HYDERABAD: After over two decades of its existence, the city-headquartered premium B-school, the Indian School of Business (ISB), is looking beyond its elite self-perception of creating world-class management graduates and leaders, and helping corporate and government leaders find excellence and success, and move towards initiatives to make a large impact on society and common people, especially in the host states of Telangana, neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Punjab, said Prof. Madan Pillutla, the newly anointed sixth Dean.
Speaking to a select group of journalists at the school, Prof. Pillutla, a thought leader on organisational behaviour, with several research papers and publications to his credit, said, “For example, there is an incredible entrepreneurial DNA and risk appetite in Telangana – people and government. We, at ISB, would love to bring together the entrepreneurial cells and hubs in the city to help forge a mega-entrepreneurial ecosystem network, to truly rival the Silicon Valley of California.”
Sharing his resolve and vision to further invigorate engagement with governments, he said, “Beyond the currently offered executive education for political leaders and bureaucrats, we would like to create skill, leadership and self-employment modules to align with public skill-building initiatives with mass-deployment mindset.”
Prof. Pillutla, a native-born from Tenali in Andhra Pradesh, who graduated in mechanical engineering from BITS, Pilani, post-graduation from XLRI, Jamshedpur, and the University of Illinois and a PhD from the University of British Columbia, returns to India after three decades of academic career in the West, but is no stranger to the ISB.
Associated with the ISB from its days of inception over 20 years ago, he was involved in shaping up programmes and curriculum at the ISB and taught the founding batches of the flagship PGP programme.
“I am currently working on understanding great and uniquely successful Indian organisations, among them Amul, wherein a farmers’ cooperative was running a world-class organisation for all stakeholders and sustaining an impact, ISRO, which has set a global benchmark for frugal innovation and, Pullela Gopichand badminton academy, producing champions each year,” he shared.
Quizzed about why organisations “misbehave” and why Hyderabad has been the centre of so many white-collar scams, he said, “Hyderabad, and perhaps NCR, witnessed a globally rare outlier of wealth creation and growth in the last two decades. So many great corporations were born and extraordinary wealth was created within a relatively short time. A part of it might have been attributable to wrong practices but it won’t be fair to generalise.”
He also spoke of how our understanding of the response to Covid and its impact was still nascent. “Work from home, digitisation and hybrid models are all in their early days. How we will respond to it in the coming days is uncertain. One clear challenge to schools like ISB is to cope, and provide guidance to other stakeholders, in a dynamic phantasmagorical situation where the wisdom of last month is junk today.”
Among other initiatives he spoke about, was using the existing pedagogy and curriculum content of ISB with institutions across the country. “There are thousands of B-schools who could benefit if we transformed to the Harvard Model, wherein we offer the content to each one of these schools across small towns in India.”
Prof. Pillutla, an award-winning teacher and researcher, who has held leadership positions at the London Business School and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, clarifying on why organisations go wrong, said, “Initially people go wrong. Either in absence of processes or checks, they proliferate. It is for self-correction mechanisms within and external audits and policing which must detect and stop them before they take down an institution.”
Welcoming the possible entry of the IIM to Hyderabad (or some part of Telangana), he said, “We would be delighted if that happens. The IIMs and ISB are different because their mandates and purposes are different. If in 20 years, the ISB has matched the global excellence levels of an IIM-Ahmedabad, it is a matter of pride. But together, we can all make a larger impact for our country and society.”
While the current batch has over 900 students to adjust some cancellations of selected students last year, he said the ISB would go back to the ideal 880-students batch from next year. “We are currently in a hybrid model. But once all students complete double vaccination, as do all the staff on campus, we will go back to offline classes.”
“The only concern we have is the 18 per cent GST students have to pay for an ISB PGP because it is not UGC certified MBA education but considered ‘training’. It would help if the government could help students who are often taking a mid-career break to pursue a value-adding education sabbatical,” he added....