PGP & EEO (Application Deadline: R1 - October 15th, 2017; R2 - January 15th, 2018)Essay 1: If we were to admit just one more candidate to the Postgraduate Programme (PGP) at the ISB, why should it be you? (500 words max)
What a blank check ISB gives you in the form of this essay, to convince the admissions committee why ISB should choose you for this prestigious program. This is an opportunity for you to let them know that there is more to you than what your resume and your GMAT score suggest. This essay needs lot of thought and introspection; after all, it's the first essay and will leave a lasting (if not the last) impression.
It should however be noted that mentioning a laundry list of attributes will not take you anywhere. For each attribute that you mention, it is important to substantiate that attribute, by narrating real-life incidents. The essay gives you the flexibility that your differentiators can be either from your personal life or from your professional life. In fact, an ideal essay would narrate real-life incidents from both professional life and life outside work, to establish you as a well-rounded individual.
We believe that a maximum of 2-3 attributes should be articulated, for these reasons:
i) Essay reviewer's focus and recall would get lost, if you narrate more than 3 attributes; the essay will then be all over the place.
ii) The 400 word limit for this essay will not allow you to do justice to more than 3 attributes.
The thing to keep in mind is that your attributes need not be earth-shattering. We believe that rather than saying I got rank in top 10 in JEE in my first attempt, a more impressive achievement would be: I did not get through JEE in my first attempt, but got through all other engineering entrance exams. However, I decided to not join elsewhere, worked all through the year and made it to JEE in my second attempt.
The reason this is more commendable is because it shows aspects of your personality such as perseverance, determination and doggedness. It shows that you don’t just take the easy way out and settle at no less than what is the best.
On personal front, the most trivial looking philanthropic activities that you perhaps have been associated with, are candidates for achievement, if articulated well. After all, your activities could have changed someone’s life forever, and for good!
Essay 2: Describe your your short and long term career plans. How does the PGP fit in with those? (300 words max)
This essay is best addressed along 3 major points.
a) First what you have done in life so far (primarily on the professional/academic front)
b) Second what you want to do in future
c) Third how does MBA fit into the scheme of things
Clearly there are some experiences, attributes, and interests that you already have. This is your past. You have aspirations to do something in the future. Now, based upon what you have done in the past, and what you want to do in future, there are certain gaps in terms of skill sets, in terms of network, or in terms of competencies, that you want the b-school to bridge. So, you need to build a case that equipping yourself with these skillsets, network and competencies will help embark you towards your future goals.
It is also very important that you do a good research on the unique offerings of ISB that would be directly relevant to your aspirations. Please note that mentioning ISB's attributes such as great faculty, good peer group and interactive classes are in most cases a waste of space in the essay; this is because almost every applicant would mention these; imagine what the evaluator of the essay will go through, reading the exact same words one essay after another.
So, what will pay off are the very specific and unique offerings of the school. These could be specific student interest clubs, any flagship events in the area of your interest, any centers of excellence and any specific research area that the school focuses on. In fact, if you have had a chance to visit ISB, ISB's Information sessions, or personally interact with any existing student, do highlight it, since this would demonstrate your interest.