ISB Hyderabad (Photo: Anish Jain)
Aiming right for the core of the repeat CAT takers’ market, the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad will now allow those with less than two years of work experience to apply for deferred admissions to their one-year Post Graduate Program (PGP).
Called the ‘Early entry option’ and to be introduced from the upcoming admission cycle, it will allow those in the first year of their careers to apply to ISB and secure an assured admission, but begin the course only after completing the minimum requirement of two years of work experience as on the date of matriculation (date of commencement of the program).
“We already had the Young Leader’s Program (YLP) for undergraduates and our normal entry route for those with more than two years of work experience. But those who had already graduated and were working for less than two years used to ask, “What about us?” It is for them that we are introducing the early entry option,” ISB’s director of admissions and financial aid AM Kannan told PaGaLGuY.
Once granted an admission, early entry candidates will be required to pay a Rs 2 lakh non-refundable deposit and an additional refundable amount of Rs 2 lakh as deferral deposit, both of which would be adjusted with the fees. The admission interview would concentrate on leadership potential and extra-curriculars rather than on work experience, Kannan explained.
Between the last two years, ISB increased its PGP seats from 560 to 770 by adding the new Mohali campus, but its total applicant pool has remained flat at around 4,300. The school admitted 40 and 87 students in 2012 and 2013 respectively through the YLP, its catch-them-young admission channel for undergraduates. Kannan estimates that going forward, both YLP and early entry would together contribute roughly 20% students to each class, bringing down the average batch work experience from 5 years to about 4.5 years.
Asked if the early entry option was a way to reduce the pressure on admissions in light of increased seats against a relatively flat applicant pool, Kannan replied in negative. “We haven’t reduced our quality parameters while admitting students. Whether at Hyderabad or Mohali, we are admitting the same high quality candidates that we used to before increasing the seats,” he added.
“Unlike in the West, Indians prefer to get done with their MBA as soon as possible. But if they don’t get through the IIMs because of their numbers-driven admissions process, they are stuck in a chasm where they have lost the year but are still ineligible for ISB. ISB might be trying to capture that market with the early entry option,” said Vibha Kagzi, whose Mumbai-based admission consultancy ReachIvy helps candidates write applications to top GMAT-accepting b-schools.
It would also help them increase the class diversity, she said. “B-schools tend to lose people from unconventional backgrounds such as arts, design or architecture. ISB could be trying to catch such people into the program well before they get too settled in their careers to consider an MBA,” she told PaGaLGuY.