Essay Analysis

ISB PGPpro essay analysis, tips, and sample essay

The ISB PGPpro has been conceived and structured to cater to the specific needs of working professionals who seek transformational change in their professional profile and intend to accelerate their career, while acquiring a globally relevant set of future-ready competencies.

The modular design of the curriculum and several planned interventions allow participants in the program to promptly apply freshly imbibed knowledge to live, workplace challenges and evolve world-class solutions.

This program is similar to a Weekend Executive Program, because it allows participants to continue working in existing roles while attending the mandatory 432 contact hours and taking up the 24 courses that are incorporated.

Prashant Tibrewal, Founder and Senior Consultant at ISBmantra
isb-pgppro-essay-analysis-tips

Here is our analysis of the essay prompts and some tips on writing the ISB PGPpro essays, with inputs from the expert team at ISBmantra, comprising Former ISB Admissions Officers.

Main Essay  

One of the intrinsic values at the Indian School of Business is “to develop principled, future leaders who improve lives around the world…" Please discuss how you will contribute towards this mission citing examples from your past work experience and activities? (400 words max)

This PGPpro application essay clearly focuses on evaluating the candidate’s existing aptitude and leadership potential, in an effort to identify the most prospective applicants in the pool. Nothing reflects inherent potential more than proven performance does. Hence, PGPpro applicants need to take stock of their individual performance records, especially in areas of leadership, teamwork, and impact. 

The clue is provided – “to develop principled, future leaders who improve lives around the world…”. Isolate one or two instances of having taken the initiative – as ‘future leaders’ are prone to do – and of having demonstrated a ‘principled’ outlook, while implementing that initiative. Your ethical perspective will reveal itself in the stand that you took and the means that you adopted, to achieve your goal.

Among different achievements, you may focus on instances that created the greatest impact on the organization/department/institution; in terms of significant cost savings, impressive crisis management, or process innovations that left a lasting impact.

Sometimes, it’s not about the end but the means – did you do something that allowed you to create a positive impact on your team or your client? It’s ok if it didn’t directly result in tangible benefits for the organization, but if it helped you demonstrate strong leadership, you may always talk about the long-term impact it will have on the organization.

Further, you will need to answer the second part of the question – “how you will contribute towards the mission”. This may be addressed by touching upon your future plans in terms of creating a larger impact. Discuss a future plan that proposes to implement a constructive and inclusive outcome within the same domain that you presently operate in or one that is reasonably relevant to the line of work you are engaged in. You may either relate your future plans with the past projects discussed in the essay or build on the past experience and present how there are larger goals in place.

Finally, there should be some correlation that you will need to establish between your future plans and the PGPpro. This will essentially be the “Why PGPpro” and “Why ISB” answer but presented in just about 80-100 words. Use the opportunity to highlight the gains you expect to take away from the program, by consolidating your competencies, in readiness for a rewarding and fulfilling future.      

Scholarship Essay 

Why should the Admissions Committee offer you over other qualified candidates? (250 words max)

Justifying your appeal for a scholarship will not be easy. Do not project too many justifications. Choose the most compelling one and corroborate it with realistic and convincing facts. Never overlook the fact that numerous others will have similar validations to propose.

Make a statement to support your scholarship request by touching upon both ‘merit’ and ‘need’. The admission committee is keen to admit applicants with strong and substantial profiles as aspirants are, to be selected to join this program. If you have strong credentials and an impressive record of noteworthy performance in your field, do not hesitate to position yourself as a deserving candidate.

Talk about the inspiration/motivation that led to your best achievements. Further, establish how your presence in the class will add good value to the experience of others. If possible, touch upon the uniqueness of your role or the industry you represent.

If the need is the primary concern, state the pertinent details without being apologetic or looking for sympathy. Ensure that your credentials have been presented in the best light possible because most scholarship applications are justified by strong merit backed by real need.

Additional Information (Optional) 

Additional Information: Kindly share information that you feel is relevant for the Admissions Committee to be aware. For example: current or past gaps in education or employment, professional achievements, awards or other information relevant to your application. (250 words max)

The ‘Additional Information’ is a 250-word golden opportunity. Do not squander it by crowding your response with too many or irrelevant pieces of information. Do not repeat any information already presented in other essays.

Choose to clarify any points of ambiguity in terms of career track record or academic credentials. This move will preempt possible future demands for clarification. Any awards or tokens of recognition received can be stated here.

Personal areas of interest; especially if there are of unique nature should feature in this essay response. Even uncommon leisure time activities can serve the purpose of highlighting interesting aspects of your personality. The idea is to demonstrate your passion by providing specific details, instead of just stating that you love music, sports, reading, etc.

Try to incorporate initiatives undertaken within the workspace or outside it, which illustrate a larger vision and reflect commitment, concern, and a result-oriented objective.

