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Crack the ISB Essays: Your Ultimate Guide to a Standout Application in 2024

ISB Essays are a window for the admissions committee to know you as a professional and as an individual.

With so many well qualified applicants aiming for their seat at ISB PGP, the ISB essays are your opportunity to stand out and show what you are made of.


Very often I am asked what is the ideal ISB profile. The clear answer is that there is none. From my experience I have seen that there are two parts of your profile:


  1. Names and Numbers: First comprises your academic grades, GMAT or GRE score, your institution for where you have completed undergraduate studies, the facts and figures of your professional work experience.

  2. Your Story: Your story includes your experiences, your resilience, the challenges that you have overcome and your personality. The ISB essay is an opportunity for that to shine through.


ISB Essay

There are five mistakes that we have seen applicants make when they are approaching their ISB essays:


  1. Following someone else's footsteps. Using templates and sample essays.

  2. Rewriting your resume and achievements.

  3. Using too much of jargon and buzzwords that they have identified from their research about what ISB looks for.

  4. Start at the last moment.

  5. Submitting generic and too good to be true essays in language and content.


When you are competing with a fiercely competitive applicant pool, how do you make your application stand out? The answer lies in your essays.


What does ISB look for in the essays?


  1. Academic prowess or

  2. Impressive work experience.

  3. Your unique blend of skills, experiences, and perspectives.

  4. They want to see the person behind the resume, the leader, the innovator, the changemaker.

Your essays are your chance to tell your unique story.

This comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge and tools you need to craft compelling ISB essays that capture your authentic self and resonate with the admissions committee. We'll delve into the latest essay prompts, share actionable tips, and even provide a sample essay for inspiration.


But remember, while this guide is a valuable starting point, personalized guidance from an experienced ISB admissions consultant can be the game-changer that elevates your application from good to exceptional.


Ready to unlock the secrets of ISB's essays? Let's dive in!


Crafting Your ISB Application Process Timeline: A Tailored Approach


Understanding when to start working on your ISB essays is crucial for maximizing your chances of success. The optimal timeline depends on your individual circumstances and preparation level. Here are three scenarios and corresponding timelines to guide you:


Scenario 1: Reapplicants or Those Building Their Profile


  • Timeline: Start 4-5 months before the deadline.

  • Rationale: Reapplicants or those who need to enhance their profile (e.g., gain additional work experience, improve test scores) need ample time. This timeline allows for:

  • Ding Analysis: Analyze your previous application and identify areas for improvement. You can even request feedback from ISB admissions.

  • Profile Enhancement:  Strategically work on addressing weaknesses, such as taking additional courses, seeking leadership roles, or volunteering.

  • Brainstorming & Strategy:  Reflect on your experiences and develop a compelling narrative that showcases your growth and potential.

  • Example: If the deadline is September 1st, start brainstorming and outlining your essays in January or February. Use April-June to strengthen your profile, and dedicate May-August to writing, refining, and perfecting your essays.


Scenario 2: Applicants with GMAT/GRE Scores Ready or Preparing for GMAT/ GRE

  • Timeline: Start 3-4 months before the deadline.

  • Rationale:  While you have your test scores ready, crafting compelling essays still requires thoughtful introspection and planning. This timeline allows for:

  • Application Strategy: Develop a comprehensive strategy that aligns your entire application with your career goals and ISB's program offerings.

  • Brainstorming & Outlining:  Deeply reflect on your experiences, strengths, and weaknesses to generate impactful essay ideas.

  • Writing & Revision:  Write multiple drafts, seek feedback, and refine your essays to perfection.

  • Example: With a September 1st deadline, start brainstorming and outlining in May, draft your essays in June-July, and finalize them in August.


Important Note: These are general guidelines. The ideal timeline for you may vary depending on your individual circumstances, writing style, and comfort level.

Remember, the key is to start early and allocate sufficient time for each stage of the essay writing process.


