ISB Reapplication: A 6-Step Guide To Success

By Arvind Kumar

Facing a rejection from the prestigious Indian School of Business (ISB) can feel like a major setback, but it doesn’t have to signal the end of your MBA aspirations. With the right mindset and a well-thought-out plan, you can recover and improve your chances of success in your next application. 

In this article, we’ll discuss how to bounce back from an ISB rejection with the help of a stepwise plan. We’ll also discuss the most commonly asked questions you may have regarding being an ISB reapplicant.

ISB Reapplication Strategy

Here’s a detailed, step-by-step guide to help you bounce back from an ISB rejection.

1. Allow Yourself Time to Reflect

After receiving a rejection, it’s essential to take some time to process your emotions. Avoid rushing into an analysis of what went wrong or immediately starting on your next steps. Allow yourself some time to step back, engage in other activities, and gain a fresh perspective. 

For example, you might focus on a personal hobby, spend more time with family, or even travel. This time away can help you return with a clearer and more positive mindset.

2. Objectively Analyze Your Previous Application

Once you’ve taken time to recover, begin an objective analysis of your previous application. Look for areas that might have been weaker or could benefit from improvement. Consider various factors such as:

  • GMAT Score: Evaluate whether your GMAT score was competitive within ISB’s current admissions landscape. Consider whether retaking the exam could strengthen your profile.
  • Work Experience: Assess whether your professional journey was clearly articulated, emphasizing significant achievements and demonstrating clear career progression.
  • Leadership Experience: Reflect on how effectively you showcased your leadership roles. Ensure your contributions and impact were clearly highlighted and quantified where possible.
  • Extracurricular Activities: Review your involvement outside of work. Highlight activities that demonstrate your diverse interests and community engagement, underscoring your well-rounded personality.
  • Essays and Recommendations: Analyze the strength of your essays and recommendation letters. Were your essays compelling, reflecting your unique perspective and aspirations? Were your recommenders able to highlight your strengths effectively? More on this below.
  • Interview: Evaluate your performance objectively. Reflect on the questions that were challenging and the answers that could have been stronger. Consider aspects such as your confidence level, clarity of thought, and overall presentation.

3. Seek Feedback from Reliable Sources

The next step is to start gathering constructive feedback from reliable sources. Here are actionable steps to gather valuable insights and improve your application:

  • Engage with ISB Alumni: Connecting with ISB alumni can offer invaluable perspectives on your application. Utilize platforms like LinkedIn or the ISB alumni portal to find alumni relevant to your field or interests. Politely explain your situation and request a review of your previous application. Propose a call or an in-person meeting to discuss their feedback in detail. Demonstrating respect for their time and expressing gratitude for their insights can foster a positive exchange.
  • Attend ISB Events: Attending ISB alumni events or information sessions provides direct access to alumni and admissions team members. Introduce yourself confidently and engage in meaningful conversations. Politely inquire if they would be willing to provide feedback on your previous application. After the event, follow up with a concise email summarizing your request to maintain momentum and demonstrate your commitment.
  • Utilize ISB’s Feedback Process: ISB offers a feedback process for rejected applicants upon request, although it may take some time to receive. Submit your feedback request promptly after receiving your rejection and exercise patience as you await their response. Once received, carefully analyze the feedback to identify specific areas for improvement. This structured approach can guide your efforts towards addressing weaknesses effectively.
  • Seek Guidance from Admissions Consultants: Consider consulting with professionals who specialize in ISB applications. Experienced admissions consultants can provide a comprehensive review of your previous application, pinpoint weaknesses, and offer tailored strategies for enhancement. Choose consultants with a proven track record of success with ISB applicants to maximize the effectiveness of their guidance.

Talk to our ISB Admissions Expert

Ready to strengthen your ISB reapplication? Speak with Daksh, admitStreet’s ISB (and IIM) admissions expert, for personalized guidance and strategies tailored to your unique profile. Discover how others have successfully navigated their reapplication journey by viewing our testimonials.

Approaching ISB alumni and admissions team members with courtesy and persistence is key to successfully obtaining constructive feedback. Each interaction presents an opportunity to refine your reapplication strategy and strengthen your candidacy for admission to ISB. By leveraging these strategies, you can proactively address previous shortcomings and present a stronger application that aligns with ISB’s expectations and values.

