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ISB PGPpro Review: Why I selected a Weekend Executive MBA

Since it’s a new program, you won’t find many ISB PGPpro reviews to decide whether it’s the right program for you. Not to be confused with the UCLA PGP Pro. It’s quite expensive as well (the fee for 2017-18 is INR 30 Lakh + service tax).

EMBA aspirant, Vineet Solabannavar, was in the same situation. Here’s how he tackled the dilemma of choosing between the various executive MBA programs at ISB and INSEAD (PGPpro vs PGPMax vs ILPSIE) that he had shortlisted.

Why I selected PGPPpro over PGPMax and ILPSIE

Choosing between Executive MBA programs from ISB and INSEAD

by Vineet Solabannavar

ISB PGPPpro ReviewFrankly, I have written very few blogs but I think it is important that I document my Executive MBA admission process along with my personal insights for any prospective Executive MBA candidates in India.

In my current role, I am responsible for IT application management in Healthcare organization. I have been associated with Healthcare (in IT function) for around 10 years now with overall ~13 years of professional experience, and would like to continue growing in a similar industry.

During my career which has been mostly focused on providing IT services, I learnt a lot on structured management of projects and applications, but was having difficulty understanding the big picture needed as part of leadership roles.

During my interaction with a few ISB alumni, I realized that an MBA degree not only provides you with the core business skills but the experience gives you a lot of confidence as a person. An MBA degree also opens new doors through networking opportunities. With the stage I am at my career, I wanted to learn skills which would ensure that I would be setup for success in leadership roles and positions.

Which Executive MBA to choose

Initially I had thought about pursuing a full-time MBA either from India or abroad, but at this phase of my life both personally and professionally the cost of opportunity of spending 1-2 years on a full-time course and being away from my family would be a major challenge.

To clarify my thoughts I had email interaction with Sameer Kamat (founder of MBA Crystal Ball) who was able to provide me with some pointers on Full-time vs EMBA programs. This interaction along with some introspection provided me with confidence of pursuing an EMBA program.

The Executive MBA space in India is unexplored and there are a very few International level EMBA programs options available in the country. As part of the school selection process, ISB PGPMax and INSEAD ILPSE were really my only choices. I had also dwelled on the thought of applying for some EMBA programs in Dubai.

The PGPMax was the first choice with INSEAD being my next alternative. I did not want to apply for programs in Dubai because of the travel as I have few month’s old baby who needs attention.

Fortunately at this time ISB introduced a new EMBA program PGPpro which was targeting towards working professionals but with weekend flavor. PGPPro has a few benefits that I did not have to travel out of Hyderabad to attend the program as it is conducted in the ISB campus.

Another benefit is that I did have to be off work for a week long every six weeks (as required for PGPMax) with same number of credits as PGPMax.

PGPpro Application Requirements

ISB PGPpro is targeting mid-career professionals, who can exhibit some management experience along with strong academic skills.

The application process consisted of 2 essays along with 2 professional recommendations. GMAT is not mandatory for the application process.

I applied for PGPpro in Round 2 and had a very few days to complete the application, draft the essays and also gather 2 professional recommendations. With the time constraint I wanted to ensure I give my best while applying for the program.

My interactions with Sameer and MG along with the informative blogs on the MCB website provided me with enough confidence that MCB were the right people to assist me in my application process.

MG introduced me to Vibhav for the MBA essay writing process. For optimization purposes Vibhav suggested we start with both the essays and get an initial draft. The interaction with Vibhav was fantastic especially his availability even late evenings and weekends to ensure that we are moving towards the final draft.

Vibhav assisted me in translating my thoughts into a proper structure, and analyze some of the important aspects from my viewpoint. He ensured that I answered the questions correctly and did not include things which had no value to my application process.

During my interactions Vibhav also provided me with some useful insights of the MBA program, and how as a person you would change during the course of 1.5 years. As I am into the first few months of the program, I am able to relate the discussions with Vibhav.

PGPpro Interview process

This was one of the interviews I wanted to really do well! I was nervous before the interview, but as soon as I was in front of them, I was confident. The panel consisted of 2 members both of whom are ISB alums.

The interviewers wanted to understand my rationale behind doing an MBA, how would I add value to the class. The interview process is a very important step in the selection process and hence I ensured that I answered the questions to the best of my ability.

The interview results were announced within 2 days and I was excited to be part of the founding class of PGPpro.

