The programme fosters global learning through international exposure, Sourabh Nolkha, PGP, ISB
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K. J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research
Pearl Academy - School of Business 2020

Sourabh Nolkha was working as a Consultant in Deloitte, USA when he decided to change the career path towards Operations domain in Infrastructure sector in India. For him, the 1 year full time Post Graduate Programme at ISB was the best platform he could get to act as the catalyst for his career change. He chose ISB and did not apply to any other B-School or programme owing to the institute’s diverse classroom, alumni network and the market value of the programme.


A Chartered Accountant and a level 3 Chartered Financial Analyst with around 10 years of work experience, Sourabh is also passionate about photography and sports. In this interview with Careers360, Sourabh shares different aspects of the programme and campus at ISB, his career aspirations and message for the aspirants. 


Excerpts from the interview:


Careers360: Tell us about your prior work experience before joining ISB.

Sourabh Nolkha: I was working as a Fin-Tech Consultant responsible to provide innovative technology-based solution to business problems with an objective to improve business process by increasing revenue, reducing cost and/or improve return on assets. I am also a Level 3 CFA candidate.


Careers360: Why did you decide to pursue the 1 year PGP programme at ISB?

Sourabh Nolkha: I decided to pursue management studies to accelerate learning and look for challenging opportunities. After the completion of the programme, I want to change my Industry from Fin-Tech Consulting to Infrastructure and function from Consulting to Operations. I also plan to move from my erstwhile location, USA to India. The Post Graduate Programme at ISB would be the catalyst for changing my career path.


Careers360: Did you apply for any other B-School apart from ISB?

Sourabh Nolkha: I applied only at Indian School of Business for the following 3 reasons: One, Short duration hence lower opportunity cost. Two, Strong global Alumni Network. Finally, Strong brand recognition in Indian market.


Careers360: Describe your application and final selection procedure at ISB.

Sourabh Nolkha: The application process was fair and simple. In general, there are total two rounds of application with dates in Mid-October and Mid-January with declaration of final admission offer being rolled out a month later.


After the applications are submitted, admission team short-lists the candidates for Personal Interviews at college campus which are conducted by Alumni members. Where personal interview is not possible, interviews are conducted over video call. There is only one round of interview which typically lasts for 20 to 45 minutes.


Careers360: The programme at your B-School is one of the most expensive programmes. How have you financed the course?

Sourabh Nolkha: Post Graduate Program is ISB’s flagship program and highly regarded in the market. ISB has tie up with all the major banks in India to finance the education. I have partly funded my course through savings and balance through bank loan.


Careers360: What is a typical day in your life at the campus?

Sourabh Nolkha: One word – busy. There are 4-hour classes from Monday-Thursday, requiring 4 hour pre-reads and followed by 4-hour individual / group assignment. This takes up most of the weekdays. I spend couple of hours in the evening playing Tennis or in other recreation activities.


Careers360: Was it difficult for you to adjust to the student life after a gap of many years? How did you cope with it?

Sourabh Nolkha: Not exactly a big gap for me since I was working on my CFA for last few years. Nevertheless, it truly has been a long time to study in an institutionalized environment with scheduled classes and homework aka assignments. Thanks to excellent faculties, facilities and friends; this transition has been smooth.


Careers360: What are the non-academic activities you are involved in?

Sourabh Nolkha: I am actively involved in Infrastructure Club (SREI) with allied interest in Consulting, Finance and Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club (EVC). It includes connecting with fellow club members, organizing learning sessions, and ISB enabled relations building with Alumni and Industry leaders.

I also share my passion in Photography with other photography enthusiasts, while maintaining my fitness through Tennis, Swimming and Gym.


Careers360: How much industrial and international exposure does your programme provide you?

Sourabh Nolkha: ISB provides multitude of opportunities to build industry relations through its strong alumni network and its flagship events ISB Leadership Summit (ILS) and Equinox (Mohali Campus - Alumni Relations). In addition to this, there are industry-funded Experiential Learning Projects (ELP) providing first-hand learning while working on real-world business problems and interacting with industry leaders. International exposure is facilitated through study-treks organized in conjunction with respective professional clubs.


Careers360: What are the differences in teaching method applied by guest lectures delivered by academicians and industry practitioners? Please share the best elements from both.

Sourabh Nolkha: ISB fosters learning by inviting renowned guest professors from all over the globe and from other Ivy League colleges. It brings a fresh perspective to global learning within India. Lectures are mostly based on real-world business case studies and research projects done by the professors.


Interaction with industry practioners and alumni members is officially facilitated through numerous campus visits to Mohali and through video conference calls. Such interactions bring in the industry perspective to the students. It helps in understanding the skills needed to perform in the industry, how the resume should look like and ways to develop those skills.


Careers360: How much is the rigor at the PGP programme in comparison to the 2 year regular MBA?

Sourabh Nolkha: One-year programme is certainly more rigorous than the 2-year regular MBA programme – packed classes, more assignments, short gap between exams, shorter breaks during terms, lack of internship opportunities, etc. This certainly has some impact on learning and development.


On the other hand, one-year programme has its own charm – experienced batch mates, maturity, existing industry connect, less expensive (tuition and living expenses), shorter career break, less opportunity cost, higher ROI and shorter payback period. Most importantly, it teaches time management and prioritizing, which are one of the important ingredients to become a successful manager. As they say, crisis is a true test of friendship. To be successful in a short duration of one year, you need to trust one another and that helps in building relations that last forever.


Careers360: According to you, what is the best aspect of your programme and campus?

Sourabh Nolkha: Amongst many other things mentioned earlier, following are some of the best aspects of the PGP programme at ISB –Closely knit community with all fellow students having a minimum of 21-months work experience – average being 5+ years, excellent alumni network, short duration of the program, world-class curriculum and faculty, and one of the best placement programs amongst top B-schools in India.


With regards to ISB Mohali campus, it is a state-of-art facility located near one of the best cities in India РChandigarh. Campus is self-sufficient and provides all necessary facilities РClassrooms, study rooms, housing Рstudio and bachelor, library, recreation facilities Рswimming pool, tennis, squash, basketball, football, table-tennis, etc., food-court, 24-hour caf̩, bank-ATM, medical clinic, stationary, grocery, etc. It also has various institutes housed within the campus РMunjal Institute for Manufacturing and Operations, Punj-Lyod Institute for Infrastructure, Bharati Institute of Pulic Policy and Max Institute of Health Care.


Careers360: Does your programme offer placement? Are you willing to participate in the placement process or plan to join your previous organization?

Sourabh Nolkha: ISB provides placement and had close to 300 companies taking part in the last placement season with 1100 job offers for different roles and experience level.


Yes, since I am looking for domain and function change, I do plan to take part in the placement process. In fact, I am counting on the placement to provide the platform and facilitate the change.


Careers360: What are your expectations from the programme? How would you like to implicate the learning after completing the programme?

Sourabh Nolkha: My main expectation from this program is that it will provide me a solid platform to make the domain (Fin-Tech to Infrastructure) and function change (Finance and Consulting to Operations). This change will be enabled by excellent academics, access to wide-alumni network and excellent placement program.


Careers360: What is your advice to the aspirants of ISB?

Sourabh Nolkha: If you are looking for an MBA programme that provides with sufficient ammunition to boost your career or make an appropriate change with minimum disruption, PGP at ISB is for you.


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