How can I effectively seek feedback from ISB alumni?

In case you’re talking to an alumnus/alumna, here are some tips to effectively prepare for a feedback session with an ISB alumnus on your previous application:

  • Organize Your Application Materials: Gather all documents submitted in your ISB application, such as essays, recommendations, resume, and GMAT/GRE score report. Have these materials on hand for easy reference during the feedback session.
  • Identify Areas for Enhancement: Reflect on your application to pinpoint potential weaknesses, such as a low GMAT score, unclear career goals, lack of leadership experience, or poorly structured essays. Create a list of these areas to specifically seek feedback from the alumnus.
  • Prepare Targeted Questions: Develop a set of questions for the alumnus, focusing on areas like identifying application weaknesses, improving GMAT scores/essays/recommendations, strengthening leadership experiences, and general advice for reapplying to ISB. Prioritize your questions in case time is limited.
  • Research the Alumnus: Learn about the alumnus you will be speaking with, including their graduation details, current profession, employer, and any leadership roles held at ISB. This background knowledge will facilitate a more meaningful conversation and relevant questions.
  • Discuss Your Reapplication Strategy: Be prepared to discuss your plans for applying again to ISB, timelines for GMAT retakes, strategies to enhance leadership experiences, and potential changes to your essays. Seek the alumnus’s insights on refining your reapplication strategy.
  • Take Detailed Notes: Keep a notebook handy to record key feedback and advice during the session. These notes will serve as a valuable reference when implementing changes to your application.

4. Develop a Comprehensive Reapplication Strategy

Based on the feedback, create a detailed plan to address the shortcomings of your previous application. This strategy may involve:

  • Improve Your GMAT Score: Enroll in a GMAT prep course or hire a tutor to help boost your score.
  • Gain High Impact Work Experience: Seek opportunities for career advancement or new projects that help you fill gaps in your professional profile.
  • Take up Leadership Roles: Take on more significant responsibilities at work or in volunteer organizations where you could make a bigger impact.
  • Revamp Essays: Rewrite your essays from scratch, using the insights you gained from your previous rejection. Ensure your essays effectively convey your growth, enhanced qualifications, and fit with ISB. Get feedback from professionals, including ISB alumni, admissions consultants/ mentors to refine your essays. 
  • Secure Better Recommendations: Request letters from individuals who can provide strong, specific examples of your abilities and achievements.
  • Prepare Thoroughly for the Interview: Practice answering common interview questions, focusing on how you’ve improved since your last application
  • Apply in the First Round: Submit your application in the first round to optimize your chances of acceptance. However, if you feel that your application will be stronger by the Round 2 deadline, then don’t rush to apply in Round 1.
  • Seek Professional Guidance: Consider engaging with an admissions consultant, particularly if you feel uncertain about addressing the weaknesses identified in your previous application. Their expertise can offer invaluable insights and aid in crafting a robust reapplication strategy.
  • Improve Storytelling: Refine how you articulate your experiences and achievements. Develop concise, impactful stories that highlight your leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving skills.

5. Craft a Compelling Reapplicant Essay

When reapplying to ISB, you will likely need to submit a reapplicant essay. To effectively craft your ISB reapplicant essay, follow these essential steps:

  • Reflect on your previous application: Begin by analyzing why your previous application was unsuccessful. Identify weaknesses in your profile, such as a low GMAT score, insufficient leadership experience, unclear career goals, and others.
  • Highlight improvements in your profile: Detail the specific actions taken to bolster your qualifications since your last application. This may involve improving your GMAT/GRE scores, assuming more leadership responsibilities, acquiring new skills, or achieving notable milestones. Use concrete examples and measurable achievements to illustrate your progress.
  • Demonstrate your enhanced fit with ISB: Articulate why you are now a more compelling candidate for ISB than before. Explain how your profile improvements better align with ISB’s values and program offerings. Highlight your readiness to contribute to and benefit from the ISB community.
  • Maintain a positive and humble tone: Constructively acknowledge past shortcomings. Show self-awareness and a willingness to learn from past experiences. Express your determination and enthusiasm for seizing a second opportunity at ISB.
  • Keep it concise and focused: Adhere to the word limit for the reapplicant essay. Prioritize significant improvements and avoid unnecessary details. Ensure a clear and logical structure throughout your essay.

