ISB Interview tips

Well after working so hard all through your student days – High school exams, JEE and entrance exam preps and then finally Graduation. You were not just done with your academic achievements but also excelled in your career and had a few feathers to your cap in terms of EC and social service. You still had the energy to excel and move up in your career and applied to ISB and other Top notch B-schools around the world. And now all your hard work over the years has paid up and you have an interview call with ISB…. Well you are so near to achieving your life time dream, but really apprehensive about how to prepare for the interview?. Well we understand your predicament and we have been on the other side of the of the table just a few years back.

To crack the interview of your dream school here are a few tips from some us who made it. Hope you find this useful:

When to start preparing:

You have to be cognizant of the fact that, you will usually receive your interview call just a week before your actual ISB interview. Hence it is prudent on your part to start your preps as soon as you submit your application.

First Steps:

  1. You should know your application inside out, know why you wrote that quote, why you included a qualifier “One of the first to be awarded”, and why were you interested in tutoring those street children for their board exams. In short it is important to not only know ‘what you wrote’ but also be crystal clear on ‘why you wrote’ it that way.
  2. Once done with familiarizing with your application collate as many interview questions as possible from forums, alums, friends, friend of friends and off course don’t hesitate to ask GoIsb for all the help you need.

The crux of your preparations:

  1. Once you are done with collating all the possible questions like (Why MBA, Why ISB, Tell me something about your challenges at work, short-term and long-term goals etc) prepare an answer for each of them
  2. Look for a few estimation/guestimate questions on the web and try to think of some questions yourself – for e.g. # of cars that pass on this road daily (use inputs like: arterial road connecting this road, # of office buildings and # of people work there, Is it a highway? Etc..). You will feel a lot better when you face simple interview guesstimates like Coffee cups consumed etc.
  3. Mentally prepare a structure for each of the answers so as to sound coherent and also to be the point rather than beating around the bush. Please understand that the panel will interview atleast 10 students on a given day – It helps if your to the point and catch the attention of the Panel – the easiest way to do this is to have a structure to most of the common questions.

The final dash:

  1. Once ready with the answers – ensure that you do a couple of mock interview with peers/ friends. It helps to do this with a person who is also attending the interview or with alums/ friends from ISB other B-schools who have been through the process
  2. Ask your friends to rate you on – Your clarity of thought, relevance of talk, being to the point and your postures and hand movement
  3. Take all the inputs and try to work on them constructively. If the need be practice your answers before the mirror to see how conduct yourself.
  4. Before the final interviews do a couple of more Mocks with the right setting (an interviewer table, and also in formals if possible). While these things might sound a bit of a stretch, but trust us will add a lot to your confidence on the day of your interview.

GoISB offers mock interview services please visit: for more details.

goISB ISB Mock Interview servoice

First batch at ISB Mohali ( ISB Mohali admissions)

First batch at ISB Mohali to commence in April 2012. Admissions will open in 2011.

The ISB Mohali campus will have four institutes focusing on areas critical to India’s development: Max India Institute of Healthcare Management, BML Munjal Hero Honda Institute of Manufacturing Excellence and Innovation, Bharti Institute of Public Policy and Punj Lloyd Institute of Physical Infrastructure Management.

In addition to the existing partner schools, ISB has partnered with MIT Sloan to support these institutes.

The construction of the Mohali campus is expected to be completed by March 2012. Thee first academic session is expected to commence in April 2012, with an intake of 210 students.

15 April 2011 Update:

The ISB’s flagship Post Graduate Programme in Management (PGP) will be delivered in two locations starting April 2012 with a total intake of 770 students, spread across Hyderabad (560) and Mohali (210).

Course offerings

The entire curriculum and the teaching pedagogy will be the same. The first four terms (core terms) will be the same on both the campuses.

The elective course offerings will be as follows:

  • Hyderabad: Marketing, Finance and Strategy & Leadership, Operations, Information Technology and Entrepreneurship.
  • Mohali: Marketing, Finance and Strategy & Leadership, Healthcare and Manufacturing

Single Admission Process

There will be a single Admissions process to both the Hyderabad and the Mohali campus. Applicants would be required to indicate their preference of campus in the online application. The Admissions process does not take the campus preference into consideration while evaluating the application and therefore will have no impact on the selection process. The campus allotment decision will be taken up after we prepare the final list admits. While we will try and accommodate your campus preference to the extent possible, the ISB reserves the right of allotment of the campus, to maintain the diversity of the class profile and subject to the availability of the seats.

