10 Important Tips for ISB Application Writing

Hello ISB Aspirant. This year’s both Round 1 & Round 2 deadlines are scheduled 1 month earlier than the norm. Assuming you are applying for Round 1 (September 15th), you just have 45 days left to submit the application. It becomes extremely necessary to put your best foot forward for ISB Application at this stage because whatever you put down in your application will be discussed and questioned during the interview. Hence the message is loud & clear- a well-written application is half the work done!

When you actually sit down to write the application, you realize that it is not as easy as it looks- there is a character limit for everything which makes it extremely necessary to know how to pitch perfect your sentences, what to leave and what to include and most importantly how to articulate your thoughts into well-meaning sentences.

There are a few things that you must take care while drafting your application and I have listed them down in the following bullet points :-

  1. Avoid repetition :- There are multiple sections in the application portal- Job Responsibilities, Achievements at Jobs, Awards & Achievements (5 points), Extra Curricular Activities ( 5 points), Hobbies (3 points) and so on. Apart from these, there are essays which ofcourse are the most pivotal part of the entire application. It might happen that while penning down, you include the same achievement under “Achievements at job” as well as “Awards & Achievements” (which is for your entire academic & professional life. It might also happen that you repeat the same instance for extra-curricular & hobbies. Doing so can give an indication to the one from Adcom (who is reading your essays) that either you haven’t given enough time and attention to the application or you aren’t able to highlight different instances from your academic & professional life under these different sections of the application portal. It’s best if you avoid this and include unique instances/initiatives/awards/achievements/hobbies/extra-curriculars under each section.
  2. Don’t ignore ‘non-essay’ part of the application :- Most often applicants give their best to put down the best essays, but ignore the other parts of the application- Job Responsibilities, Achievements at Jobs, Awards & Achievements, Extra Curricular Activities and Hobbies. You never know in which direction your interview will go to and hence ignoring any of these sections can prove detrimental. For example, in my own case, once the discussion on my essays got over, around 20 minutes were spent discussing each point that I had mentioned under Job Responsibilities.
  3.  Ask for help :- Please keep in mind that there are thousands of applicants eyeing that coveted seat at ISB and it does no harm to ask help from people who have gone through the process in the past, so that you can give your best. Find out ISB alumni from your office and ask if they can review your application. You can also try to connect to alumni on Linkedin. We, at The Bootcamp with an exclusive group of mentors who are ISB Alumsni/Admits are also trying our best to help applicants since 2016 (Read reviews of many selected candidates here) and you can get in touch with us too if you want to.
  4. Always cross question yourself :– While you are writing the essays, please ask yourself if you can handle any kind of cross-questions for each particular sentence that you have written. Let’s say you mentioned an initiative that you took at your workplace. What motivated you to take that initiative? What did you do differently than others? What was the end result of that initiative? How did it benefit your company in the short or long run? Give a chance again, what would you have done different for a better outcome?- Be ready with answers to all these questions because there are high chances that you will face these in the interview.
  5. Avoid unnecessary advices & gimmicks :- There is a plethora of admission consultancies mushrooming these days and its normal to feel clueless about whom to consult and whom to not. Please do proper background check before signing up with any consultancy- What are the credentials of the mentors who will help you in application & interviews? Are these mentors ISB Alumnus/Admits themselves? How many applicants have made it through ISB with the help of the consultancy? What is the success rate? Take an informed decision before investing your money anywhere
  6. Don’t try to randomly copy someone’s else essays– Please keep it in mind that ISB is looking for diversity and uniqueness and by copying someone’s else essays (even if he/she has made it through ISB) can only do more harm than good. Find out your own unique story and highlight it in the best way possible. If you can’t, read Point no 3 again.
  7. Don’t use flowery language :- Trying to accessorize your essays with random poetic phrases or artistry prose isn’t always a good idea. Be succinct, profound and stick to the point.
  8. Don’t wait till the last moment:- “Right now I am preparing for GMAT. I will see to the application, once I get free from GMAT”– This is one of the most common comment that I get from applicants every year and no matter how much I try to deter people away from it, they still indulge in the practice. Please note that writing an ill-prepared application is as good as not applying at all. Please start writing rough drafts of application as soon as possible. Don’t leave it for the last 5 or 10 days.
  9. Don’t ignore Letter of Recommendation (it takes time to convince your boss or to even find someone who will write the LOR for you) :- Please decide before handedly who do you want to choose to write the LOR- your current manager/your ex-manager/your colleague/your mentor etc. Communicate to that person regarding your decision to apply to ISB so that he/she is well prepared when the time comes. Be in constant touch with the concerned person till it is made sure that the LOR has been submitted well within the deadline
  10. Revise, revise and revise :- Last but not the least, make sure to get the entire application read by atleast two people before you submit- It would be foolish to submit an application that is strong in substance but has typos!

