What do we look for in a prospective ISB student?

We are primarily looking at the following attributes in prospective applicants:


1.       Consistent academic record

2.       Clarity of thought in terms of career aspirations and goals

3.       People who have demonstrated attributes of leadership.


Consistent academic record is a good indicator of the applicants ability to take up the rigor of the programme. And to this effect, we look at the school 12th  scores, graduation grades and the GMAT scores. For those who are worried about a not so good academic record, I have only one piece of advice – do well in your GMAT. The school and undergraduate performances are in the past and cannot be changed however what can be changed is the GMAT score. Each applicant should make an assessment of his/her academic performance in relation to that of other applicants ( an applicant may not know who else is applying but certainly knows what his/her position in their respective graduating class was). If one is in the top half of the class an average to above average GMAT score would be good to have but for a person in the bottom half of the class a well above average GMAT score would be desirable.


Career aspirations and goals:  The essential question here is why does the applicant want to do a programme in management. We do look at clarity of thought and purpose in the applicant. We are looking at answers to questions like – where do you see yourself in say 3 years time, why is management education important to achieve the goals you have set yourself, can your current career path lead you to your goals even without management education etc. We certainly are not expecting answers like “I see myself at XXX position in YYY company in the next 5 years time” Such assertion are difficult to make and we do not expect such statements.


Leadership attributes: Our applicant pool can be broadly divided into two categories
1. Who have had sufficient work experience to have had the opportunity to lead people
2. Those who have not yet had the formal role of leading people. How then do we evaluate leadership in these two categories. The first is relatively simple – the role a person does has ample scope to demonstrate the impact of the leadership skills and that should be presented appropriately in the application. It is a lot more difficult for the second category. However all good leaders do have certain traits in common and these can be presented in the application. Leaders take initiative/ look for improved ways of doing things/are creative/encourage team work/are decisive etc. I have listed out only a few of the traits that can be demonstrated without actually having to lead a set of subordinates. Applicants who have no formal leadership role can highlight some of the traits I have mentioned with concrete examples in order to present their case well.


I will be writing more about the application process in subsequent blogs till then all the best.


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

92 Responses to What do we look for in a prospective ISB student?

  1. Aditi says:


    Does the articleship period for Chartered Accountants count as Work Experience?
    I have a B.Com degree and am a C.A. with 3 years of the aforesaid experience at a globally established C.A. Firm.


  2. Sayan Kumar says:

    Dear Sir

    I have completed beginner and intermediate levels of Certification in German Language course. Is there any category in the application portal where we can upload the same?


    Sayan Kumar

  3. Rishi says:

    Dear Sir,

    I have MBA in Marketing and finance and currently working. Am I eligible to apply for PGP?

  4. Kunal says:


    GMAT scores in what range are classified as “above average” and “well above average” by the ISB admissions board ?

    Kind Regards

    • admissionsdirector says:

      we do not classify GMAT as above or below avg. our range last year was 600 – 780. the avg of the class was 710.

  5. Mohan Pradeep Y says:

    Dear sir,
    Can we provide the reason for applying to ISB as ‘seeking a career change’ in our essays.
    Does that act as a negative point?

    Mohan Pradeep Y

  6. Pratik says:

    Q1.I have good 10th , 12th score and just average graduation score.Is that a negative point in my profile.
    Q2. I just have 2 yrs work experience but i have shown and hadled leadeship resposibilties through out my educational career.Would that cover my average performance in graduation?
    Q3. In Graduation scores varies according to universities. Is that fact considered?

    • admissionsdirector says:

      1. No. not necessarily. You can make it up by a good GMAT score
      2. Work experience and academic performance are mutually exclusive. one cannot offset the other.
      3. Yes, we do factor in the scores of different universities and normalize them.

  7. Pam says:


    I had work experience of around 3.5 in IT side and now I stopped working (April 2011 is my last date of working) in order to prepare for GMAT and other aspects of application as I’n not getting enough time for to prepare. Does this effect to my application as I’m not working currently??

  8. Nikhil says:

    Is there a “target” or “quota” for selection of candidates from different fields or work?

