ISDM Newsletter October 2021


Dear Readers,

Greetings from the Indian School of Development Management (ISDM)!

The ISDM family is thrilled to bring to you, the next edition of its quarterly newsletter. As a team and an organisation, ISDM is extremely optimistic and sets itself really tall goals to achieve. Our newsletter is but a small reflection of all that is happening here.

The class of 2021-2022 of the Post Graduate Program in Development Management (PGP DM) began their 47-week journey with us this July. This year's class, as always, represents students from different states, regions, communities and diverse educational backgrounds. The students have commenced Term II in October and are now engaged in their first immersive term, known as Realising India.

PGP DM has established itself as a pioneering program for the Indian Social Sector in the last five years of ISDM's existence. The attestation of the program's success can be seen from our 100% placement record for the last class of the program, i.e., the class of 2020-2021. All of the students of the class have been placed in leading social purpose organisations, corporate social responsibility cells, consulting firms and other social enterprises. With the placement of the last group of alumni, we now have more than 230 Development Managers who are working in different roles and capacities within the sector.

Learning from our achievements and drawing insights from challenges and the paradigmatic shifts within the sector that the pandemic has caused, the team at ISDM is revisiting its strategies and efforts towards a new and revitalised PGP DM and a more resilient and stronger ISDM 2.0. There have been curricula changes, pedagogic transformations, revisions to our assessment structures as well as on-boarding faculty and leaders who are harbingers of change to the sector. The organisation has also brought on board several new members in senior leadership positions to help us reach our audacious goals in the short and long terms.

Our executive education program is now the Strategic Capacity Building vertical, and we are excited about the many new partnerships and projects that have been initiated in the last few months.

We look forward to the encouragement and feedback from our readers and well-wishers, and we hope you will find this newsletter interesting. Wishing everyone a prosperous, serene, healthy and peaceful festive season.


Ravi Sreedharan, President Ravi Sreedharan, President
(Founder, ISDM)
Sharad Agarwal, Director Sharad Agarwal, Director
(Founder, ISDM)


Transitioning to PGP DM

In tune with the dynamic needs of the social sector and the response of the ecosystem to the program and its graduates in the previous years, ISDM’s Post Graduate Program in Development Leadership transitioned into the Post Graduate Program in Development Management (PGP DM) in the year 2020-2021.

The new curriculum has been sharpened and re-designed under the leadership of Professor AK Shiva Kumar, Chairperson, Academic Council, ISDM. The revisions reflect contemporary thought within management education, as advocated by Srikant Datar, David Garvin and Patrick Cullen, reiterating that a right balance between the skills of knowing, doing and being is essential in management.

From 52 weeks, the program is now 47-weeks long and builds the capacities of young adults to work in leadership and management positions in social purpose organisations (SPOs).


Key Elements PGP DL PGP DM
Orientation Practitioner-led Academic-led
Perspective Indian, local,
micro initiatives
Global systems,
impact at scale
Design Dominated by
perspective and
integrated approach
Management at core
with a hybrid
(modular + integrated)
Course work/ Choice of courses 56 Core + 8 Electives 22 Core + 3 Electives
Potential for
Limited Introduced

Watch this space for more updates on PGP DM!

Diversity and Vibrancy in PGP DM

Diversity and Vibrancy in PGP DM for 2021-22

These words could not be truer anywhere than at ISDM. The fifth cohort of ISDM's PGP DM is unique in its diversity. We are excited to report that women comprise more than two-thirds of our enrolments for the program this year. More below:

Class of 2021-22 at a Glance

Class of 2021-22 at a Glance

Guest Lectures at ISDM

The PGP DM program for the class of 2021-22 began with Term Zero that was devoted to building foundational skills of the cohort as required for the intensive 47-week journey. This term included a diverse range of sessions on data analysis, economic reasoning, concepts in case study practices and plagiarism and MS Excel. Other special series included Prof A K Shiva Kumar's Vignettes of India's Development Story, Effective Listening by Mr. Shashi Nair, Storytelling by Mr. Ameen Haque and Effective Presentation Making by Mr. Suman Srivastava in a series dedicated to building communication skills.

Term I kicked off with a new course on Data Analysis in Development and interactions with eminent personalities within the social sector as part guest lecturers' series. Term II brought a multi-domain lecture series called 'sangam' for the students to engage with eminent personalities in the fields of social impact, public service, arts and culture.

