The Indian School of Business has risen as one of the premiere institutes of business education not just in India but around the world. It has been consistently showing up within the top 30 B-Schools on Financial Times’ Global MBA Rankings. Its Post Graduate Program (PGP) in Management has become a truly lucrative education choice for mid-career professionals looking to enhance their expertise and take their career to new heights.
One of the best features of the PGP program is its relatively quick curriculum of one year. Even though the demands to get admitted into this prestigious PGP program are quite steep, they still manage to trump over the rather lengthy (average 2 years) and costly (nearly $80,000) international full-time MBA programs.
ISB’s PGP has a practical curriculum which takes its students well outside the classroom environment. It is constantly updated to meet the demands of the current business standards and students are left in want of nothing – with the advantage of excellent resources, expert faculty, unparalleled career resources and placements.
The program has excellent reputation among top employers and the ROI of the program, despite its nearly $50,000 (~INR 35 lacs) tuition price tag, is steadily compensated by the average domestic salary of its graduates, in the neighborhood of INR 20 lacs. For comparison, average MBA salaries in India, from other tier I and II business schools, is about 12-15 lacs.
How to get into ISB PGP
The basic selection criteria are based on certain qualities that make the applicants stand out in the crowd.
- Besides good academic records, the program requires a decent performance in GMAT/GRE. Average GMAT, and GRE, of accepted candidates are around 710 and 330, respectively. The program, owing to its condensed format, is quite rigorous and hence the need to be able to perform under testing conditions. Read Life at ISB Campus
- Leadership and personal initiatives are qualities that will be essential in future business leaders and innovators. How have you been able to demonstrate your capacity to excel in both?
- PGP candidates bring their experience and diverse knowledge to the classroom for a peer learning environment. For the same, ISB PGP candidates have over 4.5 years of work experience with an average age of around 27-28 years. A minimum of 2 years of work experience is required.
The most common route to enter the PGP program is through direct application upon satisfying the required admission criteria. There are, however, two more means to get into the program.
- The Young Leaders Program: Aimed at high potential college students who are currently pursuing their Bachelor’s or Master’s education. Read ISB YLP Young Leaders Program
- The Early Entry Option: Aimed at recent graduates with less than 2 years of work experience. It is a deferred admission to the PGP program. More details are discussed below.
ISB PGP Early Entry Option (EEO)
An Early Entry Option (EEO) is a promised admission to the PGP program for candidates who are yet to complete the required 2 years of essential work experience. It is a deferred admission like the 2+2 Harvard MBA option whereby the candidate reserves a seat for the future until they are ready with the work experience.
It is designed for candidates who have a clear picture of their career goals and who have a well-set plan for their near future. Read About HBS Harvard 2+2 program: Is it for you?
The requirement to apply for the EEO option are the following:
- Qualification: Applicants are required to have a minimum Bachelor’s or equivalent degree in any discipline.
- Test Scores: A valid GMAT/GRE score. TOEFL/PTE/IELTS score for applicants whose medium of education has not been English.
- Work Experience: Full-time work experience, of less than 2 years, by March 31st of the following year.
- Online Application: To apply, you need to create a login and password into the ISB PGP Online Application portal. The Application Fee for first time EEO applicants is INR 5,000. For EEO re-applicants, the application fee is INR 2,500. Applicants are directed to the online application here. Material includes the usual essays, recommendations, and a final interview, etc.
- Application Deadlines and Admission Dates: The application deadlines are similar to the direct entry, with Round 1 in mid-September and Round 2 in mid-December (ISB Round 1 vs Round 2 Admissions). The candidates who receive the admission offer (November for Round 1 and February for Round 2) are required to accept the offer within 10 days. Acceptance of offer requires a payment of the first instalment of the Admission Fee within 10 days from the date of the admission offer. This amount is a non-refundable INR 2.5 lacs + taxes.
Here are some other tentative deadlines
|Cycle 1/Round 1||Cycle 2/Round 2|
|Interview timelines (Candidates are informed 5 days in advance)||First week of October to November||Last week December to Second week of February|
|Acceptance Due Date||Last week of November||Last week of February|
|Program Fee Payment date (Expenses applicable to the joining class of PGP are applicable to EEO students at the time of enrolment)||End of March||End of March|
What does it take to gain Admission through ISB EEO
The fact that EEO candidates don’t have backing of 2+ years of work experience means that there are certain ways in which every candidate needs to outshine the others. The optimum recipe is clearly unknown. According to sources such as online forums, like Quora, there is evidence that many EEO admits defy the common understanding of what is a “good application”. Nevertheless, assuming that those candidates have truly something otherwise exceptional to offer, it is good to follow some general formula (ish).
- ISB EEO GMAT: ISB doesn’t categorically reveal the average GMAT of candidates admitted through the EEO option. However, online chatter and inputs from past candidates seem to suggest that the EEO GMAT average score needs to be higher than the usual average for direct entry to PGP. A good application relies a lot on factors other than the acumen exhibited through employment contributions – namely, GPA, academic percentages, GMAT/GRE score, etc.
