Now in its 10th year, India’s top B-school, the Indian School of Business, is facing a serious crisis of credibility. Founded by some of the “best minds from the corporate and academic worlds“, and working in conjunction with such top B-schools such as Kellogg and Wharton, key personnel of ISB have figured in two very big scams.
First, its dean M. Rammohan Rao had to quit his exalted post ignomiously in 2009 after the Satyam scam. Reason: he was a director (in his individual capacity) on the board of the company. Another high functionary of ISB, Anil Kumar, too, had to follow suit. (A Harvard worthie, G. Krishna Palepu, was similarly embroiled.)
Now, Rajat Gupta, one of the co-founders of ISB, has had to resign or is on the verge of resigning, after being slammed with charges of insider-trading by American authorities, for giving illegal tips about Goldman Sachs Group Inc, based on information available to him as board member, to a scamster. He is now an accused under-trial.
To be fair, the individual indiscretions of ISB’s faculty or founders should not tar-brush an entire institution, especially for one which has consistently figured in the Financial Times ranking of the top business schools in the world. But is there a larger problem with B-schools that ISB seems to showcase?
As it is, many private business schools have had a well-earned reputation of being money-minting machines, with poor faculty, poor placement, bogus claims, etc. On top of that, if a school such as ISB reveals holes in its faculty’s clothes, does it point to a deeper malaise, on the pitfalls of having too close an interface with industry?