Thoughts on the Indian School of Business [October 2007]

Note: This post was originally set to be published in October 2007.

This past October I had the pleasure of attending a course on Venture Capital at the Indian School of Business (ISB). The six day course served as much as a refresher in finance for me as an opportunity to expand my understanding of the current business environment in India – of course, the networking opportunity was also exceptional.

A World Class Facility

HyderabadI’ve been on several college campuses in India, but none quite compares to the ‘island’ that is ISB. Built about seven years ago, and with as little government intervention as is possible in India, the 260 acre campus is walled off from the rest of Greater Hyderabad. Inside these walls is a fully contained academic campus, including student, faculty, and staff residences. The place has a resort like quality, but it is clearly a temple to modern management as well. Those of us who were students of executive education classes were provided with excellent accommodations at the hotel located inside the gates of the campus. We also had superb dining at the executive cafe. The classrooms, at least those for executive education, are on par with the best amphitheater style classrooms that I’ve seen at the leading American institutions. We had very long days, nights during the class [which was surprisingly rigorous] and we always felt attended to. Even the smallest of requests were fulfilled quickly. For that, the staff at ISB should be commended. [Above picture is from the entrance of the library].

A World Class EducationHyderabad

The VC course was taught by to professors from the London School of Business [LSB], John Mullins and Antony Ross. Both were exceptional, and employed the classic case study method that is the hallmark of many western business schools. ISB was founded on the premise of becoming a globally recognized leader in management education and research. This is reflected in the schools affiliations with LSB, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School. [UPDATE: It looks like that global focus is paying dividends, as ISB has just received a Top 20 ranking by the Financial Times :link to Rashmi Bansal’s story]. While I didn’t get a chance to sit in on the regular courses at ISB, I did have an opportunity to meet with a professor friend who left the United States to join the faculty at ISB. He reiterated the deep focus on establishing the standard bearer for management education in India.

A great experience

The last thing that most people think of when planning a vacation is adding long nights and long days of financial case study into the mix. After spending time at ISB back in October, having the chance to meet some fascinating people, and getting polished on the fundamentals of structured finance, I’m convinced it was the best part of my month in India!