Delivered through a blended learning format and targeted mainly towards senior-level executives, it is a rigorous and challenging programme that minimises disruption at work and personal pursuits
By: Neelam Jhangiani
The need for leaders with a sound understanding of the developing economies and a global perspective in the rapidly changing business landscape was recognised early by the Indian School of Business (ISB). Over the years, the institute has strived to create such leaders through its innovative programmes, outstanding faculty and thought leadership.
ISB’s Advanced Management Programme for Healthcare (AMPH) is a step in this direction. The programme aims to create future leaders, especially for the healthcare industry. AMPH, since its inception in 2016, has had a unique positioning of delivering high-quality management education to mid and senior executives from the healthcare delivery industry. Delivered through a blended learning format and targeted mainly towards senior-level executives, it is a rigorous and challenging programme that minimises disruption at work and personal pursuits.
Prof. Sarang Deo, Associate Professor of Operations Management at the ISB, takes us through the journey of the AMPH programme so far. Prof. Deo has extensive experience in the field of management education and prior to joining ISB, he was an Assistant Professor at the Kellogg School of Management. He frequently collaborates with international agencies such as the Clinton Health Access Initiative and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He is also undertaking research, which has been funded by the US National Science Foundation and Grand Challenges Canada.
Let us see what he has to tell us more on the programme & ISB. Excerpts…
How is AMPH’s position unique as compared to other courses available in India?
AMPH is an ISB program run by the Max Institute of Healthcare Management within ISB. The programme was started in the year 2015 and till date, it has received an exceptional response by the healthcare community and the engagement is extremely encouraging.
The main distinguishing factor for AMPH is that we have deliberately designed it to not focus on day-to-day hospital administration, which many other courses and programs in India do. The focus of the program is to develop a long-term strategic view and to build top leaders for the healthcare sector, which means the nature of the courses that are offered, faculty who teach in the program are very different.
Most of them have healthcare expertise and exposure but some of them also come from outside healthcare, they can be faculty in marketing or strategy but have extensive experience and bring in the best practices from those industries to healthcare and are able to talk the language that CXO’s of large organisations can understand.
Why is your focus more on upskilling of already existing executives?
As these people are already at senior positions in a growing organisation, it is very timely and urgent that we re-orient the perspective of these people. We do need to build leaders from the ground up, but what to do with people who are already heading a 100-crore organisation but have no formal training in management. Many of these people have grown from within the organisation may be at junior positions and only learnt how one organisation works, which is not going to be enough going forward.
How often are the inputs and consultations taken from industry leaders on the Programme?
This is an issue that we take very seriously at ISB, we want the curriculum and programme structure to be industry-relevant. AMPH curriculum has been designed in consultation with leaders from the healthcare industry. The curriculum ensures that the learnings at the programme are relevant to the current needs of the industry.
Consistent with ISB’s philosophy of delivering high quality, industry-relevant management programmes, the School undertook a curriculum review in its second year itself and changes were made to the programme, industry trends were also changing and we needed to capture those too. For e.g., the growing importance of health technology and change in the policy environment. Some structural changes were made in the programme accordingly.
Other than that, on an ongoing basis, we get together both policymakers and industry leaders through round table and events that we organise. Some of our alums from the programmes themselves are in senior positions, either head of the department, CEO of hospitals; so, they also are a channel of constant feedback.
Kindly share the kind of changes that were brought in after the 2nd year review.
When we first designed the programme, it was deliberately focused on healthcare delivery services, which it still is, but we felt it needs to be complemented with some understanding of healthcare product based, which is both biopharmaceuticals and medical devices so we introduced a course on that.
We realised that there is a lot of entrepreneurship coming in the sector so we introduced one course on business model innovation, that we have now strengthened further to introduce entrepreneurship, so it covers both new businesses that people want to start & also changing the business model of existing businesses.
Third thing we have introduced is a webinar series on health systems and this is keeping in mind the changing regulatory regime and the financial regime of India where government is emerging as a big player, unlike earlier. We also want our participants to get a bird’s eye view of how are health systems structured in other countries – how does financing work, how much of it is financed by taxes or individual patients from out of pocket expenses? Also, what is the role of private insurance in other countries? These are some of the main changes we have brought about in our program.
How do you ensure quality of the faculty members?
An eclectic and accomplished team of faculty teach at the ISB. Our faculty are chosen on the basis of their research excellence and teaching acumen. They have a deep understanding of the health sector and are in tune with the latest trends and issues in the Indian healthcare industry.
Our faculty have to be either subject matter experts in the healthcare domain or they have to be top notch faculty. They may not have a healthcare background, but they should be top notch faculty for management at ISB. Many of our faculty teach in the flagship PGP programme so they are all experts in their domain, be it a functional domain like finance, marketing or strategy.