Harsh Mander

quotationThe COVID-19 pandemic showed how we in the middle class continue to remain comfortable with inequality and injustice as we were indifferent to the protection of the working poor. It was only in the second wave that we learnt a very fundamental lesson in a pandemic, no one is safe until everyone is safe.quotation

Harsh Mander

Noted human rights and peace worker,
Director, Centre for Equity Studies

Lecture: Thinking through the Heart

Dr Mallika Sarabhai

quotationThe arts are a language, so subtle and insidious, that it gets to you when your walls are down... the arts are crucial for human beings to become 'humane' beings. quotation

Dr Mallika Sarabhai

Internationally-renowned classical dancer,
actress, writer and social activist

Lecture: Performing Arts and Social Change


Realising India

This month, our students will head out to districts in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh for their two-week structured immersion called Realising India (RI). As part of their learning in Term II, the students will use research methods to understand various aspects of the district, including the socio-political, demographic, cultural, administrative, geographical, political aspects as well as the different actors, and their relationships at play.

To know more about RI in the previous years, read here.


Despite complexities and grave challenges thrown by the ongoing pandemic, we are thrilled to announce that all students of the fourth cohort, the class of 2020-21, have been successfully placed across 14 cities in organisations working in education, health, gender development, poverty and social justice, water and sanitation, skill development and rural development, among others.

Placement at A Glance

No. of students applied


No. of organisations


Organisations applied


100% placements
Class of 2020-21

Approx. no. of organisations reached out to


No. of JDs


Average salary

INR 6.5 Lakhs

Placement 2021 - sector-wise breakup

Placement 2021 - sector-wise breakup

Placement 2021 - functional role-wise breakup

Placement 2021 - functional role-wise breakup


As we envision ISDM as the fountainhead of knowledge in Development Management and transform the ways SPOs are managed and led, the Executive Education program at ISDM has been remoulded into the Strategic Capacity Building (SCB) program to assist professionals working in SPOs to grow by developing relevant Development Management and Leadership perspectives, knowledge and skills.

As part of the re-envisioned vertical, the ISDM team is already exploring partnerships with leading organisations from the sector. Read more here.



The digital transformation of ISDM is an integral element of change within our efforts to revitalise the organisation. We are already in Phase I of this transformation and our efforts are focussed on enhancing existing applications to provide an end-to-end digital experience to our students, teams and staff, as well as prospective students and our engagements with the larger ecosystem.

This includes revamping our website, admission experience and an enhanced learning management system for the classrooms through key features such as a dedicated students' dashboard and gradebook.



Benchmarking Talent Management

Disclaimer: *Data protection and confidentiality is assured for all participating organisations.

The ecosystem study on 'Benchmarking Talent Management in the Indian Social Impact Sector' seeks to co-create a shared knowledge infrastructure that informs talent related decision and strategies of SPOs.

The study shall offer insights on compensation benchmarks across different organisational archetypes as well as curate a case study series on management practices that nurture organisational talent towards creating sustainable, scalable solutions for social change. Bringing together knowledge emerging from the study of organisations across archetypes shall help identify key drivers for talent in the Indian social impact sector.

Some important outcomes from the research will include reliable and accessible data on compensation trends for different roles across organisational archetypes and case studies on talent management practices. Each participating organisation shall receive an external competitiveness and internal equity report for their organisation.

As an NGO, our highest accountability is towards the people that we stand to serve - these include the most vulnerable children, their families, and the community at large. To be effective in meeting our mission we need to, therefore, look after our people, care for our people and not look at them as an end in itself but as people who are fundamental in driving the mission forward.

Sumitra Mishra

Executive Director | Mobile Creches

Dipstick Study: Knowledge Commons for
Enhanced Management Practice in Social Purpose Organisations

ISDM and Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy, Ashoka University have jointly undertaken an initiative towards curating, co-creating and disseminating knowledge commons on enabling management practices for wider use by the development sector ecosystem. This is to bridge the gap between the growing need for developing and promoting essential management practices within SPOs and the lack of available sector specific discourses and applications within the development space. Currently, many organisations primarily draw these practices from mainstream corporate discourses and their application often lacks contextualisation in the social impact space and the cornerstone mission and value-driven approach.

The study was conducted in two phases over August-September 2020 and 2021 and entailed interviewing 20 thought leaders with various organisational roles and experiences across domains.

Watch this space for the report that will come out soon. Read more here.


