The exclusivity of an educational institution can make it a sought-after brand. The Indian School of Business (ISB), now in its third decade, prides itself on being a premier B-school by focusing on quality over quantity. Ranked as India’s top management institution by Financial Times Financial Times Financial Times Business school rankings Read more , ISB now wants to be more accessible with plans to simulate the classroom experience in the virtual world.
It’s doing what Harvard Business School (HBS) did in 2014—start ISB Online along the lines of HBS Online to broaden its reach.
From April, ISB, which has one campus in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad and one in the northern Indian city of Mohali, will offer ~10 60-hour online courses, mainly in leadership, strategy, and management.
Though it isn’t new for a B-school to offer courses online, most do so through partnerships with edtech platforms. For instance, earlier this month, IIM Ahmedabad (IIMA) launched its online portal— [email protected] [email protected] IIMA [email protected] Read more —in partnership with the US-based massive open online course (MOOC) provider Coursera and Swayam, the Indian government’s platform for open-learning courses. ISB, on the other hand, has created its own platform and learning management system (LMS).
ISB has been ramping up facilities—creating studios and hiring talent from the edtech industry—for more than two years. The institution also studied at least 30 different platforms to design its own.
In September 2022, in a speech marking marking YouTube Dean Madan Pillutla’s address on completing a year leading ISB Read more two decades of the B-school’s journey, ISB’s dean Madan Pillutla spoke about the institution’s high ambitions. “In the next five years, we need to become a world-beating business school … The goals will be very high. We need to come up with a plan to achieve those goals.”
But this pursuit of scale threatens to catapult ISB into a fiercely competitive league of edtechs where aggressive marketing is table stakes.
As perplexing as it may seem, Pillutla has a point. “We don’t have the luxury to wait for another 20 years to create other ISBs,” he told The Ken, adding that high-quality players need to scale up rapidly to address India’s skilling problem, something the online medium can facilitate.
In the year ending March 2023, ISB estimates its total income to be ~Rs 723 crore (~$88 million). Executive education courses—short-term needs-based programmes—are expected to contribute Rs 172 crore (~$20 million).