6. Remain Persistent and Positive

Bouncing back from a rejection requires persistence and a positive mindset. Believe in your abilities and do not let the initial setback discourage you. Approach the reapplication process with renewed energy and determination, remembering that your success is not defined by a single decision. Stay focused on your goals and maintain a positive outlook throughout the journey.

Most Commonly Asked Questions on ISB Reapplication

What new skills should I focus on developing for my ISB reapplication?

Here are essential skills to strengthen your ISB reapplication:

Advancing Analytical and Problem-Solving Proficiency

  • Undertake data-driven projects at work to tackle complex challenges.
  • Acquire proficiency in new data analysis tools and methodologies.
  • Engage in case competitions or hackathons to solve intricate business issues.

Enhancing Leadership Abilities

  • Take charge of team projects or initiatives at your workplace.
  • Volunteer for leadership roles in professional groups or community setups.
  • Mentor junior colleagues or lead training sessions to hone your leadership skills.

Refining Communication and Interpersonal Competence

  • Enhance written communication via courses or feedback on business correspondence.
  • Present at meetings or conferences to refine public speaking.
  • Practice active listening and empathy to enrich interpersonal interactions.

Cultivating a Global Perspective

  • Collaborate with cross-functional or multicultural teams for broader insights.
  • Learn a new language or immerse in diverse cultures through travel or cultural events.
  • Join global virtual exchange programs or online courses to broaden your global mindset.

Developing Entrepreneurial Acumen

  • Draft business plans for innovative products, services, or ventures.
  • Participate in startup accelerators or mentorship roles with entrepreneurs.
  • Network at entrepreneurship conferences and events to connect with industry leaders and investors.

What are the common mistakes to avoid when reapplying to ISB?

  • Neglecting to Reflect on Previous Weaknesses: Avoid merely skimming over your prior rejection reasons. Acknowledge and briefly analyze the main weaknesses in your previous application. Demonstrate self-awareness by detailing how you have reflected on these areas of improvement.
  • Lacking Specifics on Profile Enhancements: Avoid vague statements about improving your profile. Specify the exact steps taken to bolster your credentials. Quantify achievements such as enhanced GMAT scores, expanded leadership roles, acquired skills, and other measurable advancements.
  • Failing to Convey Strong Fit with ISB: Refrain from merely reiterating your career goals and how ISB fits into them. Clearly articulate how your refined profile now aligns more closely with ISB’s mission and offerings. Demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the program and illustrate how you can contribute meaningfully to the ISB community.
  • Using a Generic or Impersonal Tone: Steer clear of overly formal or detached language in your essays and application materials. Maintain a positive and humble tone, acknowledging past shortcomings constructively. Showcase your determination and enthusiasm for seizing a second chance at ISB.
  • Poor Essay Structure and Editing: Ensure your essays have a coherent and logical flow, with smooth transitions between ideas. Adhere strictly to word limits, avoiding unnecessary details or verbosity. Thoroughly proofread to eliminate grammatical errors and typos, ensuring polished and error-free submissions.

Can I reapply to ISB in the same application cycle?

No, ISB typically does not allow reapplications within the same cycle. If you were rejected in a particular cycle, you will need to wait for the next application season to reapply.

Final Thoughts

Reapplying to ISB presents a valuable opportunity to reflect, refine, and demonstrate your readiness for the program. 

By addressing feedback received and actively developing key skills such as leadership, communication, analytical thinking, global awareness, and entrepreneurial mindset, you not only enhance your candidacy but also showcase your dedication to personal and professional growth. 

Remember, the reapplication process is a chance to showcase your progress and readiness, ensuring you present a compelling case for why ISB is the right fit for your future ambitions. These strategies will strengthen your application and approach the process with confidence and determination.

Talk to our ISB Admissions Expert

Ready to strengthen your ISB reapplication? Speak with Daksh, admitStreet’s ISB (and IIM) admissions expert, for personalized guidance and strategies tailored to your unique profile. Discover how others have successfully navigated their reapplication journey by viewing our testimonials.

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