Meet the Indian School of Business’ MBA Class of 2017

A class in session at ISB

The class has also notched several big achievements on its way to ISB. Malik has already completed a multi-billion dollar deal, while Baradwaj ranked among the top 1% of sales representatives at Honeywell, earning him a one-on-one with Honeywell President Dave Cote. Tidke’s work increased response rates in ambulatory services, saving lives in the process. At the same time, Desai’s ingenuity with online advertising enabled his company to double its number of sales inquiries and turned him into the company’s go-to-guy for launching new business solutions.


No question, ISB is an MBA (Technically a PGP) program on the way up. In 2016, Ready4GMAT reports that it has moved into its five-most popular programs in terms of user inquiries. The program has also been pretty exclusive traditionally, with acceptance rates hovering around 22%. The school is also considered more of a destination for applicants, with over 80% of applicants accepting their offer on average.

The 2017 Class is divided up with 623 students in Hyderabad and another 285 in the Mohali campus. Overall, the class boasts 31% women, the highest percentage of any class in ISB’s history. It is also a number that’s comparable to what students would find at programs like IESE and INSEAD. Kumar attributes this growth to long-sustained efforts by the school to create a wider tent. This has resulted in a rise in students from backgrounds like non-profits, military officers, doctors, lawyers, and entrepreneurs.

Indian School of Business, Hyderabad Campus

“ISB is committed to taking in the best of the talent from across the globe and providing them the best of management education,” Kumar adds. “The aim is to groom them into becoming global leaders who, as future alumni, not only bring laurels to the school but also contribute to the society at large. ISB was the business school first in India to introduce the notion of student diversity in the classroom more than a decade ago, as it believes that student diversity enhances learning and truly develops leadership potential.”


This diversity played a major part in Desai choosing ISB to earn his MBA. “The ISB admissions process is pretty rigorous and this shows in the class quality and diversity,” he says. “This greatly enhances the class and peer-to-peer learning experience.” Tidke takes it a step further. “I believe ISB is one the few schools which truly values and understands the meaning of diversity.”

Not surprisingly, the faculty quality also separated ISB from the also-rans for students like Tidke and Desai. “ISB is a globally renowned school with faculty from universities like Harvard and Wharton who teach some interesting courses,” Tidke says. “ISB has a course on team management conducted by a professor from NASA. Beat that!!”

This faculty, coupled with the school’s other resources, produces an opportunity that’s rare in East Asia, let alone Europe and the United States, chimes in Desai. “I strongly believe that ISB hosts among the best teaching faculty in the world. We are taught by our resident and visiting faculties from various institutes around the world, some of whom are among the top 10 influencers globally in their fields. There are also several other learning experiences such as alumni mentoring sessions, industry-leaders speaker sessions, workshops, industry treks and other activities. All of these, accompanied with the state-of-the-art facilities, packed together, offer a life-transformative experience.”


Since arriving on campus, students have also been pleasantly surprised by the ISB community. Although the alumni base is just 7,500 graduates, it boasts up-and-comers like Ajit Andhare, COO of Viacom 18 Motion Pictures; Sameer Khetarpal, a former McKinsey partner and Director of Category Management at Amazon; Neeraj Arora, VP of Business Development at WhatsApp; and Ankur Aarikoo, Founder  and CEO of With the program growing in size, scope, and esteem, students like Malik are finding more avenues to pursue their interests and gain exposure than ever before.

“I wanted to hit the ground running in getting connected with the entrepreneurial ecosystem that the school provides both internally and externally,” he says. “As part of NASSCOM 10,000 startups program, I have been able to get connected with India’s leading investors and mentors. I should have ample support from the startup ecosystem by the time I finish the programme.”

Indian School of Business, Mohali Campus

For Indonesia’s Aravind Prasad, ISB was an easy sell. Why? Well, he had a front row seat to the school’s value proposition. “I have three alumni in my family. The opportunities that opened up for them during after their term at ISB, really inspired me to pursue this program.”


Come April, the Class of 2017 will be donning their caps-and-gowns and heading into an uncertain future, each with a unique dream. Prayatn Mahajan imagines himself someday becoming “India’s sought-after banker.” When he isn’t climbing the Himalayas, Malik hopes to run a unicorn startup. To start, Tidke plans to work in brand management for a pharmaceutical or medical device firm. But she harbors grander ambitions: “providing greater access to quality healthcare to everyone.”

Many students are sure to envy Commander Nambiar at graduation. Why? He is already living the dream and can just sit back and savor the moment. “I’ve already placed at Amazon, in the Pathway Operations programme – I came to ISB just to get there.”

Perhaps their paths will cross again. Mahajan, for one, would love it if his classmates would someday exclaim, “Look where he is, man! (Obviously in a good way).”  In contrast, Baradwaj, hopes to be remembered as a leader who “gave his all to preserve the legacy of the school and improved its standing to provide quality experience to all its users.” While business school is often described as a transformational experience, Malik prefers to be seen the guy who “stuck to his roots and refused to let go of the entrepreneurial dream.”

Tibrewala, however, isn’t thinking about graduation quite. Instead, he is content to make the most of the time he has left at ISB. “A couple of alumni friends had proclaimed that it would be the best year of my life. Thus far, they have been right.”


To read profiles of incoming ISB students — along with their advice on tackling the GMAT, applications, and interviews — click on the links below.

Santosh Baradwaj  / Chennai, India

Vivek Desai / Mumbai, Maharashtra

Prayatn Mahajan / New Delhi, India 

Robin Malik / Toronto, Canada

Commander Shyam Nambiar / Kannur, Kerala

Aravind Prasad / Jakarta, Indonesia

Anshul Tibrewala / Mumbai, India

Purva Tidke / Mumbai, Maharashtra

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