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Is ISB better than IIM?

Yes, if the applicant has a work experience of upto 4 or 5 years and is considering a one year MBA program, ISB is a good choice for him. However if the applicant has a work experience of more than 5 years he / she is also eligible for the IIM one year MBA for executives, where the number of options for the applicant increases. For applicants with a work experience of around 8 years the IIM Executive MBA programs maybe quite suitable as the average work experience in the IIM one year MBA class is around 8 to 8.5 years.


Apart from these, there are also differences in the class size, class average age, curriculum and program structure which would be important for the individual learners to decide on the program according to their personal preferences. We are discussing these in detail in this blog.


ISB and IIM are top ranked schools in India and worldwide. IIM and ISB are however different in may ways like the average class profile, work experience, kind of industries that graduates get opportunities post MBA and functional roles offered in the placements at IIM vs ISB. If one goes by the rankings above ISB definitely stands a level higher than IIM. However, to address the question of is ISB Hyderabad better than IIM, we will take a standard roadmap of what the program offers and the program structure. To decide between ISB vs IIM for a specific profile depends on what the applicant is seeking from the MBA program.



The differences between ISB vs IIM can be categorized into 25 criteria which we have discussed below:


1. Class Profile of IIMA PGPX Class of 2024 Vs ISB PGP Class of 2024:


The IIMA class of 2024:

  1. Consists of 148 students.

  2. The average GMAT score for this cohort is 693.

  3. While the average GRE score is 323.

  4. The average work experience of the students is 7.7 years, indicating a cohort with substantial professional experience prior to joining the program.

  5. The average age of the class is 30.75 years.

For the ISB MBA Class of 2024:


1. ISB 2023 Class Size: 881

2. ISB MBA GMAT range: 530 to 780

3. ISB PGP GMAT Average: 716

4. ISB GRE range: 319 - 339

5. ISB PGP GRE Average: 330

6. ISB MBA Age range: 22 years to 44 years

7. ISB MBA work experience range: 2 years to 24 years

8. ISB MBA average age: 27 years

9. ISB PGP average work experience: 4.4 years

10. ISB PGP class composition: 49% engineers and 51% non engineers


There are 15 + GMAT based MBA programs in India like ISB PGP, ISB YLP, ISB EEO and IIM One year MBA programs.


With a combination of technical and business backgrounds, the class of 2024 at ISB PGP is a diversified and promising group overall.


2. Placements at IIM vs ISB:

If one evaluates the salary packages at IIM vs ISB, career growth and opportunities IIM and ISB are quite comparable. It depends on the profile, sector, education background and goals of the applicants.


The median salaries offered during IIMA PGPX placements in 2023 was as follows for the various sectors:

  1. Automotive sector - INR 32,40,000

  2. BFSI sector - INR 30,00,000

  3. Conglomerate sector - INR 28,96,000

  4. Consulting sector - INR 25,50,000

  5. Data science industry - INR 30,00,000

  6. Ecommerce sector - INR 32,00,006

  7. Education sector - INR 35,00,000

  8. Energy sector - INR 30,00,000

  9. Engineering procurement and construction sector - INR 23,40,000

  10. FMCG sector - INR 32,17,227

  11. Healthcare sector - INR 27,00,000

  12. Infrastructure industry - INR 28,44,000

  13. IT Consulting industry - INR 29,00,000

  14. IT services sector - INR 26,21,759

  15. Logistics sector - INR 27,50,000

  16. Manufacturing sector - INR 48,00,000

  17. Retail industry - INR 25,00,000

  18. Pharma sector - INR 25,11,000

  19. Software services - INR 35,00,000

  20. Technology sector - INR 23,15,000

Trends in IIMA PGPX Placements in the last 5 years (INR Annual).

