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Isb Essay Topics 2016 Nascar

Indian School of Business Essay Topic Analysis 2016-2017

Following up on our post with the 2016-2017 Indian School of Business essays, we wanted to offer some guidance to applicants who are targeting the ISB PGP in Management this admissions season.  The ISB adcom has streamlined its essay set for this year, yielding only two required essays with some slight modifications compared to last year.

Let’s take a closer look at each of the ISB PGP essays for 2016-2017:

Essay 1: If we were to admit just One more candidate to the Postgraduate Programme (PGP) at the ISB, why should it be you? (400 words max)
This essay puts the onus on applicants to showcase their fit with ISB.  Dropping the request for a single accomplishment (personal or professional) from last year’s essay topic, ISB opens the door for broader content.  However, given the short word limit of this essay, applicants would do well to develop two, possibly three, hallmarks of their candidacy, as opposed to summarize everything that may already be covered elsewhere in the application.  Rich anecdotes that show one’s abilities and impact will make a greater impression on the reader.

In deciding what to cover, we recommend that applicants consider the skill set, personal quality, or values that they most want to highlight. Some candidates might choose to emphasize their ability to drive impressive results and manage a team in meeting an objective, as these skills map onto future professional success in a fairly straightforward way. Meanwhile, other applicants might choose to highlight their integrity and authenticity by discussing a time they championed an unpopular position and influenced a decision-making process. Still others might want to showcase the innovation and resourcefulness involved in starting a new community organization or support group based on a shared need or interest they observed around them. In sum, applicants should first reflect on what they consider to be their greatest ways to add value to the ISB community, and select related accomplishments that enable them to put that contribution forward for consideration.

Effective responses will detail the accomplishment, explaining the larger context and the players involved before taking the reader through a brief step-by-step account of what the applicant did and what the positive outcome was. Applicants should also take care to address what they learned in the conclusion of their response. We recommend taking this one step further by closing the essay with a comment on how these lessons would translate to a contribution to class discussion in one or two specific courses, or to enhancing the offerings of a particular student club at ISB. This will help to signal your familiarity with the program, and strengthen your case for being that one last student that the adcom admits.

Essay 2: Describe your short and long term career plans. How does the PGP fit in with those?(300 words max)
This ISB essay section closes with this fairly straightforward career goals essay. Applicants would do well to sketch out the position they plan to seek immediately after their PGP studies, and to include some information about how they’ve become interested in that role and where they hope it might take them 5-10 years down the road. Of course, the majority of the essay should focus on the ways the PGP in Management from ISB would position them for success, so we recommend that applicants aim to cover their career goals in 100-125 words.

Applicants should then summarize the skills and areas of knowledge that they need to gain in order to accomplish their professional objectives, and provide a detailed treatment of the courses and other programmatic offerings at ISB that will help them to bridge that gap. It’s important to showcase your familiarity with the program in this response, as this will help to illustrate the extent of your interest in the PGP and your understanding of why it’s a good fit for you. If there’s a study abroad opportunity that appeals to you or a student club that organizes an annual conference that’s perfectly aligned with your goals, be sure to mention this. Effective responses to this question will include a good amount of ISB-specific details in this short response. Taking the time to learn about the program — by reviewing the school’s website, speaking with students and alumni, visiting the campus or attending an information session, and reading the Clear Admit School Guide to the Indian School of Business — will pay dividends here.

Essay 3: Please use this space to provide any other information not covered elsewhere in the application that could significantly impact your candidature at ISB.
  Note: It is not necessary for you to write this essay. Please use this space only if there is something really significant that you would like us to know. 
(200 words max)
The wording of this essay prompt — and the additional note stressing the fact that applicants do not need to respond — signals that this space should be reserved for addressing potential liabilities or concerns in an application, such as a period of unemployment longer than 3 months, poor undergraduate or GMAT performance, or other extenuating circumstances that have influenced your career path or application. Responses should be brief and to the point, providing explanations without making excuses, and calling attention to any mitigating factors or strengths that you wish to highlight in order to alleviate the impact of any liabilities.