I hope this article written at this wee hour of night will add some value to your application. Some other articles that you might find useful are :-

  1. Most common myths about ISB
  2. Applying to ISB- Everything that you want to know 
  3. My GMAT Debrief (730 in 1st attempt)
  4. 5 Reasons to choose The Bootcamp for ISB

We, at The Bootcamp , have helped more than 200 aspirants fulfil their ‘ISB Dream’ (Read reviews of many selected candidates here).

Join our facebook group for much more insights and use the comment section of this blog for any query. Cheers!

I will KEEP writing many posts to help aspirants. Make sure you FOLLOW the blog (FOLLOW button is on the right side of the screen if reading on laptop/desktop) or at the bottom of the screen if reading on mobile) so that you get an email whenever I post.

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My GMAT Debrief- 730 (Q50 V39) in 1st attempt

Apologies for an extremely long post (as many people have inboxed, so I will write each and every detail and try to elaborate)

Date and Center- 3rd January 2016, Kormangala Bangalore
Score- 730 (Q 50, V 39) IR- 1 (was completely clueless here)
Attempt- 1st
Started Preparation during Mid November (exactly during Diwali vacations)
Schools targetting- I got an admit to ISB (Indian School of Business) through EEO (Early Entry Option). I will be joining batch of 2017-18.

I was never consistent while preparing and the major chunk of my studies happened in last 10 days. Neither did I take a single mock in one sitting.

Quant

I am not from Maths background so it was always a nightmare for me. Bought Manhattan Strategy Guide and completed all topics. Then got myself GMAT Club Tets, tried 10 questions from 700 level but couldn’t solve a single of them. Decided not to touch those questions. Solved around 100 600 level questions with 70-75% accuracy. Hence, out of 1500+ Questions in GC Tests, 1000 are still lying unsolved.

Did OG 2015 + Quant Review 2015 + OG 2016 + Quant Review 2016 cover to cover. Marked the questions I got wrong and revised a few days before exam. There are 25% new questions in 2016 versions of both the book and many questions which were present in 2015 editions are omitted from 2016 editions. So, it is a good idea to get all 6 books (OG 2015, VR 2015, QR 2015, OG 2016, VR 2016 and QR 2016).
I never solved Quants questions posted in this group as even the sight of them used to give me shivers.

Verbal

Got E-Gmat Verbal Online subscription. Its SC is amazing (but you still need to be thorough with OG). I didn’t find anything spectacular in its CR. Didn’t touch its RC (neither the lessons nor the questions). After finishing started with its Scholaranium (700+ Questions). Did around 150 questions from SC (82% accuracy) and 80-100 questions from CR (72% accuracy). Got bored and didn’t attempt the rest of the questions (So, 60-70% of my Scholaranium is left unsolved as well). As already mentioned, didn’t attempt its RC.