Guftagu Series

The first event of the 'Guftagu Series' as part of our alumni engagement took place in Bengaluru on October 3, 2021. The series comprise of discussions with our alums across different cities to strengthen, re-structure, re-align and re-develop the ISDM-Alumni relationship.

Guftagu Series

Development Managers in Action

Co-founder iStreeLing and
Senior Program Officer at QUEST Alliance
Class of 2019-20

Roopa Sharma is an experienced development sector practitioner for over a decade and is currently working with Quest Alliance leading the training space for Senior Managers of CSOs and ITIs in collaboration with state partners.

She is passionate about justice that she wants to bring through intersectional feminism. Inspired by one of her mentors at ISDM, Jahnavi Andharia, Roopa has been working on her initiative called iStreeling (where 'I' stands for intersectionality) and dreams of creating a platform that will enable calling out oppression in daily life through caste, class, gender, ableism and any other identity that a person would hold in the world.

Manager, CSR & Social Impact, CSRBox
Class of 2019-20

Congratulations are in order for our alumnus Manoviraj Singh who was recently promoted as Manager, CSR & Social Impact in a short span of 11 months of joining CSRBox as Consultant, Partnerships.

Manoviraj is now looking after intervention design, strategy development, project management, funder management & team building for multiple CSR Projects in the area of education, skill development & livelihood. Prior to joining CSRBox, he co-founded Aristotle Word School in Etawah, UP for more than two years imparting inclusive and quality education to over 500 children.

Welcoming New Members to the ISDM Family!

As we continue to grow and evolve into a stronger and more resilient organisation, we extend a hearty welcome to the new members who have joined the ISDM family!

Trisha Varma

Director Of Operations,
Global Knowledge Hub and
Marketing & Communications

Trisha comes from a background of market research, data analysis, market strategy and marketing. She is the founder of a consulting company and previously worked with Procter & Gamble, first in India, then in Singapore.

Read more.

Aseem Purohit

Director , Programs and Operations

Aseem has over 31 years of experience in the financial software industry and joins ISDM from Odessa as Vice President - Sales and executive sponsor for Odessa's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives in the education and environment sectors in India. He has also been associated as a volunteer with EDUCAIT, a non-profit organisation that supports underprivileged children with their education.

Read more.

Aditi Jha

Fundraising Team

Aditi has worked across the development sector with organisations such as HelpAge, Save the Children, and other smaller charities in India, and with Action Against Hunger and Teach Africa in the UK. She has 12 years of experience in implementing community-based programs, proposal writing, communication and fundraising.

Read more.


Here's a peak into what our students, faculty and staff are reading

Letter from Birmingham Jail

Letter from Birmingham Jail - Dr. Martin Luther King

The "Letter from Birmingham Jail", also known as the "Letter from Birmingham City Jail" and "The Negro Is Your Brother", is an open letter written on April 16, 1963, by Martin Luther King Jr. It was his response to a public statement of concern and caution issued by eight white religious leaders of the South and reiterated that people have a moral responsibility to break unjust laws and to take direct action rather than waiting potentially forever for justice to come through the courts.

The One Who Walks Away from Omelas - Ursula Le Guin

The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" is a short story in philosophical fiction by American writer Ursula K. Le Guin. The story's narrator describes the seemingly utopian city of Omelas and the one injustice upon which this utopia depends.

The One Who Walks Away from Omelas
Imagining a Post Development Era

Imagining a Post Development Era - Arturo Escobar

In this paper, Arturo Escobar deconstructs the way "development" is understood and defined. He questions the western and dominant discourse in identifying individuals, communities, countries and societies as underdeveloped. Escobar identifies it as a colonising discourse that needs to be re-examined by focusing on the local realities and daily lives of people. There is empha- sis on using individual senses to experience and define 'development'. He offers an alternative thought process to look at development.

India as a Post-Colonial Welfare State Sony Pellissery - T.V.S. Sasidhar

The chapter written by Sony Pellissery and T.V.S. Sasidhar in a handbook is edited by Bente Greve highlighting some of the critical aspects of the Indian Welfare State. It focusses on the definition of "development", examining whether it is from the coloniser's point of view or from that of colonised. The dilemma of 'tryst of living with contradictions' is brought forth by authors when they talk about the positions taken up by both Jawaharlal Nehru and BR Ambedkar and later by Amartya Sen and Jagdish Bhagwati.

Post-Colonial Welfare State Sony Pellissery