Posted on April 7, 2024

Our Memorable Visit to the Indian School of Business

Last month, myEssayReview (MER) had an opportunity to visit the Indian School of Business along with AIGAC (Association of International Graduate Admission Consultants) President Adam Marcus and six other AIGAC members. We were graciously hosted by Professor Ramabhadran (“Ram”) S. Thirumalai, the Deputy Dean of Academic Programs, and Associate Professor of Finance (Practice), and our visit was organized by Amit Tyagi, the Associate Director of Admissions. It was a day filled with learning, exploration, and insightful discussions.

Reason to Visit LSB:

ISB represents a real alternative for Indians to go abroad for an MBA:

Our Indian clients attend ISB as they view it as a good alternative to global MBA programs. Our clients at MER choose ISB, seeing it as a competitive counterpart to global MBA programs. Since 2011, we have assisted applicants for MBA programs in the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia. A decade ago, Indian applicants often regarded ISB as their backup school if they didn’t secure admission to their preferred US and European programs. However, there has been a shift in this trend in the past few years.

I have observed candidates forsaking offers from top-20 programs in the US in favor of ISB. Some apply exclusively to ISB, convinced that it not only aligns with their professional aspirations but also enables them to work with their chosen companies after just one year—half the duration of traditional programs—without the need to stay away from their families.

Moreover, the trend of Indians studying abroad and then returning to India is on the rise, driven by the opportunities back home. With its impressive rankings, job placement success, and return on investment, ISB offers a genuine alternative, particularly when considering options beyond the US's M7, London Business School (LBS), and INSEAD.

Our visit to ISB provided us with deeper insights into its focus on academic excellence, strong recruiting relationships, and focus on innovation. The campus's beauty further sets it apart.

ISB Members We Interacted with:
Senior leader: Professor Ramabhadran (“Ram”) S. Thirumalai, Deputy Dean, Academic Programmes, Associate Professor of Finance (Practice)

Primary point of contact and overall visit organizer: Amit Tyagi, Associate Director of Admissions

Other key official: Shiv Kumar, Senior Director - Academic Student Affairs

During the visit, we also interacted with:

Aneesha Chowdary, Senior Associate Director, Admissions and Financial Aid

Kaushik Rai, Manager, Admissions and Financial Aid

S.M. Arun Prakash, Manager, Admissions and Financial Aid

Phanibala V - Director - Academic Services & Administration

Abdul Azeez - Associate Director - Student Engagement & Applied Learning

Here are the key highlights:

After arriving on March 4th, we had tea with Amit Tyagi and Kaushik Rai and then went out for dinner at the Glass Onion (across the road from ISB).  ISB graciously provided us with rooms in Executive and Visiting Faculty Housing along with meals during our stay.  On March 5th, we spent a full day on campus.

We had the opportunity to tour academic facilities, student housing, and spaces dedicated to collaborative learning and recreation. The admissions team educated us on the academic structure of their business programs- PGP, PGP Pro, PGP Max, and the M.FAB-  and the admission process. In a closed-door session, the Deputy Dean also shared insights into upcoming academic innovations.

WithI love iSB)

MER team (Poonam Tandon and PK Tandon) with other AIGAC members ( # 4 and 5 from right)

With Amit Tyagi and Kaushik Rai IMG_9621

With Kaushik Rai and Amot Tyagi ( # 1 and 2 from Left)

The Campus Tour: We explored the state-of-the-art academic facilities, student housing, and collaborative spaces. Covering 260 acres, the academic building structure is centrally located within the campus, with student housing (Student Villages) surrounding it.  The architectural marvel of the library, with its circular stairway and skylight, and the livestock-trading lab, were particularly impressive.

 The space is vibrant and thoughtfully designed to provide quiet time and ample opportunity for peer interaction for a 500-strong student body. The campus has four student villages, faculty housing, and housing facilities for PGP Pro and executive education participants, all of which are fully managed. The student housing is thoughtfully designed, co-ed, and inclusive with a central courtyard and on-site facilities such as a creche for students with young children. At the time of our visit, new buildings were being constructed including plenty of space for further expansion.

ISB libraray

ISB-libraray (1)

The Library

Our visit to Dlabs, the incubation and acceleration arm of the ISB highlighted ISB's commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship. Dlabs is one of the four innovation centers by Iventures@ISB and is supported by the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India; it is also affiliated with Invest India’s Startup India program. Dlabs helps student founders incubate ideas through strategic guidance, go-to-market assistance, and help in building investor relations.  To date, Dlabs has supported 250+ startups, facilitated funding for 75+, and currently houses around 60 to 100 startups. It is home to well-known startups like NeuroPixel.AI, Sirona Hygiene, Cercle x, and Jai Kisan- highlighting ISB's role in shaping future entrepreneurs.

ISB_ DI lab

The Dlabs

During the day, we also had the opportunity to interact with current students, asking them, among other things, about their favorite aspects of the program. They praised the program, particularly highlighting its accessibility to resources, professional advice, supportive community, the opportunities to meet alumni during events, and career placement opportunities.

ISB Students

With a group of students (#1, 2, and 3 from left)

The School’s Philosophy and Programs:

ISB's ‘1 school 2 campuses’ philosophy ensures uniformity in academic excellence and student experiences across Hyderabad and Mohali campuses. All departments, including academics, career services, and admission strive to provide a uniform academic experience across both campuses.  The admissions team particularly highlighted how they strive to achieve diversity, gender balance, and similar cohort and peer learning experiences across campuses. In that spirit, students can indicate a preference for the campus at the time of application but cannot choose the campus.  This philosophy extends to the placement process as well where final placement for the entire cohort is conducted at one campus, and students from the other campus are flown to the host campus at ISB’s expense.

