ISB Updates

The Leading Edge - Ideas to Impact

The ISB Leadership Summit (ILS) is an annual marquee event at ISB that resonates with ISB's vision of leadership, excellence and diversity. Each year we host a plethora of stalwarts who are exemplary leaders in their respective fields and can add valuable insights into the holistic education philosophy that ISB stands for.

This year, the theme was ‘The Leading Edge: Ideas to Impact’ – with the vision to celebrate individuals who have expanded the edges of yesterday through their transformative actions, to pave the way forward for generations to follow. ILS 2019 was hosted across our campuses – September 20 and 21 at Mohali campus and September 21 and 22 at Hyderabad campus.

Mohali Campus

The event was inaugurated by Professor Ramabhadran Thirumalai, Senior Associate Dean - Academic Programmes and was followed by our first speaker session. Known for her ‘brazen honesty’, Film Director, Actor, Producer and Choreographer, Farah Khan, engaged in a candid conversation with Akshaye Rathi, Film Exhibitor and Distributor. Their conversation touched upon several notes ranging from how the business behind cinema has evolved to how Farah, as an individual, has come to personally love and learn the art of filmmaking. She enthusiastically answered the numerous questions from the audience – urging them to go after their passion and find a job that they would enjoy putting their heart and soul into.


Under ‘Unconventional Leadership’, Sudhanshu Kaushik, CEO – Young India Foundation, and Shobhit Mathur, CEO – Vision India Foundation, discussed youth in politics and the vision forward; Temsutula Imsong, Member of Sakaar Sewa Samiti, and Saachi Soni, Mountaineer and also a consultant at Doordarshan Sports, shared their journey and inspired students to pursue their passion; Karishma Mehta, CEO – Humans of Bombay, through her story, urged students to find their purpose and practise perseverance. 

Gopal Sarma, Partner – Bain & Co, and Harj Dhaliwal, India and Middle East MD – Virgin Hyperloop One, spoke about the future of firm and how Hyperloop will turn into a reality, respectively.

Dr Indu Bhushan, CEO, Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB─PMJAY) and the National Health Authority (NHA), Government of India, delivered the keynote on Day 01. He gave a comprehensive snapshot of the healthcare ecosystem, the problems plaguing us and the way forward. He explained in great detail the three fundamental issues that are taking centre stage at this point in time: the inequitable expenditure on healthcare, the inefficiency in the healthcare ecosystem and the amount of designated expenditure itself.


Manish Sisodia, Deputy CM – Delhi, delivered the keynote address on Day 02. Because he couldn’t make it to the venue for the talk, he sent a pre-recorded video of his talk. The students applauded him for his commitment and enjoyed his session immensely. He spoke about the foundation of education and the impact it can create in India and the world. He took us through Delhi’s journey in Education sector and from being a foundation of Education to Education as a Foundation.


The two-day summit saw more five panel discussions and two special addresses – each by Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain (Retd) and Alok Kumar, Advisor – Health and Education – NITI Aayog.  

Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain took the audience by a storm in the ‘Crafting a Narrative: Kashmir’ session that dissected Kashmir, Terrorism and Article 370. Spirited and passionate, the General went into the fundamentals of the recent abolition of Article 370 and 35A by analyzing the responsiveness and modus operandi surrounding the move.

Alok Kumar addressed young leaders on challenges in developing India, and the role that they could play in the process. He illustrated the startling diversity in Indian states, wherein some states enjoy the lowest infant mortality rates in the world while others have 2 out of 3 children who suffer from malnutrition. He strongly believes that young leaders can make a difference, if they work with states, districts and panchayats, leverage tech trends and future prospects, and support these projects unto implementation.


The panel discussions at ILS 2019 spoke about technology, entrepreneurship, future of mobility, women leadership and content and media. These discussions had eminent leaders like Serge De Vos, Global Director Finance – People Operations at AB InBev; Atul Tripathi, Chief Data Scientist – Cyber Security at Tech Mahindra; Sameer Tandon, National Business Head - Digital Services and Monetisation at Amazon India; Anisha Singh, Founder and CEO at SheCapital and exCEO, MyDala; Dharamveer Chouhan, Co-founder at Zostel; Gautam Anand, Founder – Hubhopper; Ankit Aggarwal, Founder and CEO, Dare2Compete; Rahul Maroli, Vice President – Enterprise Business at Ola Cabs; RS Kalsi, Executive Board Member at Maruti Suzuki India Ltd; Neeraja V, Inspector General of Police at Chandigarh; Ainara Kaur, Founder and CEO at Canvilicious Creative Tech; Dhanya Rajendran, Editor-in-Chief at the News Minute; Anirudh Pandita, Founder at Pocket Aces; Rucha Pathak, Chief Creative Officer at Fox Star Studios.

The very insightful two-day summit concluded with an exciting interaction with Actor and Co-founder of Ketto, Kunal Kapoor. Through this interaction, Kunal highlighted that at the core, people are good. They want to help other people. Ketto is all giving a chance to people to help others; here, strangers come together for a common cause. Crowdfunding is hopeful and helpful.


