ISB essays 2014-2015 | ISB PGP | ISB application 2014

The ISB essays for 2014-2015 have completely changed

ISB essays 2014-15 for the prestigious Post Graduate Program in Management (PGP) have been released. Breaking from the trend of the past few years, ISB has significantly revamped its essay set and introduced refreshing new options for applicants. For the first time ever, ISB has also provided a number of options for one of its essays (i.e. applicants can choose one topic from among the four provided for the third essay. The ISB video, which had been discontinued last year after being introduced for the 2013 application, stays off. As we had stated in our ISB essay analysis for 2013-14, the video did not add sufficient value to the ISB admissions process and the video therefore stays off the application this year as well. The essays, though, have changed.

ISB PGP application deadlines for 2014-15 (Class of 2016)

RoundDeadline dateOffer made byAcceptance date
1September 15, 2014On or before Nov 15, 201415 days from the date of offer
2November 30, 2014On or before Feb 15, 201515 days from the date of offer
3* (only for international applicants, i.e. non-Indian passport holders)January 15, 2015Within 3 weeks after the interview15 days from the date of offer

ISB essays 2014-15

ISB essays for the 2014-15 application

Essay 1 Innovation or doing things differently it is said is a key to future success. Could you substantiate or negate this idea based on your experience. Please provide examples from your own experience – either examples of your own innovation or examples of others whom you have worked with. (300 words max)

Essay 2 Applying to and enrolling in a Business School is an important career decision. Critically look at your career to date, the choices you have made, the key influences behind those choices, your goals for the future and how you expect to benefit from the ISB experience in achieving your goals. (300 words max)

Looking for ISB essays for the 2015 application?
Click here to access our analysis of the ISB essays for the 2015 application (2016 intake, ISB class of 2017).

Essay 3 One of the following (200 words max):

A) This experience completely changed my way of thinking.

B) An instance when you went out of the ordinary to achieve something significant, but in hind sight feel you could have done better.

C) Tell us about your role in a team that made a significant contribution to the organization.

D) Contribution to peer learning and engagement with the ISB student body are important aspects of the ISB experience. What contribution do you expect to make in this direction during the one year at ISB.

Essay 4 (Optional) Please provide additional information, if any, that will significantly affect the consideration of your application to the ISB. (200 words max)


Tanmay Pathak

Tripesh Sakhuja

Priyankar Basu

Shilpa Volleti

Sanjukta Sen

Ganesh Jagtap

Vaibhav Gupta

Anuj Duggal

Priyanka Sharma

Avinash Agarwal

Nitin Trivedi

Satwik Panda

Chandan Badhan

Karan Kapoor

Vikas Sharma

Monalisa Dutta

Rishav Mehta

Bandan Jot Singh

Ayush Ghosh

Divya Mahankali

Rahul Karnani

Shashank Singh

Saransh Dua

Rohit Maskara

Alok Vij

Aditi Paliwal

Antuj Srivastava

Parul Abrol

Ankit Nanda

Udit Thamman

Rikta Doshi

Sohan Ghag

ISB essays 2014-15: analysis and tips

In contrast to the predominantly profile-driven essays put out by ISB over the last 3-4 years, the essay set from this year offers plenty of scope for applicants to express their creativity. Here is a brief analysis of the essays for this year by one of GyanOne’s consultants who is also an ISB alumnus:

ISB essay 1 analysis

This one is all about innovation. Before thinking about the content for this essay, applicants need to take a position – is innovation really the key to future success? Don’t be under any pressure to necessarily agree with this notion – you could create an equally powerful essay by disagreeing with it instead. Also pay key attention to how ISB defines innovation – doing things differently – and not just as technical innovation. Resist the temptation to pepper your essay with references to Steve Jobs and Apple, and instead try to talk about things closer home. If you talk about your own innovation, remember to include the critical element of original thinking. Just using a new tool or adopting a new process is not original thinking in itself. In fact, even using something that exists and then modifying it so that it works better can sometimes be a better example of innovation. If you talk about someone else’s innovation, make sure that this person is someone you have worked with. This point is easy to miss – and the essay states it explicitly. In either case, you will need to talk not just about the innovation, but why you feel that innovation was the key to future success. Bring all these elements together and create a powerful narrative to win favor with the ISB Admissions Committee!

ISB essay 2 analysis

This is the standard goals and ‘Why ISB’ essay that has been a part of the ISB essay package for a while. However, in 2014, ISB has added multiple new elements to it – your career to date, the choices you made, the influences behind them, and how you expect to benefit from the ISB experience. If you look and think carefully, though, you will realize that each one of these elements were anyway part of any good response for this essay question. ISB has just put those elements in words this year, that’s all. When approaching this essay, think about the various choices you have made in your career and the reasons behind them. You might want to continue in the same industry or function that you have been working in, and you then need to explain what you wish to gain from the ISB MBA in doing so. However, it is equally possible that you wish to instead change the industry or role that you currently have, and the MBA has a big part to play in that. Use this essay to highlight your plans and how ISB fits into those plans.

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ISB essay 3 analysis

Here comes the new kid on the block. For the first time, ISB has an essay prompt which gives you a choice to select the topic you wish to write on from among four choices. Before getting into essay tips for each one of these choices, we would like to say that none of the choices is superior to the other. For example, some applicants already feel that choice (d) (contribution to peer learning) is a better choice than the others, as it is directly related to ISB. This is not so – and your choice from among these four options should be based on which one you have the best content for. If ISB considered this so, it would have made choice (d) mandatory rather than optional. Finally, remember that this essay has a word limit of only 200 words, so flowery descriptions and long-drawn-out sentences must be cut short to ensure brevity.

Choice (a): Remember to talk about an event that completely changed your way of thinking, not something that merely nudged you into mildly altering your course of action. Discuss what happened, why you were forced to rethink, and what this ultimately led to (i.e. how the change in thinking has benefited you).

Choice (b): The topic here is ironic in a way. You must choose an instance when you went beyond your normal self, and yet it must be something for which you feel you could have done better. Avoid the obvious here – after having stated an achievement, do not say that you could have done even better if you had tried harder or worked harder. Add some insight instead – what could you have done better and why? When faced with such an instance again, what would you do differently?

Choice (c): For this one, take care that you do not go overboard in describing the role of the team and the great work it did (forgetting your own role) or the opposite – talking about yourself with only a small mention of the team. Also remember that the contribution to the organization should really be significant – it should clearly be seen as being an outstanding contribution, not just an everyday contribution done well.

Choice (d): The one choice that is likely to generate the most excitement. Still, approach it carefully. Remember to back up your assertions with evidence, not just with a spirit to contribute with no basis. Understand ISB and its culture, and do not make generic points around your hobbies. Go beyond your professional background – that is anyway there, what more do you bring as a person? And, of course, we cannot resist but provide one final piece of advice – please note that a few months of off-and-on NGO experience is NOT evidence of excellent community contribution.