  1. In the year 2018, the highest salary offered was INR 54.6 lakhs

  2. In the year 2019 the highest salary offered was INR 60 lakhs

  3. In the year 2020 the highest salary offered was INR 81 lakhs

  4. In the year 2021 the highest salary offered was INR 82 lakhs

  5. In the year 2022 the highest salary offered was INR 75.2 lakhs

Median salary offered in IIMA PGPX Placements in the last 5 years:

  1. In the year 2018 the median salary offered was INR 28.4 lakhs

  2. In the year 2019 the median salary offered was INR 30 lakhs

  3. In the year 2020 the median salary offered was INR 30 lakhs

  4. In the year 2021 the median salary offered was INR 30 lakhs

  5. In the year 2022 the median salary was INR 36.2 lakhs

How were the ISB Hyderabad placements 2023?

ISB average package 2023 for different sectors (80% average CTC) is as below:

  1. Advertisement/ Media sector : INR 32,03,704 in 2022 while it is INR 32,12,444 in 2023

  2. BFSI in 2022 : INR 34,90,064 while it is INR 30,96,269 in 2023

  3. Conglomerate sector : INR 24,63,333 in 2022 while it is INR 31,26,806 in 2023

  4. Consulting sector : INR 33,29,759 in 2022 while it is INR 35,57,509 in 2023

  5. Technology sector : INR 33,89,061 in 2022 while it is INR 32,86,100 in 2023

  6. Pharma/ Biotech sector : INR 31,64,219 in 2022 and INR 37,03,889 in 2023

  7. Manufacturing sector: INR 25,35,714 in 2022 and INR 48,83,400 in 2023

  8. Education sector : INR 28,05,000 in 2022 while it is INR 43,33,333 in 2023

  9. Infrastructure sector : INR 28,00,000 in 2022 while it is INR 30,00,004 in 2023

  10. Oil/ Energy sector: INR 34,00,000 in 2022 and it was INR 29,58,701 in 2023

  11. Transportation/ Logistics sector : INR 35,92,761 in 2022 and it was INR 29,93,213 in 2023.

Get in touch with an experienced MBA admission consultant at GOALisB for a profile evaluation or application assistance.


Comparing placements for IIM vs ISB over the last few years we find:

  1. ISB PGP average placements for 2021 average: INR 27,13,055

  2. IIMA PGPX placements for 2021 average: ~ INR 28 lacs

  3. IIMB EPGP placements for 2020 averaged : INR 29.88 lacs

  4. IIMC MBAEx placements for 2021 averaged : INR 28.75 lacs

The numbers above give the averages and it is quite evident that they are quite close for IIM vs ISB.


3. Prominent Sectors in Placements at IIM vs ISB differ:

Over the years we have observed with our admits that the one year MBA programs whether IIM vs ISB both have facilitated both role change and sector change for applicants. When we look closely we find the recruitment patterns as follows at IIM vs ISB:

  1. At IIM Executive MBA the largest sector pool recruited was the IT sector, followed by online services, then consulting and then BFSI amongst other sectors which include energy, Pharma, manufacturing, FMCG etc.

  2. In terms of function, the majority placements took place in marketing roles, followed by operations and general management at IIM Executive MBA.

  3. On the other hand at ISB PGP a large proportion of hiring takes place in consulting, followed by e-commerce, FMCG and retail and finance/ financial services.

4. Salary progression in Placements at IIM vs ISB also differs:

The CTC enhancement at ISB for graduates across a range of work experience for the class of 2021 has been observed as below:

  • For graduates with a work experience of 2 years to 3 years the hike in CTC post an ISB MBA has been recorded at close to 275%.

  • Graduates with an experience in the range of 5 to 6 years achieved an enhancement of approximately 145% in their CTC post the ISB MBA.

This evaluation of IIM vs ISB might be important for some applicants who are quite sector and role focused in their MBA investment decision.


Subscribe here for application updates for 15 + GMAT based MBA programs in India like ISB PGP, ISB YLP, ISB EEO and IIM One year MBA programs.


