A 10 minute read

8 Step guide to get into Indian School of Business (ISB) MBA program

Indian School of Business (ISB) is one of the most sought-after business schools in India. Consequently, the process of securing a place in this business school is also very competitive. ISB looks for crème de la crème while selecting its class. However, like any other business school, Indian School of Business or ISB also tries to put together a diverse class of accomplished individuals. Hence, how would you convince the ISB Admissions Committee that you are an accomplished individual? Continue reading to know more.

The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra. – Jimmy Johnson

To get into the Indian School of Business (ISB), follow these steps:

Indian School of Business ISB PGP admissions 8 step guide

Step 1 – Start Early

how to get into ISB PGP MBA

Starting early is the key to preparing yourself for the ISB admission process. Consider this a psychological hack, and you will feel less pressured as you will have ample time to prepare. Planning it in a methodical way will ensure that you do not miss important aspects of your application because of the time crunch. Having ample time will let you work on refining your application as many times as possible without feeling pressured for time.


Starting early, starting strong!!

Step 2 – Do your research for ISB MBA admissions

how to get into ISB PGP MBA

When it comes to research there are 2 aspects to it:

  1. Researching ISB’s class profile and admission requirements
  2. Introspection to identify gaps in your profile


Eligibility for ISB MBA programs

To be eligible for Indian School of Business (ISB) PGP applicant for the Class of 2022, you should have:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in any discipline
  • Valid GMAT / GRE score
  • At least 24 months of full-time work experience by March 31, 2021
  • TOEFL / IELTS / PTE score (only if the language of instruction at undergraduate study level is not English)

Early Entry Option (PGP deferred) – ISB
To be eligible for the Early Entry Option for a deferred admission, you will need to have:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in any discipline
  • Valid GMAT / GRE score
  • Less than 24 months of full-time work experience by March 31, 2021
  • TOEFL / IELTS / PTE score (only if the language of instruction at undergraduate study level is not English)

Read our article on what makes you eligible for the GMAT

Researching ISB’s class profile

Go to the ISB class of 2020 profile webpage and take a look at the how the class is constituted. For your convenience, we have put the data in the below table.

ISB Class of 2020 Profile

Enrolled 601 286 887


Female 35% 34% 34%
Male 65% 66% 66%

Age (in Years)

Range 22-40 22-42 22-42
Average 26.7 26.3 26.6

GMAT Score

Range 600 – 770 600 – 780 600 – 780
Average 709 709 709

Work Experience (in Years)

Range 2 – 12 2 – 13 2 – 13
Average 4.3 4.1 4.2

Academic background

Engineers 65% 65% 65%
Non-Engineers 35% 35% 35%

International Passport Holders

International 18 9 27

This table will give you an idea about the uniqueness of your profile. For instance, ISB’s 2020 class will give you a clear picture about:

  • The average age of the class
  • Gender ratio
  • Good GMAT score for ISB
  • A good work experience you should accumulate
  • The uniqueness of your academic background

Anupriya scored 760 on the GMAT and received an admit from ISB Hyderabad.

If you are planning to take the GMAT, we can give you access to quality online content to prepare. We are the most reviewed GMAT prep company on gmatclub with more than 1900 reviews. Why don’t you take a free trial and judge it for yourself? Write to us at acethegmat@e-gmat.com in case of any query.

Most importantly this class profile represents the actual expectations of the ISB Admissions Committee. All selected applicants did fulfill the expectations of the ISB admission officers. But knowing the class composition of ISB is just scratching the surface when it comes to research. Proper research would require more digging, which brings us to the next step.

If other top business schools are also on your list, here are two articles on how to get into Harvard Business School and Stanford GSB

Step 3 – Research student profiles of Indian School of Business (ISB)

When it comes to ISB it really gives you access to information about their students. ISB has a webpage called ‘Connect with an ISB PGP Brand Ambassador.’ This page lets you connect with students who match your profile so that you can get genuine advice from someone who was in a similar situation last year. Hence, connecting on LinkedIn is not the only option.

For example, if you have been working in consulting for less than 5 years, you can refine your search and find current students matching that profile. You can then connect with them and get first-hand advice.

Below screenshots have been taken from the ISB website.

how to get into ISB PGP MBA

Step 4 – Understand ISB’s admissions committee’s expectations

Once you have thoroughly understood the class composition of ISB and connected with few students with similar profiles as yours, you’ll have ample insights into the dos and don’ts of impressing the Admission Officers. Now, the next step is getting answers from the ISB Admissions Officers directly.

how to get into ISB PGP MBA

Firstly, take a look at the official selection criteria of ISB. ISB looks for 3 things

  1. Academic credentials
  2. Leadership Potential
  3. Personal Attributes

Academic credentials

They include the grades you earned for senior secondary school, Bachelor’s degree, post-graduation degree (if any), and certification courses (if any) along with GMAT scores.

