Think you’re up against tough odds to get into a top MBA program? In India, over 200,000 applicants vie for 1600 spots at the country’s elite MBA schools—the IIMs (Indian Institute of Management). These programs aren’t ranked internationally. They mostly serve as a launching ground for Indian engineering students who seek management and finance exposure.
But there’s one MBA program in India that’s a player on the world stage–the Indian School of Business-Hyberadad. Although not yet accredited, it’s a one year program that’s ranked 20th in the world—according the to the Financial Times. And it’s located in one of the most tech savvy cities in Asia. If you’re an international student, there may be a spot—and some scholarship money–reserved for you.
Why international students?
ISB says that like any MBA program, the school wants to give students a global experience by mingling diverse cultures. In last year’s class of 438 students, four percent were international, hailing from Spain, U.K., Canada, Mauritius, and Nepal. In the past they’ve also accepted students from the U.S., Pakistan, Germany and Italy.
ISB recently increased the number of scholarships they award to international students. Two types of scholarships are available:
1. International Diversity Scholarships: awarded to Non-Indian passport holders (applicants of Indian origin are not eligible) for 5,000 to 10,000 USD.
2. ISB – AIESEC Scholarship: this is a scholarship awarded to non-Indian passport holders who are members of AIESEC, a global student organization that sponsors exchange programs. Only three are awarded for 75 percent of the tuition cost.
You can apply for both these scholarships along with your admission application.
Why an Indian MBA?
Because India is on the rise. ISB communications director Bhauvana Ramalingam says, “In a globalized world, people are saying that the two growing economies are China and India. Increasingly companies are looking for their employees to have exposure to these countries. Getting a firsthand knowledge is an extremely valuable experience.”
ISB also offers exchange programs with other top MBA programs like Wharton, Kellogg, London Business School and Asian MBA programs.
She added that like Indian graduates, foreign students have been hired by large multinational corporations like McKinsey, Booz Allen Hamilton, GE and Goldman Sachs among many others. Some foreign students have also decided to stay and work in India for leading firms like Tata Consultancy.
Though ranked 20th in the world, ISB doesn’t yet have the brand strength that another top U.S. or European two-year program. You’ll really need to do your homework ahead of time—talking to people in the industry that you want to enter into—about how you’ll need to package yourself and sell the strength of the ISB brand as you hit the recruiting circuit.
Here’s an interesting article by Mint, an Indian business paper associated with the Wall Street Journal. The author thinks ISB’s curriculum measures up to other international programs, but the FT rating might be inflated. He says the paper used a flawed calculation for average salaries. In addition, the school has made an emphasis in the last four years of establishing a base of permanent professors, but it still largely depends on visiting faculty. It also isn’t listed as an accredited institution on the AACSB website, although it has started the process.
What is ISB’s strength?
ISB prides itself on promoting entrepreneurship. Recent graduates have gone on to start biotech and pharmaceutical firms, as well as into India’s hot business processing outsourcing industry. But the stats do show that most graduates are career transitioners. The top three are:
- Entrepreneur to Private Equity
- Merchant Navy to Port Management
- IT Engineering to Management Consulting
How to apply
The ISB admissions committee begins to take applications starting June 1st. To apply, complete the online application and submit two professional recommendations. Interviews take place for the first admissions cycle in November, and the second cycle in January. As an international student, if you’re selected for an interview, an admissions committee member will conduct it with you over the phone.
And don’t forget the GMAT—you’ll need to get a target score of at least 710—according to Ramalingam.
Check out the admissions website.
So how good a deal is this?
Program fees including tuition and living expenses are approximately 47,000 USD. That’s a pretty good deal compared to other top programs that run about 75,000 USD for one year.
So if you see India as a major part of your future, this could be the right choice. You could have a truly enriching experience in a country with a mosaic of religions, ethnicities, traffic jams and business opportunities. Just make sure you’re ready to be a first adopter and do the work it’ll take to make the value of this MBA degree recognized in the international marketplace.