Let us take a guess:
You’re considering going in for an MBA and ISB is one of your top 5 dream B-Schools. The only thing is that you cannot quite figure out which ISB campus will be the best for you.
Wherever you go, you’re seeing “One School, Two Campuses” and that is not helping because – come on, there have got to be some differences, right?!
Well, here’s some good news:
You’re not wrong!
The management of the Indian School of Business has gone to exceptional lengths to maintain equal standards at both campuses. In all honesty, it is working very well. However, there continue to be some subtle differences between the two campuses.
Given that half the country falls between these two campuses, there are bound to be some differences between ISB Hyderabad and Mohali.
We spoke to ISB alumni from Hyderabad as well as Mohali to find out exactly how the two campuses of ISB differ.
Here’s what they had to say.
How would students of one campus know what the other is like?
It’s a fair question – if you study at ISB Hyderabad, how would you know what the Mohali campus was like, and vice-versa?
The answer is simple. At ISB, students don’t just stay at the same campus throughout.
“There are a bunch of cultural activities that we organize while studying at ISB. Typically, the event management teams have members from both campuses, so we inevitably end up flying to the other campus from time to time,” says Aishwarya Tipnis, who graduated from ISB Hyderabad in 2016.
Anand Dubey from the 2018 batch at ISB Mohali agrees with Tipnis. “I’ve lost count of the number of times some of us went over to stay at the other campus for a while,” he says. “There were so many reasons to do that – case competitions, courses, summits, term exchanges…”
The key takeaway from this is that ISB students spend considerable amounts of time on both campuses, putting them in an ideal place to tell us about the differences between ISB Hyderabad and Mohali.
Campus Amenities: ISB Hyderabad vs. ISB Mohali
The first thing we noticed when we looked to compare the two ISB campuses was that the Hyderabad campus was WAY larger than the Mohali one. So we asked the alums if that made a difference to the infrastructure and amenities available.
“Mohali being a newer campus had excellent maintenance. Sure, it is smaller, but it makes up for that by providing absolute state-of-the-art infrastructure. In the end, its size doesn’t matter,” Dubey says.
Tipnis is full of praise for the campus facilities ISB provides. “Mohali is a newer campus so the amenities are obviously newer, too. But the core support systems at both campuses were seamless. There’s free housekeeping at both campuses, which is a HUGE plus point. You wouldn’t believe how much time gets saved when you don’t have to bother about the upkeep of your room!”
The school appreciates the time and money its students have invested in getting their MBAs. It does what it can to ensure the most efficient use of that time.
ISB Hyderabad and Mohali both have 24-hr cafes, convenience stores, medical and emergency support, banking, postal, IT, printing and a plethora of other services constantly available on campus.
The idea is that students shouldn’t have to waste time traveling out of the campus for minor needs.
The amenities to ensure this are made available on both campuses.
Dubey points out, however, “Sure, we had the same stuff at our disposal on both the campuses but the staff and quality of service was better in Mohali.”
Which Campus Has Better Professors?
Apparently, when ISB employs professors, they’re not employed at any particular campus.
The reason being that every professor who teaches at ISB is expected to deliver lectures and oversee activities on both campuses equally.
This way, every course that is available at ISB Hyderabad is also available in Mohali. What’s more, the same professors teach these courses at both campuses, too!
“ISB takes the whole ‘One School, Two Campuses’ thing very seriously. There’s literally no point trying to look for academic differences between the campuses. They’ve taken every possible step to ensure there are none,” says Dubey.
And sure enough, we dig around only to find that he’s quite right.
So, we move on to explore other things.
What is the Campus Culture Like?
“There are tons of on-campus and off-campus activities at ISB. Most of them are organized by the student-run clubs, so it’s up to us whether we keep up the uniformity between campuses,” Dubey believes.
This is the first avenue for an actual distinction between the campuses that we’ve come across. It’s possible that one campus may have more enthusiastic students while the other may have more studious ones. That could affect the activities conducted at each campus.
