Perspectives from ISB

Last year, I had blogged about ISB Myth Busters, with the aim of clearing up a few common myths about the ISB PGP. I am glad to see that it has helped a lot of applicants avoid some common mistakes. But more myths abound, so let me address some more:

Myth 1: I am an IT professional, so my profile doesn’t stand a chance

It is a well known fact that ISB values diversity in the PGP class. It is also known that a large pool of our applications (30-35%) consists of IT professionals every year. So the myth has propagated that IT professionals would find it difficult to differentiate themselves from the rest of the applicants and hence can’t get an offer of admission. Let me clear this up by first pointing out that your profession is only one among several possible differentiators, and we are more interested in your overall profile than just the profession you chose. In fact, the IT industry is known to provide candidates ample opportunities to build unique skills and differentiate themselves. From working on complex projects and managing teams at a young age, to building in-depth domain expertise with business-facing roles, and even learning about new cultures through significant international exposure, IT professionals have several opportunities to differentiate themselves with their skills and experiences. So if you happen to be from an industry that is booming in India and is a common choice among your peers, no problem at all. We are more interested in what you have done with all the opportunities you have had. It is up to you to identify your strengths and differentiators and present them well.

Myth 2: I am NOT an IT professional and my work experience is in a “not so well-known” organisation, so my profile doesn’t stand a chance

For every IT professional who is worried that his/her profession eliminates them from consideration, there is a non-IT professional, often from a little-known organisation, with the exact same concern about his/her own career choice! Once again, I must point out that your profession is only one among several possible differentiators, and we are more interested in your overall profile than just your profession. Even in your chosen profession itself, depending on the industry or function you are from, you may have had the chance to work with big brands, run complex audits, be part of teams that advise top companies, start your own enterprise, defend the country, save lives, make a difference to society, etc, etc, etc. The list of opportunities and differentiators is endless. We take pride in putting together a class where your skills can augment others’ and you can all learn from each other, so show us what you bring to the table (without worrying that it is not IT).

Myth 3: If I have a high GMAT score, then I will be offered admission easily

This is a follow-up to Myth 1 in the previous post, ISB Myth Busters. GMAT is only one parameter among several that we look at while evaluating an application. Yes, it is helpful to have a good GMAT score, but the evaluation process ensures that a candidate with a high GMAT score and a one-dimensional personality cannot get an offer of admission to ISB PGP. So even if you have a good score, you will need to focus on building a strong application and presenting your case well. This includes essays, recommendations, activities and awards, etc.

I’ll repeat it again: Low GMAT score does not mean immediate elimination and high GMAT score does not mean guaranteed admission. Your overall profile, evaluated holistically, will determine admission.

Myth 4: People should apply to ISB PGP with the main intention of getting a high-paying job when they graduate.

Top global B-schools the world over focus on learning and careers, not just job placements, and ISB is no different. What we offer is an opportunity to favourably alter the course of your career and your life by participating in an immersive, challenging and rewarding learning experience.  The ISB PGP gives you a chance to interact with the best academic minds in the world and learn from them; to meet highly accomplished people from the industry and work with them. This is a chance to push your limits and see what you are really capable of achieving. It is an opportunity to challenge your beliefs, by observing more viewpoints in one year than in your previous five years combined. Yes, Career Advancement Services will provide you many opportunities to interview with top companies for great jobs, but it is up to you to be well prepared, demonstrate your value, and sign on the dotted line. And of course, in the long run, far more valuable than any post-graduation job will be the lifelong friendships you will build with your classmates, who also happen to be the future CXOs of industry – just like yourself.

The ISB PGP is one transformative year of your life where you can build new skills, expand your network, evolve your thinking, and unlock your potential. Make the most of this platform to improve yourself and your career, rather than treating this as a year-long job hunt. We have much more to offer than that, so keep your eye on the big picture.

All the best!