Now that ISB has introduced weekend executive MBA programs, it has lead to confusion amongst ISB aspirants. As much as working professionals desired for a weekend MBA program, they are slightly confused whether ISB PGP Pro suits their ambitions, or not. To give a detailed view of the program, Leverage Experts and ISB alumni, Aditya Verma has brought insights on ISB’s weekend executive MBA, PGP Pro.
Leverage Expert – Congratulations Aditya, you’ve made to your dream college, ISB.
Aditya– Thank You! I was certain I could crack it after all the help I got from you and team.
Aditya, what made you choose ISB’s PGP Pro over any other weekend program?
Honestly, I was in a dilemma of choosing between the available options. On one hand, there was ISB’s PGP Pro and on the other, I had INSEAD’s ILPSIE. This is where I decided to ask an expert for advice, and after calculating all the pros and cons, I took my call! One of the factors that pushed me to enroll for PGP Pro at ISB was the cost of opportunity that involved spending a couple of years away from family and work, that too right in the middle of my career. I strongly believe this weekend programme is much needed for professionals who are in the middle of their careers. It not only inculcates business skills in us but boosts our confidence as an individual.
How about you give us an overview of ISB’s PGP Pro?
So, PGP Pro is an executive MBA equivalent program that is particularly for professionals like me, who have some 5-12 years of work experience. I remember when I started with the course, I was skeptical of the curriculum and exposure I would get through this program. However, to my surprise, it was great! PGP Pro exposed me to world-class education through classroom and online learning. My tenure at ISB was full of exposure and wisdom came from all sources I never thought about. Be it, my classmates, be it the teaching faculty, be it through the student exchange network, everything exposed me to the unseen territories of the business world.
The program starts with a one week-long residency at either of the ISB campuses, i.e., in Hyderabad or in Mohali. In the beginning, students have to take up online preparatory courses sourced from Harvard Business School Publishing and it consists of a 16-month programme with seven modules. Right after we return from campus, our classes shifted to an alternative weekend mode which was interspersed with online components in the intervening weekends. Classes for PGP Pro were conducted in Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, and Hyderabad. Later, students are sent for a week-long international student exchange program to one of the partner schools of ISB. In the end, the program ends at ISB campus where classes are conducted for a week.
Aditya, how would you describe your experience after you signed up for ISB PGP Pro?
One word- SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS! It was a roller coaster ride I’d love to take again. As much as it was exciting and fruitful, we had some ‘fantastic’ moments while perusing the executive MBA program. What I believe to be the greatest takeaway from ISB’s PGP Pro was the network I have built here and I am very sure it would help me throughout. One of the reasons I chose ISB’s PGP Pro was for the world-class faculty of the institution. I still keep bugging some of the professors from ISB when I need guidance and never have I received lesser enthusiasm from their end. They happily help me even with the smallest of the queries that I have.
Also, I clearly remember the times I called the Leverage Edu team even at the oddest hours, to nag about how my work and this course treated me, and you as my mentor kept on motivating me by showing the greener side of it. Now post completion of the program at ISB, when I look back I realize how essential the pressure is to shape us into who we are today. ISB’s PGP Pro was challenging as I had to balance my professional life with this new role I took as a student. Even when it is a part-time MBA program, it is rigorous and one has to discount on all their personal interests in order to prioritize what’s really important. ISB’s PGP Pro prepared me to understand all the tools and skills required to adopt the industry’s best practices.
Throughout this 16 months journey, I learned about 24 courses that were divided into 4 categories and they focused majorly on Leadership and Strategy. We had a chance to access the latest research papers and online study material that took us beyond bookish knowledge. We began with preparatory courses, moved on to foundation courses and then to the core and advanced courses. In the end, we learned about the Electives of Finance and Marketing. What I truly loved about the programme was how it covered everything within the weekend sessions, without over-burdening us with knowledge. It was only possible with the help of great professors and the variety of teaching methods they adopted.
What do you think it takes to get into ISB’s PGP Pro and how does the admissions procedure work?