Leadership potential

ISB like every top business school aims to groom future leaders. What they need to see is the potential in you. Let me give you the example of Stanford MBA’s definition on the topic. It says, “Past actions usually are the best predictor of future behavior.” Therefore, it looks for examples of leadership qualities in your personal or professional life. Your resume and letters of recommendation are the best indicators for leadership potential.

Personal Attributes

Apart from how well you have done in the professional arena, ISB wants to know what makes you ‘tick’. Who are you when you are not working? What perspectives you have about the world? The purpose is to know you personally and decide the uniqueness of your perspectives.

So, what do these 3 expectations of ISB actually mean? The best people to answer these are the admissions officers themselves. The best way to have a conversation with them is to attend the information sessions conducted by ISB.

Step 5 – Attend ISB Admission Events

Here is the schedule of the upcoming webinars of ISB:

Date Location Slot I Registration Link Slot II Registration Link
Sunday, June 28, 2020 Mumbai 11 AM – 1 PM 4 PM – 6 PM
Sunday, July 5, 2020 Bengaluru 11 AM – 1 PM 4 PM – 6 PM
Saturday, July 11, 2020 Agra 7 PM – 9 PM
Saturday, July 11, 2020 Patna 7 PM – 9 PM
Sunday, July 12, 2020 Hyderabad 11 AM – 1 PM 4 PM – 6 PM
Sunday, July 12, 2020 Ahmedabad 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Saturday, July 18, 2020 Jaipur 7 PM – 9 PM
Saturday, July 18, 2020 Kochi 7 PM – 9 PM
Sunday, July 19, 2020 Pune 11 AM – 1 PM 4 PM – 6 PM
Sunday, July 19, 2020 Gurugram 11 AM – 1 PM 4 PM – 6 PM
Saturday, July 25, 2020 Vishakhapatnam 7 PM – 9 PM
Saturday, July 25, 2020 Jamshedpur 7 PM – 9 PM
Sunday, July 26, 2020 Chennai 11 AM – 1 PM 4 PM – 6 PM
Sunday, July 26, 2020 Kolkata 11 AM – 1 PM 4 PM – 6 PM
Saturday, August 8, 2020 Indore 7 PM – 9 PM
Saturday, August 8, 2020 Mysuru 7 PM – 9 PM
Sunday, August 9, 2020 Mohali 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Sunday, August 9, 2020 Lucknow 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Sunday, August 16, 2020 Mumbai Application Workshop 11 AM – 1 PM 4 PM – 6 PM
Sunday, August 16, 2020 New Delhi Application Workshop 11 AM – 1 PM 4 PM – 6 PM
Monday, August 17, 2020 Bhubaneswar 7 PM – 9 PM
Thursday, August 27, 2020 Bengaluru Application Workshop 7 PM – 9 PM
Thursday, August 27, 2020 Hyderabad Application Workshop 7 PM – 9 PM


Here is a list of admissions events of top business schools across the world.

Once you know what the MBA gatekeepers of ISB expect, you are now ready to assess yourself and accordingly fill the gaps in your profile.

Step 6 – Prepare and ace the GMAT to get into ISB

At this point, there will be changeable and unchangeable aspects of your application. It is really important to focus on changeable factors. Taking the GMAT is one of them. From the class profile, you know that the average GMAT score of ISB’s class is 709. As a rule of thumb, a good GMAT score is at least 20 points more than the average. Therefore, a score of 730 and above would be a good score for ISB. However, identifying a good GMAT score also depends on your overall profile. Here are the 5 steps to identify a good score for you. 

Step 7 – Focus on Essays

Once you have aced the GMAT and understood the gaps in your application, it’s time to prepare your essays. Essays are the best way to convey who you are, what you have accomplished, where you want to be in the future, and how ISB will help you accomplish your career goals.

For this year’s admission there are 2 essays that you have to write:

Indian School of Business (ISB) PGP essay topics for 2021

ISB Essay 1: Describe with examples the most important personal quality that you possess which significantly enhances your prospects of being successful as a leader? (400 words max)


how to get into ISB PGP MBA


To get the most out of this essay, introspection is important. Connect the dots of the events which led to where you are today and explain the best stories to the Admissions Committee. Make sure you do not exceed the word limit.

