Frequently ranked among the top 50 business schools in the world, the Indian School of Business (ISB) attracts thousands of students from throughout India—and the world—every year.
Founded in 2001, the school has two campuses in Hyderabad and Mohali. Despite its relatively young age, ISB has quickly risen to prominence for its research intensive approach to business education and high quality faculty.
ISB’s MBA equivalent is called the Postgraduate Program in Management (PGP), and in 2021 it was ranked among the top 25 MBA programs in the world by the Financial Times.
As an ISB graduate, you’ll join an alumni network of over 11,500 professionals, and count yourself among the ranks of notable grads including the former CEO of Groupon India and the former Chief Product Officer for Uber.
But what does it take to make a successful ISB MBA application? To find out, BusinessBecause caught up with Dibyendu Bose (above), senior director of admissions and financial aid at ISB, to find out what makes a strong applicant.
What do you look for in your MBA applicants?
ISB shortlists candidates based on their holistic profile.
Rather than focusing on a single aspect of the candidates we look at a combination of multiple parameters such as academics, work experience, test scores, essays, and recommendations.
This selection process ensures that candidates who make it to ISB are well-rounded professionals who bring diverse and relevant perspectives into our classrooms and campus life.
What’s the biggest mistake you can make in an MBA application?
The biggest mistake you can make in your ISB MBA application is emphasizing only a single parameter in your application.
We look for multifaceted individuals who add to the diversity of the class and can participate in enriching classroom discussions. We understand that any one parameter like a test score cannot be the sole determinant of a student’s calibre.
Over the years, we have had candidates from different disciplines including sports, fashion, medicine, law, journalism, the military, and more. They have not only brought in divergent perspectives to the class, but have also gone on to have exceptionally successful careers after graduating from ISB.
What should candidates expect in their ISB admission interview?
In the admissions interview, candidates can expect to be questioned on the details they shared about their professional and personal journeys in their application.
Alumni are also an integral part of these interview panels, and they are mostly on the lookout for candidates who embody the intrinsic values of ISB and can be the bright brand ambassadors going forward.
What GMAT score should candidates aim for?
The average GMAT score for admitted PGP students is around 710. However, candidates with a score as high as 770 have been rejected in the past while ones with scores around 600 have been accepted to the program.
What’s one top tip for applicants to your school?
Tell your story, highlighting what you have learned from your journey so far, and how you can add to the learning experience of your peers at ISB.
What are your MBA essay questions for 2021?
Describe with examples the most important personal quality that you possess that significantly enhances your prospects of being successful as a leader.
What are your short-term and long-term career goals? How will the PGP program at ISB assist you in achieving your goals?
Tell us one thing about the application process at ISB that most people wouldn’t know?
ISB has several different categories of scholarships that are open to applicants.
These include tuition waivers awarded at time of admission, which can be merit-based, needs based, or diversity-based. ISB also offers fee waivers to applicants who took part in the global leadership development program, AIESEC.
Meanwhile, the Bridge to India scholarship offers tuition assistance to applicants of Indian origin who are currently working abroad but plan to move back to India. Other scholarships include the AT&T scholarship, Akash tuition grant, Lakshya scholarship for women, Bajaj Auto Scholar, and many more.
Even graduating students can access scholarships including the Develop India Scholarship, which is awarded to a graduate who plans to venture into the social impact sector.
Candidates would do well to ready their ISB MBA application in early rounds if they are hoping to be awarded scholarships, since maximum award amounts are earmarked for rounds one and teo.
ISB also has ties with multiple banks and financial institutions that offer preferential rates for student loans.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen in an MBA application?
We have come across applications with high GMAT scores, but where the candidate has failed to communicate their story effectively, and finally gets rejected at the application review stage itself.
On the contrary, applicants with much lower GMAT scores but compelling stories to share have made it to the interview stage.