Clear Admit Resources
Thanks for reading our analysis of this year’s ISB MBA essay topics! As you work on your Indian School of Business MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s ISB offerings:


Posted in: Essay Topic Analysis, Essays

Schools: Indian School of Business


ISB Application Deadlines:

Cycle 1
Application Deadline: October 15, 2016
Offer Date: December 05, 2016

Cycle 2
Application Deadline: January 15, 2017
Offer Date: March 5, 2017

Non-Indian Passport Holders
Application Deadline: January 15, 2017
Interview: within 30 days of application
Offer Date: within 3 weeks of interview

Selection Criteria

Each applicant to the Post Graduate Programme in Management at the Indian School of Business is holistically evaluated on the following parameters:

  • Academic Credentials
  • Leadership Potential
  • Personal Attributes

The Indian School of Business’s online application for the Post Graduate Programme in Management is live on the school’s website. Like other schools, ISB has also gone on a diet and has reduced its required essays from three to two. It has dropped its multiple-choice prompt, “Describe a (only one) defining moment in your personal / professional life when you had to make a risky decision” or “Describe a (only one) situation in your personal / professional life when you had to interact with people from diverse backgrounds.” Like previous years, the applicants can also write an optional third essay  to share additional information that might substantively impact their candidacies.

Thus, instead of a total of 1,200 words, this year’s applicants to ISB’s PGP program  have only 900 words to showcase their candidacy to the Ad Com. With an early start, careful planning, and considerable soul searching, you can present an impressive and convincing picture of your holistic personality and your fit with the school.

Let’s take a look at the essay questions:

Essay 1:  If we were to admit just one more candidate to the Postgraduate Programme (PGP) at the ISB, why should it be you? (400 words max)

With a slight modification in the phrasing, this question is similar to the accomplishment essay  ISB has been asking for the last three years. While last year’s question specifically asked about an accomplishment (personal or professional) that distinguished the applicants from others and earned them that coveted one seat at the ISB, this year’s question offers the applicants liberty to list more than one accomplishment that would distinguish them from the applicant pool . Given the 400 words limit, you do not have space to do justice to more than 3-4 differentiators. So your best bet would be to pick your three accomplishments from three different areas – professional, community, and personal life so you can present your well-rounded personality. However, if you cannot boast of any leadership role in community service, you may discuss more than one professional accomplishment where you made an impact.

At ISB, you will be competing with the traditional IT applicant pool, so you may not want to select an accomplishment that demonstrates your role as a team leader in an IT project. Try to distinguish yourself by showcasing your ability to face challenges in other roles e.g. your adaptability to changes in the global world, your talent to convince others of executing your innovative ideas, your courage to take calculated risks that yielded results, and so on.

The ‘how’ part of your accomplishment is as important as the ‘what’ part. So, never tell the whole story in the first sentence itself. You don’t want to tell the climax of the story in the first sentence itself. Also, make sure that each of your accomplishment stories has these four components: the challenge, the achievement, the outcome/result, the significance. It is important to explain why this accomplishment is meaningful to you both in terms of the challenges you overcame, the results you produced, and the lessons you learned.

Please do not begin your story with. “My first accomplishment is” or “my second accomplishment is …” This reads like a laundry list of achievements. Let one story/experience lead to another and paint a cohesive and strong picture of you as a candidate.

Lastly, and most importantly, be as precise as you can in presenting your stories. With 400 words maximum words allowed, you can use approximately 100-125 words in detailing each of your most significant accomplishments.

Let’s look at the following example where the writer wraps up his story explaining why his experiences were significant to him.


“The varied challenges of the business world have taught me persistence, high spiritedness, and honesty. These experiences, though demanding, were unmatched because of the challenge of initiating change by me and influencing others. Also, they prepared me to adapt my leadership style to different contexts. My voluntary experiences have not only helped me understand various social and cultural issues among poor people and farmers, but also reinforced my love towards sharing knowledge and experiences with others.”