5. Batch size at IIM vs ISB differs giving a very different learning experience to students:

Amongst the IIM Executive MBA programs, the batch sizes are very different and every student has a different preference - a small batch size or a large batch size.

  1. IIMA PGPX enrolls a batch size of 140 (148 in 2023)

  2. IIMB EPGP usually enrolls a batch size of 75 students (75 in 2023)

  3. IIMC MBAeX enrolls a batch size of around 80 (78 in 2023)

  4. ISB PGP enrolls a batch size of close to 900 students (843 in 2023)

The applicant must evaluate how they learn best and choose between IIM vs ISB accordingly.


Amongst the ISB vs IIM Executive MBA programs, the batch sizes are very different and every student has a different preference - a small batch size or a large batch size. The applicant must evaluate how they learn best and choose between IIM vs ISB accordingly. The average work experience of the class is also quite different which again adds up to a different cohort composition at IIM vs ISB.


ISB MBA class profile:

  1. No of Seats: ~900

  2. Average Work Ex: 4.6 years

  3. ISB FT RANK 2023 - 39

Class profile for IIMA PGPX:

  1. No of Seats: 140

  2. Average Work Ex: 7.3 years

  3. Average GMAT score: 710

  4. IIMA FT RANK 2023 - 51

Class profile for IIMB EPGP:

  1. No of Seats: 75

  2. Average Work Ex: 7.5 years

  3. Average GMAT score: 697

  4. IIMB FT RANK 2023 - 52

Class profile for IIMC MBAEX:

  1. No of Seats: 78

  2. Average Work Ex: 8.5 years

  3. Average GMAT score: 697

  4. IIMC FT RANK 2023 - 76

Class profile for IIML IMPX:

  1. No of Seats: 101

  2. Average Work Ex: 8.3 years

  3. IIML FT RANK 2023 - 90

Class profile for IIMI EPGP:

  1. No of Seats: 57

  2. Average Work Ex: 9.1 years

  3. Average GMAT score: 650

  4. IIMI FT RANK 2023 - 89

6. Range of work experience in the class is different at ISB vs IIM which creates a different class room experience:

  1. ISB work experience range: 2 years - 20 years

  2. IIMA PGPX work experience range: 4 years - 19.5 years

  3. IIMB EPGP work experience range: 5 years - 13 years

  4. IIMC MBAEX work experience range: 5 years - 17 years

7. The average work experience of the class is also quite different which again adds up to a different cohort composition at IIM vs ISB:

  1. ISB average work experience: 4.6 years

  2. IIMA PGPX average work experience: 8 years 3 months

  3. IIMB EPGP average work experience: 7.42 years

  4. IIMC MBAEX average work experience: 8.1 years

8. Rankings of the IIM Executive MBA and ISB:

IIM vs ISB as per the FT Business School Rankings 2024 vs 2023:

ISB FT MBA ranking 2023 - 39 and it has ranked at 31 in FT MBA Ranking 2024.

IIMA FT MBA ranking 2023 - 51 and it has ranked at 41 in FT MBA Ranking 2024.

IIMB FT MBA ranking 2023 - 52 and it has ranked at 47 in FT MBA Ranking 2024.

IIMC FT MBA ranking 2023 - 76 and it has ranked at 67 in FT MBA Ranking 2024.

IIMI FT MBA ranking 2023 - 89 however it doesn't feature in the FT MBA ranking 2024.

IIML FT MBA ranking 2023 - 90 and it has ranked at 85 in FT MBA Ranking 2024.

XLRI has featured in the FT MBA ranking 2024 at 99th position.