Visit: for details

ISB Essays 2011, ISB Essay Tips

ISB 2011 Essay 1: If we were to admit one more student to the class of 2012, make a compelling argument as to why that student should be you? (300 words)
ISB Essay Tips :

Through Essay 1 the school tries to understand that “Extra” you bring to the Class of 2012. You should talk about yourself, attributes as a person, what excites you, what are your beliefs in life, your major accomplishments and why you believe those accomplishments are unique. How do they stand out and position you as a candidate who brings diversity to the class? .

The best way to go about this essay is to start with a deep introspection on all your activities, accomplishments, and lessons learnt in the post high school era:

1. Please make a long list of all activities that fit onto the above category

2. For each activity identify – The challenges that existed, How you overcame those challenges and finally what difference did it create to you – your company or the society in general (Impact)

3. Talk about 2-3 significant achievements and try to highlight various aspects of your personality – leadership, Initiative, innovative, analytical thinking, social impact so on and so forth

4. Please try to articulate your success if possible in quantitative terms especially when listing a professional accomplishment. For e.g. Articulation can be done in multiple levels

Level 1: Won the Chairman’s award for stellar performance in operations assignment
Level 2: Won the Chairman’s award for decreasing turnaround time by 22%
Level 3: One among the 3 individuals to win the chairman’s award among an Employee base of 10,000+; for decreasing turnaround time by 22%, which resulted in cost savings of 2 Crores

ISB 2011 Essay 2: What are your short term and long term goals? How will the ISB help you achieve the same?
ISB Essay Tips :

ISB tests your clarity of thought with this essay. You can structure this essay into three distinct areas:

Talk about your existing industry/role

1. Your short term goals _ why it makes sense to you; Is it a progression from your current professional position? Are you looking at career changes? If so how ISB will help you achieve this.. Peer network, Industry connects, interactions at different forums, World class faculty etc

2. Clearly articulate your long term goals. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years? You must have clarity on how will your short term goals help you reach there

How ISB will help you reach your short term goals –How on reaching your short term goals, it will position you to realize your long term aspirations.

ISB 2011 Essay 3: Please provide additional information that will significantly affect the consideration of your application to the ISB
ISB Essay Tips :

This Essay can be approached in two ways. It can either be achievement based or though based.

Achievement based: Review your long list, elaborate on 2-3 significant achievements/experiences in their order of importance. Please do not forget to maintain the same structure as in Essay 1.

1. Problem statement and challenges

2. How you overcame them

3. Impact

Achievements could be sports, NSS,NCC, volunteering, social service etc

Thought based: You could talk about your worldview on various aspects. What are your beliefs?. What is important to you as an Individual.. What do you want to do about a particular situation post ISB?.
For e.g. You believe that malnutrition is the single largest source of all child related issue sin Africa. You could share your views about them, what do you intend to do about it and how ISB can help you develop certain skills so as to help you achieve your goals.


About the program

ISB PGPMAX is the new executive MBA program initiated by ISB. It its targeted towards senior executives with 10 to 25 years of experience. The program is designed for minimal disruption in work and the participants can get quality management education without quitting their jobs.


· Bachelors degree

· Minimum of 10 years of full-time work experience

Application Details

The Application Fee is INR 10000 or 200 USD

You can download the ISB PGPMAX Application Form here

Other application requirements

· Color photograph

· Latest resume

· Scanned copies of the documents listed in below

1. Passport copy

2. Bachelors degree mark sheets and certificate

3. Any other education mark sheet and certificate if applicable

4. Proof of income

5. Business card

6. GMAT, TOEFL/IELTS scores, if applicable

· Two evaluations from current/previous supervisors


Item Amount (INR) Amount (USD)
Admission Fee (non-refundable) 350,000 7,500
Tuition Fee (refund policy applies) 2,400,000 51,600
Total 2,750,000 59,100

Application Dates

Description Dates
Applications Open September 1, 2010
Round 1 Deadline October 31, 2010
Round 2 Deadline December 31, 2010
Round 1 Results Announced January 15, 2011
Round 2 Results Announced March 15, 2011

Essay Questions

1. What has been your most significant achievement to date? Please explain why you consider it to be so. (500 words)

2. What is your motivation to pursue a Post Graduate Program in Management for Senior Executives? (500 words max)

3. You have been asked to be a part of ISB’s PGPMAX admissions committee. What are the criteria for selection you would use to admit participants to this programme and why? (500 words max)