Role Description

Describe the department/organizational unit for which you are responsible. Relate it to the whole organization in terms of size, scope, and autonomy of responsibility. What human resources, budget, and capital investment are you responsible? (Maximum 300 words)

Describing the existing role and establishing its relevance in the context of the overall organizational setup should be undertaken with care. The essay evaluator should be able to promptly visualize the organizational structure and identify your role in the context of the whole.

The objective of this essay prompt is to weigh the value and significance attached to your role. Help to quantify the assessment by providing numbers to reflect the size and scope of your role, in itself, and when placed in perspective within the larger organizational framework. Figures for project size, for sales and revenue, can all be factored in.

The degree of autonomy you enjoy is a critical indicator; hence, discuss the scope of your decision-making authority and the body of stakeholders who are directly impacted by your role or decisions. Budget amounts handled in your individual capacity, is another indicator. If you helped set up a Brownfield or Greenfield project, provide outlay cost figures.

Your interactions with the organization leadership and the teams you manage directly can all feature in your Human Resource Management effectiveness quotient.

By consolidating all the above indicators, you should be able to present a comprehensive, professional profile that will facilitate a deeper understanding of your role.

Re-applicant essay 

Re-applicant Essay: Briefly highlight any professional or personal developments since your last submission (250 words max)

If you are a reapplicant to the PGPpro, you will be required to answer the re-applicant essay. The re-applicant essay focuses on what might have changed since your last application and how your skills may have evolved over time.

Alongside whatever real, professional advances can be related, an evolved perspective can be projected. Rather than listing statements such as, ’I have matured’; make an effort to illustrate, with instances of a fresh outlook and an ongoing appetite for transformation, innovation and accelerated growth.

  • If you had presented a career plan in the first attempt, have you done a rethink to align your plans along more rational and practical lines, considering the fact that you did not succeed in validating it during the interview?
  • Have you interacted with alumni and industry experts, to understand your own strengths and your future plans better?
  • Are there projects you were involved in since your last application, which allowed you greater learning and exposure to specific functions, skills or client-base?
  • Are there any initiatives that may help you highlight your leadership potential better?

The answers to these questions must be tuned to endorse your decision to make a second attempt.

Beyond your professional profile, if there are opportunities that you created or sought outside work, to enhance your personal profile or skills, you may also discuss them here.                                                                                                                                                       

ISB PGPpro Sample Essay

At ISBmantra, we help applicants identify their strengths, align their future plans with the industry trends and enable them to articulate their stories in the most effective manner – well within the word limit prescribed in the essay prompt.

Here is a PGPpro essay sample for the principled leadership question. While this sample should help you get a high-level understanding of putting together a good essay, it is important to realize that each applicant has a unique profile. Therefore, what to present, how to present, and how much to present, will vary significantly based on the profile of the applicant.

With a career consciously shaped in the healthcare sector, I have taken up several initiatives to add value to not just my organization, but also to the society and people. My career focus on data-driven analytics has helped me collaborate with diverse stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem to develop a holistic understanding of the sector. One of my most impactful initiatives that tested my innovation as well as leadership skills is the Pharmacogenomics & Drug Interaction study that I took up recently at Novartis.

The main objective of this study is to identify Pharmacy Claims-Based Co-morbidity Index and Risk Adjustment and measure the “burden of illness score” based on chronic medications used, to present the expense factor of the illness. Working closely with the senior leadership, I created a team of 4 and worked from scratch to achieve the following:

  • Develop and implement re-engineering process flow diagrams by working closely with internal & external consultants, for smooth data injection process inside EVICO system
  • Project management using RACI matrix (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed)
  • Analyze data and assess outliers, integrating the data with the required tools
  • Develop user stories by using 3 C’s (Card, Conversation & Confirmation) approach

This effort delivered significant results in the context of the organization as well as the industry. We were able to reduce the processing time by 10 times. The brand team is now able to better assess the impact of promotional activities, effectiveness, efficiency and long-term returns. Above all, with a better understanding of the drug consumption patterns, the reports generated are now used to build data driven hypothesis for unexplored research areas.

With my organization having identified me as a key resource to drive its data-based projects, I see the PGP-Pro as the perfect platform to upskill myself in areas of data analytics, data-backed decision making, developing strategic roadmaps, managing and mentoring teams and collaborating with multiple stakeholders. With my current experience and exposure, I am committed to further contributing to the healthcare sector, working on the aspects of Accessibility and Affordability. While I engage with the industry on these areas, I also see myself contributing at ISB, presenting rich insights gained through my exposure to medicine and healthcare. With data driving all business decisions already, I will also look to ignite data-oriented discussions in the class – contributing therefore, to the learning of my peers, during the program and after!                                 

Overall, the PGPpro uses the application essays as a tool to frame a window that displays the mindset of the applicant. More than the facts you may choose to meticulously present, the compulsions that drive your stand and even the underlying force of attitude that determines your choices will be revealed to the trained reader. This is your cue to organize your thoughts and opinions in a manner that suits a passionate professional and an industry leader of the future.

ISB PGPPRO Application and Interview Services

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