  9. HARSH says:

    Dear Sir,
    I am an engineer in merchant navy.How isb calculate work experience for us?Is it the seatime or the number of years in this field? I have B tech Marine Engineering degree.


  10. Sandeep kumar says:

    Hi sir,

    I am currently working with dell(contact centre) as a Tech support Executive.
    Does ISB consider contact center experience?

  11. Sandeep kumar says:

    hi sir,

    Thanks for replying.I have one more question in my mind, I know it might be a stupid question but why you dont count full time experience before graduation, Its same as after graduation, just curious to know…

  12. Karan says:

    Hi Sir,

    I am currently awaiting my CA Final (one group) results (cleared 1 group already) and am unemployed (by choice) as had to undergo a surgery due to a fatal accident I met 2 years back and had a broken thigh bone at that time, on bed rest as if for now. The results are out in the third week of july for the same.
    I actually have 4.5 years of work experience under my kitty.
    1 year at Grant Thornton as Management Trainee right after graduation,
    3 years of Articleship experience with Price Waterhouse Coopers and
    4 months at Ernst & Young post articleshp.

    I had a query as to should I work more right now once I am able to or should I take the GMAT straightaway and apply for 2012 session.

    Would appreciate if you could provide me with some clarity on the way forward.

    • admissionsdirector says:

      we do not count Articleship as work experience, so therefore you will have to complete 2 years of exp post clearing CA and then apply to us.

  13. Hi,
    I graduated in Year 2008. In that year I along with 2 more partners started an IT firm. But that could not turn out to be successful and we had to dissolve that firm.
    Then in 2010, I joined an IT company. I have been working in this company for 2 years now.
    My question is, How much Work Ex should I mention in my application? Should I count the 1 year of working in my startup in my total work experience?
    I do not have a formal proof of the startup.

    • admissionsdirector says:

      you should mention the start up exp too if it was full time and after graduation like you have mentioned.

      • Vaibhav Sharma says:

        Thanks for the Reply.
        But my doubt still prevails.
        I was a fresh graduate and very inexperienced in business. All I knew was to provide services and get paid.
        I do not have any IT return filed by the name of the startup and neither I have maintained any books for it.

  14. Hardik says:

    Respected Sir,
    I`m a civil engineer by graduation and was working with Tata Consulting Engineers Ltd. till a while back and that was for 6 months.
    I`ve currently left the job to move to the Social Sector Space which i`ve been wanting to for a long time and so in that direction i`ve been working with the NGO`s and related Organisations. Will that count as relevant full time work experience ?
    I’ve presented my leadership skills in various positions since my School Days and have been consistent in showcasing them even in my Company.
    Kindly Direct.

    Thank You Sir.

  15. Shan says:

    I am Chartered Accountant currently working in a company as part of its global junior leadership program . I do currently handle strategic assignments but the program structure is such that after a year, i would be in charge of a profile that is meant for a pure financial professional (external and internal reporting). Through skill sets acquired so far, I am gradually positioning myself as a full fledged management professional capable of handling strategic assignments on a day to day basis.

    Unfortunately the job market (including my current employer) is not willing to give me such a profile as I believe that it sees me only as a pure finance professional because of my academic background.

    Can i have your opinion on how a MBA from ISB can help me ?

    • admissionsdirector says:

      I would request you to write into pgpadmissions@isb.edu with this request and we will help you connect with a senior placement cell professional who can guide you on opportunities post ISB for CAs.



    please what is the minimum GMAT score that will earn one admission into your post graduate program?

  17. Pritam says:

    Thanks a lot for your help.
    I have had gaps in my academic record. First, I had a year off between XII and college because I started late for applying to universities abroad. The good part is that I was successful in my application. In the meantime, I was actively involved with my family business. I went for my bachelors of science in engineering to the US. During college, I committed a blunder that led to me getting suspended for three quarters just weeks before graduation, post which I went back and finished my undergrad education achieving a GPA of 3.3
    From the grades end, I have had a decent academic record but the grades for 4 courses post suspension are way below the earlier average and that has brought down my GPA. I have a GMAT score of 750 that I’d taken in the last year of college and is still valid. I currently have a total of 2 years of work experience in a leadership role in the family business after my official graduation.

