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Home IIMs Online IIM V/S ISB: Which Is Better In 2024?, MBA Online, Salary

IIM V/S ISB: Which Is Better In 2024?, MBA Online, Salary

Jan 23, 2024 1.9K Reads

In the dynamic world of business, where every decision can shape the course of careers and companies, pursuing an MBA stands as a pivotal choice. It's a transformative journey that hones skills, nurtures leadership, and opens doors to a world of opportunities. Yet, with a plethora of institutions vying for attention, selecting the right one becomes a crucial undertaking. In this pursuit, two names stand out distinctly: the venerable Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and the trailblazing Indian School of Business (ISB).

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Delving into the nuances of these prestigious institutions is akin to embarking on a quest for excellence in business education. Each institution brings to the table a unique blend of heritage, innovation, and a commitment to producing leaders who can navigate the complexities of the modern business landscape.

By the end of this blog, you'll be armed with the knowledge and insight needed to make an informed decision that aligns perfectly with your aspirations and ambitions in the realm of business management.

Difference Between IIM and ISB

The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and the Indian School of Business (ISB) are two of the most prestigious business schools in India. Here are some of the major differences between them:




Founding Year

1961 onwards (various campuses established)



Government-funded and autonomous

Private and autonomous

Number of Campuses

Multiple campuses across India

One campus in Hyderabad and one campus in Mohali 

Programs Offered

Mainly Post Graduate Program in Management (PGP) and various other programs like Executive MBA, Fellow Program, etc.

Post Graduate Programme in Management (PGP), Post Graduate Programme for Senior Executives (PGPMAX), Executive Education programs, and others

Duration of Programs

2 years (for PGP)

1 year (for PGP)

Admission Process

Highly competitive, based on CAT (Common Admission Test) scores, followed by GD/WAT and PI rounds

Competitive, based on GMAT/GRE scores followed by essays and interviews


Diverse, with a mix of academicians and industry practitioners

Internationally diverse, with a mix of academicians and industry practitioners

Alumni Network

Extensive and well-established

Growing and increasingly influential


Highly regarded globally and within India

Highly regarded globally and within India


Generally well-equipped with modern facilities

State-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure


Varies across campuses and programs

Relatively higher compared to IIMs


Strong emphasis on academic rigour and research

Balanced approach with emphasis on practical application and research

Industry Connections 

Strong ties with Indian and international industries

Strong ties with Indian and international industries

Global Exposure 

Limited, but some collaborations with international universities

Intensive global exposure through tie-ups, exchange programs, and international faculty


Varied specialisations within management

Broad range of specialisations with a focus on areas like Technology, Healthcare, etc.

Network Strength 

Established and well-connected in India

Rapidly growing and increasingly influential

Overview- Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs)

For over half a century, the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) have stood as the bedrock of management education in India. Established with the vision of nurturing leadership, entrepreneurship, and management acumen, the IIMs have not only met but exceeded these expectations. Their legacy is etched in the annals of Indian education, with a formidable presence in numerous cities across the country.

Each IIM is a testament to academic excellence, with faculty that comprises some of the finest minds in management. Their collective expertise spans not just academia, but also encompasses extensive industry experience. This blend ensures that students are exposed to the latest theories and practices, preparing them to become leaders in their respective domains.

Furthermore, the IIM alumni network is a force to be reckoned with. Graduates of these institutions have made indelible marks in the corporate world, with many holding leadership positions in esteemed companies both in India and on the global stage. This network not only serves as a source of mentorship and support but also opens doors to a plethora of opportunities.

Overview- Indian School of Business (ISB)

In a relatively short span of time, the Indian School of Business (ISB) has emerged as a disruptor in the field of business education. Founded on the principles of global outlook, industry relevance, and a commitment to producing leaders who can drive change, ISB has set new benchmarks.

What sets ISB apart is its unique approach to education. The curriculum is not just about theory; it's about applying that theory in the real world. Case studies, simulations, and live projects form the core of the learning experience. This pragmatic approach equips ISB graduates with the ability to not only understand business challenges but also to proactively solve them.

Additionally, ISB's faculty lineup is a fusion of global experts and accomplished industry professionals. This blend of academic rigour and real-world experience ensures that students are exposed to a diverse range of perspectives and practices. The result is a holistic education that prepares graduates to be agile, adaptable, and innovative in an ever-evolving business landscape.

