and out of class learning experience of my peers at ISB.
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? (300 words max)
I graduated in 2015 when the startup working culture was at its peak. Inspired and motivated, I joined Paisabazaar at an early stage, where I was responsible for developing a new product. Under the direct mentorship of the CEO, I acquired key project management skills, learned about the product development lifecycle and honed my strategic thinking skills. After two challenging years in fintech space, I joined another early stage start-up “The Creative Bureau” (TCB) in digital marketing space. Working with all these entrepreneurs, finally inspired me to develop and launch my product idea called “Markie – a digital marketing assistant for small businesses in India”.
Three months ago, we launched the product (an android app), and it currently has 2000 active users with approximately 9500 downloads and growing. I believe we have a good minimum viable product at hand and now my short-term goal is to acquire the necessary skills and network which can help me scale up my idea.
I believe an MBA from ISB will help me learn key concepts about product pricing, go to market strategies and develop a more robust business model. I look forward to, specifically, learn about tackling strategic roadblocks for start-ups from Professor Anand Nandkumar. Also, as recommended by Siddharth Maheshwari (PGP’19), I would like to leverage the ‘Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’ to improvise my business plan via feedback from fellow entrepreneurs and seasoned faculty. Besides increasing my business knowledge, ISB can also connect me to a network of alumni and mentors who can provide support and guidance, when I need to raise funding or pivot my business model.
Hence I strongly believe ISB can enrich me with the skills to achieve my short and long-term vision of disrupting the Digital Marketing space for Small and Medium Enterprises in India.
Please use this space to explain significant improvements in your profile since your last application to ISB PGP ? (200 words)
The best thing that has happened since my last application is the strides that I have made with my product idea ‘Markie’ and the positive response received from the users, for this product.
Markie is a platform for small businesses and freelancers to meet their digital marketing needs. It is a smart graphic designing app that helps businesses improve their brand’s presence on social media channels by suggesting customizable templates. There lies a huge unexplored potential in India to tap, with the Digital marketing industry set to grow at 32% CAGR.
This experience has helped me learn and become mature in my way of building up teams. Working on this idea expanded the scope of my work from product management to making revenue models, financial sheets and managing human resource. Keeping myself focussed on the larger vision while dealing with the daily challenges and executing tasks quickly, have given me much confidence to scale my idea to new heights.
I believe, these business-oriented skills which I have learnt, have improved my profile significantly and I am in the perfect spot where a PGP from ISB makes perfect sense for my career.
ISB Winning Sample Essay - 2
ISB Essay Question 1
If we were to admit just one more candidate to the Postgraduate Programme (PGP) at the ISB, why should it be you? (500 Words)
“Noone told you when to run, you missed the starting gun” – Pink Floyd
“There are two paths you can go by but in the long run there’s still time to change the road you’re on.” – Led Zeppelin
The above lines define my life in a nutshell. I come from a family where access to best education guidance was scarce due to which I didn’t even get to know about IIT-JEE till late – missed the starting gun.
But then after a late start, BITS Pilani happened and I was left with no regrets. After Graduation, I joined Reliance Industries (RIL). From the start, I was demotivated to see the rigidity of the monotonous 9-5 job. There was very little scope to take initiatives, learn and outshine. I always wanted to be in a role where I can take initiatives, implement my ideas and learn from my failures and successes. In 2015, startup ecosystem in India was on boom and I felt a startup would be a perfect place for me – time to change the road I was on.
I thereby quit RIL and joined MyWash, as their first employee. I was super excited to feel the uncertainty of a young startup even though the risk involved was huge but I had the confidence to succeed. After 8 months, things got rough as funds dried up and we had to layoff staff. This led to an air of demotivation among the employees. I knew as operations lead, I had to believe and instill confidence in my team if Mywash had to have any chance of surviving. I tried to be the source of motivation to other employees and created an emotional connect through open and honest communication with my team about the difficulties as well as achievements through town-hall meetings. My Team and I worked without salary for three months and got rewarded for our confidence and perseverance when the MyWash family got acquired by HouseJoy. It was a moment of great satisfaction and contentment but I believed I still had a lot to learn from a startup.
