The good news keeps coming out of Hyderabad. The Indian School of Business, fresh from achieving its highest-ever rank from The Financial Times, has released a glowing 2019 jobs report which shows the school set a new record for job offers while also reporting a huge jump — 124% — in post-degree salary. ISB’s 884 graduates received 1,309 job offers in 2019, up more than 15% in one year.
ISB, ranked 24th by FT this year (up from 28th in 2018), is the highest-ranked Indian business school, with a three-month employment rate of 98%. Like other schools in India, ISB does not offer an MBA, instead offering the PGP, or Post Graduate Program in Management degree, which is widely viewed as the equivalent of an MBA. PGP holders from ISB largely found work this year in tech industries, with a combined 30% of the Class of 2019 working in e-commerce, IT, or “technology,” including at some of the world’s top companies: among them, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Uber. The next largest industry was consulting, with 23% of ISB grads being scooped up by such major international employers as Bain, BCG, Deloitte, Accenture, and PwC; while about 10% of the class went to work in finance, including Citibank, Credit Suisse, and American Express. The rest are spread across such industries as retail, real estate, infrastructure, manufacturing, petroleum and energy, pharmaceuticals, and transportation/logistics.
But ISB grads don’t just flood the established business world; they also start their own companies.
In an interview late last year with Poets&Quants, ISB Dean Rajendra Srivastava said that when he started as dean in 2015, he would have described what ISB graduates can do with the sentence: “They know how to get things done.” Since then, he noted, ISB students have started hundreds of companies, and have now launched more than 500 in all. “So now when people ask me what makes the school special, I add, ‘ISB is incredibly entrepreneurial.’ We do well in the rankings, but I always think that you should be judged not on the salary increases, but on the number of jobs you have created.”
A SHIFTING LANDSCAPE — AND SOME STRANGE SALARY NUMBERS
According to the latest Financial Times ranking, released nearly a year ago, ISB’s 98% employment rate is fifth-best among the 100 schools ranked by FT. The average salary of an Indian School of Business PGP holder three years after graduation, FT claims, is $156,122. There is good reason to be skeptical of this latter number — not least that ISB itself lists its 80th percentile CTC (cost to company, a term used in India and other countries for the total salary package of an employee) as 24,35,915 rupees in 2019, which is just over $34,000. (Why 80th percentile? “The ISB follows a non-disclosure policy regarding the highest international and domestic CTC, in keeping with the best practices followed by international B-schools; our focus is on the placement trends and information that represents the entire student body,” according to the school’s placement webpage.) Yet FT credits ISB with achieving a 187% salary increase post-PGP, third-best in the world after a pair of Chinese schools. Take that figure, and the three-year salary figure, with a massive grain of salt.
By function, ISB’s Class of 2019 mostly found work in consulting (24%), sales and marketing (15%), product management (15%), general management (13%), and operations (7.5%). More than 370 companies hired ISB PGPs this year, making 1,309 initial job offers, a 15.2% increase from the 1,136 offers made last year. ISB’s hiring process is spread over four months and involves a series of on-campus presentations and hundreds of job postings through which students “get the opportunity to learn about recruiting companies with national and global presence. Placements commence with a series of pre-placement talks by recruiters to the student body.”
One area of perpetual struggle for ISB — and most Indian B-schools — is the perception, and still very much reality, that they are overwhelmingly domestically oriented. Ninety-seven percent of ISB students are Indian, which makes attracting international students a challenge. However, as Dean Srivastava told P&Q last winter, about a quarter of ISB students have returned to India from abroad — and many other realities about the graduate management education landscape have shifted, as well.
“When I was a student, we moved abroad and wanted to stay there,” he said. “But there are opportunities in India now. Hyderabad is Deloitte’s headquarters. They are growing from about 30,000 to 50,000 over the next 18 months. Deloitte made about 70 offers to ISB last year, and 56 accepted.
“Salary growth is up to 15% a year, and if you join a fast-growing young company rather than an established one with saturation above you, you can rise faster. I now have students from the U.S. universities I worked in asking me if I can find them an internship in India. Many of the multinationals are actually shopping at ISB for their global needs. An alum from the 2008 class is the new chief product officer for Uber. Another is the chief strategy officer for WhatsApp. About 18% of our alumni are abroad, often in clusters like Silicon Valley, New York, Singapore, the UK, or the Toronto area.”
WOMEN AT THE INDIAN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
One stated goal of ISB under Srivastava’s leadership is drawing more women to the school, and thus to the business world. Hiring of women did, in fact, increase in 2019, and the school’s PGP class of 2020 has the highest-ever proportion of women: 39%.
Just one year ago, that number was at 35%, and it had already jumped from 25% in 2015. “We are aiming,” Srivastava said, “for 40%. It may be easy in the UK to reach 40%, but in India it’s really hard work.
“We’ve done it by identifying markets where you will find the women. It turns out that India has a reasonable number of women engineers, but you have to look for them. As an example, there is an organization called Teach for India, the equivalent of Teach for America. They have very able people, and they have a high percentage of women. We are trying to work with organizations such as that.”