After studying law I vectored towards journalism by accident and it's the only job I've done since. It's a job that has taken me on a private jet to Jaisalmer - where I wrote India's first feature on fractional ownership of business jets - to the badlands of west UP where India's sugar economy is inextricably now tied to politics. I'm a big fan of new business models and crafty entrepreneurs. Fortunately for me, there are plenty of those in Asia at the moment.
Dipak C Jain
Profile: Dean, INSEAD and INSEAD Chaired Professor of Marketing. Independent director, Reliance Industries
Career: Was a former dean at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University
Education: BSc Statistics (Hons.) in 1976 from Darrang College and Masters in Statistics from Gauhati University.
Interests: Teaching Jainism.
Q. After spending 13 years as dean of the Kellogg School of Management you moved over to INSEAD. What was your motivation to take up this job?
My main interest in coming from Kellogg to INSEAD was to see how we can create a truly global MBA programme. One of the most important [ways to do this] is to have students from different nationalities. The other is to have global campuses. American business schools find it hard to attract students from all over the world. While there may be a lot of students from different nationalities, most have come to the US to study and stayed on to work. I don’t think they count as international students.
Q. And your plans to create worldwide campuses?
We already have two campuses in Singapore and Abu Dhabi. While at Singapore we accept MBA students, at Abu Dhabi we are building up through our executive MBA programme. A strong executive MBA programme will help us attract students for the full-time programme. In the US market also we will go through the executive MBA route and for this we will tie-up with an already established American business school.
Q. How do Indian business schools score on diversity?
Unfortunately, they don’t score too well. The Indian School of Business (ISB) set up in 2000 was a bold experiment, but it has struggled to attract international students. I was involved with the school and have followed it from the beginning. The time has come to replace the ‘I’ in ISB and make it an International school of business. This will require some vision in terms of accepting people from other nationalities. Look at Chinese B-Schools. They score very well on diversity as there are a lot of expats who do their MBA in China itself. In India it is very difficult to have an admission standard that is not marks driven. Until that happens, schools here will always be less diverse.
Q. With the Middle Eastern market becoming increasingly attractive how do you plan to serve it?
We plan to tap into the Middle East through our campus at Abu Dhabi. Most parts of Africa are within a four-hour flight. There is a huge need for management training in the Middle East and I have found that countries like Saudi Arabia are acutely aware of this. They are very keen on promoting top-notch management education for their next generation of managers. A combination of the African market and demand from the Middle East will help establish our Abu Dhabi campus. For India, INSEAD has developed a senior leadership programme for Indian executives.