ISB - Term 1: The Eye Opener

In the first edition of our 'Know Your B-School Better' series, we took you through the O-week journey (if you missed reading it, click here). Today, we'll give you an insight into the eye-opener - Term 1 at ISB!

The academic calendar at ISB is divided into 8 terms of about 6 weeks each. Each term has 4 courses (slight variations in terms 4 to 8, we'll cover in the coming weeks), 4 hours of classes per day from Monday to Thursday. Term 1 covers the concepts (and real world application) in accounting, micro economics, marketing and statistics.

You would’ve heard that ISB is a humbling experience. This term is a solid start to that. Most ISB students are used to finishing in the top 10 percentile throughout their academic endeavors and now you have all such individuals in one group, studying the same courses! Hence, you are bound to feel humble.

For many students, it becomes a challenge to re-adjust to the academic rigor and cope with the competition on offer. You suddenly start appreciating weekdays more than weekends as they are more structured due to classes. The weekends are filled with assignments, case analysis submissions, quiz preparations, “pre-reads” etc.

Since a majority of the class comes with an engineering background, accounting and economics feel like the biggest nemeses. For commerce graduates, statistics is usually the problem area. However, the diversity kicks-in here and a few kind souls, CAs, Bankers, Engineers, etc., conduct peer-to-peer (P2P) sessions for rest of the class to sail through the examinations.

During o-week, a number of people you'll meet would have consulting as their career choice (which usually means good academic scores needed). As soon as the mid-term grades are out, this number reduces significantly. Suddenly, you will find a lot of peers telling you that they are 'here for the experience' as all scores are plotted on a normal curve (if you don’t know what it means, then brace yourself for the statistics storm!).

While all this is happening, you cannot help but admire the quality of Professors who teach you. The way they teach (for e.g. Economics concepts taught via Seinfeld!) and the depth of knowledge is unparalleled. Professors such as Prof. Robert Stine, who is literally the “God” in the field of Statistics or Prof. Jagmohan Raju, (one of the best names you'd find in the field of Marketing globally) are two of the many professors who fly down from the US (their home school is Wharton) to make your ISB experience much more worthwhile.

Term 1 is also the term when elections for the Graduate Student Board (more on this later in the series) and the clubs kick-off. Manifestos and soapboxes will help you put forward your candidature / know your candidates better (depending on which side you belong to). Take them seriously as electing the “right guy” for the job will go far in determining your experience as a class.

Alumni Speak: “While the mid-terms were an eye-opener, they helped me appreciate the fact that I was amongst the smartest people in the country. Contesting for the position of Director, Academic Affairs Council was another experience as it helped me gain confidence of presenting to and answering questions from such smart individuals.” Piyush Verma, ISB Class of 2016, Consultant, Strategy4GMAT

Application tip: Identify which GSB core position or professional club you would like to contest elections for and do research on it. While this helps showcase leadership, do not write it for the sake of it. Alumni / admissions committee members are very smart and experienced and can easily figure out when you have a genuine interest and you are faking it.  In case you are well versed with any of the courses / areas taught in term 1, it would be good to mention that you'd translate that knowledge to the class via the P2P learning sessions.

P.S. Our subsequent posts will be on GSB and the clubs to help you understand them better.

Some videos offering glimpses of Term 1:

Term 1 at ISB (2007):

Finance Club Soapbox Co2014

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