Ranked #1 in India and #32 globally by the Financial Times (FT) MBA rankings 2022, the Indian School of Business (ISB), is one of the top B-schools in India and across the world. Every year ISB admits around 900 students across its two campuses in Hyderabad and Mohali, with around 600 and 300 students, respectively for its flagship MBA / Post Graduate Programme (PGP).
For the application season 2022-2023, ISB’s admission portal recently went live. While they have not mentioned details of the deadlines, ISB has declared the Round 1 deadline as “4 September 2022”.  
While the Round 2 and Round 3 deadlines are yet to be announced, we can safely assume them to be in December 2022 and March 2023, respectively, given the ISB application deadlines last year. The table below gives a snapshot of the ISB application deadlines, as announced and as expected by us based on our previous experience.
While the topic for ISB appliction Essay 2 (Career goals / why MBA?) is the same as last year, ISB has changed the topic for Essay 1 this year.
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 deadline4 September 202227 November 2022January 2023*
Interview timelines (tentative)October to November
Those shortlisted will be informed FIVE days prior to the interview date
December to February
Those shortlisted will be informed FIVE days prior to the interview date
January to March
Those shortlisted will be informed FIVE days prior to the interview date
Final results (including those not shortlisted)November 2022February 2023March 2023
Acceptance due date15 days from the offer date10 days from the offer date5 days from the offer date
Program fee payment dateTBATBATBA
Program commencement for PGP 2022-2023April to June 2023*April to June 2023*April to June 2023*

* Tentative deadlines based on previous application cycles.

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 / Less than 24 months of full-time work experience (for EEO candidates)

How to Apply to ISB’s PGP

The ISB 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 various questions around your essays in the ISB interview.
  • 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. ISB also gives overall GMAT/GRE score 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. ISB assesses this aspect through the initiatives that the applicant may have taken, the responsibilities handled, and the career progression achieved to date. The application essays play an important role in demonstrating this. The one professional recommendation / evaluation which forms an important part of the ISB PGP 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 2022-23 admission cycle.

ISB essay topics for the PGP application in 2022-2023 , i.e. 2023 intake (class of 2024) are given below:

  • ISB Essay 1 Topic: Peer Learning is a major building block of PGP at ISB. Help us in understanding how will you be able to add value to the PGP peer group through your personal and professional qualities/capabilities? (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. (200 words max)

Answer essay 1 with the following in mind:

  • 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 interview call / final admission.  
  • Answer “why you”: Like previous years, ISB is still trying to ask “Why You” in essay 1, albeit through contribution to peer learning. They are still trying to understand why they should select you over other applicants and one of the ways to assess that is to understand how you will add value to your peers. Hence, bring out your differentiators.
  • 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 ISB PGP 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.

ISB Essay 2 question / topic has been the same for about 5 years now. It is the classic “Why MBA / Why ISB” question that the school asks. Keep the following in mind while writing essay 2:

  • Define your short-term and long-term career goals clearly. Be as specific as possible so that the ISB admissions team gets what you are trying to say
  • Link your career goals to the PGP and ISB and clearly demonstrate how the program and school will help you achieve your goals
  • Mention specifically which factors make ISB the school of choice for you – alumni, faculty, placements, etc.

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

For the ISB PGP reapplicant essay, it is important to focus on 2-3 key points which have helped improve your profile since the last application. These could be from your professional or personal life. Again, it would be very important to showcase how this will add value to the class at ISB / how this makes you a better candidate this time.

To know more on how 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!

Tips to ensure a relaxed yet solid ISB application experience:

  • Start early, well before the deadline (or as early as possible !)
  • Be consistent, keep a track of your progress vs. the application deadline
  • Consult a professional ISB admission consultant (if needed)
  • Bring out your wholistic personality
  • Be honest, dont cook up stories
  • Reach out to your evaluators / recommenders early
  • Submit well before the deadline, dont wait till the last day / minute !

Related articles:

How to write essays for ISB application
ISB Application: 5 Common Mistakes

Note: The author is an ISB alumnus. Views are personal.

To get expert application consulting from ISB alumni, reach out to us at [email protected]

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