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Acing the ISB Interview - 2023 intake

Updated: Mar 13

Over the last 3 years, we have helped 30+ candidates get interview invites and admits at the Indian School of Business.


In Round 1 for 2023 intake, 12 out of 13 applicants who worked with us for ISB applications received an interview invite from ISB.


ISB usually follows a rolling interview process. This means that they continue inviting candidates for interviews over time, and do not declare all the interview invitations at once. However, this year, ISB changed its approach a little bit.


For Round 1, ISB announced a list of all candidates who were invited for interviews in advance. However, they did not indicate the date, time or location of the interview while making this announcement. Candidates then received the details of their interview schedule 5 days before the actual interview.


If you haven't yet applied to ISB and are planning to apply in Round 3, check out our detailed breakdown of the 2023 ISB application here.


If you are seeking help to prepare for ISB interviews, please explore our services.


two women talking

Indian School of Business (ISB) is one of the best Business schools in India, consistently ranking among the Top MBA programs worldwide. The PGP program at ISB brings together a cohort of ~900 candidates each year, with an average work experience of 4-5 years. In FT Rankings 2022, ISB is ranked at 32, ahead of Indian peers such as IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Calcutta.


In this post, we break down how the ISB interview process works, how you should prepare for them, and tips and strategies to optimize your preparation.


We will cover 3 major areas in this article:

 

Interview Process of ISB


There are a few things to keep in mind while you wait for your interview invite from ISB.

  1. Going by the Round 1 process, it is expected that ISB will announce a list of all candidates to be interviewed at once.

  2. If you have been invited for an interview, you will receive the details such as the date, time and location, 5 days before your interview.

  3. ISB does not share the details of the alumni who will take the interview. However, they do try and match candidate profiles with alumni profiles as much as possible.

  4. Interviews are taken by ISB alumni primarily. There can be a single alum taking your interview, or a panel of 2-4 alumni.

  5. For the 2023 intake, interviews can be either in-person or online.

Now let's dive deeper into the process, step by step.


ISB will inform you of your interview invitation and schedule at the beginning of the week. If the interview is in-person, you will need to be present at your scheduled location for the interview. There are usually 2-3 alumni taking the interview, though there can always be exceptions.


Interviews are usually 30 minutes long. An important thing to note is that ISB interviewers are trained well before they take interviews - their key agenda being - make the candidate as comfortable as possible throughout the interview. Also, ISB alumni have your entire application, except your GMAT/GRE scores and LORs.


A longer or shorter interview DOES NOT indicate anything regarding your chances. ISB interviewers are trained to not divulge any information about your performance through their actions.

The primary purpose of the interview is to gauge how well you would fit within the ISB classroom. Since the interviewers are all alumni, they often try to evaluate candidates on the basis of - would they have liked to have you as a classmate?


Key Aspects to Prepare for ISB Interviews


ISB focuses tremendously on specific aspects of the candidates, particularly their readiness for the MBA program, clarity on what they want to do, and how ISB fits within their plans. As such, it's extremely important for candidates to present themselves as unambiguously as possible in front of the interview panel.


This means that they need to extreme clarity on each aspect of their application.

  • What they have done throughout their career?

  • What are their goals?

  • How their experiences have shaped their goals?

  • How do they envision achieving their goals?

  • Why is an MBA necessary for them?

  • How would ISB play a role in helping them achieve their goals?

Further, it is imperative for candidates to know their applications inside-out. Everything you have written in your applications, from your academic and professional achievements to your awards, extra-curricular activites, hobbies, and essays - is up for questioning.


You should be able to defend, and explain any numbers you might have highlighted in your application. Be extremely clear on what you have done, how you have done those things, why did you take certain decisions and what you learnt from those experiences.


Important: We suggest candidates to start their interview prep in advance as ISB only provides a 5-day notice.

ISB interviews are often heavily focused on your career progression. This allows the interview panel to really understand the depth and maturity of your professional experiences, while also establishing your clarity of thought.


Needless to say, the clearer you are on your answers, the better it is for you.


Commonly Asked Questions


Below is a list of some commonly asked interview questions that you should be prepared for. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, since interviews are highly personalized in nature, and would heavily depend on your experiences and the data that you have provided in your applications.

  • Walk me through your resume.

  • Tell me something not in your resume.

  • What are your biggest strengths, give an example to illustrate?

  • What is your most proud achievement?

  • Share an experience where you worked with your communities.

  • Share an experience where you were challenged the most. What did you learn?

  • What is your biggest weakness? How are you working on improving it?

  • Share an experience where you failed? What did you learn?

  • What are your short-term goals? How will MBA help achieve your goals?

  • Why can’t you achieve your goals through normal career progress?

  • Why MBA now?

  • What are your long-term goals?

  • How do your goals align with your career so far?

  • Why do you want to attend ISB? What makes you most excited about ISB?

  • What will you do at ISB?

  • Why should we take you?

  • Share a situation where you faced adversity. How did you handle it, and what did you learn?

  • Share a situation where you worked in a team. How did you handle it, and what did you learn?

  • Tell us about your hobbies. What do you do in your free time?

 

How Can We Help?


At Management Masters, we have helped 30+ candidates secure their admits to ISB over the last 3 years. In Round 1 for the 2023 intake, 12 of our 13 candidates received an interview invite. Of these 12 candidates, 7 were offered admit, 2 were waitlisted, and 3 were rejected after the interview.


For interview preparation, we have a specialized team of ISB alumni who have helped multiple candidates with mock interviews, and are acutely aware of ISB's requirements. Among them, they have taken more than 100 ISB mock interviews, and have previously served on the official ISB interview panels as well.


We offer multiple interview packages ranging from one to three mock interviews, depending on the candidate's requirements. You can check out our interview packages here.


Ideally, we suggest starting with your interview prep early on, since ISB does not provide enough time period between the notification and the actual interview. So if someone starts their interview prep only after receiving the invite, it's usually too late already.


Please reach out to us at contact@managementmasters.in in case you have any questions.

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