...understanding globalisation both from an international and cultural perspective will be vital.

In just over a decade, the Indian School of Business (ISB) in Hyderabad has made its presence felt in the global arena of business and management studies. Situated in the heart of the hub for information technology, it has the support of the reputed Kellogg and Wharton business schools of US. The strength of ISB in the words of the Dean, Ajit Rangnekar, are the students with their diverse backgrounds, a world class faculty, an inspiring campus, a functional infrastructure and finally the success of its alumni. The ISB is poised for a bigger growth with its second campus in Mohali on the outskirts of Chandigarh, formally launched by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Sunday. Rangnekar, who has been the dean since 2009, talked to BL On Campus.

How is ISB preparing students to meet the challenges of management in the corporate world?

The big thing for students will be to deal with uncertainty in the world. Students have to ‘learn to learn’; understanding globalisation both from an international and cultural perspective will be vital. It is a different culture and economic scenario. In India, the potentially large movement of people from rural to urban will open up new challenges and opportunities. Similarly, the emerging markets in the developing world will demand delivery of same high quality at competitive prices.

I feel the Indian student is better placed to take on these changes than those from the developed world because they face these situations already.

Does the economic downturn in Europe, US and slowdown in India mean lesser jobs and higher competition?

Business cycles are facts of life. Students must understand this hard reality. We had these in 2000, 2009, but 2012 looks better in comparison. From now on, a management graduate will never have a smooth 20-30 year career. He/she is likely to lose jobs three times at least for no fault of theirs. Mergers and acquisitions, companies being shut, etc., present an uncertainty in career. The only way is to excel. Even then one can lose a job. So, we have to prepare ourselves for this reality. The silver lining for India is that there is much greater possibility of better times.

What are your views on the proliferation of b-schools with many lacking in quality infrastructure and teaching resources.

A number of them are being closed down. There is a mismatch between the aspirations of the MBA coming out of these colleges and the needs of the job market. There are jobs in small and medium enterprises, manufacturing, field based like sales and marketing. But management graduates want high paying jobs in a cosy work environment. Many colleges were started when the economy was on a high. The AICTE also liberally gave accreditation. Since 2006 there is a slowdown in demand. Now, second and third tier colleges will feel the pressure. The market will clear itself and only the better ones will remain. Having said that, I think there is a need to look at utilising the skills of a good number of people retiring from our IITs and IIMs to help improve the situation in the engineering and management sector.

What are your suggestions to aspiring managers?

Know yourself. Both strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Also be realistic. It’s nice to think I want to join a Goldman Sachs or a Microsoft but equally realistic is to ask yourself whether you are fit and what you should do to be deserving.

The competition is very severe and will only grow. Whatever you do it has to be outstanding. Good is not enough. You should have a hunger to learn always. There is no easy way and there is enormous success awaiting those who work hard on a sustained basis.

(This article was published on December 2, 2012)
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