The PGP Program: The flagship PGP program is divided into 8 terms and offers about 660 contacts. The initial four terms are core, each spanning 6 weeks. During each core term, students undertake four courses, 2-weekly sessions per class per week.  The first four terms consist of general courses decided by the school, while terms 5 through 8 offer flexible elective choices.  It is remarkable that despite the program’s 12-month duration, it offers 660 contact hours, comparable to a traditional 2-year program providing 700 contact hours.

Another distinctive feature of the PG program is the flexibility it offers to students to switch campuses after completing the first four core terms.  Furthermore, ISB offers exciting exchange programs with over 53 partner schools, such as the Kellogg School of Management and London Business School. These opportunities, available in terms 6 through 8, post-placement season in term 5, safeguard students' career prospects.

Modular Programs:

In addition to its flagship program, ISB also offers 3 modular programs - PGP Pro, PGP Max, and PGP M.FAB, strategically crafted to expand ISB’s academic reach and meet the diverse learning needs of the audience.

PGP Pro is designed for working professionals with 8 to 15 years of experience (akin to the Weekend and Evening MBA formats). Classes are held in four major cities—Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, and Hyderabad and enroll 50 to 60 students each year.

PGP Max is an advanced management program for seasoned professionals with 12 to 15+ years of work experience. It is offered at the Mohali and Hyderabad campuses and has a cohort size of 65.

PGP M.FAB - The Management for Family Business program is open to individuals with 2-3 years of experience recommended but not required. With a cohort of 60, it combines a 60% focus on general business courses with a tailored 40% addressing family business aspects like succession planning and relationship management. Given the importance of family business in the Indian context, the program addresses a nationwide need for supporting the modernization and continued growth of such enterprises.

These programs are periodically reviewed and updated to align with current needs and trends.

Insights into the Admissions Process:

The admissions committee walked us through ISB’s robust admissions process. Applicants are evaluated through the following four-pillared scoring system:

  1. academic achievements,
  2. professional experiences,
  3. extracurricular involvements,
  4. and standardized test scores.

Amit and his colleagues emphasized that test scores are just one factor for admission. A score is assigned to each of the 4 pillars, and candidates who meet predetermined score thresholds are invited to interview. The thresholds are set by a committee that includes faculty, career services, and the admissions team.

Amit's presentation

Amit Tyagi-Associate Director of Admissions

The Interview Process:

The interview process at ISB is led by alumni and is ‘not blind’. Alumni have access to the candidate’s essays and entire application except their academic record during the interview. ISB coaches its alumni volunteers through workshops, videos, and refresher sessions – so alumni can offer all candidates a standardized interview experience. Panels of 2 or 3 alumni conduct interviews, and ISB strives to pair prospective students with a panel of interviewers with similar professional backgrounds. Furthermore, the admission criteria prioritize recent experiences and grades, adopting a surprisingly lenient approach toward scrutinizing digital footprints compared to other institutions.

The Future: Academic Innovation, New Programs

Professor Ramabhadran Thirumalai, ISB's Deputy Dean, shed light on the new initiatives and impending academic changes such - as reducing the PGP Program strength to about 650 over the next 5 years and achieving balance (300, 325 students on each campus). He also discussed curriculum innovations, new program formats, and methodology changes, including giving students more autonomy in choosing core courses and enhancing the Business Communication course to a full credit course (from a half-credit) to improve students’ interpersonal skills.

Additionally, ISB plans to introduce a Block Week, offering short courses focused on emerging topics like innovation, AI, and Machine Learning. These block-week courses will be taught by ISB Faculty, Visiting Faculty, and industry practitioners and will ensure that the curriculum keeps up with the evolving industry needs. Another forward-thinking initiative is the introduction of gamified courses—an approach popularized by leading global B-schools.

ISB_associate dean

With Associate Dean Professor Ramchandran (#5 from right) and part of his team

For details regarding ranking and recruiting, please see

This is the presentation Amit Tyagi, Associate Director of Admissions, showed us during our visit.

Legacy and Global Impact: Our visit and the conversations showcased ISB’s influence and its commitment to academic innovation in business to groom industry-ready leaders.  The admissions team and the Deputy Dean also shared the long and illustrious 20-year history and its growing alumni base globally- particularly in Silicon Valley and Southeast Asia.

Our visit to ISB was an invaluable opportunity to understand the depth of their academic offerings, their innovative approach to business education, and their future vision. This experience will immensely benefit our clients at myEssayReview (MER), as we guide them towards making informed decisions in their MBA journey.

About MER (myEssayReview)

Poonam Tandon, the founder of MER (myEssayReview), is a Ph.D. in English with 12 years of MBA consulting experience and three decades of teaching experience in India and the US. A master storyteller, Poonam has successfully guided hundreds of students from around the world to gain admission into the esteemed MBA, EMBA, and specialized Masters's programs in the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia. Throughout her four-decade-long professional career, she has reviewed 10,000+ essays written by applicants worldwide. Poonam was among the top 5 most reviewed consultants on the GMAT Club from August 2012 to December 2023.

You may email Poonam at with questions about your interview prep or sign up here for a free consultation.