Ranked #1 in India and #23 globally by the Financial Times (FT) MBA rankings 2021, the Indian School of Business (ISB), is one of the top B-schools in India and the world. Every year ISB admits around 900 students across two campuses in Hyderabad and Mohali, with 600 and 300 students, respectively for its flagship Post Graduate Programme (PGP).

For the application season 2021-2022, ISB’s admission portal recently went live. ISB has declared the Round 1 / Cycle 1 deadline as Sunday, 12 September 2021.  This is in line with past experience, the deadline for Round 1 / Cycle 1 deadline for many years has been a Sunday in / around the middle of September, and it was Sunday, 20 September 2020 last year.

While the Round 2 and Round 3 deadlines are yet to be announced, we can safely assume them to be in December 2021 and March 2022, respectively, going by previous years’ deadlines. The table below gives a snapshot of the deadlines, as announced and as expected by us given previous experience. 

While the essay topics are the same as last year you can view our essay analysis for ISB Application 2021-2022 to know more.

For this year, ISB’s application portal is now live with the following deadlines. Note that the deadlines for PGP and Early Entry Option (EEO) are the same.

 Cycle 1Cycle-2Cycle-3
Application deadline12 September, 20215 or 12 December, 2021 (tentative)March 2022*
Interview timelines (tentative)Oct 1 to Nov 10 2021
Those shortlisted will be informed FIVE days prior to the interview date
Jan to March 2022
Those shortlisted will be informed FIVE days prior to the interview date
March to May 2022
Those shortlisted will be informed FIVE days prior to the interview date
Final results (including those not shortlisted)December 2021*February / March 2022*April / May 2022*
Acceptance due date20 days from the offer date10 days from the offer date5 days from the offer date
Program fee payment dateMay 2022*May 2022*May 2022*
Program commencement for PGP 2022-2023June 2022*June 05, 2022*June 05, 2022*

* Tentative deadline based on previous application cycle (2020-2021).

For 2022-2023 deadlines, read our latest blog here: ISB PGP Application Deadlines 2022-2023 (Class of 2024)

ISB Application Process Overview

Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility criteria remain the same as previous years, as follows:

  • Bachelor’s or equivalent degree
  • Valid GMAT / GRE score
  • Minimum 24 months of full-time work experience

How to Apply to ISB’s PGP

The PGP Application Form has 6 main sections apart from personal details and statement of integrity / declaration sections. Ensure that you completely fill all the sections before submitting the form.

  • Academics: Mention your Class X, XII, graduation, post-graduation (if any) details, along with any additional certifications in this section
  • Work Experience: Mention your top job responsibilities, initiatives, and achievements. Ensure that they are highlighted correctly so that due weightage can be given to them when the admissions committee reviews them
  • Awards & Activities: List your awards, achievements, and hobbies in the order of importance, and mention them in the awards, activities and hobbies sections. Make sure that the hobbies are relevant and something that you truly pursue. If you are unable to defend your interests / hobbies in your interview (if asked), it may be detrimental to your interview evaluation and subsequently your admit
  • GMAT/GRE Test Score: Please provide a valid GMAT or GRE score. GMAT and GRE scores are valid for five years from the date you take the test. Since ISB requires GMAT or GRE scores for admission, you must take the test before submitting your application. The scores you report must be valid as of the deadline date of the round in which you apply. In certain cases, ISB may also provide an extension for submission of scores. This has been seen in Round 1 in a few previous years. You may like to read our blog post on how much GMAT score you should get for ISB admission.
  • Application Essays: Essays are an important (if not the most important) component of your application. ISB considers your profile in holistically. Hence, while your GMAT / GRE score and other academic credentials are important, its also very important to demonstrate why you are looking for an MBA. Hence, clear articulation of your career goals and how the PGP from ISB will help you achieve those goals is important. Another important aspect is to showcase the value you will add to the class at ISB. Hence, answering the why you question is another important element. Being an ISB alumnus who has also been on the ISB interview panel, I can tell you that your essays are read carefully and you can expect questions around your essays in the ISB interview. The essay questions for application in 2021-2022 (i.e. 2022 intake, Class of 2023) are the same as the previous year (i.e. 2021 intake, Class of 2022). You may also like to read our blog on ISB essay analysis for 2021 intake (Class of 2022) which is also valid for 2022 intake and Class of 2023 as the essay topics are same.
  • Recommendation or Evaluation:  ISB would ask you for details of one recommender  or evaluator, who can vouch for you. He / she can be your reporting manager/ previous manager/ senior colleague/ current client/ previous client/ business partner/ supplier/ auditor/ professor etc. Essentially, anyone who has worked with you and can provide a true picture of who you are and what your strengths and weaknesses are. Ensure that go for the quality of the recommendation / evaluation rather than the seniority of the designation. If you can manage to get both, nothing like it !