Hyderabad Campus

The event was inaugurated by Professor Sudhir Voleti, Associate Dean – Faculty Alignment and Registrar's Office and was followed by a panel discussion on Social Entrepreneurship featuring Anshul Tewari, Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Youth Ki Awaaz; Sharad Sagar, Founder and CEO at Dexterity Global; Sudha Srinivas, CEO at N/Core incubator for non-profits. They talked about Social Entrepreneurship and how it was a 'Legal Structure' and not a business model. Anshul Tewari threw light on the need of evolving investors for non-profits.


Next, Major Gaurav Arya, Senior Consulting Editor at Republic Media Network, spoke on ‘Battleground to boardroom’. He drew parallels between battle plans and corporate tactics. He talked about how it was necessary to take initiatives as a 'leader' unless you wish to remain a mere manager.


The Disruptors panel with Ajit Kumar, Country Head, Deloitte Digital India; Varun Chawla, Co-founder at 91 Springboard; Arun Vinayak, CPO and Founding Partner, Ather Energy; Anil Girirraj, Co-founder and COO at Bounce; Rahul Garg, Founder at They spoke of the challenges of disrupting business in the field of mobility, technology, and how each industry has its share of problems and disruptions.

Then we had Sonali Bendre Behl, Actor and Author, who switched on the sunshine at ISB with her candid personality! She spoke about the importance of communicating while undergoing personal hurdles in life. 


Harsh Kedia, CMO at Mooch, was the youngest person in the room at the age of 22. He shared his story of coming out to his family as the famous ‘Diabetic Chef’. He spoke about his journey as a young entrepreneur and overcoming setbacks and failures to achieve success.

Our keynote speaker, MK Anand, MD and CEO at Times Network, addressed the audience on how every disruption brings forth an opportunity. He mentioned that he wouldn't have been a CEO if the Lehman Brothers did not happen. He also wasn't short on quotable quotes with ‘Choose your competitor wisely. Competition makes you like themselves’ or ‘Why do we raise our voice? Because complacency needs to be shouted at’.

We ended Day 01 with ISB Pathfinders Panel where ISB alumni Sivakumar Sethuraman (Class of 2008), Global Head at G-Tech and Users and Product Ops at Google; Aman Rathi (Class of 2013), Director - Product Management at Hotstar); Deepshikha Kumar (Class of 2007), Founder and Managing Partner at SpeakIn; Imran Ali (Class of 2012), Chief Business Officer at Livspace; and Kausambi Manjita (Class of 2013), Founder and CEO at; shared their nuggets of wisdom on how the batch usually underestimates the power of peers at ISB. They advised on using the time at ISB to network with the cohort and how being surrounded by so many smart people forced them to find their niche and superpowers.


Day 2 started with General Bikram Singh (retd), Former Chief of the Indian Army, and Chairman of Chief of Staff, addressing the students on Leadership lessons. In ILS Talks, Apoorva Mehta, CEO at Dharma Productions, shared his experiences in the film industry and shed some light on how the upcoming OTT platform allows the film industry to take a chance on different kind of content. 


This was followed by the Public Policy panel with Atishi Marlena Singh, Member – Political Affairs Committee at Aam Aadmi Party; Nikhil Dey, Founding member – MKSS and NCPRI; Arvind Narrain, Founding member – Alternative Law Forum; as panellists. Meghnad S from Newslaundry moderated this much applauded session. The panel discussed the challenges in policy implementation, going beyond policymaking. Talking about law making and policy implementation, the panel mentioned that one should never forget the third corner of the triangle – politics, and the law in the books must move into law in action.

Rajat Kumar, IAS, Chief Electoral Officer, Telangana, in his leadership talk, highlighted the complexities of Indian Elections. The Entertainment panel spoke about three Cs – consumer, content and convenience, where traditional and digital come together on the same platform. Ravish Kumar, Head – Regional Entertainment at Viacom 18, and Gaurav Gandhi, Director and Country General Manager – Amazon Prime Video were the panellists with Shivani Bhasin as the chair.


In an absolute inspiring session, Divij Shah, Para-Athlete and Motivational Speaker, narrated his journey of three silver medals at the Asian Road Para-Cycling Championship. He left the students with a simple yet powerful thought – It doesn't matter what you don't have. What matters is how you use what you do have.

The Women of Mettle panel was nothing but powerful conversations on equality and leadership. Megha Chawla, Partner – Bain & Company, Alice Vaidyan, Chairman and MD – General Insurance Corporation of India, and Khushnooma Kapadia, Area Director of Marketing, South Asia – Marriott International Inc. were the panellists and Varsha Adusumilli, Author – Wonder Girls, was the moderator. Embracing discomfort was the theme of the day, the panel advised the students to follow the path they choose for themselves and not allow anyone to dictate their self-worth. 

The day ended on a high note with keynote speaker Jairam Ramesh, MP, Chairman of Parliamentary, Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests, talking about environmental ethics. He said, "Western civilisation has been about the conquest of nature while the Indian civilisation has always been about living in harmony with nature. Having said that, no other culture respects nature as we do, but at the same time, no other culture exploits nature as we do." The two-day event concluded with the social clubs at ISB indulging in an entertaining evening with dance, drama and music.


At ILS 2019, the ISBPGP Class of 2020 aspired to learn from the leaders of very domain in a world that’s always looking for the next big disruption. They explored the stories of firms and individuals who’ve broken every barrier and come to the forefront, right from their ideas to the impact they’ve created.