“ISB provides an absolute world-class academics.” – Prashanth Venkatesh
If I could summarise my journey through ISB in one sentence, it probably would be “Lived a lifetime in one year.” That is how wonderfully crazy it is to study at ISB.
You really get to know how much can happen in a single calendar year. It is really about 365 days and nights where one spends around 20 hours a day learning & just 4 hours sleeping. You meet professionals from all over the country and different parts of the globe. One gets to participate in conferences, presentations, quizzes, events, clubs, networking and much more. I am glad that I was able to do all of it in just one year and look back at it as a fond memory.
Sometimes in life, it is more important to know what you don’t want to do rather than what you want to do. In an era where we are inundated by choices, it becomes difficult to choose where you want to go ahead in your career. My curiosity towards marketing made my choice quite easy and that is how I came to ISB – the mecca of marketing.
I managed to specialise in Marketing as well as Finance. These specialisations benefitted my career tremendously. Marketing helped me land into my job and I have never looked back ever since. Finance helped me appreciate the way great companies are built around strong capital investments. One cannot have a strong company without a strong balance sheet.
How ISB empowers you
When I think about how PGP empowered me and my career, I chart out three strong points. These three takeaways are the cornerstone of my leadership and career development. There are many great B-Schools around the world and in India but what differentiates ISB for me are the following:
A) World Class Academics
ISB provides absolute work-class academics. PGP has a very designed curriculum that can be split into two terms – the core term and the elective term. Core term lays a strong foundation of business management wherein you learn the basics of subjects such as finance, strategy, economics, marketing and digital marketing. The elective term is where you discover the subject of your interest & garner in-depth knowledge about them. Overall, ISB provides a great mix of courses on Operations, Leadership, Analytics, Strategy, Finance and Marketing.
The professors at ISB are at the top of their game. We had around 30 professors on the campus & each one of them was a master of their subjects. These tutors aren’t like latching on to their past laurels but are continuing to do great research & teach from a more contemporary point of view. The amount of visiting faculty that comes to ISB is unparallel in India. Professors from Top B-Schools bring diverse knowledge and aid in developing a well-rounded global perspective.
Another great advantage that ISB brings is the peer learning group where all our batchmates come from diverse backgrounds and share varied perspectives from different walks of life. These peers end up becoming a part of your life and life-long friends. I still keep in touch with my peer group and share career notes with them on regular basis.
Lastly, international immersion plays a very crucial role in developing a global business perspective. Though I didn’t apply for the student exchange programme, I still ended up students coming from Top B-Schools in the USA, Europe and Asia on the campus. The learning environment ISB provides is inconceivable until you join the programme yourself!
B) The Extraordinary Network
I think you hear every single ISB alum rave about the Alumni Network and like most of the aspirants, I had the same question – Why should I pay so much for a network? Yet ten years after graduating from ISB, it is probably my biggest takeaway – having an unbelievably diverse network.
In my class itself, we had cohorts from every single undergrad out there and all walks of life. My wife herself was a doctor who had served in the Indian Navy. We had journalists, lawyers, engineers, economists, medical professionals, army personnel and the list goes on.
Even the functional experience you see in the class is mind-boggling. We had engineers who had already moved into a different functional area. There were people from consulting. Few of them had on-ground experience in the energy sector. Getting to learn from their experience was a fantastic experience. Talking about sectoral representation, we had people who had worked in SBI and ICICI in the same class! All in all, ISB has diversity at its core.
When I look at the Alumni Network, each member has an unfathomable number of resources to tap in from. From startups to big conglomerates; Consulting giants to financial moguls; social impact to public policy – you will find ISB alumni working in all sectors all around the world.
A network is not about having a thousand friends. It is about having 1000 people whom you can turn up to any time for advice. ISB Alumni Network in that sense is a truly Transformational Network.
C) Personal Growth
In a country where you have Top B-Schools with over 60 years of legacy, ISB is a very young B-School and yet very entrepreneurial in nature. Entrepreneurial not in terms of joining a startup, but rather the way it induces creativity, innovation and growth mindset through its pedagogy and research. This helps you immensely in career development not just after graduation, but even 10 years down the line. From my batch of 2011, only 1% of the classmates are in the same field they started their career in and are doing phenomenally well in their lives.
Think of ISB as a startup ecosystem where you can do what you want to do like an entrepreneur. If a student is interested in something – nothing stops him/her from taking the initiative. For example, 10 years back during my time at ISB, India had won its first individual gold medal in Olympics, a batchmate of ours started an initiative called ISL to bring sports and business together on the campus. Another batchmate wanted to start a mutual fund and school helped him find ways to do it. This is something unique to ISB in comparison to traditional B-Schools where you have a long hierarchy and process to get things done.
Since ISB is very entrepreneurial, it has managed to keep its curriculum & course upgraded and global. The school really listens to the frequent feedback alumni provide keeps updating itself accordingly.
All in all, ISB has a student-driven entrepreneurial culture. I believe it also applies to the alumni as well. You will never see alumni as passionate about ISB in any other school. We are always in touch with the school in any possible we can.