Saurabh K Pandey - Director ISAB talks about a Career in Agri Business

This blog is about the conversation between Saurabh K Pandey, Director (ISAB), and Rakesh Rai, Vice President (Hitbullseye), as he interviewed ISAB Director about the emerging career in Agri Business. Saurabh K Pandey, an alumnus of G.B Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Patnanagar and IIM Ahmedabad who has proudly established Imperial School of Agri Business (ISAB), a flagship Agri-Business school in Delhi NCR dedicated to fostering academic excellence in the fields of food and agriculture.
Ques. 1 Why should a student try to get into ISAB?
Ans: Imperial School of Agri Business is carrying the legacy of 14+ years with a vision to encourage and nurture excellence in the field of food and agribusiness management.ISAB is positioned as a premier institute with state-of-the-art infrastructure and top-notch faculty and assured career which make it a promising choice for agriculture and allied stream graduates for a successful career.ISAB is a placement focused institution which develop and hone skills in order to make students employable.The institute offers two-year residential MBA in Food and AgriBusiness Management (FABM) with an assured career and also send students to US, UK, AUSTRALIA, CANADA under its Global Exchange Program.
ISAB also provides FAME SCHOLARSHIP up to INR 2.70 Lakhs to students who are meritorious or belong to economically weaker section.Senior management of ISAB consists of many notable personalities many of them are IIM Ahmedabad Alumnus. The institute has top-notch faculties from IITs, IIMs and many premier central agriculture universities all of them having corporate exposure.
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These USP’s of ISAB make it a unique and reliable institution for any student aspiring for making a career in Food and Agri Business sector.
Ques. 2 What kind of students do you want to enroll in your institution?
At ISAB, we are looking for students who are really passionate in food and agribusiness and wants to become an entrepreneur.
The eligibility criteria for applying at ISAB is bachelor degree with 55% marks or equivalent in the Agriculture and allied streams such as Agriculture Science, Agriculture Engineering, Food Science/Technology, Bio Technology, Bioinformatics, Biochemistry, Horticulture, Fishery/Aquaculture, Forestry, Sericulture, Rural Development, Dairy Science/ Technology, Veterinary Science / Animal Husbandry, Zoology, Botany shall be preferred for taking admissions. Candidates who are in final year of the degree program can also apply
Ques. 3 How have you planned to cope up with ongoing pandemic to match your curriculum?
COVID has indeed brought an attitudinal shift among students and their parents. Students are becoming practical and focusing on courses which are aligned with priority sector of government like Digital Technology, HealthCare, Supply Chain, Food & Agribusiness, Block Chain, AI ML etc.
It has also been observed that students are becoming conscious in taking admission in courses when physical presence, practical work is needed as COVID pandemic can cause lockdown anytime and may hinder the sole purpose. Hence students are preferring courses when online mode shall work like service industry courses.
At ISAB, we are taking all the necessary step for protecting and boosting immunity of the students. At ISAB classes are going Online in view of the sudden surge of COVID19 pandemic recently.
Ques. 4 What are some of the most difficult challenges you've faced in meeting upcoming industry demands, especially at such a volatile time as this?
On account of pandemic time, Industry is totally volatile in nature and adopting new measures to fight the time. Till now all the institutions including ISAB were following the pedagogy considering physical presence of the students in the class. In fact, our curriculum and practical component has been designed in such a way. Here ISAB is trying hard to imbibe resilient nature among students which can make them more flexible to adapt any challenges.
Ques. 5 What advice would you like to give to the aspiring Agri managers who are applying for colleges?
ISAB is a placement-oriented institution and hence aspiring Agri managers should be ready to learn and get trained on behavioural aspects, analytics, MS office tools and communication in order to add more value in their resume.
Students should also be aware about the pedagogy which is case / article based instead of book based where experienced faculty cum corporate professional bring the real-life business discussion in the class. Pre class reading material has been provided for home where students can come prepared and be ready to participate in the classroom discussion.
 
