ISB Admission Essays – some thoughts and some good resources.

I have had a couple of friends etc asking about how and what to write in the ISB application essays. While I do NOT claim to be an expert on the ISB admission essay, I have attended a fair share of info-sessions for prospective students held by the admissions team. Here are a few pointers followed by 2 excellent resources for more.

  • Take some time first to think about some points on what you want to write in the essay, don’t just start writing directly. Some of those essays really make you think about your life. Whats unique and special about you, what do you want to achieve in life (NO, a fat paycheck is not the goal you want to put down!).
  • Make sure you write your own essays. I can’t underscore this fact enough. I have had some friends asking me for sample essays and what not. Essay topics change every year. The admission committee wants to see what you are, what your personality is like, what and where you want to be. This is stuff only you can write about yourself.
  • Sure, you may be able to get someone to write an excellent essay for you, but it can never show your personality, and thats something that will come out from a lot of related things, be it your GMAT essays, a 100 word para, the interview.
  • The Adcom does NOT have a specific list of things they want to see. A friend (who shall remain nameless, of course) wrote how he/she wanted to get into management consulting in her essay because thats what she ‘thought’ and had ‘read’ on some forums that people interested in consulting is what ISB is looking for. Nothing can be further from the truth. Sure, we have our fair share of people who want to get into consulting, but is that a factor for admissions, ABSOLUTELY NOT!
  • The funny part, this friend actually wanted to move from an IT background into fashion! Now thats something you can write about which shows what you want to do with your life.
  • Syntax. This is very very important. MS Word is not really very good at spell check. Make sure you go through your essay multiple times and correct any mis-spelling, punctuation, grammar mistakes etc. An error here can really cost you dearly as it shows that you didnt spend enough time on your essay.
  • Once you have written the essay, send it for reviews. Show it to friends, asking them for feedback. Ask your seniors for help. Look for friends in other B-Schools, or even someone you may know through a contact in ISB. Incorporate feedback, only if you think it is meaningful.
  • Essay review/writing services: Your mileage may of course vary, but I personally don’t feel that these are required. As mentioned earlier, you should make sure you write your own essays. If you want to get them reviewed from a professional service, by all means, your call.
1. The ISB Admission Director’s blog, here, for information and some takes/advice on the admissions process. Two good posts on Essay analysis and admissions are ‘Essays. How to go about it.‘ and ‘Application Evaluation Process by the ISB.
2. A blog run by a batchmate of mine, Nitin Pulyani, is pretty popular for both GMAT as well as ISB Essay analysis. Find the blog and this years essay analysis here.
3. For information about student life at ISB, Hyd, there are a lot of blogs around:
  • The official school blog run by students is at
  • The unofficial blog that was started by the batch before we came to ISB is at The blog also has multiple links to different personal blogs from the batch of 2010 on one side.
For admission queries, you can get in touch with the pretty responsive admissions team at the following email id: pgpadmissions a t isb d o t edu
Hope this post helps.
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed here at mine and mine alone. They in no way represent the views of my school.