    I have two questions:

    1) What impact would the negative aspect of my academic record have on my application, given that the blunder was committed under circumstantial pressures? I shall explain the same in the Optional Essay, is there a word limit for this essay?

    2) I was working in the family business in a leadership role and was entirely responsible for setting up a new project during the period of suspension, does that count towards work exp?

    Thanks once again for your help!

    • admissionsdirector says:

      1. We do not look at anything application from a negative stand point to start of with. you can use essay number 3 and it has a word limit of 300.
      2. work exp is only full time and it should be after graduation only.

  18. Ahmad Saleem says:

    Dear Sir,

    I graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology, a top ranking private engineering university in Rochester, New York, USA. My university incorporates Co-op work experience within the Bachelors program in which we work full time for companies across the globe in 3-6 month co-op blocks and after 1 year of experience, we are granted our degree. Post-graduation, I have over 1 year of experience in my present company. Having experience of 2+ years, am I eligible to apply to ISB? I went through your blog and I am confused about your definition of work experience, are you looking for post-grad work experience only? In the US, our 1 year co-op experience is counted as professional experience.

    I look forward to your response.


  19. A K Brahma says:


    I just wanted to get an idea of what are you expecting from a candidate in Essay 3. Any such information from your end would be highly welcome.


    • admissionsdirector says:

      anything and eveything that you haven’t covered in your earlier essays and stuff hat you hink deserve a mention from your personal or professional life.

  20. Mujahid says:

    Dear Sir, I worked in an International BPO for 15 months after my Graduation, and did my MBA in Fin and Marketing, now Iam working in a Dredging company, However I wanted to know if you will consider the BPO experience or Not.

    Thank You

  21. Anusha says:

    Dear Sir,

    The score has to be 600 to 700. And this GMAT is conducted for the total score of 800. Please correct me if am wrong.
    As I had registered for GMAT exams in http://www.mba.com. I saw that each month the exams are written. How many times in a year the GMAT exams can be written. Please update me.

    • admissionsdirector says:

      gmat is out of 800. students getting into the batch have had their scores between 600 – 780. you can take the gmat any number of times, its upto you.

  22. Anusha G.K says:

    Dear sir,

    I have one more question.

    I have 5 years of experience. Am I eligible to apply for ISB.

  23. Avinash Rajan says:

    I have done my MBA in marketing…i have 1.5 yrs of experience after MBA and 1 yr of experience in family business after graduation…..IS this amount of experience enough to get into ISB..???and what kind of financial support can one get from the institution ????Can one avail 100% bank loan for the course..??

    • admissionsdirector says:

      as long as your total work exp is a minimum of 2 years and is full time after your graduation, its fine. there are lots of banks which offer loans at good rates. also the school gives you merit and need based scholarships. for more on this log on to http://www.isb.edu/pgp

  24. sharath says:


    Does an individual with an exact score of 600 have a chance in applying to ISB?

  25. Vidisha Hegde says:

    Hi Sir,
    I have a similar query to Pratiks
    My 10th and 12th marks are above 90%.
    My Graduation in Engineering(Mumbai University) is a first class – but an average score.
    Post which i have worked with the corporate strategy team and Power division at Hinduja and subsequently as an energy analyst with KPMG in the consulting wing.
    My GMAT score stands at a 730.
    I was slightly disheartened to hear about the above average GMAT requirement to offset graduation.
    Would i still stand a fair chance to apply to ISB with the above score?

  26. Partha says:

    Hello Mr Admissions Officer

    My wife has got 3 years full time teaching experience and has got excellent academic records. Will her work exp count when she applies for your full time MBA course.

  27. Anmol says:

    Hi Sir/Madam

    Do we have something like a student counsellor who can help us with the admission process?


    • admissionsdirector says:

      you can write to us at pgpadmissions@isb.edu with your background and we will connect you with a current student with near similar background. the subject line for your mail should be – connect with a student.

  28. Anjana says:

    I have a total of 14yrs of experience. I did my engineering in evening college in 2000 while employed. Do you take it account the total yrs of experience or consider the years after BE.

