The ISB MBA
The ISB MBA is one of the most popular MBA programs among applicants in the Indian and larger Asian region. While a lot has already been said about ISB’s infrastructure, the quality of its faculty, the prestige of the ISB MBA, and its affiliation with other top b-schools, this article seeks to present an insider’s view of some of the other things that make Indian School of Business a great school to attend. The ISB MBA is actually the ISB PGP (Post Graduate Program) in Management, but as most people refer to it as the ISB MBA, that is what we too will do in this post.
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Social initiatives: ISB is host to a local chapter of the Net Impact club. This club provides students with plenty of opportunities to lend a helping hand to the needy. Some of the activities that students can participate in through this club are:
(a) Social welfare activities like organizing blood donation camps and health check-up camps. Another important event is Bandhan, an annual event where ISB MBA (PGP) students celebrate India’s Independence Day (Aug 15) with less privileged students from four Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) across Hyderabad.
(b) Management consulting and strategizing opportunities for non-profits. The club provides opportunities for giving pro-bono consulting services to non-profits.
This is a great learning experience as it allows students to apply business and management principles to real-life problems.
Although the consulting opportunities are only open with non-profits through this initiative, the problems that students solve may be classic business problems, ranging from improving operations to managing finances better to creating a marketing strategy.
Similarly, iDiya (pioneered in 2011) is a social venture competition that allows non-profits, b-school students, and working professionals to showcase their ideas/ventures centred on social change.
(c) Strategy events and workshops for non-profits. These events give students a chance to participate in imparting skills and business acumen to non-profits.
The Diffusion initiative (started in 2011) saw students come together with the Central University of Bihar to offer skill-building courses as part of a two-day workshop for non-profits.
Similarly, the Social Venture Implementation initiative allows students to write a paper about the role of social enterprises in emerging markets. The aim is to provide an idea platform for alumni who want to start a social venture.
Great research: ISB has a sharp focus on research for its faculty. In fact, the promotion criteria for faculty at ISB also includes the number of publications made by faculty members in peer-reviewed journals.
This also means a lot of opportunities for students to delve deeper into their areas of interest by co-authoring research papers (with faculty members),
working on research projects(using the Faculty Initiated Research Project model), or just getting to know about the latest developments in their area of interest (through published research/class teaching).
A list of the Centres of Excellence set up by ISB for research in different areas can be found here.
Exchange programs: Most business schools have exchange programs with other institutions, usually in different continents. ISB does too.
However, what makes ISB’s exchange program an attractive proposition is the fact that the exchange programs are with some of the world’s top universities and b-schools, including Wharton, Kellogg, LBS, Darden, Fuqua, Haas, and Stern.
The fact that there are so many partnerships with top schools gives the ISB MBA an edge over other similar programs in the region.
Leadership development: The ISB MBA offers the unique Leadership Development Programme (or LDP), which fosters initiative, teamwork, and leadership among participants.
Some of the activities within this programme include a 360 degree feedback model (allowing students to identify their strengths and weaknesses and correct them), a module to hone leadership skills, and a module to improve communication and teamwork skills.
While some students feel that these ‘soft’ skills are not as useful as some of the ‘hard’ skills they learn (business concepts, management principles), they realize the importance of these skills when they apply them in their jobs.
While a lot of schools in the region now offer leadership development as part of the MBA program, the ISB MBA pioneered it in a lot of senses, and has improved the course consistently over the last decade.
Consulting opportunities: The ISB MBA’s Experiential Learning Programme (ELP) is unique in that it offers students the opportunity to work on live consulting assignments from participating firms.
The programme runs parallel to the ISB academic session. Similar to the ELP, the Wharton Global Consulting Practicum (GCP) allows students to pair up with peers from the Wharton School and work on consulting Indian companies that want to enter the North American market.