ISB PGP Application Essay 2018 - 2019 Analysis (2019 intake, Class of 2020)

ISB PGP Application Essay 2018 - 2019 Analysis (2019 intake, Class of 2020)

The application portal for Indian School of Business’ flagship Post Graduate Programme (PGP) and Early Entry Option (EEO) is now live. It can be seen that the school has decided to reintroduce the “Optional Essay” and “Re-applicant Essay” after scrapping it last year. While the language of the two mandatory essay questions seems to have changed from last year, the essence of ISB’s expectations from applicants remains unchanged – diversity, achievement and contribution to the student community.

Essay Question Analysis

Essay Question 1 - At ISB we value diversity as it enhances both the in-class and out of class learning experience. Tell us how would you contribute to the same? (400 words max)

Over the years, one of ISB’s key differentiator has been the diversity of its class. This essay question signals that ISB is cognizant of the fact that “diversity” amongst its students enriches the learning experiences of the class and is a key enabler for a holistic MBA experience.  

Through this essay, ISB has explicitly sought applicants to highlight their diversity quotient and emphasize how their diverse profiles will add value to the MBA experience for other students on campus. In short, it is no longer sufficient to just be different or unique. What truly matters is how that difference or uniqueness will benefit the entire student community both inside and outside the classroom.

ISB realizes that each applicant has a compelling story, a strong academic profile and a distinguished professional experience. However, what will stand out is the insights and experiences the applicant will bring to the class. These insights could be driven from either professional or personal experiences. Therefore, an applicant should devote significant space under this question to highlight the unique perspectives he or she will bring to the class. In addition to answering the “what”, also answer the “how” and the “so what” to stand apart from the crowd in the super competitive ISB applicant pool.


Essay Question 2 - Enrolling in a Business School is an important career decision. Critically look at your career to date, the choices you have made, the key influences behind those choices, your goals for the future and how do you think ISB’s PGP can help you in achieving your goals? (300 words max)

While the essence of this essay is similar to one of the two essay questions of last year (“What are your short-term and long-term goals and how does ISB fit into it?”), this question signifies that ISB wants an applicant to consciously take a step back and reflect upon his / her personal and professional journey so far.

ISB wants an applicant to reflect upon his / her decisions, think about the rationale behind those decisions and see whether those decisions are aligned with their longer-term professional and personal objectives. Through this question, ISB seeks an applicant to first be convinced himself, and eventually convince ISB as to why an MBA is the logical next step in his progression from his achievements so far to his career objectives.

This essay will require is a logical case building for an MBA. It will require mapping an applicant’s entire career / professional journey and creating a compelling story as to why an MBA is the missing link between the present and the future. Thought clarity and in-depth knowledge of the school and the post-MBA industry / role will be key for a good essay.

Essay Question 3 - Optional essay, for reapplicants. (this has been reintroduced this year, after it was removed last year)

This essay has been re-introduced after it was omitted from the application last year. Usually, this question is meant to capture any relevant information that would not have found mention in either of the aforementioned essay questions. Rather than answering this question for the mere sake of it, use this valuable space to highlight any key points or insights that you believe is relevant to your application and will offer significant weight to your chances of being shortlisted for the next round. Any significant career switches, a sudden drop in academic performance or a gap in between your employment are some of the critical issues that should find a mention under this question.

Overall, ISB essays are arguably the most important part of the application – being the only place where you can present your story the way you want to. Ensure that you utilize the word limit effectively without going “off track”.  To avoid common mistakes that ISB applicants make in their essays, read our blog post below.

ISB PGP application essays: Top 5 Mistakes


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