Programs Offered


IIMs, renowned for their comprehensive educational approach, offer a diverse spectrum of programs to cater to a wide range of educational backgrounds and career aspirations. The flagship offering is the two-year Post Graduate Program in Management (PGP), which is revered for its rigorous curriculum and holistic approach to management education. This program covers a wide array of subjects, including finance, marketing, operations, human resources, and strategy, providing students with a well-rounded understanding of the business landscape.

In addition to the PGP, IIMs also offer specialised programs tailored to specific career paths. These may include the Fellow Program in Management (FPM), which is designed for aspiring researchers and academicians, and Executive MBA programs, which cater to experienced professionals seeking to enhance their leadership skills. Some IIMs also offer unique courses in emerging fields such as data analytics, entrepreneurship, and public policy, reflecting the evolving demands of the business world.


On the other hand, ISB has carved a niche for itself with its one-year Post Graduate Program in Management. This program is meticulously designed for individuals with substantial work experience, providing an accelerated and intense curriculum. The emphasis is on equipping students with advanced managerial skills in a condensed time frame, allowing them to swiftly transition into leadership roles. This one-year format is particularly appealing to mid-career professionals who are keen to enhance their management expertise without taking an extended hiatus from their careers.

Complementing this, ISB also offers a Fellow Program in Management (FPM), akin to IIMs. This program is designed for those with a passion for academic research and aims to nurture the next generation of thought leaders in business academia. Through a blend of coursework, research projects, and mentorship, FPM participants engage in cutting-edge research that contributes to the body of knowledge in management.

Online MBA at IIM v/s ISB 

Both IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management) and ISB (Indian School of Business) primarily offered on-campus MBA programs. However, they have introduced online or blended learning options recently.

ISB, for instance, offers an online program called the "Advanced Management Program for Senior Executives (AMPSE)" which is designed for experienced professionals. This program is delivered partially online and partially in-person. ISB does not offer a complete online MBA program. 

IIMs have also been exploring online and blended learning options, especially in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the availability and format of online programs can vary by campus.

Most of the online management programs offered by IIMs are for working professionals, known as the Executive Development Programs. Others are short-term certifications and diploma courses conducted entirely online. Only IIM Raipur offers a complete 2-year online MBA program. All the other IIMs offer only the Executive MBA programs or other Executive Management programs in the online or blended learning mode. 

If you are someone who is specifically looking for an online MBA only, then other than IIM Raipur there are several other good options to explore. Many prestigious institutions in India offer the online MBA program as it is one of the most sought-after online PG programs. You can visit College Vidya which will help you and guide you to take admission to a college that fits right for you and your online MBA program. 

1.  Curriculum and Specialisations


At the heart of the IIM experience lies a curriculum designed to not just educate, but to challenge and expand the horizons of aspiring managers. It's a journey that delves deep into the realms of finance, marketing, operations, human resources, and more. The rigour is unparalleled, ensuring that graduates emerge not just with a degree, but with a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies of business.

Moreover, IIMs offer a wide array of specialisations. From the quantitative precision of finance to the strategic intricacies of marketing, students have the freedom to tailor their education to their unique career aspirations. This flexibility is a testament to the institution's commitment to producing well-rounded, versatile professionals.


ISB takes a different approach to education, one that's deeply rooted in real-world applications. Here, it's not just about theory; it's about understanding how that theory translates into practice. The curriculum is structured to simulate actual business scenarios, giving students a taste of what it's like to be in the driver's seat.

Furthermore, ISB offers a range of specialisations and tracks that allow students to delve deep into their areas of interest. Whether it's entrepreneurship, healthcare, or even family business, ISB provides avenues for specialised learning that cater to the diverse aspirations of its student body.

The result is a graduate who doesn't just know about business, but one who has lived and breathed it in a controlled, supportive environment.

2.  Faculty and Industry Connections


The distinguished faculty at IIMs are more than just educators; they are seasoned experts who bring a wealth of experience to the classroom. Hailing from diverse backgrounds, these professors infuse the learning experience with practical insights and real-world applications.

Their contributions aren't confined to the classroom either. Many are actively involved in cutting-edge research and consultancy projects, ensuring that the knowledge they impart is not just theoretical, but also deeply rooted in the evolving realities of the business world.

IIMs also boast a network of industry connections that is second to none. These institutions have forged strong ties with leading companies, both in India and abroad. This translates into a wealth of opportunities for students, from guest lectures and workshops to internships and live projects. The result is an education that goes beyond textbooks, providing a window into the actual workings of the corporate world.


