ISB MBA for Non Profit Professionals

The ISB non profit landscape is competitive. This may strike many applicants as surprising, since most people tend to think that it is engineers and techies who dominate the applicant landscape the most. That is true, but people applying with a non profit background don’t have it easy either. Not only must they establish the importance of what they are doing, but they must also clearly demonstrate the need for an MBA, which can be much more difficult to do coming in from a non-corporate background. Ironically, though, Lipika’s journey starts from her corporate IT job.

non-profit-ISB

There are few people who love their IT jobs as much as Lipika did. And rightly so, because the work she was doing at Amazon was truly innovative and exciting too. Yet, this was not what Lipika planned to do. She had already been working on a very unique art gallery that helps artisans from across India showcase their skills and products. As the founder and Director of Earth Art Gallery, as much a social forum as a place to showcase art, Lipika has had great impact on art and done social good too. However, how does all of this relate to an MBA? That is where GyanOne came in, when Lipika contacted us just two weeks before the application deadline!

At that point, while Lipika had already started working on her ISB application essays, she was unsure of her stories along multiple planks. How could she connect her desire to promote art with her wish to seek business education? Would ISB still consider her achievements from college (she had been an extremely active member of AIESEC) in the right light or only as poor substitutes for professional achievements? How could she explain her decision to simultaneously work in a large IT services firm alongside her venture?

GyanOne worked with Lipika at a fast pace, holding a number of brainstorming sessions to help her craft her stories and answer the all-important questions in the ISB essays: Why an MBA, and Why ISB? Lipika was able to lessen the IT focus in her essays and talk about her true passion and her plans for the future. This meant that her essays underwent a very substantial change, but the final product was something she was very satisfied with – so satisfied, in fact, that she started preparing for the ISB interview with GyanOne within a week of submitting the application!

Lipika worked hard on her interviewing, practising with us on multiple interview parameters including body language, her responses, key gaps in her profile, and her plans for her very unique venture. We worked with her to ensure that her IT experience remained relevant to her overall profile, but also ensured that she could confidently communicate a shift towards being a full-time entrepreneur.

The final result is again encapsulated best in Lipika’s own words (reproduced here verbatim):

Hi Swati and the entire team of GyanOne,

I hope you are doing great. I apologize for not getting back to you earlier, I was on a 20 day trek in the Himalayas so couldn’t communicate due to lack of internet connectivity. But I DID get into ISB :-D , got my offer letter on the 15th. (YAY! :-) )

My family and I are extremely happy and excited.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart, It would not have been possible without you guys :-)

Thank you and Best wishes !

- From a very happy client :-)

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5 Comments

  1. Rakesh

    Happy to see people from the social development sector being accepted by ISB. Good Luck Lipika…ISB would certainly give you a lot of opportunities to thrive in this sector in the longer run!

    1. GyanOne Educational Services

      @Aniket: ISB does not provide an exact count for the number of people from an NGO background in each batch. For the Class of 2014, 5% (around 38 people) of the class came from a Govt/PSU/NGO/Forces background. Of this, we estimate that about 10 people had a non-profit/NGO background.

  2. Atulya

    Very refreshing viewpoint. So many think that ISB is just about engineers and chartered accountants. This will help to provide a fresh look. In reality, ISB’s class is very diverse, and this story is an example of how that diversity is appreciated even in admissions.

  3. Aman

    This is a very refreshing take on non profit MBA careers. Being from this sector myself, I can identify very well with the need for an MBA even in this sector and how I see more and more of my colleagues now wanting an MBA. In the future, the Indian social sector is set to grow at fast pace and there will be a need for more and more people to join with management skills. Thanks GyanOne for this article.

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