We also get some experts to periodically teach or co-teach if there is no relevant experience from within the functional domain. Let’s say if you take a course for cost accounting for health services, we may not be able to find someone from the accounting area within ISB to teach a course, because it is such a specialised subject. Then we go out and see are if there are people who are practicing this in the industry for a long time; these are right people to teach such a senior class. Thus, we have a very careful choice of faculty both from within ISB and visiting faculty and at the same time both from academic community and the practitioner community.
One-year MBA is the flagship program at ISB and we want a reasonable amount of integration of the AMPH with the main stream academic program, so if a marketing faculty teaches in the MBA program and has expertise in healthcare, we will try our best to get that faculty to come and teach in AMPH. Faculty body is not separated, which ensures quality because these faculty who teach in the MBA program obviously know management in and out and have taught for several years.
How is the pedagogy participant-centric and experiential in nature?
This is something very natural in the ISB environment, lot of faculty members teach in the MBA program as well they rely predominantly on the case methodology with very few lectures where required. Even concepts that require a bit of lecturing is usually interactive with the students, there are discussions within the class so that’s one aspect for pedagogy. Second is we have a component called applied learning where students form teams and they have to implement ideas and concepts that they have learnt in their courses in a real organisation and it is typically one of the organisations that they come from. So, it is not only theoretical but they can see it on the ground. These are two main reasons by which we make it experiential and participant centric.
Kindly share with us a few examples of the business strategy formation / real-life problem-solving exercises that are conducted during the Programme.
I can give you my own example; I am mentoring two teams from the current class. One of the team is trying to understand how to build low cost hospitals in tier 2, tier 3 cities to be able to cater the demand of Ayushman Bharat. For this, they are comparing cost structures of three different hospitals and three different tier 2 cities where they work. Based on the insights that they will get and by comparing these cost structures, they will be able to propose something new. This is a very timely and pertinent topic because the government wants to push Ayushman Bharat and believe that access to healthcare can increase in smaller towns. At the same time, industry people are saying that the rates offered by Ayushman Bharat are very low, so the question is – can you innovate something in the business model to be able to deliver good quality healthcare at these low rates.
Now, the set of projects that our students take up have to do with process improvement and operational improvement within hospitals. Thus, how do you prove the conversion of outpatient visit to inpatient procedure to make it financially viable? How do you reduce the discharge delays that patients face in hospitals because that is a major driver for customer satisfaction and repeat business? Some other type of projects involve learning social media marketing; let us say there is an individual practitioner say a doctor, how can they use Facebook to market their services so that they don’t have to spend a lot of money on traditional marketing.
How have the learning objectives for the programme been developed on the AACSB International model?
AACSB requires that each program must have an Assurance of Learning, which includes setting learning goals, measuring them consistently and regularly. At ISB, this is instituted for PGP suite of programs. We have taken a proactive approach and introduced similar learning goals for AMPH.
We feel we are breaking new grounds; others have not done it yet. Again, taking a leaf from our one-year MBA programme, we believe having clear learning goals for AMPH is important because it sets the tone for what sort of courses to include in the program, what sort of pedagogy to go after. Hence, again in consultation with industry leaders we articulated and crystallised four learning objectives. It was also based on typical state of participants; when they come in lot of our participants do not have a clear understanding of what’s the distinction between sales function and marketing function or where does exactly HR and operations interface each other or where does costing stop and financing start.
The course inculcates business acumen and a functional outlook among participants, and from there the journey starts. Culmination of this is how to do integrative decision making when decisions cannot be made only from marketing, finance or operations angle. There are also learning goals associated with responsible leadership, ethical dilemmas where we need to take into account various stakeholders not just shareholders or investors but patients, larger society, government. We want to make sure several courses are able to touch up on this aspect. There is also a specific course on responsible leadership but across the course duration, participant should get exposed to such multi-objective decision making so on and so forth.
How many executives do you train annually?
It’s a selective program, we run one cohort of participants typically around 15, because we believe the intensity of the course is such that it is not easy to scale. As mentioned earlier, the priority is to train top management because if they are convinced that management thinking is important and relevant, they will be able to transmit some of that down the line in their organisation.
Tell us about your partners – in India and worldwide.
ISB has several partnerships or MOU’s with many leading universities in the world. Our founding affiliate schools are Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania; the Associate Schools are London Business School (LBS), MIT Sloan School of Management and The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. So initially, when the program was designed, we got inputs from those people. Our visiting faculty comes from a range of international schools and universities. We are also a part of an organisation called Business Alliance for Healthcare Management (BAHM), it’s a select group of business schools with healthcare as a focus area. So that helps to exchange ideas on cutting-edge curriculum and pedagogy within healthcare management.
For further information on the programme, contact:
Centre for Executive Education Indian School of Business
P: 040-2318 7504 M: +91 95380 10020