  29. jinish says:

    hi … ill be out of India till december …can i apply in round 3 ……

  30. AKSHAY SHARMA says:

    Dear Sir,
    I have completed my Economics (Hons) programme in may 2011 and now i am working as an Officer (ADMIN) in Asian paints Ltd. Plant materials dept., do ISB will consider my work experience in this field??

    Thanks & Regards


  31. Karishma says:

    Hi Sir,

    I am currently working as a WFM Executive(Full Time – 14 months as of now). Will get a total experience of 2yrs by the time the admissions for the April’12 will start. My 10th and 12th grades are not good , graduation being a little better. Just wanted to know whether I am elligible to apply for the course. I am preparing for GMAT as well.

  32. Ravi Rahul says:

    I have around 14 months experience in IT field and after then i moved on to start my own enterprise.Currently, I have 16 months experience in two different companies i started.A wedding planning agency and photography Company.As a founder and director i also recruited around 40+ people to my venture and now we are generating good revenue as well.My question is here,How does ISB will take my profile now?As a Entrepreneur or IT person?Does this makes my profile distinct?


    • admissionsdirector says:

      In your case, we will consider a work ex of 2.6 years putting together both the IT and the entrepreneurial experiences.

  33. Ronak Tak says:

    If I applied last year with low GMAT score and now this year, I took GMAT again and applied in ISB with new score. So dose my old (last year ) score will be factored in at the time of interview?


  34. Dharmaditya says:

    one can do phD after doing PGP from ISB.( if yes give me the names of the foreign university)
    i have heard that PGP is not equivalent to 2 year MBA

    • Admissions Director says:

      Yes, one may do a PhD after PGP. A number of US universities have accepted our students for PhD programmes in the past. The one-year PGP is in most respects equivalent to a two-year programme.

  35. Manish Rai says:

    Dear Sir
    I am a engineering graduate and MBA in marketing having 5.5 yrs working experience, interested in ISB PGP program.
    But have below average marks in class 10th and 12th so will it make any impact during selection process??
    Can you share the criteria (with weightage) which are considered for final selection.

    I will be grateful to you.

  36. charan says:


    my 10th is 84%, and my 12th is 78%
    B.Tech of 62%.
    completed in 2013
    do i have the chance of applying for the school through early entry option…..?

    • Admissions Director says:

      Since you have graduated in 2013, my recommendation is that you get at least one year of work experience and then apply. You should aim to apply through the Early Entry Option in Jan 2015.

  37. ayush says:

    hi,my acads and work ex is
    ,10th – 45%
    12th – 56%
    engg – 62.88% but not first division
    ms in consultancy management
    work- ex :- 36 months
    iam eligible for isb plzz reply……….

    • Admissions Director says:

      Yes, you do meet all the eligibility criteria to apply to the ISB. You will have to take the GMAT test as well. Whether or not you get selected will depend on how compelling an application you have and also how you stack up with respect to the rest of the application pool.

  38. Sanjoy Saha says:

    I joined a reputed MNC firm in July 2011 right after graduation but was a trainee in the said firm for a few months. Do these months count as work experience ? If not, by the time I get an admission, I should have completed the minimum work exp of 2 years. Does this work out? Also, if I am from a central board (ISC), how are my 12th marks calculated? Is it based on the regulations from the board or an aggregate?

    • Admissions Director says:

      We will count the training if it is part of you employment in the organization. The 12th marks are based on the board certificate provided by you and will include all the subjects you have taken.

  39. Jagdish says:

    I am having some enquiry regarding the admission. I got to know from the website that we should have a Consistent academic record but I don’t have.
    In 10th = 57%
    12th =58%
    B.Tech = 75%
    PGDC =74%.
    Experience = 7 Years (Working in Power Industries)
    GMAT score = 720
    Please tell me whether I am eligible for selection in the interview or not or hope to make in ISB ?????