Essay 2:  Describe your short and long term career plans. How does the PGP fit in with those? (300 words max)

Every year, ISB phases its goals essay topic differently.  The key difference between this year’s and last year’s goal’s essay is that this year‘s applicants have to share both their long term and short term goals. Also, instead of detailing their past professional experiences, they need to explain how various resources of ISB will align with their career objectives. Even though the question doesn’t specifically asks you about your career history, I suggest you should discuss it briefly in order to make a logical connection between your past, present, and future. This means you need to tell a story that connects your past (work-experience, skills), present (your need of an MBA from ISB to achieve your goals), and your future (goals and objectives).

How to organize this essay? Begin your essay with a brief career history and provide details about how you have pursued your career, acquired new skills and progressed along your career path all these years (2-3 sentences). Then go on to describe why you believe that an MBA is the next logical step in your career path NOW? What are those skills that you still lack which you hope to acquire by an MBA? How an MBA will fill the gaps in your career?

Then explain your post MBA and long term goals. Please make sure to demonstrate a logical connection between your short term and long term goals. In other words, explain how you will move from step 1 to step 2 and so on. Make sure that your goals are realistic as well as ambitious. That is, if you aim for a technology or a consulting role, you’ll need to demonstrate that you already possess some skills/experience in that area and are now aiming to enhance those skills. Likewise, if you are a career changer, you should provide evidence as to how your current skill set would facilitate this transition.

Once you have elaborated your goals, explain how an MBA from ISB is your best bet at this time?  How it will help you achieve your goals? You should have a thorough knowledge of PGP program of ISB so you can demonstrate how its resources (curriculum, faculty, clubs, student communities etc.)  perfectly match your goals and will bring you closer to your dreams.

In the end, discuss what value you will bring to their program? Even though the essay prompt doesn’t ask you about your contribution, you may throw in a sentence about your potential contribution to the program.

Since you have only 300 words to discuss your career history, your career goals and their connection with the PGP program of ISB, you need to be extremely precise in presenting your case. You may organize your essay in the following way:

  • Brief career history (approximately 60-70 words)
  •  Short term Long term goals (approximately 90-100 words)
  •  Connection between ISB’s resources and your goals (approximately 100-140 words)


“With its academic resources, leadership training, practical approach to learning, brilliant faculty with diverse professional background and perfect location, ISB will provide me the critical tools and network that I need to achieve my career aspirations. Also, I am confident that with my academic potential, leadership abilities and innovative spirit, I will add significant value to the ISB community.”

Optional Essay: Please use this space to provide any other information not covered elsewhere in the application that could significantly impact your candidature at ISB. Note: It is not necessary for you to write this essay. Please use this space only if there is something really significant that you would like us to know. (200 words max)

Like last year, ISB’s optional essay allows you to discuss anything that could significantly impact your application. This question provides you an opportunity to explore an important aspect of your candidacy, or other strengths not mentioned in other essay responses and résumé. You may also share a life -experience that has greatly influenced your personality and life. The idea is to bring to light that aspect of your personality that truly makes you unique and could ‘significantly impact your candidature at ISB’. You should try to demonstrate how you can leverage this skill or quality to enhance your MBA experience at ISB and your future career.

You may also use this essay question to address a weakness in your profile, such as employment gap, low GPA or GMAT. Your weakness may  bring out a positive aspect of your personality.

Please refer to the following example of a candidate whose grades dropped because of his military service.


“Although my leadership experiences in the military taught me many valuable lessons in teamwork, perseverance, and management, through all my responsibilities, it impacted my grades.    Thus, I do not view my undergraduate performance as an accurate representation of my academic abilities. However, I grew from this experience and took a dedicated approach to professional education.  I would respectfully ask the admission committee to consider this when reviewing my application.”

Also, please pay attention to ISB’s advice Note: It is not necessary for you to write this essay. Please use this space only if there is something really significant that you would like us to know.


  • Ø Make sure that all the three essays should read like three different chapters of your unique story rather than solitary pieces. Also, when choosing your stories, make sure you maintain a balance between your professional and personal stories that showcases your well rounded candidacy.

Good luck on your Round 1 applications J

This post first appeared in myEssayReview blog.

For questions, email me at poonam@myessayreview.com

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