Here are essay questions & tips for applicants for the class of 2013 (ISB session starting in 2012)
ISB 2011 Essay 1: Please detail, your two most significant achievements. These could be either professional or personal but relevant to your application to the ISB. (300 words max)
Essay Tip: This question is a marked difference from the one’s asked in the prior years. To tackle this question we would suggest the following approach:
The Process: List down each of your achievements in your professional and personal life (However small or big) and rate them on a scale of 0-10 in order of importance.
Define ‘achievement’: Now let’s ‘define’ an achievement: Laurels, awards, academic honours and any other significant advancement (Professional and Personal) in life. You can also list instances where you had to come out of your comfort zone; you overcame an obstacle, created a demonstrable difference to folks around you.
Contextual: Head student, Gold medallist on UG, State Tennis Champion, Received a national award for humanitarian contribution, Best serving army cadet – These are examples of tangible achievements
Situational: Created a sustainable scholarship model for 10th grade students in my village, Conceptualized a micro credit scheme for rural sculptors in my native, Overcame a personal shortcoming in spite of significant constraints (e.g. completed my education only through scholarships even though parents were daily wage workers, won a national level debate championship in spite of a stammer that I overcame in my high school)
Rating: Once you do this, score each of your achievements on a scale of 0-10. Consider various aspects like: How important was the achievement to you; What did you learn/achieve from it; Difficulty and challenges involved, If you benchmark the same achievements with other achievements typical of your age group/education how high would it stand etc. Once you are through the rating process list down 3 important achievements
Structure: Once you identify 3 important achievements of your life, articulate you achievements in the following structure:
– Context: Explain the context, circumstance and elaborate on the achievement. This is like a headline statement and should not take more than 30-40 words
– Articulation: This is the core of you Essay. Talk about what actions you took, challenges you faced, how you overcame those challenges (80 words)
– Result: Talk about what you learnt, your learning’s, end result (20 words)
Once you do this for the 3 achievements (each achievements should be described in 120-140 words); pick the best 2 in terms of its appeal. Top your essays with a good introduction and also a strong ending (budget 20 words for this).
ISB 2011 Essay 2: Where do you see yourself three years after you graduate from the ISB? (300 words max)
Essay tip: This is typical short –term career goals question disguised in a different manner. Remember this is the most important question amongst all your essays and should demonstrate your motivation to do an MBA. Structure your essay carefully in the following manner:
1. Write about your career progression till date. Give a high level overview of the activities, skill sets gained through your professional and personal experiences till date
2. Now talk about the positives and negatives of your career and personal life in terms of: experience, career progression and satisfaction(the need for change) and talk about what you want to do going forward
3. Link your past and future with the necessary skill sets, experience, exposure that you will need to gain in order to achieve your goal
4. Articulate how an MBA will help you gain the requisite experience and skill sets
PS: The Past, Motivation for change and futuristic aspirations should have a common thread and a clear articulated flow of thoughts should be demonstrated.
In the previous years the question was modelled as what are your short term and long term goals. 99% of the students ended up writing entrepreneurship as long term goals and ‘5’ years as timeframe post MBA to engage in entrepreneurship.
The inside scoop is that, ISB has done away with the long term question because of clichéd answers. You will be appreciated for originality and purposefulness of your goals rather than choosing to write popular or clichéd answers.
ISB 2011 Essay 3: lease provide additional information, that will significantly affect the consideration of your application to the ISB. (300 words max)
Essay Tip: Please highlight things that you have not been able to highlight in other parts of the application. Remember when we say “other parts of the application”, it not only includes the essays but also the extra-curricular sections, hobbies, description about your job, achievements etc.
You could highlight an achievement; describe your motivation in life, your beliefs, your aspirations etc. Reasons for break in education, below average score etc if needs to be articulated could be done here.
Please see that if you don’t have a central theme, but disparate things to highlight, please ensure that you limit your description to 2-3 line items. If you are describing an achievement please follow the structure as described in essay-1.
Reapplicant essay : How has your profile changed from the time you last applied to the ISB? (300 words max)
Essay Tip : To answer this, actually list down what you have done since your last application. Think about your new responsibilities, promotion, some business venture that you might have started or some opportunities abroad. Then select 3-4 most important and the strongest additions. If you received a feedback from ISB for rejection last time and you have improved in that area then talk about that. But make sure that after the adcom reads this essay they should get a feeling that this applicant has really improved his/her profile and should be given an interview call. They should not get a feeling of marginal improvement. This is the most important essay for reapplicants.