Article: How to build a world-class institution

Strategic HR

How to build a world-class institution

The innovative “portfolio faculty” model allowed the ISB to recruit faculty from the best schools in the world, while allowing us to invite leading faculty as well

Nothing can be more inspiring than an audacious dream; and encapsulating the dream into a vision that clearly articulates all that one aspires for is perhaps the most important aspect of building a great institution. It is this clarity that can bring together a coalition of like-minded and passionate people into cohesive action, such as the one we witnessed in the founding years at ISB.

We were determined to build a management institution in India that would be among the best in the world. Along the way, we encountered many challenges – there were no institutions in India that had set their sights on being among the best in the world. Since we did not have any role models, we had to chart our own course. In our resolve to follow our vision we learnt to innovate and in the process set many trends in management education in India. We had to break many established beliefs within the academic community to speed up the establishment of our reputation.

We identified five key areas in the beginning, partly based on Prof. Peter Lorange’s excellent work at IMD – an outstanding student body, a world class curriculum, Global Faculty, a strong Infrastructure, and a very committed Staff to look after the ‘business” part of the School. Wharton and Kellogg helped us to develop a world class curriculum. Their association, their brand equity and their committed professors not only took the teaching as their own responsibility, but also helped us develop a model to attract global faculty to teach at the ISB. The innovative “portfolio faculty” model allowed the ISB to recruit bright young Faculty from the best schools in the world, while allowing us to invite leading faculty from the best schools as Visiting Faculty to ensure a truly global educational experience.

ISB’s visionary leadership then, comprising the late Sumantra Ghoshal, Prof Dipak Jain, and the Founding Dean, Dr. Pramath Sinha ensured that we implemented the Vision in super fast time, and attracted brilliant students from the beginning. The presence of the who’s who of corporate India on the ISB Board was also a huge help in getting instant credibility. The generous contributions from a large number of companies and Individuals allowed the ISB to create a top class infrastructure, and the grand vision of building a world class Institution in India attracted high calibre staff from the Industry at fractions of the compensation they were getting.

I believe that institutions that aspire for greatness must begin with a clear vision, and everything they do must be aligned to the vision. Even with limited resources, through innovative thinking and collaboration, the vision can be realised.

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Topics: Strategic HR, C-Suite, Campus Recruitment

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