  40. megha says:

    i have done bsc in maths with honours and msc in mathematics (regular) from delhi university. through out first division in graduation and post graduation . cleared national eligibility test ( for lecturership ) with all India rank 72 and have work experience of teaching in a reputed school for 3 years . my marks in class 12th n 10th are 71 % and 82 % respectively. am i eligible to apply ? if yes , what should be my gmat score to get admission in isb ?

  41. Subha Sen says:

    Dear Admission Officer,

    I am a PhD in Immunology( a specialized field in Biology). I am currently doing postdoctoral research in California. I did my bachelors in Zoology (Hons) in 2002, masters in Biochemistry in 2004. I qualified CSIR-NET, ICMR-NET, WB-SLET in 2004. I had good academic records through out my academic years.
    I need to transit from pure academics to Biotech Industry front.
    I have several queries regarding the application procedures in ISB-PGP.
    1. Will my PhD and postdoctoral research experience ( more than 8 years till date after postgraduation in 2004) be counted as vaild work experience as per the norms of ISB application eligibility?
    2. Since, I will take a non-conventional path to MBA, will I stand a fair chance to get a respectable job in the campus interview process?
    3. I need to take a break from my current work schedule for family-planning. Will this break in my career path affect my application grounds to ISB-PGP?

    Any help of yours will be highly appreciated.

    Thanking you in advance

    Subha Sen, PhD
    Postdoctoral Resarch fellow, BRI
    City of Hope National Medical Center,
    Duarte , CA-91010

  42. ramanandh says:

    i have completed my btech in 5 years . But i have done a job in computer networks in this one year period and so does this come as experience . does the job done before completion of btech comes as an experience

  43. Shishir arora says:

    My 12th marks are 67% from nios board. 84 and 70 in 10th and btech respectively. I have 3 years of experience in hcl and sapient. How does my 12th marks affect my admission into isb?

  44. Saurabh says:

    Dear Sir,
    1.)I have been working with a coaching institute as a Quant/Di faculty. I have a full time work ex of 2 years. Will this work ex fulfils your condition?
    2.) I have a startup in construction field, but can’t show anything in papers regarding that construction work as i haven’t formed any firm or company. Will this be considered as a work ex?


  45. vikas says:

    Dear Sir,
    I have total work ex of 15 years. I am working for a reputed Indian Company as Manager handling key accounts and strategic projects since last 4+ years extensively using skills like financial modeling to derive IRR etc, Techno-Financial evaluation, support in preparation of Bid docs (RFP/RFQ), product planning.

    I have done MBA from IMI (p/t) merit holder, LLB from Faculty of Law, Delhi University (IInd DIV).

    My Graduation is through Correspondance from DU. I am keen to upgrade my skills as i believe an upward movement would require updation in latest management techniques.

    I would like to know your frank opinion on whether my age (37) and my graduation through correspondence could be a barrier in interview process.

    Wish to hear soon from you in this regard.

    Thanks & Best Regards

  46. vikas says:

    I have total work ex of 15 years. I am working for a reputed Indian Company as Manager handling key accounts and strategic projects since last 4+ years extensively using skills like financial modeling to derive IRR etc, Techno-Financial evaluation, support in preparation of Bid docs (RFP/RFQ), product planning.

    I have done MBA from IMI (p/t) merit holder, LLB from Faculty of Law, Delhi University (IInd DIV).

    My Graduation is through Correspondance from DU. I am keen to upgrade my skills as i believe an upward movement would require updation in latest management techniques.

    I would like to know your frank opinion on whether my age (37) and my graduation through correspondence could be a barrier in interview process.

    Wish to hear soon from you in this regard.

    Thanks & Best Regards

  47. admissionsdirector says:

    kunal, i would request you to mail your resume of your academic and work done during phd to v_srinath@isb.edu he will help you on this.

  48. Rakesh says:

    Hi Sir,

    I am preparing for GMAT. I have few concerns.
    1) How do frequent switches effect admissions in ISB.
    2) Do company profile matters i.e. working in BIG4 is better than working for small firms or the quality of work matters?
    Please provide your valuable suggestions.
    Thanks in advance,

  49. admissionsdirector says:

    Rakesh – Frequent switches will not affect admission as long as you have a valid reason for it. More than the company profile, it is your job profile and your learnings from it that matter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>