August Academy's MBA Admissions Blog

Guru Talk: Student clubs at Business School – what is in it for you?


– written by Vishnu Prasad Ramachandran: ISB class of 2014


So, apart from the academics, what else keeps the busy bees at B-school buzzing? Parties, of course, become a big part of one’s schedule. Planned, unplanned, celebrating some achievement, regretting something. All sorts of excuses to party.

And then, there are other activities that are meaningful too. Professional and social clubs are a vital part of the B-school experience. Competitions are another aspect of the non-curricular facet of a MBA program. B-plans, case studies, simulations, quizzes..the types are varied and interesting. One ends up attending competitions conducted by one the various clubs.

What clubs are there?

So, how many clubs are there? ISB had more than 10 professional and social clubs each. Each club served a specific interest. Interested in becoming an entrepreneur? There is a club for that. Want to shape the next generation public policy? There is a club for that too. Can tell the difference between a dry Riesling and a sweet one? Welcome to the Wine tasting club. Always been proud of your ball bending skills like Beckham? The Sports club might be the place for you. Use terms 1 and 2 to explore the activities of each club and select which ones can be the ones for you.

My interest – the Entrepreneurship and VC Club:

As someone who was always fascinated by the power wielded by Sand Hill Road, I joined was the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital club at ISB. I even put forward a manifesto to become the President of the club (and failed). This club arranged for meet and greets with VCs, founders and angels.

You think you could create the next billion $ startup? There are several competitions conducted to help you hone your pitching skills. May be evaluating a startup idea is your thing? Can give Tim Draper and Andreessen Horowitz a run for their money? There are competitions for you too.

While I was helping a friend on his startup idea, a lot of the talks given by the VCs and founders helped us in fine tuning the b-plan for the idea we were working on. A few student groups were able to gain some mentorship from said VCs and were able to win prestigious business plan competitions.

The Student body:

If none of these activities spark your interest, and you are the alpha of the alpha types at B-school, and want to lead, and be the face of the student body, the student association might be the right fit for you. Run for elections, prepare a winning manifesto, inspire the student body to vote for you and be the face of the student body for a year!

But, wait. There is more!

The ISB Leadership summit:

Have you organized and managed an event? Could that be your thing? At ISB, you could organize and run anything from a one day to 3 day events, right from planning the speaker list, to arranging for sponsors and getting things done. ISB Leadership Summit is the biggest event on the ISB calendar and is organized, for the most part, by students.

The ISB Super League:

If everything else bores you, and you dream of being Arsene Wenger, Gary Kirsten and Phil Jackson put together, you can get your training at ISB for that too. Try your hand at being a team owner in the ISB Super League. Buy the rights to a team, inspire alums and peers (and ISB staff) to be a part of your team in a multi-sport league to win the big prize.

Giving back to the school:

This is all fine, but how does one give back to the alma mater even before becoming an alum? I understand your urgency and there are activities for you too. Why not volunteer to review application packets of future class of students? You could be the person who can identify the diamond in the rough, and help bring in the next Neeraj Arora (all things business at WhatsApp) or Ankur Warikoo (CEO of Groupon India) into ISB.

How do you do everything?  Prioritise:

In my experience, there are so many such activities, that a little bit of time is needed to prioritize which events actually needed my time investment. 24 hours might not be enough, if one tries to partake in every activity.

With all these options, the only question before you is, what do you aspire to do?


About the author:

Vishnu currently helps companies in the manufacturing space (in the US) rethink their business and design process as part of Cognizant’s Emerging business accelerator.  He is available at the following pages:



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