Age is fast catching up with the seven-year-old Indian School of Business (ISB). Consider this: the percentage of higher age group students is steadily increasing in the class profile of this international business school in Hyderabad. In the just graduated Class of 2008, out of a total of 422 students, the share of the youngest lot—22 to 25 years— is down to 18 per cent from 49 per cent (in the 21-to-25 age bracket) five years ago. It is also the case in absolute numbers, as five years ago the class strength was only 169. In the Class of 2008, 4 per cent of all students were above 35 years against just 1 per cent five years ago.“While this is not the result of any conscious decision on our part, I must say that we are aggressively looking for people with more experience and this is a reflection of the fact that more and more people with greater experience are joining the ISB,” says Ajit Rangnekar, Deputy Dean of the school.
What attracts such students to ISB? “It is because people of a higher age group have a greater responsibility and cannot afford to take a lot of time off for an MBA and, therefore, ISB’s one-year programme fits them best,” says Dr Vishwa Kirti Sharma, 34, a student of the Class of 2008. He is an orthopaedician, and is joining “a healthcare major” and will be involved with marketing. In fact, Sharma’s batch is quite unique in that it has 10 doctors and, typically, most are over 30. What is also interesting is that almost no one among them seems to want to go back to treating patients.
Instead, they are taking up management roles in companies in sectors as diverse as healthcare and private equity. According to ISB, they have all been able to snag salaries five times what they were earning when they entered the school. That’s surely a reason too why ISB ticks.
— E. Kumar Sharma