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Seems like it was only yesterday when I sat staring at my screen looking at the ISB essays. That was 2011!

Well, the ISB essays for 2017-18, for the class of 2019, have been published. Unlike the previous year, there are two mandatory essays and no optional essay.

So, let’s take a quick look at the essays and how you should plan your responses –

ISB Essay 1

If we were to admit just one more candidate to the Postgraduate Programme (PGP) at the ISB, why should it be you? (Max 500 words)

To answer this question, the best way to start is by making a list of your achievements – these could be from your personal, professional or even academic life. Now step back and look at what is that one trait or ‘theme’ that unifies your most important achievements. Remember to focus on an attribute that will also be valued by ISB such as leadership, communication, collaboration and so on.

Given the increase in the word limit for the first essay and the fact that ISB has done away with its optional essay this year, you should focus on including 2-3 achievements that are the most compelling and aligned to the core values of ISB. When it comes to choosing which achievements should find their way into your essay, you should ask yourself the following questions –

  1. What was the challenging situation you faced?
  2. What actions did you take?
  3. What was the outcome of your actions? Did your actions have a lasting and measurable impact ?
  4. What were your key learnings from the experience?

At every stage, it’s important to be keenly aware of the values that you’d like to highlight through your achievements. Additionally, when you emphasize your professional achievements, it will help the Adcom understand your growth trajectory in the context of your application.

ISB Essay 2

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

This essay requires you to outline your post MBA plans. Through this essay, ISB is keen to understand, how it will be able to help you further your future aspirations. It’s important to have specific career goals rather than vague ones as specificity increases relatability – Adcom can see the connection between what you want to do and what ISB can offer you. Crucial you demonstrate a logical connection between your future ambitions and your professional journey so far. Make sure you research ISB’s resources and how these resources would be of help to you.

That’s all there is in terms of decoding the essay questions. But remember, the round 1 application submission deadline is 15th October 2017. The sooner you start writing your essays, the more time you have to strengthen your application.

Also, check out our infographics on Top 10 mistakes to avoid when writing your ISB essays.

All the very best with your application!