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Indian School of Business' 3 ingredients that put it on the global top 25 list

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Indian School of Business (ISB) is the only Indian institute to feature among the top 25 management institutes in the world as per the FT Global MBA Rankings 2019. Rajendra Srivastava, Dean of ISB talks about what makes the institute's expansion plans. Excerpts:

Q: You are the only Indian B-School to make it to the top 25 in the FT MBA rankings. What are the factors that contributed to this?

A: We've been working at it steadily. There are three major ingredients. The main ingredient is the quality of students. We only admit students with work experience. The average that they have is five years.

Also, when we admit students, we not only look at the test scores but the soft skills as well. Further, we look at emotional quotient, ability to communicate, team-building capability and intelligence quotient. Now, we are also looking at what I call the 'heart quotient'. This looks into whether they care about society and community.

The faculty is also very research focussed. We are looking to add 30 percent to our faculty strength and will have 70 resident faculty members. We get a lot of experienced visiting faculty and this brings a balance that comes from the global perspective of these faculty. Going forward, we are looking to hire faculty members from the East (Asia) as well.

Q: Has the thrust on corporate engagements also helped?

A: We have also focussed on engagement with the corporate community and government. The engagement with the corporate community is not only through recruiting but also through executive education. This is important not as a source of revenue but also helps in brand building.

Also, the corporate community has an opportunity to guide content development and research programmes in areas like infrastructure and healthcare.

Q: Is the institute also looking to develop more India-focussed case studies?

A: About two years ago, we were doing 25-30 case studies a year. We have now pushed it up to 70 a year and the goal is to reach 100 per annum. Out of these, about 85 percent are based in India and the rest are emerging markets focussed. What we have realised is that there is a need to have more India-focussed cases because that is what students are interested in.

Q: Government is working on a second list to give the Institute of Eminence tag. In the first, the tag was granted to a few educational institutes. What is your view on it?

A: We are still waiting to see what is going to happen with the Institutes of Eminence (IoE) list.

We were disappointed (of not being featured on the list) but we will continue on our path.

We will look into the course curriculum and try to bring in additional modules related to analytics, public policy and corporate governance. We had planned these anyway irrespective of whether we get the IoE or not.

Q: Are you in talks with All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to get an accreditation?

A: We have global accreditations including AACSB and EQUIS. In India, we are continuing to keep our dialogues open. We are well recognised globally as the leader in management education and hopefully, people at home will take notice too.

Q: After Mohali, is there a plan to open up campuses in other parts of the country?

A: In the future, our investment is going to be in soft assets like content development and digital infrastructure. We can have more telepresence. We are already delivering programmes in Gurgaon, Mumbai and Bengaluru for working professionals. But we will not buy real estate and will rent it wherever required.

Q: The ISB management programme is considered premium. Are additional scholarships on the anvil?

A: The fee structures of Indian Institute of Management are not that far behind than us. However, since the reputation of the school and the alumni are high, bank loans are easily available. For students, there are usually four or five banks queuing up to provide education loans.

Having said that there is an endeavour to tap the alumni network for this purpose. We are building up the endowment and the alumni are providing funds for the deserving students too.