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How to write ISB Essays: Tips towards preparing for ISB Essay 2020

As pointed out by Aditya Atreya, the Associate Director of Admissions at ISB (Indian School of Business), the first step towards preparing for ISB Essay is to login into the ISB online portal. After getting familiarized with the essay questions, you can reach out to people for tips. ISB has two traditionally themed essays that generally revolves around: 

  1. How you are different from other candidates and what sets you apart 
  2. Why you want to join ISB (where you need to highlight your future/vision for yourself and how ISB will add value to it) 

There are two main essay topics and one optional essay (non-optional to re-applicants) for ISB 2020.  

How-to-write-ISB-Essay

In this article, we will be covering ISB essay topics 2020 and will provide you with helpful tips towards the same. This article will also cover various aspects, such as: 

Purpose of the ISB Essays: Expectations of ISB Adcoms

There are three critical parameters on which ISB Evaluates an Applicant : 

  1. Academic Credentials: which is highlighted during the application process 
  2. Leadership Potential: through essay and recommendations 
  3. Personal Attributes: through essay and recommendations 

When you have reached the Essay writing stage, you have already given information regarding your academic credentials and achievements.   

Then what more are they looking for?  

ISB is looking for versatile and well-rounded individuals who can contribute to society in positive and meaningful ways. They want to know your interests that go beyond academics, and your essays are one of the best ways to highlight those!Thus, writing an essay where your leadership and personal attributes are highlighted will give you an edge from other applicants 

Check out the MBA Bootcamp 2019 video, were ISB talks about their admission process and what is expected out from an Essay.

  • 6:48 to 8:26 – Aditya Atreya talks about ISB Degree Programs that are available 
  • 16:30 to 17:48 – Aditya Atreya talks about How to get started with ISB Essay 

 

Tips for ISB Essay Topics for 2020 Intake

For ISB 2020 admissions, there are two types of essay topics:  

ISB Essay 1: There will be 900 students in the class of 2021. Why should you be one of them? (400 max words)

As stated earlier, for this type of essay, you need to think about what more you can provide to the admissions committee. Think about what is not covered in your application. 

Tip #1: Highlight significant achievements

There is an underlying expectation for this topic. ISB wants you to highlight your substantial accomplishments and other factors that set you apart. Make sure that your achievements have created an impact  

For instance,                                                                                                                                                       

 “I was able to generate awareness regarding environmental change through regular volunteering, which has led to the rehabilitation of our neighborhood lake.”

ISB-Essay-Tip#1

Tip #2: Provide a holistic view of Who you are

You might be a person who scored above 750 on GMAT, or you might have exceptional work knowledge. But behind all of it what is it, that makes you WHO YOU ARE! What all experiences have led you to where you are.

For instance,

“I started my career in sales, where I learned efficient communication and persuasion skills, after which I started to develop my leadership skills…”

ISB-Essay-Tip#2

Tip #3: Back up your achievements with some data

Providing proof or statistical data behind your achievements helps build credibility in the eyes of the admissions committee 

For instance,

Rather than saying, “I was able to increase customer engagement for my company,” you can highlight how much increase and how did you do it  

“I was able to increase customer engagement by 30% in the time frame of a month by implementing …  

Tip #4: Pick up 2-3 examples to highlight your achievements

Provide examples for your achievements rather than just listing it. Also, make sure that it complements your other parts of the application.

For instance,

Rather than saying I increased sales by 25%, you can highlight how did you do it.

“During my sales calls, I was able to recognize new target audiences, which were not yet targeted by my organization. After which I implemented a new sales funnel leading to 25% more sales outcome”.

Tip #5: Talk about how your attributes that will add value to the ISB student community.

ISB-Essay-Tip#5

As stated earlier, ISB is looking for unique candidates, so while writing your essay think about how you will be adding value to the ISB student community. What do you have that’s beneficial to ISB?  

