ISB is one of the most reputed business schools in the country, surpassing the IIMs on several fronts. In just about 20 years, the school has made a mark with its global academic standards as well as best-in-class placement records. ISB students are sought after by the entire spectrum of corporates, including from the government and semi-government space to unicorns, startups, and new age firms. Securing an ISB admit, therefore, doesn’t come easy, with its extensive selection process.
Moreover, those applying to ISB thrive with a continuum of hard work with efforts to clear the GMAT and a considerable amount for the curriculum to pass the one year at India’s only and world’s 100th triple accredited–AACSB, EQUIS, and AMBA–institution. Also, the grueling admission process of ISB is more difficult, making it challenging for even the mighty professionals with many years of experience in their CVs to crack the code.
In such a scenario, bringing hope to thousands by placing over 1000 applicants into ISB over the span of eleven years, ISBmantra is proving to be the perfect Launchpad into ISB, if you are seriously seeking to get admitted into the globally best-ranked School of Business–Seventh (No.1 from India) by Forbes in 2019, 32nd (No.1 from India) by Financial Times in 2022, 44th (No.1 from India) by Economists in 2022.
Started in 2011 by Prashant Tibrewal and Khushboo Agarwal, the company has grown multifold as it now has more than 25 ISB alumni as consultants and four former ISB admissions officers which has translated into the results it has achieved by helping 1000+ candidates get into ISB, gaining an application to interview success rate of 85%. “And we can now proudly say that 10% of the ISB class is ISBmantra,” informs Prashant, the Founder. He adds, “Today, ISBmantra has emerged as the leading admissions consulting company specializing in admissions to the Indian School of Business (ISB).”
Touching Mighty Milestones
He further states that the strong team they have built since the inception of ISBmantra is the main reason for the success they’ve had. He says, “The number of consultants we have on-boarded along with being the only company to have former ISB admissions onboard has positioned us to be one of the best in this market.”
The journey of ISBmantra began in 2012 as the company was founded in collaboration with two former ISB admission officers and reached the milestone of helping 500 candidates to get into ISB in the span of four years, i.e., 2016. “The Year 2018 marked the very first time we were able to achieve a 100% application to interview conversion for the round-1 PGP applicants,” he states. The continued efforts from the team led to 10% of the 2019 ISB class being from ISBmantra. Contrary to other businesses, 2020 turned out to be a successful time in terms of business as they reached the 1000 ISB admits milestone. Talking about the current scenario, they have been able to expand the team to 30+ consultants in 2022 to help more candidates get into ISB. “The drive to assist candidates has driven us to expand and adapt to various situations which have helped us over the years to become one of the best in this segment,” mentions Prashant.
Forwarding Candidates’ Unique Stories
Talking more about ISBmantra’s offering and aspects that make it stand out in the cutthroat competition, Prashant says that ISBmantra offers personalized consulting for all types of applicants ranging from pre-graduates to mid-career working professionals to let every candidate put forward their own unique story to ISB.
He says, “The variety of services we offer, include:
*PGP/EEO/PGPPRO/ PGPMAX Application Builder- Involves a strategy session with former ISB admissions officers, brainstorming and discussion with consultants, essay review by expert editors, and final recommendations as well as planning.
*YLP Application Builder – Candidates get CV building, and recommendation planning along with the above-mentioned strategy session, brainstorming and discussions, essay review, and recommendations.
*Interview Builder – Five sessions which involve career goal planning, counseling calls, and mock interviews with former ISB officers, consultants as well as ISB alumni.”
Flying with Colours
Prashant also accepts that considering the current industry scenario, there are some unique challenges they overcome to ensure ISBmantra stays ahead. Since the ISB admissions are very seasonal, so is the business. “Maintaining high standards while managing the surges in the number of candidates can be challenging but with the rich pool of consultants we have on-boarded, combined with the robust processes that are set up behind the scenes help us in constantly overcoming any challenges that may arise,” he divulges.
The company specifically dealing with ISB admissions makes it difficult to reach the right set of audiences to market, given the niche factor of the business. Even when the reach can be gained, the size of potential clients is less owing to the same factor. “The Upside to this situation is that the candidates we reach are more likely to consider employing our services,” he expresses.
An Ocean Full of Wisdom
There are three pieces of advice that Prashant would like to give to entrepreneurs looking to create a venture in the education space.
~Deliver real value: Education being one of the most critical needs of our children as well as of the country, it is not only unfair to our own future to promote products that do not deliver real developmental value, but also don’t make sustainable business sense for an entrepreneur. If you are someone looking to venture into the education or EdTech space, creating scalable impact is going to be the key to success.
~Commit full time: Entrepreneurship is a lot about patience and learning. No idea is perfect. A venture evolves significantly as it goes from the idea stage to the product stage, and continues to evolve with market and customer feedback. Most successful entrepreneurs fail fast and learn fast instead of trying to develop the perfect product in the first go. This entire process of failing and learning requires one to remain extremely patient, determined, and alert, which, more often than not, becomes possible only when you are committed full-time to your dream of building a successful venture.
~Plan long term: Very often I come across start-up enthusiasts saying “No one else is doing it!” If something has never been done before, or if no one else is doing it, chances are that there is no market for it. It is important, therefore, to research well, and gain good clarity about the scope and purpose of your venture. Creating a venture to seek VC funding is akin to hitting a sixer in a cricket test match without having a solid plan in place. Enthusiasm and short-term achievements can only help gain momentary fulfillment.
A business plan without solid fundamentals and a long-term strategy is not going to survive the test of time. There are several ventures that do not seek or need venture funding and still are more successful than funded start-ups. It is important, therefore, to introspect and understand what you would like to achieve through your venture, and to acquaint yourself with the ground realities, before you commit to creating a new product or service.
On envisioning scaling ISBmantra’s operations and offerings in the future, Prashant shares, “With the strong reputation we have built over the years and the strong team we have in place at the moment, we can start catering to bigger and broader needs and we believe our new ventures Alum-n-i, as well as Preplab.ai, are a step in that direction.”
Alum-n-i is an experience sharing platform to connect applicants with alumni of colleges from around the world , to help applicants gain insights into colleges, student life, careers and more.
Preplab on the other hand focuses on improving the interview and communication skills of people by offering AI-generated feedback to users, with the option to get feedback from a mentor as well.
Further sharing Students (got admitted to ISB) Testimonials,
“Did interview prep with ISBMantra and had a great experience. They had a detailed and structured road map for the preparation which covered almost everything I was asked in the final interview.”–Aditya Dev.
“The resources shared and the entire counseling process is tailored to help one achieve the best results.”–Nandini Pankaj.
“My experience with ISBMantra was nothing short of wonderful. All of the Mentors, Consultants, etc., were very professional, kind, and knowledgeable.”–Sushant Ravva.
“Great personalized service, would recommend to all prospective students from any background.”–Alok S.
Prashant concludes, “We have had quite a bit of success lately and love working with such a diverse pool of candidates ranging from engineers and businessmen to very unique ones such as an Airforce Officer, a swimmer who represented India at the Commonwealth Games, former Miss India, former IPL player and many more.”