Tuesday, August 02, 2011

ISB to tweak courses to meet industry needs

The Indian School of Business (ISB) plans to adopt an industry-oriented academic structure for its second campus at Mohali (adjoining Chandigarh), a significant departure from the erstwhile focus of Indian business schools on functional specialisations like marketing, HR or finance. The campus will be operational from next year. ISB's Deputy Dean & CEO (Mohali campus) Sabita Mahajan said the Mohali campus will stress on four industry verticals — public policy, healthcare, manufacturing and infrastructure management.

While the institute's Mohali campus will offer academic specialisation in each of these four areas as part of its general management programme, it also has plans to launch specialised management courses for these disciplines. "It is unconventional for a business school in India to run such industry courses. But these specialisations are critical for the economy since there is a huge talent gap in each of these areas," says Mahajan.

ISB, famous for its executive management programmes and eye-popping placements, currently has its sole campus at Hyderabad where it runs management programme on six functional areas, which includes marketing, finance, strategy and leadership, operation, entrepreneurship and IT.

Mahajan says the ISB board, comprising of industry veterans, too felt the need to develop talent from the industry perspective. "While companies from sectors like healthcare, manufacturing and infrastructure do come to our Hyderabad campus for recruitment, their feedback was that graduates had little knowledge about these sectors, which took them a longer time to hit the road running. "Hence, it was decided that some in-depth knowledge about these sectors will help to address a market need and demand, rather than grooming people as per the functional areas which is the supply side," says Mahajan.

ISB also has plans to run short duration executive education programmes in each of these industry verticals. In addition, it plans to start an MBA course specialised in healthcare management and subsequently, such programmes for other verticals as well. The institute is creating centres of excellence for these four industry verticals which will be funded by donors — the Max group for the Centre on Healthcare Management, Bharti Airtel for the Centre on Public Policy, Munjal group for the one on Global Manufacturing and Punj Lloyd for Infrastructure.

"We will also conduct sectoral research for each of the four industry verticals. We will have a functionally integrated approach where we will look at all the sectors in a more integrated fashion and use our expertise in areas like HR, marketing, IT and operations to tackle industry issues and problems," says Mahajan. ISB has inked two fresh partnerships with reputed global institutions to support its industry vertical academic structure.

It has recently tied up with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for support to the manufacturing and infrastructure centres and with the Fletcher School of Tufts University for courses on public policy. This is in addition to its existing partnerships with the Kellogg School and Wharton. Incidentally, Wharton will support ISB for its healthcare vertical. With the opening up of the Mohali campus in April 2012, ISB will increase its intake by 200 seats to 770 students. The campus is being built over 70 acres and the first phase comprising of academic block, student and faculty housing, common facilities and theatre will come up over six lakh sq ft. The initial project cost is around Rs. 220 crore (Rs. 2.2 billion).

ISB's existing Hyderabad campus will be virtually linked up with the Mohali campus, whereby faculty members will be able to overcome geographical limitations and take classes in both the campuses at the sametime by using satellite technology. "But we will also ensure physical exchange of faculty and students across both the campuses. Students of one campus will have the option to undertake some courses in the other campus for a term or so," says Mahajan.

ISB feels the two-campus structure will enable it to expand its reach. It plans to have a common dean for both the campuses and a deputy dean for individual campuses. The institute has also started the admission process for the next academic year.

Source: The Economic Times, August 2, 2011
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