For instance,

“I was a part of the sponsorship committee, which helped me to develop efficient persuasion skills.”

OR  

I have experience in working for different industries, which has provided me with connections across the industry. 

OR 

“I have experience in a very niche of marketing, where I worked towards determining consumer behavior through augmented reality. 

ISB Essay 2: Describe your short- and long-term career plans. How does the PGP fit in with those? (400 max words)

Under this type of essay, you need to make sure that your goals are clear. ISB wants to know your vision and your plans for the future. It’s a classic WHY MBA essay.

Tip #1: Draw linkage between past and future aspirations:

ISB-Essay-Tip#1

Under this, you need to highlight the specific career path that you took and why are you targeting that industry or role.

For instance,

“I see myself head a marketing agency in the fashion industry, as I have been working at a managerial level, which has allowed me to gain specific skills. And now adding an MBA degree to it will help me to progress towards achieving my goals.”

Tip #2: WHY MBA and WHY NOW?

Apart from highlighting WHY you are pursuing an MBA, you also need to answer the question of WHY NOW? There is no fixed time to enroll for an MBA. Thus answering this question becomes critical as there might be a reason behind your decision to pursue an MBA at this time.  

For instance, 

I have been working as an assistant manager for a year, and at this point in my career, I feel an MBA degree will push me towards a more managerial role. 

ISB-Essay-Tip#2

 

Tip #3: Overall experience so far and short and long-term goals:

ISB-Essay-Tip#3

Differentiate between your short- and long-term goals. A short-term goal is the one which you want to achieve in a day, or a month or a year whereas long term goals need planning and various steps to make them.

For instance,

“I want to gain experience in the field of portfolio management by enhancing my skills in …” is a short-term goal

“I want to start up a firm specialized in financial service” is a long-term goal  

Tip #4: Be specific while stating, “Why, ISB?”

As the Essay comes with a 400-word limit, you need to be specific when you state Why ISB. Rather than saying that ISB faculties are the best or the infrastructure is excellent, talk about clubs or modules that you are keen on joining. 

At last, since the word limit is less practice writing a concise and crisp essay. 

Key things to Avoid while writing ISB Essay

Things-to-avoid-while-writing-ISB-essay

  1. Repeating your resume 
  2. Too many details: Pick one or two instances from your life and build on it. Rather than beating around bushes, go deeper into specific and relevant examples. 
  3. Not detailed: mentioning too many qualities and not explaining the same. 
  4. Setting unrealistic goals 
  5. Don’t be vague while explaining any gap year 

General Structure and Guideline for ISB Essay

A standardized structure can be followed while writing the ISB Essay: 

ISB Essay 1: There will be 900 students in the class of 2021. Why should you be one of them? (400 max words)

  • Introduction (An overview of your achievements and what sets you apart briefly): 50 words  
  • Highlight significant achievements and keep the above tips for Essay 1 in mind: 300 words  
  • Conclusion: 50 words 

ISB Essay 2: Describe your short- and long-term career plans. How does the PGP fit in with those? (400 max words)

  • Introduction (highlight your goals): 200 words  
  • How will PGP help in achieving those goals: 200 words  

Guidelines-ISB-Essay

The primary guideline for ISB essay is the word limit. Make sure you stick to it and do not exceed. 

For the first two compulsory essays, there is a maximum word limit of 400 words, whereas the optional essay has a maximum word limit of 200 words. 

  • Essay 1 There will be 900 students in the class of 2021. Why should you be one of them? (400 max words) 
  • Essay 2: Describe your short- and long-term career plans. How does the PGP fit in with those? (400 max words) 
  • Essay 3: Max 200 words 

Types of ISB Essay questions asked previously

When it comes to Essay topics, ISB traditionally follows two kinds of themes 

  1. How can you add value to ISB?  
  2. Why should you get an admission? What is different about you.  

ISB has followed these themes for quite a whileThus, even if you are not applying for this year intakeyou can start building your essay on the same idea for next year intake. 

