Perspectives from ISB

As part of application process, most global B-schools require applicants to provide letters of recommendation. At ISB, the PGP application process also requires something similar: the independent evaluation. All PGP applicants have to choose two evaluators who can provide good insight on the candidate’s abilities. The evaluations go a long way in determining the applicant’s fit with the school and consequently influences the admission decision.

This is how the process works: At the time of filling up the application, the candidate nominates two people as his/her evaluators, by providing their names, designation and official email id. We will then send each of them an evaluation form by email and instructions on how to fill them. The form has a few simple questions to rate the applicant’s strengths, areas of improvement, achievements, leadership potential, etc. These forms should then be submitted to ISB directly by the evaluators. The evaluations give us an overall understanding of the candidate and also provide us two independent validations. We take into account these insights before deciding on whether to shortlist the applicant for an interview or not.

From the applicant’s side, selection of evaluators is important. You should ideally nominate someone who has had a chance to observe your work closely in the recent past. For example, your immediate supervisor or manager would be familiar with your abilities as well as areas of improvement. In instances where you may not be comfortable nominating your current boss, you can nominate others who have had a chance to observe your working style and personality – a previous manager, a mentor, a client, etc. Note that the nominee’s ability to evaluate you is far more important than his/her designation. For example, some applicants believe that getting a recommendation from their CEO would be impressive. That is true only if they have actually worked closely with the CEO. If not, the CEO may respond “Unable to evaluate”, which is an option available for each question on the form. If that happens even on a few questions, the applicant’s chances of an interview call would drop drastically. So choose your evaluators wisely.

It goes without saying that candidate should not try to influence the evaluators in any way, as that could lead to disqualification of the application. You are welcome to have an initial discussion with your evaluators to provide context about the school, your career goals, etc but it should be limited to that.

Typically, there have been two ways to submit the evaluations: either online or offline. Online evaluation is preferred and most evaluators find it more convenient. It requires the use of the official email ID issued by the evaluator’s place of work. In cases where access to official email is not available to the outside world, such as in the military, a printed evaluation form can be given to them to fill, and we will accept that completed evaluation sent to us offline via post/courier. This year, one more option is available. On request, we will forward to the evaluator’s email ID the offline evaluation form and an upload link. The form can then be printed out, filled in, signed and scanned into PDF format, to be uploaded to the link and submitted.

Now, given that evaluators tend to have busy schedules, it is in your best interest to start the process early. They may have critical milestones, travel commitments, important meetings, vacation time, etc coming up that could take their attention away from your evaluation, so please provide them with sufficient advance notice. The extra time also allows them to gather their thoughts on this matter. I am sure you realise that if you approach your evaluators on the last day and pressurise them to complete this, you will not be helping your case. My suggestion to you is to reach out to them early and set the ball rolling. It also doesn’t hurt to send a gentle reminder closer to the deadline. Note that you can change your evaluator at a later date if the evaluator is unable to participate after initially agreeing. To do so, all you need to do is give the name and contact details of the new evaluator on the application portal. It may at times be necessary for you to contact the Admissions Team to make the change, in which case it will take about 24 hours to effect the changes.

All evaluations have to be submitted to the ISB PGP Admissions Office directly by the evaluators before the application deadline for that round (Sep 15, 2013 for Round 1; November 30, 2013 for Round 2; January 15, 2014 for international applicants). Only in very rare cases would we consider providing an extension, and even that will be for a day or two at the most. So as an applicant, please plan in advance.

A good evaluation can go a long way in helping you secure an offer of admission to the ISB PGP, so I encourage you to spend the necessary time in identifying the right evaluators and enabling them to submit their evaluations on time.

All the best!