ISB takes pride in its faculty, which is a fusion of global experts and accomplished industry professionals. This unique blend ensures that students are exposed to a diverse range of perspectives and practices.

These faculty members aren't just teachers; they're mentors and guides, ready to share their wealth of experience with the next generation of business leaders. From groundbreaking research to consulting for major corporations, they bring a wealth of practical knowledge into the classroom.

Furthermore, ISB's industry connections are a testament to its commitment to bridging the gap between academia and industry. The school has forged strong partnerships with some of the biggest names in business, ensuring that students are not just well-versed in theory, but also grounded in practical application. Guest lectures, workshops, and industry immersion programs provide students with invaluable exposure to the latest trends and practices.

3.  Admission Process


Gaining entry into an IIM is a coveted achievement, and the selection process is known for its rigour. It typically consists of multiple stages, starting with a demanding entrance examination like the Common Admission Test (CAT). This initial test assesses candidates on various parameters including quantitative ability, verbal ability, data interpretation, and logical reasoning.

Successful performance in the CAT exam is often followed by a shortlisting for the next stages, which may include group discussions (GD), writing ability test (WAT), and personal interviews (PI). These sessions aim to evaluate not just a candidate's academic aptitude, but also their communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and overall suitability for the rigorous academic environment of an IIM.

The final selection takes into account a composite score, considering academic performance, relevant work experience, diversity factors, and performance in the GD-PI rounds. It's a competitive journey that ensures that only the most deserving candidates secure a spot in these esteemed institutions.


ISB adopts a holistic approach to admissions, evaluating candidates based on a comprehensive set of criteria. While academic achievements hold weight, they are just one piece of the puzzle. Professional experience is also a critical factor, as ISB values the diverse perspectives and insights that candidates bring from their respective industries.

In addition to academic and professional accomplishments, ISB considers leadership potential and personal qualities that align with its values. The school seeks individuals who not only excel academically but also demonstrate a capacity for innovation, collaboration, and impact in the business world.

Apart from an entrance exam like GMAT, ISB's selection process may include a written application, a face-to-face interview, and sometimes even a video interview. This multidimensional assessment ensures that the cohort is not only academically capable but also brings a rich tapestry of experiences and perspectives.

4.  Placements


The culmination of any MBA program is the promise of a rewarding career, and IIMs have a longstanding reputation for facilitating just that. The institutions boast an impressive track record in placements, with a diverse range of industries and companies vying for their graduates. This speaks volumes about the calibre of talent that IIMs produce.

The average salaries offered to IIM alumni often set industry benchmarks. Graduates frequently find themselves in enviable positions, not just in India but also on the global stage. From consulting firms to multinational corporations, IIM graduates are sought after for their analytical prowess, strategic thinking, and leadership acumen.

Furthermore, the extensive alumni network of IIMs plays a pivotal role in placements. Many graduates leverage this network to secure positions in prestigious companies and startups alike. This network isn't just a professional asset; it's a lifelong resource that continues to yield dividends throughout one's career.


ISB's placement statistics are a testament to the institution's global standing. The school's strong industry connections and immersive curriculum ensure that ISB graduates are highly sought after by leading companies, both in India and internationally.

What sets ISB apart in placements is not just the quantity of offers, but the diversity of roles and industries. Graduates find themselves in a wide array of functions, from consulting and finance to operations and marketing. This diversity is a testament to the versatility and adaptability that ISB instils in its students.

Moreover, ISB's alumni network, much like that of IIMs, is a valuable asset for graduates. It provides a robust platform for networking, mentorship, and career advancement. Many ISB alumni have gone on to become leaders in their respective fields, further enhancing the value of the ISB brand.

5.  Infrastructure and Campus Life


The sprawling campuses of IIMs provide an environment conducive to focused learning and personal growth. Equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, well-stocked libraries, and modern classrooms, these institutions create an atmosphere of intellectual vibrancy.

Beyond the classrooms, IIMs also foster a vibrant student community. Clubs, committees, and events abound, offering opportunities for extracurricular involvement, leadership development, and networking. This dynamic campus life enhances the overall learning experience and fosters a sense of camaraderie among students.

Moreover, the residential nature of most IIM programs creates an environment where students live, learn, and collaborate together. This close-knit community not only promotes academic excellence but also facilitates the formation of lifelong friendships and professional connections.