PGPpro experience

The journey until now has been very exciting and fruitful. There have been many ‘aha’ moments as part of the initial MBA journey and I am always looking forward to meet my friends during the weekend.

The relationships I have created with the people of the class has been enriching and humbling. The class diversity enriches you with different perspectives. The faculty at ISB for the PGPpro program has been amazing with professors visiting from international schools.

Even though this is not a full-time MBA program, the course is rigorous and requires one to sacrifice lots of their personal interests. It throws you with challenges on time management and prioritization of activities.

I am looking forward to leverage the knowledge and skills in my day job. The road ahead is uncertain, but I think it is a calculated risk to open new doors to the future.

Related articles:
UCLA PGP Pro India
Executive MBA vs Full-time MBA for Executives
Is an Executive MBA (EMBA) worth it?
Best full-time one year MBA in India for Executives
ISB PGPpro application story – Executive MBA without GMAT requirement
Executive MBA with scholarship in India with an average over-represented profile

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Manish Gupta
About Manish Gupta
Chief Consulting Officer at MBA Crystal Ball, ex-McKinsey, IIT & ISB topper. MG can help you get into the top B-schools. Read more about this top MBA admissions consultant. Connect with MG on Linkedin, Facebook or Email: mcb [at] mbacrystalball [dot] com

20 thoughts on “ISB PGPpro Review: Why I selected a Weekend Executive MBA”

  1. Pursued a long journey in medicine.
    Currently with the largest healthcare chain in India, as a consultant radiologist for last 6 years.
    Will be shifting to UK with one of the largest NHS trusts.
    Nearing 40.
    Know too late for an MBA, was thinking an exec one as it will be difficult to spend a year out of job and it will be difficult for any bschool to place me at this age.
    Suggest best options in uk more focused on entrepreneurship.

  2. Hi Sameer,

    I have recently been approached by Cornell University for their CEMP programme. I am in a senior advisory position with a reputed institution and would like to go into leadership position. Do you think CEMP, Cornell will give me a breakthrough in terms of that.


  3. @Radmba: If you are in or around London, then check out the EMBA option at London Business School.

    Here’s the story of someone who attended it. She would travel from India to the UK for a week each month. A little too much effort, I think.

    Other than that Cambridge and Oxford also offer Executive MBA programs.

    All three brands are well known across the world.

    @Riyaj: How did Cornell approach you? Did you express an interest in their program at some event?

    While Cornell is no doubt an ivy league brand, I have to admit, I don’t know much about the CEMP program at this stage.

    As a general rule, the more eager a team is in chasing prospective candidates, the higher my red flag goes up.

  4. I need same assistance, Pl. help to complete my application process. Last year i applied but this time i want to give my best efforts.

    Hoping for valuable suggestion/help from those got to PGPpro.


  5. I have done PGDBA in Marketing from mumbai university with a work experience of over 9 years, currently at a national role managing multi million € business for a Technology company in a IC role. I am interested in PGPpro program of ISB for working executives as I plan to change my work profile. Hoping to get your valuable suggestion on this and will it worth the investment for me.

  6. i am considering PGPpro and IIM B PGPEM . my doubt on ISB is that since the course is at 30 lacs – what sort of profile and incoming CTC would these students have ? Will it be suitable for someone in 15 lac sal bracket?

    • Well, they have not yet released any official figures but given the range of people that go there, I am sure you would have people in that and higher bracket too Sri. Best to also reach out directly to the program to assess this.

  7. Hi MG,
    I have around 13 years experience in the IT industry and now work for a top corporate as a Project Manager. Have done my Bachelors in IT followed by a PGDM in distance mode since I couldnt take out time from my regular job for a full time management program. I am now looking for a change and an entry into the senior management category. I looked around and rounded up on ISB PGP Pro..Would like to be sure about the investment. Appreciate of you can share you feedback on the course and also any related courses which are worth while without putting a big / nasty hole in our wallet.


  8. Can i go to ISB campus directly and ask them about this program? Also, i have around 11 years of experience in IT industry, all in technical domain. I am not a manager yet. Is it a good idea to pursue EMBA or should i get some managerial experience under my belt?

  9. I like know about the ISB PGPpro placements. Since the cost of the course is really high does it worth it in terms of retun?.

  10. can you please give me better insight about this course. I have an experience of 8 years in taxation role. Want to shift my career.


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