ISB MBA Fees and Return on Investment (ROI): Analysis and Alumni Perspectives

The world economy is staring at a huge recession; maybe bigger than 2009! Even for India, Moody’s Investors Service reduced its projection for India’s GDP growth from 5.3% to merely 2.5% in 2020. This has made candidates asking if it’s wise to opt for an MBA during a recession.

Indian School of Business (ISB) has been at the forefront when it comes to pursuing an MBA in India. No wonder that such a young B school (established less than 20 years ago in 2001), has been able to earn a position in the “Indian Ivy League”.

However, there is a growing number of concerns among MBA aspirants in India regarding the high fee-structure of the ISB-PGP program. Given the tough job market ahead due to the COVID-19 scenario, a majority of MBA applicants are worried about the ROI.

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There is a significant section of the crowd (including a few ISB alumni) who suggested that it’s not worth (anonymous reviews) in response to the question “is ISB overhyped?” on Quora. On the contrary, a good majority of ISB alumni suggested that you have to look beyond the numbers in order to assess the ROI of the ISB-PGP program in true sense. Many alumni also described the ISB experience as “transformational”. In this post, S4G co-founder and ISB alumnus Manan Puri presents a few stats and perspectives on ISB fees and ROI.

ISB Fees & ROI: Analysis & Alumni Perspectives

By Manan Puri

The Indian School of Business (ISB) is one of the top b-schools in the country. At ~20 years since inception, it is among the youngest b-schools to feature in the FT ranking (currently within the top 30 globally). The school has produced a number of prominent global leaders such as Neeraj Arora (WhatsApp), Ankur Warikoo (Groupon / Nearbuy), Ajith Andhare (Viacom), Viren Rasquinha (Olympian / Olympic Gold Quest – OGQ), etc. to name a few.

These days, we’ve been getting a number of queries and in some cases, concerns regarding the ‘high’ fees of its Post Graduate Program (PGP) in Management (also termed as MBA) and ‘whether it’s worth it’. We’ll analyze the fees’ trends over the past 8 years and cover the true ROI of the program.

ISB PGP Program Expenses

The below chart shows how the total fees have trended over the years. To calculate the total spend- add ~INR 200,000 of misc expenses and the opportunity cost of the salary you forego for the year.


While the absolute numbers seem high, the CAGR of the fees in the past 8 years is ~5.90%, broadly in line with the inflation trends. There are a number of scholarships offered and the banks are more than willing to loan the amount with very competitive interest rates, those too without collateral. Think of the money spent here as an investment.


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ROI Analysis of ISB-PGP Program

Here’s where we talk about the returns (tangible and non-tangible):

ISB Placements

Let’s face it, the majority of the aspirants go for an MBA to get placed and higher salaries in India. Even though the number of students has increased from ~730 in 2013 to ~900 in 2020 at both ISB Hyderabad and Mohali, the number of offers has gone up from 850 to 1300 in the same period. Now let’s look at the mid-80 percentile salary numbers.

ISB Salaries and ROI

The CAGR for this, ~5.98%, is slightly higher than the CAGR in program expenses. Also, these are just year 1 post-MBA numbers. They continue to grow ~5% every year if you are within the same firm and ~10%-15% if say; you switch a couple of jobs in 5 years. For the placement analysis for 2019-20, refer to our earlier blog on ISB class profile and placement statistics.

Class Profile

Peer learning is a key component of what you gain out of an MBA program. At ISB, the average work experience spans ~4.5 years and diversity across a number of sectors.

As Ritvik Shekhar, PGP Class of 2013 puts it: “In my class at ISB, I got an opportunity to work with an ex-Army Captain, a musician who has worked with A.R. Rahman, a JEE top-ranked IIT engineer, an investment banker and a quiz master“.

Thus, ISB provides a great learning experience from the competition- you tend to ‘grow’ as an individual and a professional

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Professors and Case-based Teaching Method

Who teaches you + what you are taught is as important as who you are taught with. The globally-renowned faculty at ISB and the case-based teaching method enable you to develop a structured approach to problem-solving which otherwise takes years to develop. The faculty, who work on a number of research projects for the industry, bring in a wealth of experience and insights that give a well-rounded exposure to the students

Alumni Network

This is the most important ROI for any MBA program. A solid alumni network opens a lot of doors to future opportunities whether jobs, learning, supporting your venture, etc. The number and diversity are growing steadily across the globe. A 12,000-strong ISB alumni-network across a number of sectors and geographies is a support structure you can always fall back on.


ISB’s Hyderabad Mohali campuses are one of the (if not the) best ones in the country. A year spent in that environment and the state of the art infrastructure literally ‘spoils’ you. With all your peers and faculty in the same campus, the bond that you generate with the place, and the people, no ROI can quantify that!

Hence, if you are looking for the true ROI from the PGP at ISB, you should look beyond the numbers (which are good by the way!). It is a long-term investment in your life and your career which usually would span ~25 years after completion of your MBA.

The program truly results in transformation and a number of alumni would say ‘best year of our lives’!


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