By Debananda Misra , Associate Director – Office of Development, ISB.
I was pleasantly surprised to receive response of my email to Mr. P R S Oberoi. His response was signed in a company letter head expressing regret for not being able to meet us. The attention to detail and the promptness in his response would be hard to match even for the most dynamic young executive. However, he made sure that our request for meeting was looked in to by his son, Mr. Vikram Oberoi.
Few weeks later, we were 20 min early for our meeting with Mr. Vikram Oberoi – the man now at the helm of the Oberoi Group. He walked in to the meeting room himself to inform us that he can not be with us early and can join us only at the scheduled time. In the lobby, I had noticed a sense of freshness and cheerfulness in his staff as his walked in. We were not surprised when we learnt later from his staff that he is known to be a man of humility.
The Harvard Case Study on the Oberoi Group that has Mr. Oberoi as the protagonist emphatically describes his attention to detail and focus on quality. I felt in many ways ISB has ethos and values similar to that of the Oberoi Group and Mr. Oberoi himself. In the case study, he is quoted as, “we do not want to be the largest; we want to be the best”. ISB started with a class strength of nearly 60 students in our PGP in 2001 and today we admit close to 900 students. We have nearly 10,000 alumni spread over 30 countries. Yet, ISB is relentlessly focused on maintain quality in its teaching and research. Amongst its nearly 60 faculty members, ISB has world-class scholars with PhDs from institutions like Oxford, Wharton, UCLA, Kellogg and INSEAD. We are constantly ranked as the top management institutions from India. Like Mr. Oberoi, we also realize that quality is not a choice but a responsibility to our stakeholders.
Another facet of Mr. Oberoi that inspired me was that much like ISB, he believes and aspires to build world-class excellence from India. He emphasized to his staff to give priority to Indian institutions for the learning and development needs of his staff. This is exactly what ISB has always aspired for. We strongly believe that it is possible to build the best academic institutions globally, from India, and we know that ISB has the best chance to. Much like Mr. Oberoi, we believe that being in and from India is our biggest strength and opportunity.
We were about to end our meeting. In his trademark humility, Mr. Oberoi told us to call him “Vikram”. Walking out with Vikram, we felt hopeful of a long-term institutional partnership the Oberoi Group and of finding continued support from Vikram in advancing ISB to the best in the world.