ISB PGP Selection Criteria

Each candidate to the PGP at ISB is holistically evaluated on the following parameters:

  • Academic credentials: The ISB PGP application evaluates your ability to cope with the rigor of the program through your past academic performance and your performance in the GMAT or GRE exam. ISB considers the class 12th grades / scores, graduation grades / scores, post-graduation grades / scores and certification scores, wherever applicable. The overall GMAT/GRE score is also given its due weightage. However, no “cut off” criteria are applied to either the academic credentials or the GMAT/GRE score. Hence, you should not worry if you have a GMAT score below 700. You may still make it to ISB if you have solid credentials in other areas such as work experience and extra-curriculars.  
  • Leadership Potential: Candidates are evaluated on the basis of the impact they have made in their past professional and personal life. This aspect is assessed through the initiatives that the applicant may have taken, the responsibilities handled, and the career progression achieved to date. The essays play an important role in demonstrating this. The one professional recommendation / evaluation which forms an important part of the application also helps in gauging the leadership potential of the applicant in a professional setting.
  • Personal Attributes: ISB, looks for versatile and well-rounded individuals who can contribute to the class and then the society in meaningful ways. People who can bring different perspectives to the class and appreciate different points of view. The candidates extracurricular activities and interests beyond work and academics give an insight into personal qualities. Hence, ISB encourages applicants from diverse backgrounds to become part of the PGP. Diversity in all forms of life, like work experience, educational background, nationality, etc. is given due weightage.

How to write ISB Application Essays

Before we talk about how to write essays for your ISB MBA application, let’s look at the essay questions / topics for 2021 admission cycle.

ISB essay topics for the PGP application in 2021 , i.e. 2022 intake (class of 2023) are given below:

  • ISB Essay 1 Topic: Describe with examples the most important personal quality that you possess that significantly enhances your prospects of being successful as a leader? (400 words max)
  • ISB Essay 2 Topic: What are your short term and long term career goals? How will Post Graduate Program at ISB assist you in achieving your goals.(400 words max)
  • ISB Reapplicant Essay Topic: Please use this space to explain significant improvements in your profile since your last application to the ISB PGP.

You may like to read our blog on How to Write ISB Application Essays for 2020-2021 . Note that this is applicable for the current year (2021 / 2022 application) as well since the essay topics are same.

To give you a gist, answer essay 1 with the following in mind:

  • Focus more on the “How” than the “What”: While its important to mention your achievements, you must also ensure that you focus on how you went about achieving what you set out for.
  • Bring out personality traits: ISB is looking for YOU, the “real” YOU. They are looking to uncover the professional and find the personality lying beneath, who will really make the ISB experience worthwhile for not only herself but also for fellow classmates. Hence, make sure you mention about your leadership abilities, your entrepreneurial spirit, your determination, perseverance, passions etc. This will really help the ISB admissions committee understand you as a person which is very important to get that admission.  
  • Link it to the experience of the class: Merely mentioning about yourself will not present the complete picture to the admissions committee. To showcase the value you will add to the class, ensure that you link your personality traits / other unique points with the experience at ISB. Make sure you do your research, understand what the one year at ISB comprises and then relate various facets of life at ISB with your unique traits.

To answer Essay 2, you may like to read our blog on How to answer the “Why ISB” in your ISB application

To answer Essay 3 (reapplicant essay), you may like to read our blog:  Are you a re-applicant to ISB? Then, you should read this!

COVID 19 impact on ISB PGP

COVID 19 has impacted the world and ISB is no different. However, ISB has also shown extreme resilience and adaptability in these difficult times. From establishing the Digital Headstart Module (DHM) to conduct some of the student events online to allowing the current class on campus in a phased-in manner, ISB has truly led from the front in managing the challenges the pandemic brought.  Hence, if you are worried about whether to apply this year or not, be rest assured that ISB will leave no stone unturned to make your experience memorable and by the time you graduate (in 2023 !) you will be riding the wave of fresh round of growth / bull run!

Related articles:

MBA during a recession?
How to write essays for ISB application
ISB Application: 5 Common Mistakes

Note: The author is an ISB alumnus. Views are personal. For a free consulting session with them on your ISB application, get in touch here:https://strategy4gmat.com/contact/ OR write to us at [email protected]

You have Successfully Subscribed!