Decoding the ISB Essays for 2024


The ISB MBA essays are your canvas to paint a vivid picture of yourself, your experiences, and your aspirations. They are not mere formalities; they are a crucial component of your application, revealing your unique character and potential beyond your GMAT scores and resume.


Here's a breakdown of the 2024 ISB essay prompts:


ISB Essay 1: Self-Reflection and Growth


Prompt: Provide an honest portrayal of yourself, emphasizing your strengths and weaknesses. Highlight the key elements that have shaped your personal journey. Give relevant illustrations as needed. (400 words)


ISB Essay Analysis: This essay invites you to introspect and share a candid self-assessment. ISB seeks authentic voices, so don't shy away from discussing your areas for growth. Focus on the experiences that have shaped your values, skills, and aspirations.


ISB Essay 2: Success and Failure


Prompt: Contemplate two distinct situations—one where you experienced success and another where you faced failure. Delve into the personal and interpersonal lessons you learned from these instances. (400 words)


ISB Essay Analysis: This essay delves into your resilience and self-awareness. ISB wants to understand how you learn from both triumphs and setbacks. Choose stories that highlight your growth mindset and ability to navigate challenges.


ISB Optional Essay: Leveraging the PGP


Prompt: Given your previous experience and future aspirations, how do you plan to use the PGP at ISB to fulfill your professional goals? (250 words)


ISB Essay Analysis: This is your opportunity to showcase your research into the ISB MBA program. Demonstrate a clear understanding of how specific aspects of the PGP (courses, faculty, clubs, etc.) align with your career trajectory and aspirations.


Tips for writing a strong ISB Essay:


  1. The ISB essays require introspection, honesty, and a clear vision for your future.

  2. Each essay serves a distinct purpose, so tailor your responses accordingly.

  3. Your essays should complement your resume and academic record, not simply restate them.

  4. Crafting compelling ISB essays requires a deeper understanding of the underlying goals of each question.


Stay tuned for the next section of our guide, or consider booking a free consultation with our experienced ISB admissions consultants.


Craft Compelling ISB Essays: Your Action Plan


Now that you understand the essay prompts, let's dive into the nitty-gritty of crafting responses that will captivate the ISB admissions committee.


Unearth Your Unique Narrative: Don't just rehash your resume.  Dig deeper into the experiences that have shaped you. What challenges have you overcome? What unique perspectives do you bring? Your ISB essays should reveal the person behind the achievements.

Example (Essay 1): Instead of listing your leadership roles, narrate a specific instance where your leadership made a tangible difference. Did you resolve a conflict within your team? Spearhead a successful project despite setbacks?


Showcase Your Impact:  ISB values impact-driven individuals.  Don't just describe your responsibilities; quantify your achievements. Use data and metrics to demonstrate how you've made a difference in your professional or personal life.

Example (Essay 2): When discussing a successful project, don't just say it was successful.  Explain that you "increased revenue by 15%" or "streamlined a process that saved the company X amount annually."


Connect the Dots: ISB wants to see how your past experiences have prepared you for their MBA program and your future career goals.  Clearly articulate how the ISB MBA will help you bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to be.

Example (Optional Essay):  Research specific courses, faculty members, or clubs at ISB that align with your career aspirations. Explain how these resources will equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to achieve your goals.


Be Authentic and Vulnerable: ISB values honesty and self-awareness. Don't be afraid to share your weaknesses or failures (especially in Essay 2).  What did you learn from those experiences? How have they shaped you as a leader?

Example (Essay 1):  Discuss a time when you made a mistake or faced a setback. Explain how you took ownership, learned from the experience, and emerged stronger.


Write Clearly and Concisely:  The ISB admissions committee reads hundreds of essays.  Get to the point quickly, use strong verbs, and avoid jargon.


Need More Personalized Guidance?


While these tips are a great starting point, the ISB essay writing process can be nuanced and challenging. If you're looking for expert feedback and personalized strategies to make your essays truly shine, consider booking a free consultation with our experienced ISB admissions consultants. We can help you craft compelling narratives that showcase your unique strengths and potential.

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