After MyWash, I joined Revv to launch and head its Bangalore operations. One of my main learnings from MyWash was the importance of delegation. In Revv, I delegated work more efficiently and focused on applying my strengths in more creative areas than before. For example, I designed and executed the first PR campaign for Revv which was a huge success and got covered in Economic Times and other national dailies.
I care for, but not fear for, my career and this has enabled me to have realistic confidence in my abilities and take calculated risks. Within a short 3 years, I have seen expansion, acquisition, faced employee strikes and threats. I believe all these experiences have given me a lot of learnings about teamwork and leadership which I can share with my class at ISB and become a valuable contributor in my peers learning.
ISB Essay Question 2
Describe your short and long term career plans. How does the PGP fit in with those?
My immediate post-PGP goal is to join a large consulting firm or a corporate house in Strategy and Operations domain. I have three and a half years of work experience, mostly in early stage startups, where I have tasted good success in team building, running on ground operations and managing unit economics.
But I always felt most challenged and excited during brainstorming sessions on business strategy with start-up founders. I believe, a strategy consulting role would provide me exposure to diverse sets of challenging situations faced by various businesses and would require me to come up with novel solutions. Such experiences would be helpful in tackling similar challenges while pursuing my entrepreneurial ambitions in long term.
So far, I have experience in developing on ground operations strategies but now I want to move up in value-chain and learn in-depth about the nuances of broader strategic management governing business decisions. I believe the ISB PGP program is a perfect platform for me to gain in-depth knowledge of principles behind strategic management theoretically through curriculum and practically through industry collaborations which would help me land into strategy consulting domain. If given the opportunity, I am especially looking forward to be a part of the Consulting Club. The Mentor-Mentee model is an attractive opportunity for people like me to learn from alumni in reputed consulting firms. Keeping my long-term goal in mind, I also want to understand the finer details of venture capital domain. I think Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club would be a great platform for me to connect with successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists and learn the intricacies and nuances of raising funds.
Since ISB can provide a well-crafted and proven path to my short-term and long-term goals, it seems to be the perfect destination for me to start nursing them.
ISB Winning Sample Essay - 3
ISB Essay Question 1
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.
ISB Essay Question 2
Describe your short and long term career plans. How does the PGP fit in with those?
My short-term career plan after MBA is to move towards product management roles in the technology sector and in the long term I plan to lead a technology enterprise.
In the past 4 years, working as a technical consultant with Deloitte, I have gained excellent technical expertise, client-facing skills, and the capability to lead diverse teams. During this time, I have developed keen interest in the strategic roadmap, market research and feature definitions that go behind a product. However, I need to work on my strategic and marketing knowledge to deliver on these business objectives.
Due to recent introduction of disruptive technologies and political events like US presidential elections and Brexit, IT services industry has been navigating troubled waters. IT services players are forced to change strategy from relying on labour arbitrage and service outsourcing to developing niche product offerings. Moreover, with IT rapidly transforming into a business driver, I perceive immense opportunity in the role of a product manager.
After extensive research and detailed conversations with alumni, I believe, ISB can enrich me with this business knowledge but more importantly it would give me a chance to learn it from the best B-school professors visiting from the US, since most of the clients for IT industry are based in the US. I am especially looking forward to the specialization in Information and Technology Management which is particularly aligned with my career objectives. ISB’s PGP program will also provide me access to the vast network of the school’s alumni and faculty which will open new arenas of opportunities for me. Finally, the credibility and branding that I will receive as an ISB alumni are unmatchable and I aspire to earn that brand. Therefore, I believe, ISB’s PGP can put me ahead on the curve and help me achieve my goals.
ISB Application Essay Tips
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.