General Gyan To help you start the application process for a top notch B school like ISB.

1. Profile Evaluation: It make absolutely no sense evaluating an incomplete profile. So if you do not have a GMAT score at least go register yourself on the official GMAT website MBA dot Com and start by getting in at least a mock GMAT score to a discussion regarding the profile evaluation. Also ensure you ask very specific questions if you want a personalized evaluation.

2. Academics: Yes a good consistent academic record will help but remember only 12th Standard upwards scores come into play while evaluating the Composite Academic Score or CAS and even your AWA plays a vital role in your selection. Also no there is no conventional ‘over the table’ mechanism to compensate for a not so good CAS and you cannot register an NGO now or attempt to swim the English Channel after April to impress Team Admissions.

3. Target GMAT Score: The average of the ISB applicant pool is in the range of 710 – 720 but the average of the class at the ISB is seldom below 725 ~ 730 with an AWA of 5 plus. Marketers of ISB often play with these two figures to make ISB attract more applications. Last year only few international (people of non Indian origin) candidates with less than 650 GMAT were interviewed and the 80 % range is 680 to 750. So if you really need a target 730 with an AWA of 5 is a good one to start with and if you cannot go beyond it try get as close to it as possible. Having said that I know at least 3 people with 750 plus GMATs who got Dinged last year and lots of 680 and even one 650 made it.

4. Diverse Background & Extracurricular Activities: No one (not even India’s Hockey Captain at the Olympics) ever got into ISB only on the basis of ECAs or a diverse background. Moreover just having good things in your armory does not help. Depicting these through your essays are your best bet to get things moving in the right direction. Also if you are not well prepared at the interview, these things which are naturally seen with a lot of skepticism, come under the scanner and thus if you are writing about philanthropy you better back it up with at least a correct spelling.

5. Work Experience: The average work experience among applicants at the ISB is close to 5 years and around 80 % of the ones selected have a work experience in the range of 3 to 7 years. People with less than 3 years or more than 7 years of work ex usually find it difficult going past the interview. People with less than 2 years of work experience can now apply under the Early Entry Option. Although there is no upper limit to the work experience if you have 10 plus years of experience you should tone down your expectations of an ADMIT to the ISB’s PGP. People with all types of work experience are welcome at the ISB and in fact the school encourages diversity but all work ex is counted from after graduation and work ex from before that is not counted but valued. The automatic work ex calculator in the application portal will count work ex up to 1 April 2015 for the Class of 2016.

6. Networking: Not only do you need to network with Alumni of the school but also other ISB community members like staff, current students, faculty, re applicants, fellow applicants and may be even consultants in that order. Social media is a good starting point but remember if you are overbearing you are most probably going to get blocked or shunted from pillar to post. The ISB themselves organize ‘infosessions’ across various cities and these are a good place not only to get the official line from the Admissions Team but also a superb place for networking. Networking leads to a lot of insider information that is usually not in the public domain however it is also the starting point of all rumors so validate what you hear from others.

7. Professional Help: As always if you can afford it take good quality professional help for GMAT prep, Essays and Interview prep with Mocks. People are shy to acknowledge but a lot of people who have made it over the years did take some kind of paid professional help or the other. A lot of people think it is unethical but let me assure you that it is not like cheating in the exam but more like hiring a good set of coaches to win a medal at the Olympics.

Wish you all the best and hope to see you someday at the ISB.

Llewellyn Desouza

PS: I live for Karma points on PagalGuy and thus if this post has helped you in any way please ‘Like.’

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