Touching the sky with ISB

By Soumik Dey Jul 28, 2022

ISB felicitates 24 academic and research associates as they prepare to join their PhD programmes at renowned global institutions.

The Indian School of Business prides itself on its research focus. Each year the School’s faculty generates the highest number of management research papers from the Indian sub-continent. The Research Associates (RA) and Academic Associates (AA), who aid with ongoing faculty research, form a crucial cog for the School’s research output.

It is an ISB tradition to felicitate RAs and AAs after they enter PhD programmes across renowned global institutions. This year’s felicitation was indeed a celebration, with 24 research aides of the School making the cut for PhD programmes at top-tier institutions and who would be bidding adieu to the School shortly.

Some of them left successful careers and jobs to join the RA programme or to be Academic Associates aiding the faculty for their day-to-day teaching and research projects. At the same time, some joined as freshmen seeking to gain experience and sharpen their research skill sets.

The RA programme of ISB has existed for the last ten years. During this duration, close to 170 RAs were associated with the School and pursued their future goals as researchers. ISB provides unique opportunities to professionals through its RA programme to pursue academic or research-oriented goals.

Take, for example, Padmalaya Mallick, who joined the RA programme of ISB under Professor Deepak Jena and is now headed for her PhD in Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the London Business School. She worked six years as a consultant with Deloitte in Hyderabad before joining as a RA within late 2019. Acting on her locational advantage of being close to ISB, she decided to pursue her academic career.

“The RA programme has been quite a journey for me. Since I joined, I have welcomed motherhood and will now be pursuing my PhD at another great business school. ISB has changed a lot for me,” she says, talking about her experience as a research aide to the faculty here at ISB.

Interest in pursuing academic research in professional fields motivates many to join the RA programme at ISB. Naveen Malugu was working with the healthcare industry on innovations related to machine learning. Listening to an address by Sarang Deo, Professor and Area Leader, Operations Management and Executive Director-Max Institute of Healthcare Management (MIHM) at ISB, Naveen made his decision and worked with several of ISBs faculty in his three-year tenure.

“I realised a lot of work in adapting machine learning in healthcare is being done at ISB. I wanted to delve into this kind of research; thanks to ISB, I have a strong research profile,” he says. Naveen will join the prestigious UCLA-Anderson School of Management to pursue his PhD research in operations management – just like his mentor Professor Sarang Deo once did.

The environment at ISB is also conducive best for the RAs here. “For three years, I have learned about research at ISB through my involvement with various projects. The multiple classes and coursework for PhD applicants help a lot,” said Saketh Chityala, who is going to Leeds School of Business.

ISB’s expansive and ultra-modern library, the Learning Resource Centre (LRC), is the heart of the academic activity at the School and stays open 24/7. The RAs benefit hugely from the collection of research journals across various fields, other journals, and the latest books and databases at their fingertips here.

At the felicitation ceremony, various ISB faculty recounted their journey from being ISB RAs to becoming professors here. Deepak Jena, Assistant Professor, Strategy and Pooja Mishra, Assistant Professor, Organisational Behaviour, shared how they embarked on their ‘academic entrepreneurship’ or research and learned and supported each other through their PhD degrees.

“Grace and humility should be constant for a researcher. As you go through your research life, and the more you learn, you realise there are more things you do not know anything about. It is going to be a wonderful journey, and you should enjoy learning to learn,” said Abhishek Kathuria, Assistant Professor of Information Systems, addressing the outgoing RAs and AAs. Some senior faculty members shared that the RA programme of ISB is the School’s secret weapon. And it soon became apparent as to why so.

“You are going to reputed PhD programmes in your areas across the globe. This adds to the reputation of the School. Throw yourself into research from ‘day zero’. I hope, after your doctoral degrees, some of you will consider coming back as a faculty one day,” said Madan Pillutla, Dean, ISB, in his address at the ceremony.