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ISB PGP Essay 1 Analysis

At ISB we value diversity as it enhances both the in-class and out of class learning experience. Tell us how would you contribute to the same? (400 words max)

ISB has preferred to retain a consistent essay theme for several years now. It prompts the applicant to reveal unique, personal attributes that can serve to add value to the profile of the class. Very often, Business Schools use the essay prompts not only to seek information, but also to communicate positive attributes of the school or the program. Look at these, for example:

“Teamwork is at the core of the Wharton MBA experience with each student contributing unique elements to our collaborative culture. How will you contribute to the Wharton community?”

“How will you take advantage of being “at the very center of business” (Columbia)?

“Kellogg’s purpose is to educate, equip & inspire brave leaders who create lasting value.  Tell us about a time…”

It is not surprising that ISB chooses to focus on “Diversity” as the core strength of the school, given the diverse participant pool that it is able to attract.

Moreover, considering the large number of applicants with the typical Indian profile, the school is compelled to explore the potential of its applicants to add significant value, despite being from an overrepresented pool. Not that it is going to be easy for a candidate from a non-traditional background to establish his/her potential contribution in a business school setup! Imagine the plight of a Dentist or an Army Officer trying to figure out how they can fill in 400 words with multiple levels of contribution – inside and outside the class.

The key is to highlight transferable skills on the professional front and core skills on the personal front; while presenting areas of knowledge relevant to the business school experience. While talking about yourself, avoid making claims, which you cannot corroborate with substantive evidence. Since you are applying to a business school, focus on your professional strengths rather than just your personal qualities. What makes you unique can very well be your niche industry exposure, the initiatives you took at work, the exceptional growth you achieved vis-à-vis your peers and so on. We would also advise presenting one (preferably only one) personal trait, backed by relevant examples.

As you list the qualities – personal and professional, what remains important is to question yourself if these are relevant to ISB. It’s a good idea to illustrate how these traits will enable you to contribute to the class at ISB. Indulge in specific research to identify events, activities, clubs and other platforms at ISB that you would like to use in the context of your skills/qualities. Recall where you have contributed in a similar manner in the past.

It is imperative that you invest meticulous thought and as many rounds of iterations as required, to design your response for total impact. Overall, it’s not an easy question to answer, but if drafted well, can very well seal the deal for you.

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