ISB May Be The Most Interesting B-School In The World

Rajendra Srivastava, dean of the Indian School of Business. ISB photo

P&Q: How is the PGP program evolving?

RS: We are working with the corporate sector to see which new career trajectories are emerging. For example, in India e-commerce, supply chain management, and related issues like procurement, manufacturing, channel management, pricing to advertising — all are trending. So is fintech. We are creating specializations based on these, among others, incorporating insights from our research centers into the curriculum.

The second change is that we’re shrinking the core of required subjects because we can move some of the content online and free up time for the electives. The third thing that is we’re building in more experiential learning. There are internships for less-experienced students; we have Experiential Learning Projects; we have another program where you work on a project for three months and then you pass through a filter and we can take you directly to an incubator. 

Overall there’s more digital focus today, and more specialization. For example, we are working with businesses and the stock exchange on a heavy-duty finance program, to be launched in Mumbai in mid-2019, targeted at professionals already in that sector. A lot of financial firms hire very bright, analytic graduates from engineering schools, but they often don’t have specific financial knowledge. 

P&Q: And more long-term? How do you see ISB changing? 

RS: I like to talk about ISB 2.0. Where do we go? Of course, we’re bringing in more analytics and data science into our programs, but there are things that happen in this part of the world that need to be incorporated.

For example, we are going to build a program in corporate governance with some elements of law such as intellectual property law, because to do business in India you really, really need to focus on compliance issues and things of that nature. That’s equally an issue if you’re doing business in China and India or Indonesia, so that is an area that we need to cover. Also, there’s is a big shortage of folks here who can serve as independent board members. We hope to make ISB the hub for training people to be on boards of directors. 

Another big area is looking at the big media companies. Amazon may have started in retailing but then they used that platform to get into cloud computing. Now they are becoming a major player in India in entertainment, finance, and healthcare. We need to look at the newer business models and understand, for example, what Alipay and Tencent are doing in China.

Related to all of this is going to be, how do we work more closely with the government and in particular when we start globalizing a brand? That is a big challenge and we are putting together plans for topics such as the importance of diplomacy in business. This is the sort of multidisciplinary thinking we need to start pushing in business schools. 

ISB photo

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