HT spotlight | ISB Mohali puts Punjab on business map
North campus. That is how insiders at the Indian School of Business (ISB) refer to their campus in Mohali. Brought to the city by industry leaders of Punjab, it was envisaged as an engine of growth for the region.
The beautiful campus with its well manicured gardens and tall glass buildings has certainly put this country cousin of Chandigarh on the map of world-class management education. And now it’s trying to pitch the tricity as a premier destination for research, knowledge-based industry, and tourism. “It’s a great time to be upbeat about the tricity,” says D N V Kumara Guru, director of External Relations and Human Resources, ISB, who operates from the Mohali campus. Guru should know, for he has seen ISB, Mohali, rise from the sand in 2012.
FOUR RESEARCH INSTITUTES
Though based on the one school-two campus principle, the ISB, Mohali, has its own USP. Besides the flagship one year post graduate programme in management for experienced professionals, it has four research centres and institutes (RCIS) — Max Institute of Healthcare Management, Munjal Institute for Global Manufacturing, Punj Lloyd Institute of Infrastructure Management, and Bharti Institute of Public Policy— offering separate programmes for healthcare management, manufacturing, infrastructure, and public policy, respectively.
As the names suggest, these institutes represent the four main donors who played a major role in bringing the ISB to Mohali. Unlike PGP, these programmes require residency of only a few weeks a year.
Interestingly, the year-long Max healthcare management programme draws the maximum number of students. At present, 40 of its 51 students are doctors. Sandeep Dogra, senior vice-president and zonal head, Max Healthcare, says the institute is making a positive impact on the region by imparting quality healthcare management education to stakeholders, which in turn leads to better hospitals and health care.
The campus, quite a sight to behold from the outside, is even better from inside. Akhil Mehta, a PGP student from Mumbai, admits he was quite disappointed when he was allotted the Mohali campus—the selected students don’t get to choose their campus. “But I was very pleasantly surprised. The campus is mind-blowing. And now that I have been out to Mohali and Chandigarh as well, I must say I find it a very pleasant change from Mumbai.”
A GREEN TOWNSHIP
The 70 acres have been well utilised to set up a mini township, with its own coffee places and snack bars, one of which remains open till 3 in the morning. There is a fancy gym, courts for badminton, tennis, football and what have you. You can also go for a swim, do yoga, enjoy the services at the saloon, play the drums at the music place or simply meditate at the Zen centre.
“It’s another matter that you have very little time for any of this,” laughs the tawny-eyed Arpita Singh from Delhi, formerly a strategy consultant, and now a student. Mudita Srivastava, a staffer, recounts how they even remained insulated from the effects of demonetisation. “Somehow our ATMs were always well stocked,” she says.
The towering building with its breath-taking atrium has been designed in a way to maximise the use of natural light and air. “We seldom need to switch on the lights,” says a staffer. The abundance of greenery outside and the high ceiling make it much cooler than the rest of the city. That may explain why the building bagged the Leed India NC Gold 2014 from the Indian Green Building Council.
The modern building has an ancient heart as is evident from the signboards directing you to a Nalanda here and a Taxila there, and even to Kabir, Khusro and Mahanadi. A look back and a look ahead both are important to this institute, which values research above all. “ISB is a truly public institute and we believe in giving back to society by way of research,” says Guru. That explains the well-stocked library occupying an entire floor.
RESEARCH VERSUS IMPACT
But the challenge, says a senior policymaker, is to strike a balance between creating new knowledge and impact on the region. “The ISB will do a world of good to Mohali and the region if it engages with people and creates an impact,” he declared.
Guru says they are trying to do this by joining hands with other bodies in the tricity to promote it as an ideal destination for research and higher education. “There are so many research institutes here, be it National Institute of Pharmaceutcal Education and Research (NIPER), Punjab Engineering College (PEC), Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), and Central Scientific Industrial Organisation (CSIO) et al. We can help in circulating their research.”
The school, says Guru, is also pitching tourism industry in the region. “There is so much that can be marketed here, from excavations to historic places. The tricity also has the potential of becoming the hub of knowledge-based industry,” says Guru.
The students too reach out to the community through various clubs. Only last month, members of the Net Impact club hosted an event for the disabled in association with the Chandigarh Spinal Rehabilitation Centre.
A winder Singh, a student from Sangrur who is a member of the club, says they enjoy putting their ideas into practice in the local community.
That is equally true of the Marketing Communication Council and Graduate Student Board Council. “We make sure our programs and outreach projects benefit our three main stakeholders – academia, industry leaders/ practitioners and policy-makers,” explains Guru.
The two campuses share the faculty members handpicked from across the world.
“Twelve out of 52 faculty members live here, the rest fly down from Hyderabad,” says Guru. With two daily flights to Hyderabad and the airport a mere 10 minutes away, this is easy.
Mohali, ISB insiders believe, is poised for a big leap. All it needs is a collective push. Prateek Joshi, who was in the first batch of ISB grads from the Mohali campus, certainly thinks so. “Mohali, Chandigarh, they are great places to be in,” he beams. Amen to that.
(MARKERS OF MOHALI: PART 1 OF WEEKLY SERIES)
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