A different B-school – ISB


The latest entrant on the B-schools list located in Hyderabad, capital of the state of Andhra Pradesh, is the “Indian School of Business� or in short ISB. Getting the prestigious institution ISB in its territory against stiff competition from 3 other neighboring states is considered as an outstanding achievement for the state.

On the face of it, one may consider the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, as another competitor to the IIMs. Delve further and you will realize the two institutions are as different as chalk and cheese.

Every year, tens of thousands of students write the Common Admission Test, a prerequisite for admission to the Indian Institutes of Management and other Business schools. This is their first step towards the much coveted Master of Business Administration degree.

The IIMs have always been top priority because of the quality of education they symbolize and also because of their sheer brand value.

How ISB is different?

ISB conducts a one-year MBA program while most other business schools in India conduct a two-year program.

The advantage, here, is mainly that one can go back to work that much faster. An additional year of study is potentially an additional year of income lost. However, this does not lessen the ISB degree’s value in any way. There are no breaks in the one-year program which is a lot more rigorous than its two-year counterpart.

Secondly, unlike most B-schools which have a large influx of fresh graduates, the ISB insists its applicants have prior work experience.

Work experience is insisted because it enhances the course for the students. They are able to relate to the managerial concepts they learn because they have already been a part of an organization. It’s not just theory that is constantly bombarded at them. There is another reason why studying at ISB means you can enter the job market that much faster; business networking begins as you study.

Fresh graduates get into an MBA program without knowing what they want out of it. A few years of experience give them clarity and they will know what excites and what puts off in management theories as applied to actual business situations.

The ISB is associated with three top global business schools, namely the Kellogg School of Management, The Wharton School and London Business School.

There is a judicious mix of international and resident faculty. Besides, the faculty includes teachers who are working on and researching in their areas of specialization.

The one-year program is divided into eight terms, lasting six weeks each. The basic or core subjects are taught in the first four terms. In the final four terms, the students choose their specializations and are taught the elective, or specialized, subjects.

The subjects that a student can specialize include:

Analytic Finances
Operations & IT Management
Strategic Marketing
Leadership & Change Management
Additional programs

Apart from the course subjects, students undertake a few additional programs. They are advised to experiment as much as possible in the first six months, so that they can identify the area of their interest and choose their specialization accordingly.

Leadership Management Program involves a series of lectures, discussions and workshops to develop one’s leadership skills and Exponential Learning Program is for working on a project in groups of four to six.

Industry leaders and professionals are invited to share their practical experiences and learning. A number of entrepreneurs and corporate heads constantly visit the faculty to interact with the students and conduct workshops.


~ More than 95 per cent of the students receive placements.

~ Last year, students received 442 offers, of which 436 were lateral offers. In a lateral placement, you begin your career at a level that is higher than an entry level post at an organization.

~ While 399 out of the 442 offers were from domestic companies, the remaining are international. Major companies that offer placements at ISB include CNN-IBN, Citibank, Covansys, Cognizant, GENPACT, EDS, Satyam, Wipro, Infosys, McKinsey, Microsoft and Ernst & Young.

~ While the highest international salary was $ 2,33,800, the average domestic salary offered to the students was Rs 11,77,000.

The college has a student exchange program with business schools from the US, UK, Israel and China. In the final two terms, the students have to choose between an exchange program and the placement program which takes place at the same time.

On an average, 40-50 students are sent on the student exchange program. Though students who choose this option do not have to pay extra tuition fee, they do have to bear their travel and living costs.

Entrance exam

The ISB associates itself with the GMAT; the GMAT score is one of the five areas considered in the admission procedure. While there is no cutoff, most students have a score of at least 600.

If an applicant has given the CAT and not the GMAT, he may be given conditional admission and will have to then appear for the GMAT. To confirm his admission, he will have to secure a score of at least 690. International students have to give the TOEFL.

Six essays will evaluate students on their ethical values, leadership skills and post-ISB career goals. These essays will basically test how focused the students are. Students are often asked to discuss what leadership means to them in one of the essays.

Finally, there is the interview where students interact one-on-one with a special admissions board.

Work experience is another important qualifying factor. A majority of the students at the ISB have at least four to five years of work experience. There are a few students who have less than two years of experience as well.

Students must realize that an MBA is an investment of a lifetime. They must know what they are getting into and must not jump into an MBA just because of the fat pay packets on offer. Certain students do an MBA at ISB because they want to make a function shift that is they want to move from the technical field to the managerial field in their own company. Others wish to make a complete sector shift. For example, a manager in an IT company may want to be an account manager in an ad agency. Focus on the roles and functions intended to be performed in your organization once you secure an MBA from ISB. That is when you will truly achieve success and salaries alone should not be the focus.