IIM vs ISB QS Leap Global MBA Rankings Asia 2024 vs 2023:

ISB ranks in QS Leap Global MBA Rankings Asia 2023 - 15 and ranks 14 in 2024 QS Asia Rankins

IIMA ranks in QS Leap Global MBA Rankings Asia 2023 - 8 and ranks 9 in 2024 QS Asia Rankings

IIMB ranks in QS Leap Global MBA Rankings Asia 2023 - 10 and ranks 8 in 2024 QS Asia Rankings

IIMC ranks in QS Leap Global MBA Rankings Asia 2023 - 13 and ranks 10 in 2024 QS Asia Rankings


If you consider the FT Global MBA rankings 2023, ISB does rank higher than IIM, however the response to IIM vs ISB would be different for every individual.


9. According to FT rankings for Business Schools 2023, in terms of percentage of International Faculty, ISB vs IIM fares as below:

  1. ISB scores: 14 percent in 2023 while it was 13 percent in 2022,

  2. IIMB scores: 6 percent in 2023 while was 8 percent in 2022,

  3. IIMA scores: 3 percent in 2023 which was 2 percent in 2022

  4. IIMC scores nil which was 3 percent in 2022.

  5. IIML scores 1 percent in 2023.

10. International career opportunities available to graduates at IIM vs ISB differs:

The International mobility rank in FT MBA ranking 2023 for IIM vs ISB is as follows:

  1. ISB in FT rankings 2023: 84 which was 88 in FT ranking 2022

  2. IIMB in FT rankings 2023 ranks : 85 which was 82 in FT ranking 2022

  3. IIMA in FT rankings 2023 ranks : remains at 72 as in 2022

  4. IIMC in FT rankings 2023 ranks : 95 which was 89 in FT ranking 2022.

IIM vs ISB is a question that we face almost other day and the clear answer is that both the institutes are stalwarts in delivering World class MBA education in India. Beyond that what you make of the education is upto you. In terms of the course content there is hardly a lot of comparison between IIM vs ISB as both enrich the graduates in experience, network, contemporary management education and provide the MBA graduates a sea of opportunities.


Subscribe here for application updates for 15 + GMAT based MBA programs in India like ISB PGP, ISB YLP, ISB EEO and IIM One year MBA programs.


11. International rankings of IIM vs. ISB:

The FT MBA ranking 2023 positions 6 Indian schools as leading institutions of education. In all we observe that the MBA programs in India rank the third in terms of a country represented in the ranking.

1. Number of MBA programs in US in the FT MBA ranking 2023 - 46

2. Number of MBA programs in UK in the FT MBA ranking 2023 - 10

3. Number of MBA programs in India in the FT MBA ranking 2023 - 6

The Indian MBA programs that rank in the FT MBA ranking 2023 are:

  1. ISB MBA: FT Rank 2023 is 39

  2. IIM Ahmedabad: FT Rank 2023 is 51

  3. IIM Bangalore: FT Rank 2023 is 52

  4. IIM Calcutta: FT Rank 2023 is 76

  5. IIM Indore: FT Rank 2023 is 89

  6. IIM Lucknow FT Rank 2023 is 90

This is an encouraging number for Indian aspirants, who are comprise a majority of GMAT test takers in the world. In India in 2022, 85,282 GMAT score reports were sent with a mean score of 660 and out of these 70.5% score reports were sent to MBA programs. The mean age of the Indian GMAT score reportees to MBA schools was 26.6 years and the average GMAT score reported to MBA programs was 666.


This makes this discussion of IIM vs ISB a very important aspect to be considered by applicants who aspire for pursuing an MBA. We will compare the institutions with respect to their admissions process, curriculum, faculty, career prospects, alumni network, campus life and student life in the paragraphs below.


The above information reflects that Indian School of Business, IIM A, IIM B, IIM C have programs that feature a few positions apart from each other in the World rankings. Whatever be their rankings year on year it makes sense for applicants looking at pursuing a 1 year MBA in India to apply to all of these provided they fulfil the eligibility criteria.