Previous years ISB Essays (for the class entering in 2019 and 2018)

  • At ISB, we value diversity as it enhances both the in-class and out of class learning experience. Tell us how you would contribute to the same? (Max 400 words) 
  • Enrolling in business school is an important career decision. Critically look at the choices you have made in your career, the key influences behind those choices and your future career plans. Do you think ISB PGP can help you in achieving your goals? (Max 300 words) 
  • Re-applicant Essay: Mandatory to submit additional essay where you may highlight significant changes in your profile. 

Previous years ISB Essays (for the class entering 2017)

  • If we were to admit just one more candidate to the Post Graduate Programme (PGP) at the ISB, why should it be you? (Max 500 words) 
  • Describe your short- and long-term career plans. How does the PGP fit in with those? (Max 300 words) 
  • Optional essay: provide any other information not covered elsewhere in the application that could significantly impact your candidature at ISB. (Max 200 words) 

 ISB Essay for Re-applicants

Optional Essay Space (Mandatory for re-applicants): ISB provides you with an optional essay space for additional information. Please note that ISB clearly states that the area provided is for information that is not covered elsewhere in the application. Thus, unless you have something significant to highlight which you couldn’t share through other essays, go ahead and opt for writing it. 

Tips for Optional ISB Essay:

  • Tip #1: ISB Adcoms have limited time and too many applications, opt for optional essay only if you have something different to add. Do not summarize your application. 
  • Tip #2: This space can be efficiently used to address any significant shortcoming in your applications. For instance, you can discuss a gap in your resume here. Or you are short on GMAT score but have exceptional work experience with data to back up your achievements etc. 
  • Tip #3: Please use this space to provide any other information not covered elsewhere in the application that could significantly impact your application at ISB. 

Re-applicants Essay: If you are a re-applicant, you need to make sure that you highlight any relevant development to your profile that justifies your reevaluation. 

In short, justify why you deserve a second chance and how you have worked with the feedback’s that you received last time, what is different the second time around. You might have developed new skills or would have worked upon the previous feedback. 

How to prepare for ISB Essay – Consultants or self?

The first step is knowing what the essay questions are and then reaching out to people for tips. You can consult from your friends and family, ISB alumni, your mentor at work, etc. to take various perspective towards the essay.   

How-to-prepare-for-ISB-Essay

In addition to it, no admission consultant will know your story and profile better than you would. The tricky part comes when you get confused about what to highlight in your essay and what to discard, where an outsiders’ perspective can enable you to make the decision faster.  

 As far as taking the support of a consultant is concerned, there is nothing wrong in it. According to one of the alumni of ISB on Quora, an admission consultant can bring a few unique attributes, such as:   

  1. Professional Experience: As they have years of experience in handling admission processes, they can provide more accurate information. They will be adequate in handling queries 
  2. Competitive intelligence: They will have a 360-degree view when it comes to the admission process.  
  3. In-depth knowledge of the schoolWith years of experience comes, in-depth knowledge about the school. Admission consultants will be able to provide you with more information regarding the schools and will also be able to provide you with the latest updates 

Key Takeaways:

  • Write a concise and crisp essay where you highlight interests that go beyond academics. 
  • Backup your achievements with data. Have a storyline in your essay that is structured. 
  • Avoid common mistakes such as repeating your resume, not giving details, or providing too many details while writing your essay. 
  • If you are a re-applicant justify why you deserve a second chance and the things you have improved about your profile that strengthen your candidacy.
  • Use the optional essay only if you need to highlight things that are not covered elsewhere in your application. 
  • Last but not least, log in to the ISB online portal as soon as the application deadlines are announced and familiarize yourself with the essay topics. Getting started early on your essays gives you a manifold advantage in terms of turning in a polished overall application.

Write to us at acethegmat@e-gmat.com in case of any questions.

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