Life at ISB

It is next to impossible to pen down the experience of life at ISB. However, let me try to give you a sketch of what it looks life and feels like to be a part of the ISB community.

Key participants of the ISB community include the students, the spouses and the faculty. ISB is an ideal example of a mature, hardworking and fun loving close knit family. Let’s try to understand the experience from the viewpoint of various stakeholders of this community

Students’ view

One year as a student at ISB is probably one of the most hectic times a person would ever go through. Academics at ISB do create some pressure and/ or stress. However, the best part is this all comes along with a lot of fun, parties, social and professional events and networking.

The list of assignments is never ending. Exams and quizzes may bounce on you from anywhere and anytime. You never know what time you would go to bed and also if you would be able to watch the next movie of your favorite actor. The schedule is very demanding but the best part is that you would learn that everything is manageable. Well, things don’t stop at just managing academics because another significant part of MBA at ISB is yet to be stated.

Before stating what life is beyond academics, let me mention another important fact – ISB pampers its students (in a very positive way). The apartments are fully furnished and come with a kitchenette. Sarovar Hotels maintain the premises and also provide catering services. They also help a lot in various arrangements in general, including parties. It can be easily compared to staying in a resort. Hence ISB pampers you so that you can focus on what you have come for – Education!

Parties! Yes, one of the lifelines at ISB, parties are both good and frequent and also reasonable here. You would love to dress up for a theme party on campus, at a pub or in an apartment within the campus. Irrespective of the place, you would enjoy. Next important part is the bonding one develops while working with people in various study groups. You can really make some friends for life at this place. Numerous events are conducted on campus throughout the year. This includes, talk sessions, seminars, b-plan competitions, festival celebrations and the list goes on.

Various social clubs on campus (Fine Arts, Dramatics, Photography etc) organize a wide range of events. In addition to this, activities on campus range from Salsa classes to Yoga.

So what you would see, at ISB, is a perfect blend of studies and fun. Of course, the learning that you get of this combination is incomparable.

Spouses’ view

Many spouses say that one year stay ISB was one of the best times of their life. What spouses enjoy is all the fun and facilities on campus minus the studies. SFA (Spouses and Family Association) is very active and is also a big contributor to the fun element on campus. Of course, they add to the family environment. So, you can get some homemade food at your married friends’ house.

Faculty’s view

The faculty on campus (both resident and visiting) is very open and friendly with students. You would find them in various parties, in events like Dandiya and of course in and around your classrooms. They are always open to guide you and provide inputs – on academics or on life in general.

ISB vs IIM 2 yr program

Choosing the b-schools is probably one of the most important steps in the entire application process. This is an important step not only because it impacts probability of success in getting admits but also because it will have an impact on your life for years to come.

With global recognition, ISB and IIMs are key options considered by Indian MBA aspirants. While both schools have their own merits, the choice involves some personal preferences. You will find below a list of key features and benefits of ISB and IIM 2 year programs.

ISB PGP

This 1 year program has gained popularity at a rapid pace and the reasons are evident. ISB provides world class education in a world class environment. ISB’s USP(s) include renowned faculty, brand name (FT 15) and tie ups with Kellogg, Wharton and London Business School. One year duration, a highly diverse and experienced peer group and state of the art facilities on campus are some other benefits of ISB.

ISB’s admission criteria include GMAT, post graduation work experience of 2 years or more (preferable) and a bachelor’s degree.

IIMs

IIMs’ flagship program is the 2 year PGDM (Post Graduate Diploma in Management). IIM brand name is globally recognized and held in very high esteem in India. 2 year program allows an opportunity for deeper dive into management education and also fair amount of time to people looking for changing their career track. Strong alumni network and presence in India and abroad is another positive factor.

IIMs’ admissions process includes CAT exam followed by Group discussions and Personal interviews (conducted separately by each IIM)

Comparison

Admission requirements: As ISB has 2 years or more (as preferable) work experience requirement, fresh graduates cannot consider ISB as an option. Also the exam (GMAT and CAT)is another big difference in requirements.

Fee: IIM Fees vary from 9 lacs to 11 lacs (depending on the IIM you choose), ISB charges Rs 16.5 lacs. This is only the academic fee (both for IIMs and ISB). Accommodation and food needs to be added to this to make the right comparison. Hence we are comparing 12-15 lacs for IIM with about 20-21 lacs for ISB.

Pls note that if you add the opportunity cost of 1 year that you save, ISB fee would seem less than that of IIMs.

Duration: Many people see 1 year saving (with respect to career/ life in general) at ISB as a big advantage

Placements: Both ISB and IIM(s) have been almost equally renowned for a phenomenal placement record

Life on campus: This is something difficult to compare, IIMs have their own positives and ISB has its own. One key such factor is presence of senior batch at IIM(s) while ISB’s infrastructure clearly stands out.

Which one to choose (general tips, individual choices will vary)

IIMs is typically better for people with experience of 0-1 year (though people with higher work experience are also present)

Post completion of 2 years, choice of ISB vs IIMs depends on:

a) Individual choice for 1 year/ 2 year program

b) Some people have an opinion that 2 year program prepares you better for changing your career path (say from General management to Finance)

c) ISB provides a very good platform for NRIs who wish to come back and explore work opportunities in India

d) Brand name: Brand recognition of ISB is growing at a very rapid pace across the world

e) Diversity – Diversity at ISB provides a different level of exposure (years of experience of people as well as variety of people)

f) Faculty: Internationally renowned faculty at ISB has been a big decision point for many

Placements at ISB for Class of 2009

The last placement season at ISB was quite tough given the economic scenario. Lets look at some statistics first.

CTC Data of 2009 Compared to 2008

Particulars 2009 2008
Average International CTC USD 119, 022 USD 144, 812
Average Domestic CTC INR 15,05,000 INR 19,00,000

Source: http://www.isb.edu/pgp/Placement_Highlights.Shtml

If we just look at the top level numbers the average domestic CTC (cost to company or package as some may call it) when t down by 4 lacs or more than 20%.

According to sources, as compared to last few years when all ISB students were placed comfortably, make students from the ISB class of 2009 didn’t had jobs at the time of graduation.

Many people raised doubts and questions on ISB’s ability to place students especially given the fact that the Class of 2010 will have more than 570 students as compared to 430 or so in Class of 2009. Also, people question whether investing 18 lacs makes sense if you can’t get great jobs.

We say that considering the overall market and the hit placements have taken at top US B schools, ISB managed the show really well. All thanks to the CAS (placement body at ISB which works regularly with various recruiters) alumni body and other interested stakeholders.

ISB announced many scholarships like repayment of loans for students to incentivize budding entrepreneurs to start their ventures. In out option this is a great initiative by ISB.

The recession is temporary and can’t wither away the brand of B school like ISB. Even in terms of direct impact in career compare ISB with other B schools. It’s a one year programme so your opportunity cost is less and you return to the work force earlier. The fees is much less than any top MBA program anywhere in the world. The brand is great ( FT 15 ) and much better for those who want to stay in Indiain the long term.

So, stick to the basics, the foundation of ISB is strong and a dip in placements can make ISB a not so good B school.