- Academic Records: This is yet another objective parameter to judge your performance consistency. Your academic record needs to be exemplary to compensate for the other common evidence of employment excellence.
- ISB EEO Essays: Drawing inspiration from employment is out of the window. In such a situation, essays can exhibit your potential for leadership through your experience during your academic years, your internships, or other volunteer and extracurricular activities. Read ISB Essays and Admissions Process
- ISB EEO Recommendations: The recommendations also play a strong substitute in exhibiting your potential for leadership. Choose your recommenders who can vouch for your exceptional capabilities demonstrated over initiatives you have taken in the past.
- ISB EEO Interview: ISB claims that the interview process is also similar to the direct PGP entry. However, according to some Quora’s queries, and responses, the adcoms are generally lax about questions related to What after ISB? They figure that it is too early in your career for you to have all the answers.
How many EEO candidates are generally accepted?
The total class size of the PGP program comes out to be around 900, including the two campuses. The enrollment, through the EEO option, is not limited to a fixed percentage.
However, historically it has been seen that around 10% of the total number of admits are entries through the EEO and YLP options. This is on par with the 2+2 HBS program.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the ISB PGP EEO Option?
There are good reasons to opt for the EEO entry to PGP as compared to the usual direct route. Just as there are certain factors that may play against the choice. We will quickly go over some that may or may not be directly applicable to your case.
ISB PGP Early Entry Option Advantages
- The EEO option, as mentioned before, affords a clear path towards your career’s future. With that clarity, in mind, you can plan your progress within your organization, accordingly. A career move, concentrated on maximizing the work experience, can help to prepare you for the learning process within the PGP structure.
- You will most likely be in the company of more experienced and mature candidates in your class. This can be an excellent platform to engage and learn from their exposure as well as take advantage of the fact that you are more likely have a steeper learning curve, be better at risk taking, and have empirical proof of how various career paths have unfolded for your class peers.
- Your network of peers will have driven, ambitious, and much more diverse group of people as compared to your on-the-job network, had you continued in your organization for more than 2 years.
- It is, as is by virtue of its structure, assured deferred admission for the future. This brings with it the peace of mind of not having to compete with the next round of applicants who may have a more competitive profile.
- And the biggest advantage is the early kick off to an illustrious career, if you are set with your goals already. By the time you begin your 20 lac salary package, you will be of the order of 25 years. There’s a lot of time to recover your debts, buy a house, that audi you have been eyeing and what not.
ISB PGP Early Entry Option Disadvantages
- The biggest, rather the most, difficult hurdle is the admission process in itself. With the lack of enough work experience, a lot of the admission burden is shouldered by your past academic record and your GMAT/GRE score. For direct applicants, to PGP, this falls within a holistic admission criteria whereby a lot of good candidates may be able to compensate for their lack of excellence through demonstration of leadership, and work initiatives. For EEO candidates, however, less than 2 years of work experience (even lesser during application) doesn’t afford them ample time to prove their excellence through their employment.
- If offered an admission, you are required to accept the offer within a fairly short period of time along with the first instalment of the admission fee. This considerably large non-refundable sum (for many) INR 2.5 lacs is often a harsh sum to part with in case you change your mind down the line. Circumstances are often hard to foresee and possibilities may arise whereby you either choose to drop your MBA plans or seek an MBA elsewhere, internationally (more on this below). That spells kiss your first instalment goodbye!
- Also true is that less work experience translates into less financial backup to pay your hefty tuition fees for the PGP program. Most candidates don’t self-finance the program. However, they are at least better off with the few extra years of work experience and the salary that comes with it.
- More work experience, as in the direct PGP entry, also provides a better understanding of what your goals can be and what you may want from the future. To some, not all, an EEO option may seem rather hasty and not driven by a clear perception of your career.
- It is also possible that your employer may not fully appreciate your short-term plans within the organization they have recruited you in. This is a bigger problem for EEO candidates since the departure is more or less certain as compared to the yet undecided still experiencing direct entry PGP candidate.
- Last but not the least is the feeling of buyer’s remorse. Each year, we’re approached by several successful EEO applicants saying they want to apply to international MBA programs. Their feeling is –
If I could get into the best MBA program in the country meant for experienced candidates with such ease, I’m probably underestimating my potential. Maybe I should aim higher!
With those tidbits in mind, research your possibilities and see which side of the EEO line you stand – yay or nay. Either way, if you do secure an admission, you will be entering one of the finest programs in one of the finest business education establishments in the country.
And as always, if you need some professional help to make your application journey easier, drop us an email: info [at] mbacrystalball [dot] com
Here are some related links.
- International MBA program vs India MBA at ISB Hyderabad
- ISB Placement Process
- ISB Mohali Campus Placements