While ISB may have a more compact campus in comparison to traditional IIMs, it more than makes up for it with cutting-edge infrastructure and a truly global atmosphere. The modern amenities, coupled with a diverse and dynamic student body, create an environment that is conducive to innovation and collaboration.

ISB's campuses are equipped with state-of-the-art classrooms, well-equipped libraries, and advanced technological resources. Beyond the academic facilities, ISB provides spaces for group work, brainstorming, and networking, creating an ecosystem that supports both formal and informal learning.

Additionally, ISB's unique structure allows for a rich blend of students from various backgrounds, experiences, and nationalities. This diversity not only enriches the academic experience but also prepares students to thrive in an increasingly globalised business world.

6.  Global Exposure and Alumni Network


IIMs offer opportunities for global exposure through various avenues. These may include student exchange programs with renowned international business schools, international internships, and collaborations with foreign institutions. Such experiences provide students with a broader perspective and equip them to navigate the complexities of the global business landscape.

The alumni networks of IIMs also play a significant role in providing global connections. Many graduates of IIMs have gone on to hold leadership positions in multinational corporations, creating a web of connections across the world. This network serves as a valuable resource for career advice, mentorship, and job opportunities on a global scale.


ISB's international tie-ups and a cosmopolitan student body provide a truly global learning environment. The diverse backgrounds and experiences of ISB students contribute to a rich tapestry of perspectives. This exposure not only enhances cultural sensitivity but also prepares graduates to excel in an interconnected world.

Furthermore, ISB's global immersion programs and elective courses with partner institutions abroad offer students the chance to experience different business environments firsthand. These experiences not only broaden horizons but also provide invaluable insights into how business is conducted on a global scale.

The ISB alumni network, much like that of IIMs, is a powerful asset for graduates seeking global connections. ISB alumni are spread across the globe, holding influential positions in a wide array of industries. This network provides a valuable platform for networking, mentorship, and accessing global opportunities.

7.  Cost and Return on Investment

Investing in an MBA education is a significant decision, one that requires careful consideration of the associated costs and potential returns. Both IIMs and ISB, being premier institutions, command a premium in terms of tuition fees and living expenses.

However, it's crucial to view this investment as a strategic one for your future. The returns on investment for graduates of IIMs and ISB are often substantial. Graduates from these institutions are highly sought after by employers, and their salaries and career progression typically reflect the premium placed on their education.

Additionally, the extensive alumni networks of both IIMs and ISB serve as invaluable resources for career advancement. The connections and mentorship opportunities facilitated by these networks can lead to not just job placements, but also career-enhancing opportunities in the form of promotions, collaborations, and entrepreneurial ventures.

Ultimately, while the initial investment may be significant, the long-term returns in terms of career advancement, earning potential, and network building can make it a highly worthwhile endeavour.

Fee Structure At IIM

The average fees for the two-year MBA program at Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) can vary significantly depending on the specific IIM and whether the program is offered as a Post Graduate Program (PGP) or a Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM).

On average, for the flagship PGP programs, the fees range from approximately INR 18 lakhs to INR 25 lakhs for Indian students. However, it's important to note that fees are subject to change and can vary from year to year. Additionally, fees for international students and for programs at newer IIMs may differ.

Fee Structure At ISB

The tuition fees for the one-year MBA program at the Indian School of Business (ISB) typically range from approximately INR 25 lakhs to INR 38 lakhs for Indian students. For international students, the fees were generally higher, often exceeding INR 40 lakhs.

It's important to note that these figures are approximate and may vary based on the specific program, campus (Hyderabad or Mohali), and any updates or changes made by the institution. Additionally, there may be additional costs for accommodation, books, materials, and other expenses.

Pros and Cons



  • Long-standing Reputation and Brand Recognition: IIMs are globally renowned for their excellence in management education. The brand value of an IIM degree is recognized and respected across industries.
  • Robust Academic Curriculum with a Wide Range of Specializations: The rigorous coursework at IIMs covers a diverse range of subjects, providing students with a comprehensive understanding of various facets of business management.
  • Extensive Alumni Network with Strong Industry Connections: The alumni networks of IIMs are extensive and influential. Graduates have access to a vast community of successful professionals, which can open doors to a wide range of career opportunities.