CR– I also tried to do CR from CR Powerscore Bible. Couldn’t solve many questions and gave up in the mid. CR was always frustrating for me. In the end, I decided to stick only with OGs and VRs (both 2015 and 2016 editions). Also did a few (around 60 ) questions from Gmat Prep Question Document downloaded from GmatClub three days before exam.

SC– Re-revised all questions from OG 2015, 16 and VR 2015,16 2-3 days before exam. Was confident as accuracy in these questions was 90% (and had done well in E-Gmat SCs as well).

RC– I had only attempted 5-6 RCs (all from OGs) before the actual exam. Comprehension was never an issue as I have been a voracious reader (My Goodreads analytics show that I have read 43 books in 2015 and 12,500 pages in total). Even last night before the exam, I read one short story by Alice Munroe.

Mocks- Princeton 1- 630, Princeton 2- 650, Gmat Prep 1- 700 (got a few questions which I had already solved before in Verbal) , Veritas- 650, Gmat Prep 2- 620 (10 days before the exam). Didn’t bother to look for the solution of questions I did wrong as I was too frustrated and had almost given up (But had to take the exam anyway as I had booked the dates during the beginning of preparation itself). Never took any mocks after that and decided to build upon what I already knew.

Exam Day

I had screwed up my sleep pattern during the last days (took 10 days off, used to study at night and sleep during the day time). As expected, couldn’t sleep for a single second last night. Kept revising SCs from OG and solved a few easy Quant questions (I had always known that I won’t be able to solve tough quants, hence I focussed on getting the easy ones correct no matter what). Reached near the center two hours ago, sat in CCD which is just in front of the centre. Had coffee and a sandwich. Just before entering the centre, popped up a Modafinil 200 mg (Google what it is) with a can of Red Bull and smoked an iceburst (to keep myself alert).

AWA- Had never practiced this before but wasn’t of much issue. Took 10 minutes to frame my answer and wrote it down in 15 minutes. Revised for grammatical/spelling errors in last 5 minutes.

IR- Solved a few, randomly answered rest of them. I found it too tough. Also, I had never attempted this section in any of the mocks.

Quants- EXTREMELY EASY is the word. I would say it was easier than OGs . Confidently solved 9 out of first 10 correctly (guessed 1). Next questions were easy as well. And I used to get to know by the first look of the question that whether I will be able to solve or not. Hence, randomly guessed 3-4 questions without wasting any time on them. Even then, I missed the last question as time was up (yeah I am that slow in Maths). I got sh** scared thinking about the heavy penalty for leaving a question unanswered. Calmed myself down during the break and ate a chocolate.

Verbal– SC was tricky but easy if you have been a consistent reader and are thorough with basics. Had questions on Comparisons, Rhetorical Construction, Idioms, Use of Present Perfect Tense and so on.

CR as expected was too tough (for me atleast). Infact wasn’t even able to understand the question stem of two CRs. I guessed them randomly and made smart guesses for others. While I was confident of getting most SCs correct, I was hardly sure of 2-3 CRs in total.

RC- 2 short + 2 long. The last one was 4- 5 paragraphs long and was extremely difficult to comprehend (was based on finance and economics). Couldn’t get the gist but tried to eliminate wrong answers somehow.

Couldn’t believe when it showed 730 on the screen (Q 50, V 39 and a dismal IR 1 ).

Key Takeaways :-

1. Official Questions are god (specially in Verbal). Do not digress much.
2. In Quants know which question you can’t solve, make a smart guess and move on without wasting time.
3. Mock scores may suggest what you are going to get in the actual exam, but this is not a rule (who knows it better than me ) Don’t stop studying till the last day.
4. Instead of solving tough questions, focus more on making sure you don’t get the easy ones wrong.
5. Make SC your strength. Why? 1st reason- You can easily master it. 2nd reason- It’s the least time taking type of question in Verbal.
6. Never stop reading.

Disclaimer- Above strategies worked for me but there are many people in this group who have scored much more than me, so its better to have their opinion as well.

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