Program Structure

Pre Term Courses

· Quantitative Methods: An Online Introductory Course

· Financial Accounting: An Introductory Online Course

· Finance: An Introductory Online Course

· Spreadsheet Modeling

Basic Skills

· Uncertainty and Decision Making

· Accounting Information for Managers

· Management Accounting for Decision Making

· Economic Analysis for Managers

Core Courses

· Financial Decision Making for Managers

· Management of Organizations and Leading for Change

· Marketing Management

· Competitive Strategy

· Managing Global Operations

Advanced Courses

· Financial Strategies for Value Creation

· Capital Markets and Strategic aspects of Fund Raising

· Customer Focused New Product Development and Launch

· Pricing Products and Services for Profitability

· Competitive Marketing Strategy

· Strategic Alliances & Organizational Growth Strategies

· Stakeholder and Crisis Management

· Strategic Negotiations

· Innovation, Intrapreneurship and Entrepreneurship

· Using IT for Competitive Edge

· Building High Performance Teams & Talent Management

· Leaders and Sustainable Development

· Enterprise Risk Management

· Global and Emerging Market Strategies

International Immersion program

2 week trip to US and Brazil

For more details visit:

For PGPMax application related discussion visit:

For PGPMax Interview related discussion visit:

ISB Alumni Speak -Important tips for ISB interview preparation

Continuing the compilation of tips from ISB alumni on “How to prepare the ISB interviews/ how to handle the ISB interviews”, here are opinions of some more ISB alumni

  1. Be honest with the interview panel….making up things while answering is very easily caught and would lead you down a spiral path
  2. Rehearse the answers for the common interview questions and come prepared
  3. You can lead your interview in the direction you want to by carefully choosing answers that lead to more relevant questions that you want to answer. Be smart and bring up points that you want to highlight. Needless to say- please do not overdo it.

By, Nidhi Gupta, ISB Co 2008

  1. Showcasing your strength in all dimensions (academics, professional and extra-curricular front)
  2. Writing the essay in your own style
  3. Being HONEST

By, an alumnus, ISB Co 2007

  1. Give answers in a way that they generate enough curiosity among interviewers to ask subsequent questions
  2. Know yourself, your job, your industry and ISB well.

By, Sanjay Sharma, ISB Co 2008

  1. Your focus should be to be able to bring out instances in your professional/personal life which demonstrate leadership skills or anything unique to your personality that would add value to the ISB community.
  2. The interview would generally revolve around your resume and application (unlike other Indian B-Schools where GD and general awareness are a significant component), so be ready to support what you’ve written with your experience.
  3. At the end of the interview you are given the opportunity to ask Questions if you have any. Any question you ask should in some way show that did a thorough research of the school.

By, Nitin Goyal, ISB Co 2008

ISB Alumni Speak – Tips for ISB interview preparation (by ISB alumni)

Interviews are the real test of your candidature. Also, at this stage, things become more competitive. It is hence imperative to take ISB interview very seriously and prepare in a planned manner.

Nobody can predict what you may be asked by the ISB admissions committee (which comprises of ISB adcom members and ISB alumni) however, the following “ISB interview tips” by ISB pass-outs will definitely help.

1. Remember your essays well. The last thing you will want to happen is to say something contradicting your essays in your interview

2. “Tell me about yourself” is the most crucial question. Use this answer to lead the interviewer towards your strengths

3. Be natural and friendly and maintain your composure and of course “look good :)”

4. Before the start of the interview, you might be given a topic for a short essay. Just remember what you have written, you might be asked to discuss

By, Supriya Singh, ISB Co 2008

1. Be extremely thorough with your application. The interviewer will catch words from your application and ask questions on the same

2. Be yourself, do not bluff in the interview.

3. If you do not know the answer to a question, say “I do not know” rather than making a blind guess

By, a current student, ISB Co 2010

“I have only one tip for ISB interview preparation…Be yourself. Just be sure about who you are and what your aims are. And why you want to go to ISB.”

By,Jayati Talukdar, ISB Co 2008

1. Know your application very well. Try to rehearse all possible questions that may follow from your application.

2. Be updated of the current affairs.

3. Be absolutely sure on how to answer “Why ISB” and “What after ISB?” questions.

By,Abhinav Jain, ISB Co 2008

I think what matters most in ISB interviews is as follows:

· Do a very good homework on what you have written in the application. You should be able to talk with details if any point is asked from the information you have provided in ISB application / essays.

· Be prepared on your extracurricular activities. You may be asked to perform (if something can be performed in an interview setup)

· Have some knowledge about the industry/ company you work in. For example if you work in IT sector, you should know about current issues and trends, some future projections, your company’s turnover, key competitors and challenges

· Also prepare on how to solve guesstimate cases. Try to build an approach in your mind. It does help a lot.

· ISB interviews are very conversational in nature. “Be what you are”

By,Nitish Jain, ISB Co 2008