Ques. 6 Please share your thoughts on student’s activities in ISAB and how do they give overall exposure to participants?
ISAB has various student clubs which creates a vibrant ambience for their all-round personality development. These clubs include Agro-Marketing, Entrepreneurship &Innovation, Cultural, Sports, Literacy and Media, Placement Cell etc. which engages and triggers creativity, innovation and team work among students.
All activities have been designed in such a way that they shall be useful for the personality development thus shaping the preparedness toward placement and employability.
Ques. 7 How can a degree in agriculture benefit a student in the future...?
It has been proven that Agriculture and Agribusiness is the only sector which has survived and thrived during this pandemic. Students entering into the business field of Food & Agribusiness have enormous scope under Food Processing, FMCG, Agri-Supply Chain, Agri-Input marketing and sales, Logistics, Procurement, Cold Storage, Post-Harvest management, Agri Technology etc. which is eventually making this a high demand sector.
In-fact, Ag-tech is the most promising and demanding sector for all the emerging start–up and an investor which shall create space for demand of trained and qualified Agri biz managers.
Ques. 8 Can you share some thoughts on your alumnus, preferably a few well-known one.
Our alumni are working in India and abroad with big brands like FMC, HDFC bank, Syngenta, Novel Seeds, Yes Bank, IDBI Bank, Bayer, Biostad, Krishi Rasayan etc. who are the live examples of joint efforts made by an institution and a bright student.
More details can be seen at https://www.isab.org.in/alumni.php
Ques. 9 Please throw some light on Placements?
ISAB has been able to provide assured career offer to all the students so far who is now our brand ambassador.  So far ISAB has successfully placed more than 500 students in various MNCs / India companies in Agribusiness and allied sector. Our alumni are working in India and abroad with big brands like FMC, HDFC bank, Syngenta, Novel Seeds, Yes bank, IDBI bank, Bayer, Biostad, Krishi Rasayan etc.
Ques. 10 Scholarships and Fee structure?
ISAB provides FAME scholarship (Financial Assistance for Meritorious & Economically Weaker Student). ISAB has created provision to extend financial support maximum upto INR 2.7 Lakhs for two categories:
  • Meritorious student
  • Economically weaker student
To see the eligibility criteria, visit: https://www.isab.org.in/fame-scholarship.php
Financially weaker students can also apply for pay later option where 40% (approx. 3 Lakhs) of the total academic fee can be paid post completion of their program. For more details, student can visit admission section at ISAB website.
The academic fee of ISAB is INR 6.50 lakhs and Food and Accommodation Fee is separate, approx. INR 1.20 lakh per year for twin sharing AC Room*
 
When we compare it to other institutes offering similar post-graduate program, the fee looks competitive and worth investing to start your career with a better placement package and Return on Investment (RoI).
Fee Structure in Detail:
Degree
Program Name
Duration (in months)
Entrance Exam
Semester 1 Fee
Semester 2 Fee
Semester 3 Fee
Semester 4 Fee
Total Fee
Master (Post Garduation)
MBA in Food and Agri Business Management
21-24
ISA'BEST / CAT / MAT / XAT / CMAT / ATMA (Followed by Online GD and Interview)
INR 260,000
INR 130,000
INR 130,000
INR 130,000
INR 650,000
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Other Details:
For Application Fee
INR 200
Hostel and Food Fee (per semester)
INR 55,000-75,000 (Rates changes based on Single, Double Triple Occupancy AC/Non-AC room.
There are many facilities included in all types of rooms. The facilities include Wi-Fi, Meals (Four times a day), Gym, Television Room, Laundry Services, Geysers in bathrooms, Medical aid, a common room for studies, bedding which includes mattress, bed sheet, pillow, pillow cover and blanket and a separate almirah with lock is provided to each student.
Other Fee (Application Fee, Registration Fee, Examination Fee, Security Deposit)
Caution Money of Rs. 30,000 required to be paid at the time of admission. Caution Money is fully refundable without interest after completing graduation.
Ques. 11 If any student is from traditional academic background (i.e B.COM BA etc), should they be aspiring to get in to this field at this stage (masters)
Yes, non-agri background students are welcome in case they are passionate and want to make their career in Agri business sector. Many Agri startups are emerging which demand cross functional knowledge from an applicant to enter into.
For example, if a B. Com + MBA Food & Agribusiness management student enters in job then he or she should be capable enough to solve accounting/ commercial issues emerged in agribusiness management firms.
Or
if a B. Tech + MBA Food & Agribusiness management student enters in job then he or she should be confident enough to solve technology related issues and also be able to help in Agri-tech field in agribusiness management firms.
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