India Business
Tony ISB B-school benchmarks excellence
Apr 24, 2007 - 7:27:21 AM

Hyderabad, April 24 - An idea born 11 years ago has blossomed into the premier Indian School of Business - for middle-level managers that has set new benchmarks of excellence and whose graduates command international salaries of $269,000 - and domestic offers of nearly Rs.5 million.

With the creme de la creme of India Inc., as also quite a few NRIs like international financial consultant Rajat Gupta backing ISB, it has in six short years reached levels that few other B-schools in India have been able to achieve.

So much so that Donald B. Jacobs, former dean of the Kellogg School of Management, was moved to remark: 'It is unlikely that we will see more than one other business school of the stature of ISB launched in our lifetime.'

So, what is it that makes ISB stand apart from the rest?

For one, the association with institutions like Kellogg, the Wharton School and the London Business School gives ISB 'a lineage that not only attracts the best academicians, but also ensures that our curriculum is contemporary and relevant to current industry needs', Dean M. Rammohan Rao explained.

Then, ISB provides a compressed one-year international standard postgraduate diploma in business management at a fraction of the cost at any B-school of note abroad.

The ISB programme costs $29,000 against fees of $82,680 at Stanford and between $77,000 and $79,000 at Wharton and Kellogg and Wharton.

There's also the question of GMAT scores that form the basis of admission to ISB. Here, it averages at 706 against 716 at Wharton, 711 at Stanford and 702 at Kellogg.

In fact, in the ISB Class of 2007 that graduated earlier this month, 12 percent of the 418 students had GMAT scores of 750 and above, 53 percent scored between 700 and 740, 30 percent between 650 and 690, and only five percent had scores of 600-640.

Little wonder then, that this class attracted a top international offer of $269,000 against the highest domestic offer of Rs.4.39 million. The average international salary was $135,000 and the average domestic salary 1.50 million.

Interestingly enough, a large number of students opted for domestic jobs - and some even for a mid-career change.

'ISB gives you a cutting edge in your career. It helps you reinvent your future, and equips you to emerge as a global leader with a thorough understanding of the world business market,' Rao told IANS.

Along the way, ISB has also quietly changed the manner in which venture capitalists look at budding entrepreneurs by acting as an 'honest broker' between the two to translate business models into reality.

This has been made possible by a tie-up between ISB and the California-based TiE - that counts among its ranks a virtual who's who of Indian American venture capitalists.

The tie-up is the logical extension of ISB's Wadhwani Centre for Entrepreneurial Development -, one of the four centres of excellence the school runs, with another two on the way. The Wadhwani Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation set up by Romesh Wadhwani, chairperson and CEO of the US-based Symphony Technology Group, funds the WCED.

This makes ISB about the only B-school of note to offer a course in entrepreneurial development.

'There are very few institutions that teach entrepreneurship, which is the next logical step a business school graduate should take after learning the ropes on a job,' ISB deputy dean Ajit Rangnekar said.

'Typically, you have a situation where a student or a group of students work out a business model but have no way of funding this. This is largely because they do not have the skill to make an effective presentation to a venture capitalist. This is where we step in,' he added.

'We have created a support mechanism to help entrepreneurs start up with seed money,' Rangnekar pointed out.

Founded by a group of eminent business leaders, entrepreneurs and academicians from around the world and spread over a 260-acre campus, ISB is also among the few schools doing research focused on emerging and transition economies.

'ISB believes in building bridges that link its many facets, bridges that reflect its unique corporate-academia association, bridges that connect its world-class faculty and its diverse student group, bridges across the international student community with its exchange programmes, bridges that seek ways to link its research and teaching to the world beyond its campus,' Rao said.

Apart from the entrepreneurial development centre, ISB runs similar entities in the areas of analytical finance, global logistics and technical management. Two more centres are planned in the sphere of IT and the networked economy and on strategic marketing and leadership.

ISB currently has 26 exchange programmes with leading institutions worldwide from the US, France, South Africa, Israel, Germany, China, Pakistan and Britain.

'These programmes provide students with international exposure and help them build global perspectives,' Rao pointed out.

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