12. Eligibility for the IIM vs ISB program differs:


ISB MBA programs and Executive MBA from IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta are definitely programs befitting professionals with experience. In terms of minimum eligibility criteria for years of work experience for ISB vs IIM executive MBA programs compare as below:

  1. ISB MBA eligibility: Minimum of 24 months of work experience.

  2. Executive MBA at IIM Ahmedabad: Minimum 4 years of work experience

  3. Executive MBA at IIM Bangalore: Minimum 5 years of work experience

  4. Executive MBA at IIM Calcutta: Minimum 5 years of work experience

13. Score requirements for the IIM Executive MBA vs the ISB:

If we compare the score requirements for the IIM vs ISB there is a slight difference among the individual schools as below:

  1. ISB: Accepts the GMAT score or the GRE score

  2. IIMA PGPX : accepts the GMAT score or the GRE score

  3. IIMB EPGP : accepts the GMAT score of the GRE score

  4. IIMC MBAEX : accepts only the GMAT score

Average GMAT scores for the Class of 2022 for IIM vs ISB

  1. ISB : 710, GMAT score range 600 to 780

  2. IIMA PGPX : 701

  3. IIMB EPGP: 690, maximum 770

  4. IIMC MBAEX: 685 , maximum 750

Average GRE score for the Class of 2023 for IIM vs ISB

  1. ISB : 328, GRE score range 311 to 335

  2. IIMA PGPX : 323

14. Course components at IIM Executive MBA and ISB PGP:

The curriculum at both the Executive MBA from IIM and ISB PGP are based on a mix of core and elective courses. International exposure, group work, team projects, well established faculty, leadership training - all gear up students for achieving their future career goals.


15. Flagship program status at IIM Executive MBA and ISB PGP:

The ISB PGP is the flagship program at ISB, whereas the two year MBA is the flagship program at IIM.


16. Admission process of the school:

The admission process is relatively similar when we evaluate IIM vs ISB. The basics that one must fulfil are the GMAT score for ISB, IIMA, IIMB and IIMC, a set of essays for ISB and IIMA whereas it's an SOP for IIMB and IIMC, 1 recommendation for ISB whereas 2 recommendations for IIM. Once the application is accepted by the school and interview follows which is quite different for each school.


When comparing the admission processes of IIM and ISB, we find that the basic requirements are similar, including a GMAT score and essays or SOPs. However, ISB requires one recommendation while IIM requires two. The interview process for each school differs, with IIM A beginning with an extempore discussion and IIM B and IIM C having different interview sequences. The ISB interview focuses on work experience and the fit of the applicant for the program. Both IIM and ISB evaluate the depth of past work experience, the need for an MBA, and the applicant's post-MBA goals.

Comparing IIM vs ISB according to the admission process:

ISB PGP admissions process:

  1. Minimum work experience: 2 years

  2. Test Score: GMAT or GRE

IIMA PGPX admissions process:

  1. Minimum work experience: 4 years

  2. Test Score: GMAT or GRE

IIMB EPGP admissions process:

  1. Minimum work experience: 5 years

  2. Test score: GMAT or GRE

IIMC MBAEX admissions process:

  1. Minimum work experience: 5 years

  2. Test score: GMAT only

IIML IMPX admissions process:

  1. Minimum work experience: 5 years

  2. Test score: GMAT or GRE

IIMI EPGP admissions process:

  1. Minimum work experience: 5 years

  2. Test score: GMAT or GRE


17. Interview process for selection adopted by the school:

The interview process at IIM vs ISB differs mainly in terms of the pattern of interaction however, is a bit different for each. While IIM A starts the interview with an extempore discussion, IIM B and IIM C differ in the sequence of the events during an interview. The ISB interview categorically moves around the work experience, and it is an inquiry into the fit and the preparedness of the applicant for the ISB PGP program. IIM or ISB both evaluate the depth of the past work experience of the applicant, the justification of the need of an MBA for the future career path along with a clear set growth plan to achieve one's post MBA goals.


18. Location preference of the applicants:

According to locations they prefer applicants can choose from various programs across India.