Well, as far as I know, ISB takes a keen interest in short-listing profiles that have exceptional achievements in it. Since it’s the best B-school in India, they make sure to select candidates who display the potential to become future leaders. For PGP Pro, they invite applications from candidates in the middle of their careers who are serious about learning the dynamics of management from ISB, and who have some work experience backed with strong academic skills.
To apply for ISB PGP Pro, a GMAT score isn’t mandatory but yes, two essays and two recommendation letters had to be submitted. When I applied for ISB’s PGP Pro in the second Round, I recall there were hardly few days left to the deadline and I almost panicked because I didn’t want to mess with the application. I had already arranged everything you told me for admission like-
- Coloured Photograph
- Academic Certificates
- Class 10th and 12th mark sheets
- Bachlor’s Degree and marksheets of all semesters
So I was sorted with my documents, the only place where I was stuck were the LOR’s and essays. That’s when you introduced me to Leverage Edu’s team that helped me in translating my thoughts in the right format and in identifying the skills that I could mention in the essays. In no time, we had the first draft of my essays. Later, they even filtered out the necessary information to make sure it was only addressing the questions that could be asked by the admissions committee. Leverage Edu’s team was of great help during those days. Especially with the deadline coming close, they assisted me to move towards the final draft by working on it late in the evenings and weekends. Not just this, I remember you suggested me a couple of reference books to read in the meantime that helped me renew my knowledge on management and finance. It was only with all the help I received from you and the team; I could finish my application in time and submitted it online.
How was your interview at ISB for PGP Pro?
Post the submission of application the next thing I remember was my interview. I believe that was the only interview where I was not anxious or nervous like I’ve been at every interview, thanks to your tips and guidance for the same. I was rather pretty confident which helped me in communicating my views to the admissions team. The panel consisted of 2 ISB alums and they graded each interviewee based on their rationale on choosing PGP Pro at ISB. It was approximately in the 4th week after my interview I received my offer letter from ISB and I had to pay the fee within 10 days to reserve my seat for PGP Pro.
Aditya, how were the placements at ISB for PGP Pro students?
I’d say ISB has some absolutely great placement opportunities. They host hundreds of global firms that regularly recruit students from the campus. Also, since we are a part of ISB’s alumni network, it opens new mediums to connect with companies and look out for opportunities. However, I did not apply for placements as I wanted to continue working where I am currently. My agenda to enroll in ISB PGP Pro was to gain knowledge and even though ISB had great placement opportunities, I was not tempted to change my job. Although, I might leverage on the alumni network to hunt some amazing job opportunities in future.
Do you know the fee for PGP Pro at ISB for 2019-20?
Oh yes! My cousin is applying for PGP Pro this year so he had discussed the details with me. The program fee for 2019-20 for PGP Pro is INR 30,41,000 plus GST. Some INR 20,000 needs to be paid as security that will be refunded once he completes the program which I believe is included in the total fee. The alumni membership fee of INR 25,000 is also included in the fee and it can be paid in four installments or at once.
He will have to take care of the additional expenses like Laptops, books and travel fares for student exchange network and visiting ISB campus. I guess, he might want to apply for education loans for which I’d direct him to you or someone from your team at Leverage Edu. I remember you helped me with loans when I applied for my weekend executive MBA at ISB.
Aditya, in your opinion, should students go for ISB’s PGP Pro? Is the program really worth the money?
Oh yes, definitely! Where else will you get an executive MBA from the top B-School of India, that too while you are working and putting your learnings to practice? Apart from this, to talk about the fee that you pay for PGP Pro, I’d say it’s worth it. You don’t walk in an Audi showroom and say the car is expensive, right? I guess, you have your answer here.
At last, I would like to thank you for introducing me to Leverage Edu, ISB and this amazing program – ISB PGP Pro. Those 2 years have been extremely fulfilling. I really hope that a lot of students across the world learn about this program and opportunities that they could benefit from, as an ISB alumni. Also, I hope much more students reach out the mentors at Leverage Edu and identify the right opportunities and upscale in their careers.