NEW ISB ESSAYS 2025 – 2026, What Changed? Debrief & Samples!

Here are some ISB Application Essays for 2025-2026:

ISB Sample Essays 2025 – 2026 Application

ISB PGP Essay 1

Essay 1: Contemplate situations that have shaped your personal journey. Present what these situations have taught you about your strengths and weaknesses, and how they have shaped your personal and professional journey (400 words).

The quintessential self-assessment essay gives you the opportunity to insert stories that flesh out the committee’s picture of you as it puts your “self-awareness” to the test.

  • Do you have a mature, balanced understanding of yourself?
  • Do you see the same strengths and weaknesses that the AdComs have started to notice, or are you living in constant denial?

This essay is a chance to gain credibility simply by being honest.


The strengths you mention in this essay must complement the strengths your recommender cites and that your application as a whole conveys. All business schools emphasise skills such as leadership, teamwork, integrity, analytical skills, communication skills, and cultural adaptability, but each school has its own blend of valued qualities that you should be aware of before writing this essay. In your ISB essay, you should combine the commonly sought-after strengths with those that are personal to you, such as artistic ability, spontaneity or adventurousness. I have seen applicants list an overkill of “perseverance” and “commitment” as strengths. Think about whether you want to present yourself as a worker bee or a dynamic leader.

It’s awfully hard to be original when you are talking about traits you probably share with most people. So remember that your creativity and uniqueness in this essay comes from the special combination of strengths you cite and, more importantly, the stories you tell to illustrate them.


When you talk about your weakness, be careful. Choose a weakness that you are aware of and that you are actively working to improve. Most applicants refuse to admit they have one. The AdComs have to laboriously fight their way through a purgatory of “good weaknesses” such as workaholism, perfectionism, impatience with people who have low expectations of their work, and so on. Trotting these cliché weaknesses shows a lack of imagination, immaturity and dishonesty – not particularly favourable traits. Real weaknesses are personal characteristics that each of us suffers from and cannot be remedied without sufficient effort – poor time management, procrastination, indecisiveness and so on.

Avoid emphasizing weaknesses in communication or cross-cultural understanding, as these skills are critical in a global business school environment. Instead, focus on specific areas where you may have had limited opportunities or challenges due to your background. A weakness you address should be something you can overcome. Show how you are actively addressing the weakness or have already made significant progress in overcoming it.

Here is an example of a compelling story about a weakness (a designer aiming for product management):

“Working on the design solutions freed my mind. Like many others in the creative field, I felt an imposter many times. I let the pressure of creating a better version of my previous solution lead me to unnecessary stress. There were moments when I let myself off work to recoup, but these periods of being underproductive only added to my stress. I had to adopt a process-centric approach where the problems were broken down into human and organizational dimensions before letting my mind wander through solutions.

Another weakness that I had was translating my design-centric thoughts to my clients who work in technology, banking and quant-oriented professions. Inspired by ABC, my former mentor at Google, I took a month-long challenge to write a novel in the crime genre that forced me to verbalize the minute details. I didn’t turn out to be a Conan Doyle but considerably improved my ability to explain creative solutions to a general audience.”

Every individual’s story is unique, and schools want to know what you have to say about your own experiences. This personal narrative essay is an opportunity to breathe life into a one-dimensional file and offer the B Schools a more personal and vivid picture.

ISB PGP Essay 2

Essay 2: What intellectual experiences have influenced your approach to learning and have led you to pursue an MBA? Please describe using anecdotes from your own experiences. (400 words).

ISB has hit the ball out of the park with this essay prompt (at least for me). Last year, they played it cool with an optional goals essay, but this year, they’re getting straight to the point by asking what events in your life triggered the need to apply for an MBA program. This essay sets a solid foundation for the next question, where they gauge how well you’ve researched the PGP and your goals strategy (all things we know are MBA Application 101).

What I like is that candidates who occasionally get by with surface-level deliberation behind their reasons for applying will now be forced to take a moment and reflect on all the instances where they truly felt “self-aware” about a gap in their knowledge toolkit and skillsets.

The best way to approach the essay is to write terrifically compelling career progress and goals. If you get these two right, you will have created the inexorable and compelling a case for needing an MBA that the adcoms may feel the can answer “Why an MBA” for you.

“Ofcourse she needs an MBA. She has proven she can lead culturally and functionally diverse teams. And since that Unilever project, she has obviously known that operations management is the best way to use her leadership and problem solving skills.”- the trigger for the need of an MBA

If you can manage to get the adcoms rooting subconsciously for you like this, you need not belabor the essay with vague references to “enhancing my skillset” and “honing my soft skills”.

If your “Why MBA” pitch reads like it could describe every person who has ever graced the ISB campus, then my friend, you need to dig deeper.

There are, of course, several solid reasons for wanting an MBA:

  • It is an accepted and required credential for advancement in many industries
  • It is a universally recognised degree that will enable you to jump from one industry to another or from one ->function to another. Or country to another
  • It gives you skills to launch a new business and so on

But these too are very generic!!!!

They aren’t too far from saying “Hey I just need another shiny credential on my resume”

Do not forget that ISB views itself as a temple of personal metamorphosis and not a diploma mill.

So you need to back your answer with concrete examples and reasons specific to you.

Here are some key triggers candidates may consider, although this is not exhaustive:

  1. Career plateau – you have identified that your learning curve has flattened and there are no new challenges on the horizon in the next two years. If you stay on your current career path any longer, you run the risk of being pigeonholed, making it difficult to break out.
  2. Epiphany of goals – You have just realized the purpose of your career, and now that you know it, there’s no reason to procrastinate.
  3. Post-MBA goals have a time component – your plans are linked to trends that are beginning to solidify by the time you do your MBA. You can not afford to wait to acquire the skills you need to capitalize on these trends.
  4. Maturity – You finally have the professional and personal knowledge, balance and perspective to make the wise decision to invest in your long-term future. This is a tactful way of expressing that your age is in line with the average age of job applicants.
  5. Natural career break: You are nearing the end of a clearly defined career phase, such as a two- or three-year analyst program at a consulting firm, a two-year management training program at a company, or a stint abroad in another country.
  6. Networking: Networking provides insights into industry trends, market dynamics, and business strategies that are not always covered in the classroom. It allows you to learn best practices from professionals who have real-world experience.

Aiming for a Shot at The Top B-Schools But Confused About Your Strategy? Reach Out to Us

ISB PGP Essay 3

Essay 3 (Optional): Given your experience and aspirations, how do you plan to use the PGP at ISB to fulfil your professional goals? (Optional – 250 words).

Do you know that outstanding applicants with superhuman numbers and sparkling resumes are regularly rejected by their dream schools because they don’t show that they have thought about whether they are a good fit for the schools they are applying to. Adcoms do not think they should ask you “why us”; they expect you to make that case; and yet the ISB has specifically asked for it this time. It would reflect poorly if you do not attempt this optional essay.

If some of you are looking for a future spouse, you can not expect your potential mate to choose you just because you are good-looking, rich and charming. You also need to flatter her that it’s something personal!

You should avoid giving a reason for attending ISB that could apply to any other school. “I am attracted to ISB because it has a flexible curriculum, a collaborative learning environment, a strong alumni network in my industry, and an outstanding faculty” – you can say that about any good MBA school. You need to name aspects of the ISB PGP that will individualize your areas of interest.

Even though there are no preferred career goals at ISB, AdCom is well aware of how your goals fit with the resources, whether they flow logically and reasonably from your work experience, and whether they seem typical or distinctive. ISB has clear strengths, even if they are not always obvious if you have not yet researched ISB.

For example, you may earn no points for informing ISB that its consulting resources are top-drawer, but you may impress AdComs if you describe how ISB’s strength in marketing and industry connects with your target companies and will help you launch your career as a marketing research professional.

Here’s a sample snippet from a pharma marketing expert targeting healthcare strategy

At Company ABC, I gained profound insights into the pharmaceutical business in the US, EU and APAC markets. Unfortunately, pharmaceutical advancements have done little to mitigate the cultural nuances that patients suffer pertaining to drug adoption. Patient-centricity is essential in the pharmaceutical industry to enable positive outcomes for healthcare companies and patients alike. I hope to bring my experiences and perspectives to ISB’s < healthcare management> course to deepen my fellow students’ understanding of Indian healthcare systems and practices and sensitize them to the many challenges faced by patients. Through my past connections with the pharmaceutical industry, I will help in organizing the conferences of < Healthcare Club> and guide budding healthcare enthusiasts by not only providing insights into the global industry but also from a different angle – that of healthcare consulting. I will also bring my consulting skills to mentor or coach those who join < Experiential Learning Project > and prepare them to become aspiring consultants…

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