“It’s possible but that hasn’t been my experience. As an institution, ISB actually encourages all-round development. For example, I got to perform at the Hard Rock Cafe during my time at ISB. On my own, I’d have to compromise on my career to get such an opportunity,” says Tipnis.
Even on a socio-cultural front, there appears to be no difference between ISB Hyderabad and Mohali.
Both campuses take steps to foster inclusivity, with Pride Marches and panel discussions about topics affecting the LGBTIQ community. Adopting no social or political stances of its own, ISB promotes open dialogue on all issues from all walks of life.
All in all, the environment on both campuses is unbiased and open to all.
“If you’re REALLY looking for differences, though, here’s one – there are more weekend getaways close to Mohali than there are to Hyderabad,” Tipnis observes. “Not that it makes much of a difference, honestly, because you don’t usually get a lot of time to yourself at ISB. The learning curve is quite steep!”
What that means for you is this:
Even though ISB Mohali affords you access to more getaways than ISB Hyderabad, you aren’t going to end up visiting many. Sorry!
This brings us to the next question.
Which Campus is More Expensive to Live On?
It’s but obvious that the tuition fees across campuses will remain constant.
But given the differences in the politico-economic conditions of the respective cities, we expect there to be some variations in costs of living.
“Basically, ISB is like a self-contained township. And that goes for both campuses. Whether you study at ISB Hyderabad or ISB Mohali, your living arrangements are on campus. Everything else you need is on campus, too,” says Dubey.
The only way costs of living in either city will affect you is if you don’t live on campus.
“It’s just so convenient to live on campus that almost nobody, including local students, would choose to live outside. Getting an MBA from ISB is a package deal – you’ll make the best of it only if you partake in everything that comes with being an ISB student,” Tipnis says.
And as long as you’re on campus, prices remain uniform. However, there is a difference in some of the finer aspects of things.
For example, ISB cannot yet control the climate. So, the obvious difference, then, is that winters in Mohali will be considerably colder and dryer than winters in Hyderabad.
This means you’ll need to prepare accordingly, which may mean more expenses for some.
On the contrary, Hyderabad is more humid and warm. Depending on the weather in which you’ve grown up, you may have some trouble adjusting to this.
Further, the food available at Hyderabad and Mohali respectively is also different.
“You won’t get Paradise Biryani in Mohali,” laughs Tipnis. “But you can go get some while you’re visiting!”
On a (slightly) more serious note, South Indian cuisine is very different from North Indian cuisine and some people may have serious issues adjusting to something they’re not used to eating. This may not be a big issue, but it might be worth considering for some people!
“If you’re talking about career opportunities, well, placements take place on the same campus for us all. So, that doesn’t matter,” Dubey says. “I guess the only time your campus location matters is when you’re looking for internships. But you can always opt for an exchange semester and do your internship from the other campus if you land an opportunity at some company there.”
This goes on to say that you have equal access to every internship opportunity that’s available to ISB students, irrespective of your campus location.
So… What’s the Verdict?
We’ve read many resources and interacted with a whole lot of people in addition to Aishwarya Tipnis and Anand Dubey. The sole purpose was to see if we could crack open ISB’s “One School, Two Campuses” claim.
During the course of writing this article, we came across some claims that ISB Mohali saw more guest lecturers than ISB Hyderabad. However, we’ve found no evidence to back this or other similar claims.
The differences between ISB Hyderabad and Mohali are minor, subtle and entirely non-academic in nature. How deeply they impact your ISB experience depends entirely on your ability to adjust.
On the whole, ISB truly is one school with two campuses, with everything that’s humanly possible being maintained equally on both campuses.
Our verdict on the matter is that ISB has excelled at enforcing its ‘One School, Two Campuses’ policy, and that there indeed is no considerable difference between ISB Hyderabad and Mohali.