Posted on October 3, 2019

ISB (PGP) Essay Tips and Deadlines: 2019- 20


The Indian School of Business PGP program is the best choice for MBA applicants who want to build or advance their careers in India.

Whether you are looking for a career-switch or a career progression, or to start an entrepreneurial venture, the Post Graduate Programme (PGP) in Management will help you achieve your career goals. The one-year global management program will embark you on a transformational journey.”

Each applicant to the Post Graduate Programme in Management at the Indian School of Business is holistically evaluated on the following parameters:

  • Academic Credentials
  • Leadership Potential
  • Personal Attributes

ISB Application Deadlines:

Round 1
Application Deadline: September 15, 2019

Round 2
Application Deadline: December 01, 2019

Round 3
Application Deadline: January 01, 2020

Acceptance Date: 10 days from the date of offer.

Non-Indian Origin Applicants: To enable non-Indian origin applicants to complete their Visa formalities in time, we follow a rolling evaluation process for them. Their application is evaluated, and their admission decision is communicated within six weeks of receiving the completed application.


The Indian School of Business has tweaked the essay questions of the PGP program for the admission cycle of 2019-20. Like last year, this year’s applicants will also write two required essays. The good news is that the word limit of essay 2 (goals essay ) has been increased from 300 words to 400 words. Hence, instead of 700 words, this year’s ISB applicants will have 800 words to showcase their candidacy to the Ad Com. ISB no longer provides an option to write an optional essay. However, applicants have space on the Education page of the application to explain any gaps during their education.

Note that ISB’s online application will not accept even one word over the limit of either of its essays.

With significant self- reflection, careful planning, and preparation, you can present an impressive and convincing picture of your candidacy as well as your 'fit' with the school.

Let’s take a closer look at the essay questions:

Essay 1: There will be 900 students in the class of 2021. Why should you be one of them? (400 words max)

Through his question, the ISB admission committee expects you to showcase your best self, you're well- rounded personality to earn a seat in the class of 2021.To paint a cohesive and strong picture of you as a candidate, you need to showcase your uniqueness in different areas: professional, personal, and community involvement. Focus on your unique attributes (personal and professional), provide examples of how you have demonstrated them in the past, and what you would bring to the ISB. The ‘how’ part of your story/accomplishment is as important as the ‘what’ part.

In order to highlight your excellence in the professional realm, showcase your deep knowledge and experience of your industry as well as your ability to face challenges in leadership roles e.g. your adaptability to changes in the global world, your talent to convince others of executing your innovative ideas, your courage to take calculated risks that yielded results, and so on. After explaining your unique professional attribute/skill, illustrate it by an example explaining how you have demonstrated it at work, and then explain how you will add value to the ISB through your contribution in classroom discussions or your participation in student-led clubs or organizations.

When discussing personal attributes, think of your special talents. Pick one extracurricular activity i.e. sports, music, dance, painting, writing, or any interest/ hobby that you are passionate about and have enjoyed pursuing. Share your achievements in that area and explain how you will enrich the experience of your classmates by getting involved in a club or student-led organization at the ISB, leaving it a better place. Your volunteering activities, entrepreneurial experiences, and/or global exposure will also help you stand out from the crowd.

Please note that it is important to support your claims about your potential contribution to specific clubs and organizations by providing specific examples from your past experiences, personal or professional in the given area. To demonstrate your ‘fit’ with the program, you must showcase what you have done in the past and how you are going to be a strong contributor to ISB.

To craft an effective response, you should have a thorough understanding of the school’s resources (curriculum, faculty, clubs, organizations, and student-led activities). You may also reach out to alumni and current students to get additional insights into the school’s resources and culture. Your familiarity with the program will strengthen your case for ISB’s class of 2021.

Lastly, and most importantly, be as precise as you can in presenting your stories. With 400 maximum words allowed, you can allot approximately 150-200 words to detailing your unique attributes illustrated by your greatest hits (personal and professional) and approximately 200-250 words to explaining what value you will add to the ISB.

Essay 2: What will you be doing in 2025 and 2030? How will the ISB PGP program help you to achieve these goals?
(400 words max)

There is a slight change in this year’s goals essay question. Last year’s goals essay required applicants to “critically look at your career to date, the choices you have made, the key influences behind those choices” in addition to asking about their career goals and how ISB PGP program will help them achieve their goals, this year’s goals essay asks about their short term (2025) and long term (2030) career goals and how ISB will help you achieve your goals.

Though specific dates have been mentioned, this is still a straightforward goals essay that requires you to make a logical connection between your past, present, and future. This means your story should connect your past (work-experience and skills), present (your need for an MBA from ISB to achieve your goals), and your future (goals and objectives).

Begin by detailing out your short term and long-term career objectives. Be as specific as you can in articulating the industry, function, and the companies that interest you (give 2-3 names). Please make sure to demonstrate a logical connection between your short-term and long-term goals. In other words, explain how you will move from step 1 to step 2. Explain what you will do/ learn in your target company. How will this role prepare you for your long-term goal (2030)? What will you be doing in 2030? What impact do you see yourself taking on the world? Make sure that your goals are realistic as well as ambitious. That is, if you aim for a technology or a consulting role, you’ll need to demonstrate that you already possess some skills/experience in that area and are now aiming to enhance those skills. Likewise, if you are a career changer, you should provide evidence as to how your current skill set would facilitate this transition.

Though the question doesn’t ask you to discuss your career history, I would still encourage you to provide a brief account of the knowledge and experience you have gained in your professional career so far. Then summarize the skills and areas of knowledge that you need to fulfill your professional goals and how management education can help bridge the gap between your skill set and future goals.

Once you have elaborated on the need for management education, explain how ISB’s PGP program is your best bet at this time? How is it aligned with your goals? It is important for you to do your research and to have a thorough knowledge of the PGP program of ISB so you can demonstrate how its various resources (curriculum, faculty, clubs, student communities, etc.) will bring you closer to your dreams.

Since you have only 400 words to explain your professional objectives and their link to the PGP program of ISB, you need to be extremely precise in presenting your case and make every word count. Again, ISB’s online application will not accept even one word over the limit of its essays.

You may organize your essay in the following way:

  • Brief career history/skills you lack (approximately 80 words)
  • Short-term Long-term goals (approximately 100-125 words)
  • The connection between ISB’s resources and your goals (approximately 200 words)

When choosing your stories for these two essays, make sure you maintain a balance between your professional and personal stories that showcases your well-rounded candidacy.

You may be interested in interviews of some MER students who were accepted into ISB.

Interviews of ISB Admits:

  1. Arjun - ISB Admit (2018)
  2. Nithish - ISB Admit (2018)
  3. Sathish - ISB Admit (2017)
  4. Tribhuvan- ISB Admit (2016)

Previous years’ ISB essay questions analysis:

ISB Essay Questions Analysis- 2018-19
ISB Essay Questions Analysis 2017-18
ISB Essay Questions Analysis -2016-17
ISB Essay Questions Analysis -2015-16
ISB Essay Questions Analysis -2014-15
ISB Essay Questions Analysis -2013-14

Free Resources:

10 Key Essay Tips with Examples
Essay Analysis of Other Tops Programs- 2019-20
25 Video/Chat Interviews of Successful MER Students

Since 2011, MER (myEssayReview) has helped many applicants get accepted into the top 20 MBA programs including ISB. (Poonam is one of the top 5 most reviewed consultants on the GMAT Club.)

Want to discuss your ISB application? Email Poonam at

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