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Indian School of Business MBA Application Essay Questions and Tips

One of the top business schools in India, Indian School of Business (ISB) is ranked amongst the top 30 business schools in the world for its Post-graduate Programmes.

Needless to say, being an ISB graduate can add a lot of value to your resume and become the catalyst to your post-MBA success. However, it is imperative that a student adds value to the ISB MBA class as well. To judge the same, the ISB admissions committee will be looking at your MBA profile carefully.

While your MBA resume, letters of recommendation, and academic background might give the ISB admissions committee a detailed look into the professional diversity you can bring into the MBA class, they are also interested in YOU. They want to know who the person behind the MBA application is. And for this, they will rely on your MBA essay answers.

For ISB’s MBA application, new applicants are required to answer two mandatory essays while re-applicants must answer the mandatory re-applicant essay.

Indian School of Business MBA Application Essays

Describe with examples the most important personal quality that you possess which significantly enhances your prospects of being successful as a leader? (400 words max)

The answer to this question can be precisely written in three paragraphs.

1. What is the Quality you possess?

2. Examples of instances you showcased said quality.

3. Why is this quality important for a successful leader?

While your answer would look bets in the same order provided above, the best order to reach that answer is to go backwards. Start by finding a quality you think makes a successful leader. Then move on to listing personal as well as professional instances where you showcased this quality.

The more recent examples you share, the more impact your answer creates. Sharing an instance where you showed leadership qualities two years ago adds no value to your MBA application.

Also, try not to repeat things from your resume or Letters of Recommendation.

While deciding on which quality of yours to highlight via this essay, try to not be generic by mentioning how hardworking you are, or how much of a team-player you can be.

A blueprint is a must to answer a question like this. It will help you stay concise while detailing everything that makes this answer complete and impactful.

Do not forget to be authentic while answering this question. Don’t find the best qualities in a leader through a Google search and try to fit your experiences into that mould.

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)
This is the standard business school Career Goals essay question. Business schools expect you to have a post-MBA career plan mapped out before you start writing your MBA application.

For a two-year program, the admissions committee wouldn’t expect you to stick to this career plan completely. They would expect slight deviations since an MBA is supposed to transform applicants. However, for a program like ISB, the admissions committee would expect a solid career plan that the applicant will follow. In a one-year programme like ISB, a student doesn’t get much time to experiment and create a new post-MBA plan for themselves. The absence of internships makes it even harder for the student to gain experience in case they decide to switch careers through the one-year programme at ISB.

Keeping these things in mind, an applicant must have a solid connection between their current industry and role and their post-MBA career, via ISB.

In case you do want to switch careers using the ISB PGP, it’s not unheard of. However, this might mean a two-year programme might be more suitable for your MBA needs. And the ISB admissions committee might think so too.

Another important factor to keep in mind is the list of recruiters at ISB. This is a list of companies that often recruit ISB MBA grads. If the organizations you’re targeting do not make this list, ISB might be more hesitant in accepting your MBA application. If a business school feels like they can’t provide you with ample placement opportunities, they are more likely to reject your application.

Re-applicant Essay: Please use this space to explain significant improvements in your profile since your last application to the ISB PGP.

If you applied to ISB in the previous intake and were waitlisted and rejected or simply rejected at any stage of your MBA application, this is your second shot at your ISB dream. The question is straightforward. Since you got rejected by ISB, what did you do to improve your profile?

This needs no explaining but let’s get it out of the way.

If you did not take steps to understand why your ISB application got rejected the previous year, and then work on those shortcomings, your chances at ISB will be slim.

So what did you do to improve your MBA profile?

Did you retake the GMAT? Did you take active steps towards the goals you mentioned in your ISB essay? Has your perspective about something changed significantly since your last attempt at ISB? Are there any significant professional achievements that you would like ISB to know about? Maybe you got a promotion at work or switched to a more senior role in another organization.

Whatever you did in the last year, ISB wants to know about it. Clearly, you can’t walk them through a day-to-day account of the past year. Making a list of all the significant changes in your profile is a great start.

Once you have done that, ask yourself how each change adds value to your ISB profile and ISB. Also, ask yourself why this change is significant to you. This is exactly what the admissions committee will be asking while reading your MBA essay.

Once you have this answer, you can shortlist the most significant changes your profile has gone through in the past year and give a vulnerable and memorable answer to the ISB admissions committee.


For over 15+ years as an Entrepreneur, and India’s Top Educationist, Jatin has led a range of initiatives in the Education Industry. In this role, he has created many successful educational services and products geared towards generating success for professionals aspiring to join IVY League and global Top Tier Universities for MBA Programs, Masters Programs, and undergraduate courses. He is the Founder and CEO of PythaGURUS Education, and has been recognized as a thought leader in the Higher education sector. Economic Times, Hindustan Times, Times of India, India Today, Business Today, Tribune, and many other national newspapers have recognized his work, and have given him numerous opportunities to be a regular columnist. He has also served as a panelist for NDTV, and other national news channels.

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