For 24-year-old Dheeraj C Reddy, a comfortable job in Bangalore after his bachelor’s in engineering was not satisfying. Drawn to the idea of social entrepreneurship, he quit the job and spent a year working with a start-up, training rural youth for jobs in the BPO sector. He is back as a student these days, and seems to be in good company, having found mates with similar interests.
For Delhi girl Jagriti Kumar, who did her honours in mathematics from St Stephenâ€™s College, dance is an inseparable part of her life. She has choreographed several college events and concerts, but has also worked as an analyst with consulting firm Hewitt Associates. Four weeks into her new course, she has formed a group with a shared interest in dance and is planning events.
The youngsters are a random sample from the new class of 2012 at the Indian School of Business, where the one-year postgraduate programme in management has just commenced. The 573-strong batch also includes members drawn from niche professions like healthcare, fashion, shipping, law, journalism, Armed Forces and civil service.
The class of 2012 is an â€œeclectic mix,â€ says ISB deputy dean Deepak Chandra. It is â€œin line with ISBâ€™s belief that diversity enhances learning, and truly develops leadership potential.â€
Part of the reason for drawing in students with diverse interests is the B-schoolâ€™s insistence on some work experience before admitting them.
Having worked in skill development, Dheeraj says, â€œWe have an active group of 12 who are very interested in education. We have been sharing presentations about Class 12 education, middle school education etc. We are actually trying to come up with alternative business plan and exploring options for educationally backward areas.â€
The students are in the age group of 24 to 42, with an average work experience of five years. Among them is an IPS officer from Himachal Pradesh. Dr Atul Verma, who practised as a doctor for two years before joining the civil service, says the course is a mid-career training for the supervisory roles ahead in his career. He expresses a preference to work in health or financial regulation areas, after the course.
For Jagriti, dance is a long-term career option as much as a consulting role is her immediate goal. Asked about her choice between the two, she tells Business Standard, â€œI don’t have to make a choice. Even if I have to work 16 hours a day, I’d still find time for dance.â€
This year, the number of women students rose to 167, or 29 per cent of the class. Last year, it was 160 out of 569. The average GMAT score of the new batch is 712, which is comparable with leading global business schools.
Dheeraj says, â€œOnce you have had some experience in the industry, there is no other school which caters to your level of understanding. The peer group here is amazing.â€
The group has an influence on his career choice, he says. The choice is between a consulting job with a public services firm or back to the education field.
Asked about the insights he gained during his rural stint, Dheeraj says: â€œYes, they [rural people] don’t trust corporates much. Then there is lack of opportunity. The other thing I found missing was there is a lack of drive. Their aspiration is to get a job right next to home.â€
The drive is not missing among the students here, nor, it seems, with the management. The school’s second campus at Mohali would begin functioning from next year, with the total intake at 770. The two campuses would operate as a unified entity, with a common admission process.