I think I was one of the first from the ISB community to visit the Mohali campus in Mar 2011, when it was being constructed. Someone thought my photography is worth something and invited a bunch of us to shoot the progress of the campus. You can check these shots here – (I expect to make a fortune of them once I am dead!)
I havent been there since, observing the happenings from a distance. However, I have been bombarded with this question to no end – from potential ISB aspirants and even alums – Whats the difference between ISB Mohali and ISB Hyderabad?
For me: A LOT
ISB Hyderabad was a gamble. It was as insane an idea as an entrepreneur waking up one fine day and saying – my aim is to IPO my company in the next 3 years! Pramath Sinha (ISB’s 1st Dean) has captured the trajectory beautifully in his book “An Idea Whose Time Has Come”, which I was privileged enough to be asked to review, and I found it fascinating.
ISB Mohali is the 2nd child of a proud parent. And for those who have 2 kids – you know the difference. You apply all your learning, all your experiences and all your effort, to make sure the 2nd is as precious as the 1st. You, at the time time, make sure the 1st isnt left ignored. Its a big balance.
For me, being part of Mohali as the 1st batch, would be fascinating. Because I go back to my time at ISB and realize how much we influenced the school in our small way, as the 5th batch of the school. SV1 got built during our batch, we had the last episode of Poseidon (ISB’s erstwhile Annual BSchool fest) during our time, we introduced the tiering process during the placement season, the Young Leaders/Torchbearers awards were introduced in our times etc etc. People dont get to play such roles at a BSchool, let alone experience such things. I think I became part-entrepreneur during ISB itself, because of the above.
And Mohali is going to experience the same. But in an even more organized fashion. The 1st batch will lay claim to have BUILT the school alongwith their own personalities.
Recognize the fact that ISB didnt have to do this. The 2nd campus wasnt mandatory. It wasnt part of the original plan. But it still went through the effort. It wasnt convenient, it wasnt the easy choice, but it happened. Seth Godin writes wonderfully on this.
Where does trust come from?
Hint: It never comes from the good times and from the easy projects!
Through ISB Mohali – it has made me trust it a lot more than previously! There will be hiccups, there will be challenges – but thats the fun!
To current students of ISB Mohali and to future ISB aspirants – its a wonderful opportunity for you to build a world-class institution. Dont be petty and transactional in your conduct. Dont think of ISB as a placement agency and demand 100% RoI on the fees! No investment in the world gives that, and if it does – please opt for that instead of an MBA from ISB.
Worse still, dont think of it as an inferior option to Hyderabad!