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ISB PGP Winning Sample Essays – 1
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.
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ISB PGP Winning Sample Essays – 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? (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.