1. ISB PGP (Post Graduate Program) at Hyderabad and Mohali

2. Executive MBA from IIM Ahmedabad - PGPX (Post Graduate Program for Executives)

3. Executive MBA from IIM Bangalore - EPGP (Executive Post Graduate Program)

4. Executive MBA from IIM Calcutta - MBAeX (Post Graduate Program for Executives)

5. Executive MBA from IIM Lucknow - IPMX (International Programme in Management for Executives)

6. ISB Executive MBA - ISB PGPpro and ISB PGPMAX at Mumbai, Bangalore, New Delhi (NCR) and Hyderabad


19. Career progress rank post MBA in ISB vs IIM:

FT MBA ranking 2023 in terms of career progress ISB vs IIM rank as below:

  1. IIMB ranks 7 in 2023 which was 15 in 2022,

  2. IIMA ranks 1 and

  3. IIMC ranks at 8 in 2023 which was 16 in 2022.

  4. IIMI ranks at 39

  5. IIML ranks at 10

This career progress metrics is calculated on the basis of the movement that the alumni achieve up the ladder and it takes into account the size of the organisation where the alumni work as compared to their status pre MBA. Further, the FT rankings for Business Schools Career services ranks for IIM vs ISB for 2023 is as follows:

  1. ISB PGP career services ranked at 29 which was 43 in 2022 and achieved a salary percentage increase of 205% which was 184% in 2022,

  2. IIMA career services ranked at 62 which was 93 in 2022 and secured a salary percentage increase of 114% which was 147% in 2022,

  3. IIMB career services ranked at 59 which was 72 in 2022 and secured a salary percentage increase of 165% which was 98% in 2022,

  4. IIMC career services ranked at 35 in 2023 as against 49 in 2022 and secured a salary percentage increase of 126% which was 125% in 2022.

20. ROI of the IIM Executive MBA or the ISB:

The ROI of an Ivy league program is not rightly judged in the first year, so comparing placements is a very skewed approach to enumerate the value addition that these programs provide.


The actual ROI which most MBA graduates passing out from these institutions would agree comes after 2-3 years post MBA. That is when one spans out into the enigma of the institution that they have graduated from.


This makes the discussion of whether ISB Hyderabad is better than IIM quite irrelevant if one considers it in slightly long term. It would be more realistic to prepare well to spell out your goals and how you wish to achieve them.


21. Degree status of IIM vs ISB MBA

The IIM Executive MBA programs award degrees approved by the AICTE till date, however ISB not being a university cannot grant degrees to its graduates.


Finally, there is no doubt that the industry acceptance of IIM executive MBA and the ISB PGP is well established in India and abroad due to the widespread reach and success of their alumni. Choosing on the basis of the criteria enumerated above, IIM vs ISB definitely reaps rewards for future career growth.


22. Fees of IIM vs ISB 2023:


ISB MBA Fees: INR 41.5 Lacs to INR 44 Lacs (depending on type of accommodation & payment plans)

IIMA PGPX One year MBA for Executives Fees: INR 31.5 Lacs to 33.5 Lacs (depending on type of accommodation & payment plans)

IIMB EPGP One year MBA for Executives Fees: INR 30 Lacs to 32 Lacs (depending on type of accommodation & payment plans)


23. International exposure at IIM vs ISB:

At ISB admits get opportunity for a wider range of International exchange programs.

At IIMs the International immersion programs are limited to the current tie ups of the institute.


24. Scholarships at IIM vs ISB:

ISB offers a wide range of scholarships as compared to the IIM one year MBA programs till date.


25. Alumni for IIM vs ISB:

At ISB the alumni are around 14500+ as of date, while at IIM one year MBA programs, the alumni for the one year MBA programs are lesser in number than the alumni for the two year PGP programs.


Share your profile with us and schedule a call with an MBA admission consultant at GOALisB to discuss your chances at these top tier business schools in India. Get in touch with us on whatsapp at +91 7719497187 or email us at contact@goalisb.com.

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