Rajendra Srivastava, the new Dean of the Indian School of Business (ISB), its fifth dean since inception in 2001, took charge on the new year day. A marketing guru (he is also Novartis Professor of Marketing strategy and Innovation), he held his first class last Sunday.
He has already shared with the ISB board, his plans for the school. Emails with some of his thoughts and plans have already been sent out to the students and alumni of the school.
Srivastava has clearly hit the ground running. He did seem clear on the road ahead for the school while speaking to Business Today at a dinner meeting organised by the school for select media publications.
While he said with a hearty laugh, "I have full intentions of disrupting management education, not just in India but Asia", what followed was a pointer to where he wanted to take the school. "My goal is not just to be the best in India but to be the best in Asia."
The plans broadly fall into three buckets:
1. The focus of learning to be not just West-centric but also with emphasis on what is it that we could learn from the East.
2. Facilitating greater mix of theory and practice, which comes across in his observation: "What I want to do is get managers into the class room."
3. Have greater collaboration across disciplines. In terms of a few specifics, he says, "The school already has a centre for teaching, learning and case development but we are going to escalate it up to a Centre for learning and management practice and use it as a platform so that whether it is to an academic who wants to come on a sabbatical and write about leadership in Asia versus leadership in the West or a person from the corporate world or a venture capitalist wanting to look at innovation."
Incidentally, for the executive management programme for the school called the PGPMAX, Srivastava intends to co-teach an elective course on financing innovation.
What is distinctive about this course is that it is really about a different way to raise money - one that is based on selling the future (revenue earning potential) and combines finance and strategy.
The other important focus area for him is building ISB's brand globally. "We have to be absolutely best at something." ISB, he thinks, could look at areas like family business and managing across borders.