  • Highly Competitive Admission Process: Gaining admission to an IIM is a fiercely competitive process. The stringent selection criteria mean that only a limited number of candidates are accepted, making it a challenging endeavour for many applicants.
  • Intense Academic Rigour May Not Suit Everyone: The demanding nature of the coursework at IIMs can be overwhelming for some students. The fast-paced environment may not be conducive to everyone's learning style or preferences.



  • Practical, Application-Oriented Learning: ISB's curriculum focuses on real-world applications, providing students with hands-on experience in solving actual business challenges.
  • Global Faculty and Industry Experts Enhance the Learning Experience: The diverse faculty at ISB, which includes global experts and accomplished industry professionals, brings a wealth of practical knowledge and diverse perspectives into the classroom.
  • Strong Emphasis on Entrepreneurship and Innovation: ISB places a significant emphasis on fostering entrepreneurial thinking and innovation, providing students with the skills and mindset needed to drive change and create new ventures.


  • Relatively Shorter Program Duration Might Limit Certain Learning Opportunities: ISB's one-year program is intensive and efficient, but it may not provide the same depth of academic exploration as the two-year programs offered by some IIMs.

Which is Better- IIM or ISB?

Determining which institution is better, whether IIMs or ISB, is ultimately a subjective decision that depends on individual preferences, career goals, and personal circumstances. Both institutions offer world-class education and ample opportunities for growth.

Consider IIMs if

  • You value the prestige and long-standing reputation associated with the IIM brand.
  • You are seeking a comprehensive, two-year MBA program with a wide range of specialisations.
  • You thrive in a highly competitive and academically rigorous environment.
  • You aim to leverage the extensive IIM alumni network and industry connections.

Consider ISB if

  • You are looking for a one-year, intensive MBA program that emphasises practical, application-oriented learning.
  • You are interested in learning from a diverse faculty with global expertise and extensive industry experience.
  • You have a strong inclination towards entrepreneurship and innovation.
  • You value a program that facilitates strong industry connections and offers opportunities for international exposure.

Ultimately, the choice between IIMs and ISB should align with your specific aspirations, learning style, and career objectives. Take the time to carefully evaluate the strengths and opportunities each institution offers, and consider how they resonate with your personal and professional goals.

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Deciding between pursuing an MBA from IIMs or ISB marks a significant milestone in your academic and professional journey. Both institutions offer unique strengths and opportunities for growth, and your choice should be guided by your individual aspirations and circumstances.

If you seek a program with a time-tested legacy, extensive specialisations, and a highly competitive academic environment, IIMs may be the right fit for you. On the other hand, if you prefer a fast-paced, application-driven curriculum with a strong emphasis on global perspectives and entrepreneurship, ISB could be the ideal choice.

Remember, the pursuit of knowledge is an investment that pays lifelong dividends. Take the time to reflect on your goals, learning style, and personal preferences. Trust in your abilities, and know that whichever path you choose, you're poised for success in the dynamic and ever-evolving landscape of business.

Final Thoughts

As you embark on this transformative journey, keep in mind that education is not merely a destination, but a continuous voyage of self-improvement and growth. Stay curious, be open to new ideas, and seize every opportunity to learn and apply your knowledge. Whether you choose IIMs or ISB, you're taking a bold step towards a future of limitless potential in the world of business.

Best of luck on your journey, and may it lead you to new heights of achievement and fulfilment.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Determining which institution is better, whether IIMs or ISB, is ultimately a subjective decision that depends on individual preferences, career goals, and personal circumstances. Both institutions offer world-class education and ample opportunities for growth.

Yes, ISB is one of the best B-Schools in Asia to pursue an MBA. It offers holistic education that prepares graduates to be agile, adaptable, and innovative in an ever-evolving business landscape. The curriculum is not just about theory; it's about applying that theory in the real world. Case studies, simulations, and live projects form the core of the learning experience.

Deciding between pursuing an MBA from IIMs or ISB marks a significant milestone in your academic and professional journey. Both institutions offer unique strengths and opportunities for growth, and your choice should be guided by your individual aspirations and circumstances.

An IIM offers a 2-year MBA program open to all including freshers and working professionals. While an ISB offers a 1-year MBA program meant for working executives only. The fee of an ISB is a little higher than that of an IIM. Also, an IIM has a strong emphasis on academic rigour and research while an ISB takes a balanced approach with emphasis on practical application and research.

The average fee at an IIM is INR 18-25 lakhs while at an ISB the average fee is INR 25-38 lakhs. This fee at IIM is for 2 years while at an ISB it is for 1 year, which makes quite a big difference. 

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