Admissions.SG: What would you like candidates to know about ISB?
Rupesh Bisht: The Indian School of Business (ISB) is a global Business school offering world-class management education across its two campuses – Hyderabad and Mohali. The School has grown at a rapid pace over the twelve years since its inception and already has several notable accomplishments to its credit – it is the youngest school ever to consistently rank among the top Global MBA programmes, the first institution in South Asia to receive the prestigious AACSB accreditation, one of the largest providers of Executive Education in Asia, and the most research productive Indian management institution. A vibrant pool of research-oriented resident faculty, strong academic associations with leading global B-schools and the backing of an influential Board, have helped the ISB fast emerge as a premier global Business school in the emerging markets.
Admissions.SG: What is the PGP and who is it designed for?
Rupesh Bisht: The PGP is a full-time, one-year post graduate programme in Management designed for young working professionals to enable them transition into roles of greater responsibility, or pursue an entrepreneurial dream. The programme offers world class education with an exposure to some of the best of minds – faculty, industry and their own peers, giving students an enriching learning experience that expands the bounds of their thinking and sets them on the path for long-term career progress.
[pullquote cite=”Rupesh Bisht” type=”left”]The ISB has been rated the most research-productive institution in South Asia.[/pullquote]Admissions.SG: Candidates often ask whether the MBA is a worthwhile investment. What would you say with respect to the ROI of an ISB MBA?
Rupesh Bisht: Across the globe, an ambitious working population is seeking quicker and more efficient progress. The one-year programme is aligned with this trend, viewed purely from a financial lens, the value is fairly obvious. By doing a one-year MBA, a student not only saves the fees and living expenses for the additional year, but also gains the earning potential of a full year, allowing for a much faster pay-back. Reasonable cost of living and low tuition fees to acquire skills and knowledge as compared to B-schools in developed countries, such as the US and the UK, coupled with a strong and rising demand for B-school graduates from India indicate that the earning potential of pursuing an MBA from ISB is equally significant if not more.
Admissions.SG: How does ISB differentiate itself from other schools in the region?
Rupesh Bisht: In India, ISB pioneered the one-year MBA format in 2001. Another differentiator at ISB is our portfolio faculty model. An eclectic and accomplished team of faculty teaches at the ISB. The current team of permanent faculty has been chosen from leading international business schools on the basis of their research excellence and teaching acumen. Our faculty members have received many awards and have been recognized for their achievements. Visiting faculty from top business schools worldwide also teach at the ISB, bringing their perspectives into the mix and enriching it further. This dynamic research environment is made even more vibrant by the visiting scholars and research scholars that the School hosts each year. The ISB has been rated the most research-productive institution in South Asia. We only accept students with work experience into the classroom which provides an opportunity for peer learning, since we attract students from diverse education, experience and cultural background.
Admissions.SG: You offer multiple rounds of applications. Are there any advantages to applying in particular rounds compared to others?
[pullquote cite=”Rupesh Bisht” type=”right”]The panel looks at how lucid the essays are; clarity of thought and strong leadership skills applicant may have demonstrated in the past.[/pullquote]Rupesh Bisht: We have two rounds for application submission. The first deadline (Round 1) is on 15th September and the final deadline (Round 2) is on 30th November. You may apply by any one of the deadlines. There is no specific advantage in applying in either Round 1 or Round 2. We encourage everyone to apply early as it helps candidates to plan work & relocation arrangements.
Admissions.SG: What happens to an application once the applicant hits the Submit button? Walk us through your evaluation process. How many people read each application?
Rupesh Bisht: Once an applicant has submitted his/her application a 3 member panel from the Admissions team will evaluate it and shortlist the candidate if he/she makes the cut.
The quality of a candidate’s application is a vital part of the selection process. It offers an opportunity to highlight your background, accomplishments and plans for the future.
The admission process at ISB takes a holistic approach towards the applicant’s qualifications. The panel looks at how lucid the essays are; clarity of thought and strong leadership skills applicant may have demonstrated in the past. There is no cut-off for GMAT scores. For those who make the cut, the candidate is then called for an interview in person or over phone (for those located outside India). A cumulative scoring is done based on both the application and interview performance and presented to the admissions committee which then takes a final call on the admissions offers.
[pullquote cite=”Rupesh Bisht” type=”left”]Roughly 75% of students make either an industry shift or a function shift.[/pullquote]Admissions.SG: What are you really looking for in an ideal MBA candidate? How can candidates stand out?
Rupesh Bisht: At ISB we are looking to recruit well rounded individuals. Everyone is unique in their own way. However, the difference when it comes to MBA applicants is whether the candidate understands his own set of strengths in an objective way and can use examples, situations to illustrate these. Our evaluation process equiweights all aspects of an application. Candidates would be well advised to use the entire application to convey their key strengths using examples that best illustrate these strengths. Our admissions philosophy is based on the fact that people succeed because of their strengths and have the potential to overcome some of their obvious weaknesses. If you know your strengths – this demonstrates self-awareness which is a key leadership attribute.
Admissions.SG: How important is the GMAT in your decisions? What, if any, roles do the AWA and IR sections of the GMAT play in your decisions?
Rupesh Bisht: The GMAT is not a make-or-break part of our decision making, GMAT is only one of many parameters that we have in making our admissions decision. Having said that a higher score helps.
We look at AWA scores in conjunction with the essays but for IR this admission year, please note, while we could look at it as a parameter to assess the reasoning ability of an applicant, we will certainly not base selection on it, as there will be several applicants who have taken GMAT in the earlier years (within last 5 years) when IR was not introduced.
[pullquote cite=”Rupesh Bisht” type=”right”]The GMAT is not a make-or-break part of our decision making[/pullquote]Admissions.SG: What percentage of the pool do you interview? What does your interview process look like? What percent of the interviewees are offered admission?
Rupesh Bisht: The number of candidates we interview is a function of the final class size we want. At present we interview around 1700 candidates each year and make offers to half of them to get a final class size of around 770.
Admissions.SG: Do you have a pet peeve? What is the one mistake candidates make that gets them rejected outright?
Rupesh Bisht: Making claims that are either outlandish or claims that cannot be substantiated. Unfortunately there is no way to figure these out before the interview itself and a lot of them do get interviewed and get rejected post the interview.
Admissions.SG: How have your application numbers, acceptance rates, and yield changed over the past few years?
Rupesh Bisht: In a typical year, ISB will accept about 22% of applicants to draw together a class of about 770 students. Our yield varies from 85% to 90%.
Admissions.SG: What percentage of last year’s incoming class are career switchers? Have you seen any shift in the careers that the applicants are interested in?
Rupesh Bisht: One of the key reasons students look for an MBA is that learning in a top MBA program enables such career switches. Yes, such switches are possible and they do not necessarily mean that there is a negative impact in any way. An employer hiring on campus typically understands that being able to step up to the demands of a role is more important that multiple years in a function or industry. Roughly 75% of students make either an industry shift or a function shift.
Technology and consulting remain leading recruiters and a growing number of students are joining start-ups and early stage entrepreneurs, looking to grow their ventures. We have also witnessed a spurt in demand in e-commerce companies.