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The Evolution of ISB Essay Topics

The Evolution of ISB Essay Topics: A Decade of Transformation and What It Means for Your MBA Dreams


The Indian School of Business (ISB) is a powerhouse in the world of management education, no doubt. But it's not just the academics that make it stand out – it's the vibrant community of future leaders they cultivate. And guess what? The gateway to that community? Their ever-evolving essay prompts.  As someone who's obsessed with all things MBA (guilty as charged!), I've been tracking these changes for years. So, buckle up as we take a deep dive into the past decade of ISB essays, uncovering what the school really wants, and how you can make your application sing.


ISB Essays


Early 2010s ISB Essays : Know Thyself (and Your Career Goals!)


Back in the day, ISB kept it simple. They wanted to know YOU: your strengths, your quirks, and where you saw yourself in the future. It was like a first date, getting to know the basics.


Remember the 2013-14 question about what sets you apart?  It was their way of saying, "Show us what makes you tick!"


This was ISB laying the groundwork. They wanted applicants who were self-aware, ambitious, and had a clear vision for their careers. Not just anyone could walk through their doors.


I remember working with an applicant with her application back then. She was a brilliant engineer but struggled to articulate her "softer" skills. We spent hours digging into her experiences, finding those leadership nuggets buried in her tech projects.  It was a lightbulb moment for her – and it landed her a spot at ISB!


Mid-2010s ISB Essay: Risky Business (and a Dash of Diversity)


ISB started to spice things up. They wanted risk-takers, not just rule-followers. They also started to value diversity, recognizing that a mix of perspectives makes for a richer learning experience.


The 2015-16 essay about a risky decision? That was ISB's way of saying, "We want mavericks!"

This shift reflected the changing business landscape. Companies needed leaders who could embrace uncertainty and thrive in diverse teams. ISB was ahead of the curve.


2017-2018: The "Why ISB?" Love Letter


This is where things got serious. ISB wanted a commitment, not just a casual fling. They wanted to know why you chose them.


The infamous "Why ISB?" essay. Cue the love letters...

This was ISB's way of ensuring a good fit. They wanted students who were genuinely passionate about the school, not just chasing a brand name.


2018-2019: Diversity Takes Center Stage (and Second Chances)

Diversity wasn't just a buzzword for ISB; it was a core value. They wanted to hear how you would enrich their community, not just how they would benefit you.


This signaled a shift in the MBA landscape. Schools were recognizing the power of diverse perspectives in the classroom and beyond. ISB was leading the charge.


They also brought back the essay for reapplicants, showing their commitment to giving second chances to those who demonstrated growth.


2019-2025: The Crystal Ball Gazing Era

ISB asked you to peer into your future. They wanted to know your dreams, your goals, and how an ISB MBA would get you there.

This was about more than just career goals. It was about demonstrating ambition, drive, and a clear vision for your future.


2022-2023: Community Over Competition

ISB shifted the focus to collaboration. They wanted to know how you would not only learn from your peers but also lift them up.


This mirrored the changing workplace, where teamwork and collaboration are increasingly valued. ISB was preparing students for the real world.


2023-2024: The Age of Authenticity (and a Bit of Soul-Searching)

The latest essays are all about getting real. They want to know your strengths, your weaknesses, your triumphs, and your failures.


This is ISB's way of saying, "We want the whole you, not just the shiny resume version." They're looking for authenticity, vulnerability, and a willingness to learn and grow.


What Does This Mean for Your ISB Essays?


The evolution of ISB essays tells a story. It's a story of a school that's not afraid to evolve, to challenge its applicants, and to seek out the best and brightest minds. If you're dreaming of an ISB MBA, here's what you need to know:


  • Be Authentic: Show your true colors. Don't be afraid to be vulnerable and share your story.

  • Do Your Research: Understand ISB's values and how they've changed over time. Tailor your essays to show how you align with those values.

  • Think Big: Don't just talk about your past achievements. Show ISB where you're headed and how they can help you get there.

  • Embrace Collaboration: ISB is a community, not a competition. Highlight how you'll contribute to the learning environment and support your peers.


The ISB essay journey is more than just an application; it's a self-discovery process. Embrace it, be yourself, and show ISB why you belong in their vibrant community of future leaders.


Ready to Craft Your Authentic ISB Story?

If you're feeling overwhelmed or unsure how to showcase your unique strengths and vulnerabilities in your ISB application, don't worry, you're not alone! At GOALisB, we specialize in helping applicants like you create authentic and compelling narratives that resonate with the admissions committee.


Don't leave your ISB application to chance. Contact GOALisB today for a free consultation and let's start building your winning application together!

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