Here is an article on expert analysis from an ex-ISB admissions officer of ISB essays for 2021 intake.

ISB Essay 2: What are your short term and long-term career goals? How will Post Graduate Program at ISB assist you in achieving your goals? (400 words max)

how to get into ISB PGP MBA

In short, this essay means, ‘Why ISB?’ The low word limit makes this essay quite challenging. What you need to explain to the admissions committee here are your career goals and how management education from ISB will help you achieve them. So, make sure that achieving the career goals you highlight must require business education. Take a look at this article which highlights how to write an essay highlighting your career goals.

Essay for reapplicants:

ISB has re-introduced an essay for re-applicants. If you are re-applying to ISB, you’ll need to focus on how your profile has improved since applying to ISB the last time. You can highlight the experiences which made you a stronger candidate this year. Since the theme for the first essay is ‘diversity’, you can highlight this aspect in your essay.

ISB states the following for reapplicants:

how to get into ISB PGP MBA

  • The admissions committee reviews each application on the basis of its merits. The fact that this is your second attempt does not affect its perspective.
  • Include everything in the application that you have learned in the last year as it will help ISB evaluate you better.
  • Update all the mandatory information required for the re-application especially with regard to the academic transcripts, essays, reference letters, and work history.
  • The admission decision will be made based on the current application.
  • You may opt for a recommendation from a different referee as it might bring out different qualities or traits of your personality.
  • In case your GMAT//TOEFL/IELTS score is no longer valid, you should retake the test and send ISB your latest results.


Step 8 – Prepare well for the interview

Received the interview call? You’re one step closer to your goal. This means that ISB already sees potential in you. All they want now is to assure themselves that you are a worthy candidate by having a conversation with you. ‘Interview’ is the common word used for this conversation. It goes without saying that be authentic during the interview. Authenticity and preparation will give you confidence.

how to get into ISB PGP MBA

Here are 10 tips to ace your ISB PGP interview:

  1. Research ISB’s history and milestones, academic achievements, recent initiatives, alumni, clubs and possibly what you plan to contribute. This will show your keenness and preparation level
  2. Be prepared about questions on projects you undertook in your last job. If you coordinated the project then how did you manage all the people and information? Were there any conflicts? How did you resolve them? You should at least know one project inside out.
  3. Be authentic.
  4. An interview is a two-way communication. Be prepared with relevant and intelligent questions.
  5. Interviews follow “Murphy’s law.” Be prepared that the interview will not go the way you expected it in your head. The best way to handle uncertainty is to give and record mock interviews.
  6. Keep your answers crisp. This will show that you are resourceful and good at communication. If you can convey some information in less time then you are saving the most important resource i.e. time.
  7. Use humor in your interviews. It’s good to know a joke or two, but only if you could pull it off.
  8. If your hobbies/ interests come up during the interview, be sure to know some trivia on the topics.
  9. Listen to the questions carefully, gather your thoughts and then answer. In case you don’t understand the question completely, don’t hesitate to ask for more information.
  10. And lastly, don’t panic.

Congratulations!! You made it to the Indian School of Business (ISB)

I am sure you would want a similar communication from the admissions committee of ISB.

how to get into ISB PGP MBA

Therefore, to get into the Indian School of Business (ISB) make sure that you:

  • Start early and start strong
  • Do thorough research on ISB’s class profile
  • Connect with a few ISB PGP ambassadors
  • Understand ISB’s admissions committee’s expectations
  • Attend ISB’s admission events
  • Prepare and ace the GMAT
  • Write a killer essay
  • Prepare well for the interview

People who read this article also read

7 thoughts on “8 Step guide to get into Indian School of Business (ISB) MBA program”

  1. Great post! This will help many MBA aspirants who are planning for ISB MBA program. Keep guiding.

    1. Hi Rahul! Any business school looks at several parameters while reviewing applications. Quality of experience is an important parameter, and international work-ex can help enhance the quality of experience. International work-ex, therefore, may increase your chance of receiving an interview, but certainly isn’t a prerequisite at any of the business schools in the world. At ISB, with a class of 900, it is possible that about 15-20% of the admits have worked outside India, but there is a good majority that have never traveled outside India for work. Hope this helps. Feel free to email your profile to info@isbmantra.com for a free profile evaluation. All the Best!

      – Prashant Tibrewal
      Founder, ISBmantra

Let's discuss further - What's your take?

Payal Tandon
Co-founder, e-GMAT
Welcome to e-GMAT Support!
I am Payal, Co-Founder of e-GMAT.
Feel free to ask any Query.
Thank you for your query.
We will be contacting you soon on
%d bloggers like this: