Applying to ISB- Everything you want to know

CAT 2017 results are out (and so are some of the IIM calls). While those having calls must be preparing for GDPI, others need to ponder what to do next.

This article has been exclusively written for ardent (and eventually disappointed) CAT aspirants, who are completely clueless about ISB and GMAT/GRE (and hence, be prepared for a lengthy article).

Before you go ahead, you must know who is the author (i.e. who am I). I am a student of the current flagship MBA program (called as PGP- Post Graduate Program in Management ) at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad Campus.

For more, please visit my LinkedIn Profile-Kumar Anshul

What is Indian School of Business?

ISB is a B-School with campuses at Hyderabad & Mohali, which is currently ranked 27th in the world by Financial Times for its flagship full time 1-year MBA course, called as the PGP (Post Graduate Program in Management.

Who is eligible for PGP from ISB?

Anyone with full time, paid work experience of more than 2 years is eligible to join the PGP course.

What is the total intake every year?

The class of 2018 is a strong batch of 879 students (Hyderabad + Mohali) and the annual intake generally revolves around the same number.

What do I need to apply to ISB?

You either need  GMAT or GRE score and then you need to apply online. The online application consists of 2-3 essays, details about your work experience, 10th, 12th & Graduation score, your awards & achievements, extra-curricular & hobbies.

What is an ideal/cut-off score in GMAT & GRE to get selected?

There is NO CUTOFF. Please understand that unlike CAT/XAT, the exam scores are only a small (though significant) part of your application. Your application is holistically evaluated by the admission team with separate weightage given to every part of the application. Though ofcourse, you should aim for a high score. Below is a screenshot for ISB’s website for the Class of 2018’s profile

ISB Class of 2018 profile 

As you can see the accepted GRE scores range from 303-335 and GMAT scores from 600-780.

When should I apply to ISB?

ISB has three modes of application :-

  1. YLP (Young Leaders Program)- This is for pre-final and final year students. If you get selected through YLP, a seat will be reserved for you and you can join when you have atleast 20 months of work experience.
  2. Early Entry Option (EEO) This is for working professionals who have less than 24 months of work experience. If selected through EEO,  a seat will be reserved for you and you can join when you have atleast 24 months of work experience.
  3. PGP- All working professionals with more than 24 months of work experience can apply through the regular PGP route

At this point, please keep in mind the following two facts :-

  1. YLP, EEO, PGP are just 3 different routes of applying to the same 1-year flagship MBA program at ISB. They are not different programs, just different ways of applying (depending on how many months of work experience you have) for the MBA.
  2. While the EEO & PGP applications are exactly similar, the YLP application differ. Since you don’t have any work experience while applying through, the essay topics and few other details in the application are different as compared to that of EEO/PGP

When do  I need to apply?

Every batch starts in mid-April and for that particular batch, there are two application rounds- Round 1 deadline is in October of the previous year and Round 2 deadline is in January of the same year.

For example, for the class that is going to start in April 2018, Round 1 deadline was on October 15th 2017 and Round 2 Deadline is on January 15th 2018.

If you apply to Round 1 and don’t get an admit, you can’t apply to Round 2. You can apply again in Round 1/Round 2 for next batch with the same GMAT/GRE score (as these scores are valid for 5 years).

The application cycle for YLP is different, please check the website for more details.

How can  I prepare for GMAT/GRE?

GMAT/GRE, unlike CAT/XAT takes 4-5 months of preparation (along with your work) and these exams can easily be aced with proper focused preparation. I have already written a series of articles on GMAT Preparation :-

  1. My GMAT Debrief- Kumar Anshul
  2. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about GMAT
  3. How to reduce the cost of your GMAT Preparation
  4. How to prepare for AWA section in GMAT

I have personally no clue about GRE but I have heard that it’s comparatively easier than GMAT (Specifically the Quant Section) but the aspirants need to mug a lot of words to ace the vocabulary based questions in Verbal Section.

 How is the interview process?

If your application gets shortlisted, you will be called for interview (3-5 days will be provided). The interview panel consists of 3-4 people from the admission team and alumni. The interview majorly revolves around everything that you have written in your application. So it is extremely important to give enough time & attention to your application.

I have also written in detail about my interview experience.

How can I go ahead with my application now?

If you are thinking of applying to Round 1 deadline (October 2018), you should focus on GMAT or GRE preparation now and then start working on your application by September.

In May 2016, we, a group of 12-15 ISB Admits started The Bootcamp Consultancy Pvt Ltd with an aim of helping students apply to ISB and other B-schools in India & abroad. In less than 2 years we have helped more than 100 aspirants grab their dream seat at ISB (through YLP, EEO and PGP application) and many others at world’s reputed B-Schools such as INSEAD, HKUST, Columbia, Imperial College London, Michigan Broad, IIM A, IIM B, SP Jain among others. Also read- 5 Reasons to choose The Bootcamp for ISB

You can join our facebook group- MBA Aspirants Group- The Bootcamp ( and post any queries and we shall be more than happy to help you out.

There is another important article that you must read before applying to ISB- Most common myths about ISB (Indian School of Business)

If you found this article useful, I have two requests:-

  1. Follow this blog (link to follow is in right side of screen if you are reading on laptop/desktop and in the bottom of article if you are reading on smartphone). This will encourage me to write more.
  2. Follow me on Quora, I have written many answers there to help prospective aspirants.

If you have any more queries, please use the comment section below and I would reply as soon as possible.

Thank you!



Placements at ISB- My story Part 1

It was 21st November 2017, when I had my 1st reject. I am not talking about resume rejects (had already faced enough of them already). It was the pre-process of AbInBev where I was rejected after 10 minutes of GD. Before I could understand what exactly was happening, the GD ended, 5 people were selected and rest were asked to leave. I got an indication and sense of what I have to face in rest 3 days. By the time I reached back to my room, I had some new emails- Resume rejects from Max, JnJ and HealthifyMe (I had no clue why) and shortlists from Samsung, Godrej and DHR (again, I had no clue why!)

Mohali people had arrived and were staying at a Hotel. In evening, I packed a few clothes for the night, my laptop and went to the hotel to stay overnight with 2 friends of mine. The idea was to relax myself a bit and get a change from the overtly tense environment of the campus.


I had to submit a case for PhonePe pre-process interview the next day (22nd November 2017). It was almost 5 AM by the time I finished the case. I decided to wait till 6 AM (that’s the time when the schedule of the entire day is mailed!!). I realized I had 8 pre-process interviews/GDs lined up for the day. I slept for 2 hours and left hotel at 8 AM.

My first GD was for Star scheduled at 11:40 AM. But they were running late and HUL GD was scheduled at 12. I decided to skip Star and join it at some later slot. HUL GD was exactly like AbInBev, except I really think I performed decently this time. But I was again not selected. Next was Samsung. The GD was at some place in the campus where I had not visited before. I had to run to reach on time and was already sweating by the time I reached the venue. The GD had already started and they asked me to come after 2 hours as it was not likely that 8 more people will be gathered immediately for another GD round. Dejected, I returned back to the academic block for PhonePe interview.

PhonePe interview started on a good note (it was more of a case discussion) but by the end, I knew I had messed it. I was tired and was suggesting some really un-scalable ideas as an aspiring Brand Manager. The case discussion went on for 40-45 minutes but somehow I already knew that I won’t be able to make it. I ran to the Samsung venue, where they informed me that all the GD rounds were already over and they can’t accommodate me.

Now I had only Godrej (6 PM) and DHR (11.30 PM) Pre-Process left. Godrej’s was again a GD round. It was an infrastructure based case and I really couldn’t perform well there too. I returned to my room by 7 PM by had no energy or even motivation left to go for DHR Pre-Process. But the only thing that gave me a reason to go ahead was the fact that DHR’s pre-process was a 15 minute interview and not a GD. I had just applied to DHR because it had a Sales & Marketing role and hadn’t even bothered to look at their JD.

I finally opened DHR’s JD Document and to my utter surprise DHR stood for Danaher and the role was Marketing for one of their Dental Product brand- Kavo Kerr. I saw a ray of hope and tried to prepare for interview but literally had no energy to do so. I slept for 1 hour and left for the interview venue at 10.30 PM.

My interview started at 11.30 PM and went for only 10 minutes. At 2.45 AM, I had 3 mails- reject from Samsung & Godrej and selected for Round 2 of Danaher.

The Next day was Day 1.1 (23rd November 2017)- the first day of the placement season. I was left with only two shortlists- Danaher & Directi (who had shortlisted almost everyone).

Clicked on the night of 22nd November 2017, while returning from Danaher’s Pre-Process Interview.

To be continued..

Marketing in Practice- 10 Pearls of Wisdom

We just finished a 13 hours workshop on “Marketing in Practice” conducted by Unilever at Indian School of Business. Here are the 10 pearls of wisdom, that are worth noting (in my opinion).

1. The two most important P’s are PRODUCT & PRICE. If you have two dollars as your marketing budget, use one to make your product better and the other to get your pricing right.

2. Luxury Brands put so much emphasis on PRODUCT, PACKAGING & PLACE that other P’s become irrelevant.

3. Brands aren’t read, they are recognized.

4. Changing consumers’ habits is one of the most difficult jobs (For ex, you don’t see much people cleaning their neighborhood under “Swaach Bharat Abhiyaan” anymore)

5. Penetration is more important than loyalty. Larger penetrated brands means large number of buyers. A “niche brand” is just a fancier name for a small brand.

6. But it doesn’t mean that loyalty is not important. Brands with low loyalty eventually die.

7. What you do to attract shoppers should align with the shoppers’ needs and relevance at that point of time. For example, you might try to sell credit cards before a movie screening at a multiplex but you shouldn’t try to sell body lotion at a bar.

8. While making a marketing plan, you should be very particular about JTBD (Job To Be Done) :- Get who, to do what, by doing what?

9. Marketing is nothing but “Sales at Scale”

10. Since Product is the most important P, always do a “Blind Product Test” before launching it.

Thanks a lot Gaurav Jeet Singh and Arun Neelakantan for one of the best sessions at ISB so far.

Indian School of Business- Interview Experience


It had already been a month of submitting the application when I finally got a call for interview on 14th March 2016 and my interview was scheduled after 6 days, ie on 20th February 2016.

After some initial debacle (when the rustic auto driver didn’t understand what is “ITC Windsor”, still pretended to know where it is and authoritatively decided to take me somewhere else, before I actually realized he is taking me on the wrong roads), I finally reached the venue 1 hour in advance, visibly grimacing in the business suit (I hate wearing so many clothes).

The security guard outside the hotel promptly guided me towards the interview area and I was made to sit in a small room with 7-8 other applicants. I had read other interview debriefs where everyone had advised to talk to other candidates present to calm yourself down but somehow all I did was to sit down silently and stare around the beautifully furnished room.

After a while, a somewhat senior guy entered the room with a small travel bag. Someone asked him, “Are you coming from some other city?”

“No”, he replied, “I own a company at Bangalore, I want to show the interview panel some products of my company”

Needless to say, whatever hopes I had to make the cut sank. I had an idea of how impressive are the profiles of ISB applicants but here there was someone in front of me, enough for me to lose hope (I am a bit on the pessimistic side)

In hindsight, that feeling actually calmed me down and I started talking to other EEO (Early Entry Option) applicants. EEO applicants (I myself was one) have less than the mandatory 2 years of Work Experience required by ISB. If selected, they are given a deferred admission but they can join only when  they complete 2 years at work.

After around 1.5 hours of waiting, my turn came. One of the interviewer himself came to call me and asked me to follow him. Before we reached the interview room, he shook hands with me and introduced himself, “Hello, I am_______, from Co2012.

There were two interviewers in the panel (both alumni, no one from the AdCom). One (Let’s call him P1) had my application print out in his hands while the other (P2) just sat there most of the time and nodded.

P1- So, you are a Dentist. Why are you making this career shift?

This question was more than expected so I started with the answer that I had mugged up.

Me- Sir, if you would closely look to my CV and profile, you will realize that it has been always skewed towards entrepreneurship and management. (Don’t know why, I got tongue-tied at this point)

P2- (Nodding and after waiting for a few seconds).Please elaborate.

I gathered myself again started the answer that I had mugged up, this time with decent confidence. Both P1 and P2 seemed convinced.

P1 (Flipping through my application)- So you have shown your internship at hospital as work experience? Was it full time?

Me- Yes sir, it was full time and paid.

P1- Can you tell us one incident during that one year at internship where you had to show leadership or management skills?

Me- Sir I cannot think of any moment like that. All I can say is that I completed all my patient quotas in time, was the only person in my batch to finish internship without any extensions (infact 3 leaves were left when I finished) and in mid of all this, I got my startup registered.

P1- (Didn’t look convinced at all)- We will come to your startup story later (I realized that he has read my application essays, atleast superficially). Tell me how come you landed up at Oliveboard? How come you, being a dentist, having no relevant education  or degree got a marketing profile?

Me (again I had expected this question)- I will quote my offer letter here, “You are being offered this job because of your attitude and previous startup experience”

P1- So what exactly you do there?

Me- If you don’t mind, can I answer this question by explain the difference that I have made to the organization after I joined and also by citing a difficult situation that I managed?

P1- Please go ahead.

I explained it decently and both look convinced.

P1- Now let’s come to your journal. What made you start it?

Me (another expected question)- Explained

P1- Who all are the members in your journal and how exactly do you work?

Me- Can I get a pen and paper to explain?

P1 handed me a pen and paper. I explained with the help of flowcharts that how “Double blind peer review” review process of a scientific journal works.

P1- How did you get so many reviewers from abroad?

Me- Through Facebook

P1- And how much do you pay them?

Me- Absolutely nothing, sir

P1- Then how come they work for you free?

Me- Most of the reviewers I approached are very senior and extremely successful in their career. They definitely do not need any extra revenue by reviewing scientific articles. When I approached them, they were extremely impressed that a 2nd year UG student is trying to start a scientific journal and they supported me. I received a fair share of mockery and criticism too but mostly the dental fraternity was supportive. Also, Indian Dental Academicians need to maintain a certain number of points according to the guidelines set by the DCI (Dental Council of India) and they get some points for reviewing journals. And hence, they are in my team.

P1 (Smiling)- Makes sense. How many articles have you received after you started charging publication fee from the authors?

Me- Sir, It has been exactly 1 year and we have a revenue of _____

P2 (all of a sudden as if he got back from dead)- Have you brought the hard copies of the journal?

Me- Yes sir. It is in my bag in the other room

P2- Why didn’t you bring whose with you here?

Me- Sir, I didn’t want to look like as if I am trying too hard.

P2- So you are not trying eh?

Me- Sir, don’t get me wrong, ISB is the only college I have applied to and even if I don’t get through, I will only apply to ISB and nowhere else the next year too. There is a thin line between trying and looking like an absolute desperate and hence I decided not to cross that line.

P2 (laughed loudly)- Fair enough. Once the interview is over, show us the hard copies.

Me- Sure sir.

P1- So Dr. Anshul, what do you want to do post MBA?

Me- Sir, being an EEO applicant I think it is too early to decide that (both nodded on this). I have just started my career and I think I have a knack for marketing and entrepreneurship. I am versatile and can manage completely unrelated stuff equally well. I might take up a healthcare management job but I am keeping all my options open.

P1- Hmm..but you do know right that those jobs are generally for doctors with 5-6 years of work experience?

Me- No sir. I have no idea about that.

P1- Please go home and do your research. Also, you can get those jobs without an MBA. Why you want to invest so much of money?

Me (completely clueless where the interview was going)- Sure sir. I will do that tonight itself.

P1- You can leave

P2- Please bring the hard copies of your journal.

I ran towards the other room (it was 45 minutes already), sipped some cold water and returned and handed one copy each to both.

P2 (Flipping the pages)- Oh, so you have advertisement space too? How many advertisements have you got so far?

Me- None. And they are there only because the publisher wanted to, I really don’t want advertisements to be present on a scientific journal. Publication fee is the only major source of revenue and some royalty which we get through subscriptions.

P1- Where is the list of your team?

I showed him that page.

P1- How come you gathered so many people from so many countries?

Me- I have a facebook page on Dentistry with 30k+ Likes that I used to use for social medial marketing during my college days. I used the same page to build my team. Also, I did a webinar in a world virtual conference of dental students which helped me to get some team members initially. Rest all was word of mouth and facebook spamming.

P1- What else you want to do under your startup apart from the journal?

I mumbled something random (Don’t even remember what I said)

P1- Hmm..but how will you manage that? You will be having a full time demanding job post MBA which will take your 15 hours/day.

Me- Sir if I can manage it with medical school, I can manage it with job also. And I have worked for more than 15 hours/day effectively at various points during my UG, Internship and current job.

P1- I am not denying that, but I don’t think it will be possible.

Me (decided not to argue)- Then I will delegate the work sir. I am well networked in Indian Dental fraternity to do that.

P1- That I am sure you are. But you will leave all these so easily that you have build up with so much of hard work over these years?

Me- Sir, I said I will delegate the work. I will still be the owner.

Both P1 and P2 smiled.

P2- Ok last question, can you check my teeth and give some diagnosis?

Me- No sir, I cannot. I cannot break the infection control protocols. Patients must not be examined without gloves.

Both laughed loudly and asked me to leave.

Moral of the story- ISB interview, as per the common belief, is extremely chilled out. They don’t want to check your knowledge of economics, history, geography and finance. All they want to know is YOU. Be thorough with your application and you will sail through.

For any more queries, feel free to drop me a mail at I will be happy to help anyone out.

We, a group of 17 ISB admits, have decided to help all future ISB applicants. Find out more about us on The Bootcamp. Or just drop me a message on facebook.

Also if you love reading or want to develop a love for reading, join my facebook group for book recommendations, reviews and freak deals on books.

Do FOLLOW my blog (Green colored tab on the left side of the screen) as I will be writing more on GMAT, MBA and Indian School of Business. If you are following the blog, you will get an email whenever I publish a new post.

5 Reasons to choose The Bootcamp for ISB

5 reasons

Amidst a plethora of admission consultancies for ISB, here has come another one. It looks good, it looks promising but should I choose it? Will it be worth my bucks? And how is it different from others? And more importantly, how is it going to make a difference to my candidacy for ISB.

We are sure you might be boggled by these questions. So we thought to simplify it for you. Below mentioned 5 points will tell you why you should choose The Bootcamp and how we, as a team, are here to create a difference.

1. We know how does it go as we have been through the grind just a while ago.

One salient feature of The Bootcamp which sets it apart from other admission consultancies for ISB is the fact that we are a group of 15 RECENT ISB Admits. Everyone in our team has taken the GMAT and has gone through the rigorous process of application drafting and Interview Preparation just a few months ago, which makes us well acquainted of each and every subtle steps that need to be taken if you want ISB to open its doors to you.

2. The Diversity we proudly boast of!

If you will look at our team, you will find mentors from every field- From Engineering and healthcare to humanities, we are a team of diverse professionals and are around to help you as per your need, background and future aspirations.

3. We are amazing, but we are affordable too!

Not to forget, we have kept prices low (atleast 30–40% lower than most consultancies), especially for YLP applicants (as they are in college and not earning). We sincerely feel that the fee charged by other ISB Consultancies are exorbitant and one need not to burn a hole in his/her pocket to get the expert guidance.

4. One-to- one mentorship- Whenever you want

We have received a huge response right from our beginning and we are enthusiastically helping the ISB aspirants to prepare for GMAT (One-To- One Mentoring) and to draft their applications. Have any questions? Schedule an appointment and a mentor will call you and you can talk for hours (only about GMAT and ISB though *wink* )

5. GMAT/GRE Mentorship is included!

Yes, you heard it correct! We provide GMAT/GRE Mentorship free with our Advanced Application Consultancy. A mentor will be assigned to you and he/she will be guiding you through each ebb and flow while you prepare for the exam. After all, you cannot apply to ISB without a GMAT/GRE score, can you?

You can still sit back and give us a second thought but please note that the time is running out for R1 applications to ISB. So do not delay, log on to and take the first step towards your dream that is ISB.

You can also join our facebook group and ask for a chat with any of the mentors.

Most Common myths about ISB (Indian School of Business)


Indian School of Business (Hyderabad and Mohali) has been ranked as the 29th Best B-School in the world by Financial Times 2016 Ranking. Even then, a majority of Indian MBA aspirants are not aware about the basic features of this school. Many consider it “Out of reach” and do not even care to apply. This post is intended to be a ‘myth buster’ and I hope it will be informative to the aspirants.

1. ISB is only for professionals with 4-5 or more years of work experience.  

It is true that 2 years of Work experience is mandatory for a seat at ISB (yes, it is not a school for the freshers). It is also true that the average work experience of a batch at ISB is 5 years. But around 20% of the batch (as told to me by an AdCom member) has 2-3 years of Work Ex.

2. I am still at college. So I cannot apply to ISB.

ISB has a unique program (or you can say “mode of entry”) for final year and pre-final year students. It is called the Young Leaders Program (YLP). If selected, one seat will be reserved for you, but you can only join when you complete the compulsory 2 years of work ex. You can find more details on YLP here.

3. I just joined a job after graduating for college. I need to wait for 2 more years before applying to ISB.

For working professionals with less than 2 years of Work-Ex, ISB has something called the EEO (Early Entry Option). The mode of application is exactly the same as the normal mode but if offered an admission, you will be allowed to join only when you finish the compulsory 2 years of Work-Ex.

4. My GMAT score is less than 700. So my chances at ISB are low.

This year (Batch of 2016-17) ISB has admitted an aspirant with a GMAT score of 600! If you have good amount of work experience and exceptional achievements at your professional career and you are able to portray them well in your application essays and recommendation letter, a low GMAT score won’t stop you from getting an admit. But it is strongly advisable to target a score of more than 730 (the more, the better). Also from next application cycle, ISB will also be accepting GRE scores.

5. ISB Hyderabad is the main campus while the Mohali one is the off-campus.

ISB strictly follows “One School, Two Campuses” concept by ensuring the following :-

1. The number of students (550 in Hyderabad and around 250 in Mohali) are divided in such a way that the overall diversity and average work experience in both the campuses remains similar

2. All the professors in both the campuses are selected from a common pool and many a times the same professor teaches at both the campuses in different terms

3. Placements for both the campuses happen together (Students from the other campus have to fly down to the campus where placement is being organized)

4. Students are not allowed to tell their prospective recruiters during the placements that from which campus they belong to(to remove any biasing)

6. The Fees at ISB is too high for me

IIM A, B, C and XLRI all have fees somewhere around 17-19 Lakhs. The fees at ISB is 25 lakhs (including hostel, excluding food). Also, you must remember that unlike other b-schools, you will be unemployed only for one year and not two (as PGP at ISB is only 1 year long).

Also, loans are easily available. For example, under the SBI Scholar Loan Scheme, ISB is the only college apart from IIM A which is listed as “AA institution”, which means 30 Lacs loan will be made available to you without any collateral. Here is the complete list.

I will be writing more on GMAT and Indian School of Business. Make sure you FOLLOW my blog (Green color button on the left side of screen) so that you get an email every time I publish a new post. Use the comment section for any queries and I will be happy to reply to each of them.