100’s Of Top Recruiters Have Lauded The Leadership Values We Instill In Students: Anil Sachdev, SOIL


In an interview with OneYearMBA in November ’14, Anil Sachdev, CEO of the School of Inspired Leadership, talked about SOIL’s mission of creating ‘inspired leaders’. Shikhar Mohan, Founder, OneYearMBA, reconnects with him one year later to discover the progress made by the B-School in achieving this mission. 


In our last conversation, you said that SOIL is an experiment to bring a change to management education by shifting the focus from creating managers to creating leaders. Can this experiment be now critically reviewed for its success or do you think its still early to judge?

The opportunity to give birth to the School of Inspired Leadership has been a real blessing. In the last five years, we have created an ecosystem that is unique and is contributing to creating a leaders.

Of the 32 organizations that support our one year full time programs, fifteen of them have co-founded the part time ‘Emerging Leaders Program’ and 11 serve as Partners for the part time ‘People Next Program – for HR Leaders’. Six have joined hands with our school and MESA (a US based firm) to initiate the three week Global Leadership Program for Senior Leaders.

SOIL offers a unique ‘Social Innovation Program’ – an integral part of all our full time one year Programs in which student teams work with NGOs one day a week at the grass root level on social problems ranging from literacy to health to ecological balance. This develops emotional intelligence and compassion and makes our alumni stand out for their positive attitude and teamwork – crucial components in leadership.

The 25 NGOs who partner with us do us a big service by allowing us to serve them and their target audience. This gives SOIL graduates a distinct identity.

All our offerings have a strong focus on ‘Self Leadership’ – the key to inspire one self and others.

What new learning systems are you adopting to develop your students into effective leaders?

We are teaching a new course on ‘Transformational Industrial Relations’ so that they can serve the cause of building work places that have harmonious union – management relations free of violence seen in many companies recently.

Our students are actively participating in Consulting projects given to the School of strategic nature. For example, we have been partnering Mahindra Group in their transformation journey called RISE and our students participated in important planning meetings for this initiative. They also were part of an exercise in which we helped the National HRD Network to revisit its vision statement.

In partnership with MIP (a top 25 University of the World) of Milan in Italy, we are introducing new courses on ‘Design Thinking and Innovation’ to prepare our students to contribute actively to the Innovation agenda in our work places.

We also have faculty who consistently are rated above 4 on a 5 point scale by students for their passion and student centered approach. We are blessed to have not only outstanding full time faculty but also inspiring teachers from many parts of the world.

We are fortunate that over 100 of the country’s top recruiters have shown faith in us by hiring our alumni in important roles. Recruiters have appreciated the leadership skills we have been able to instill in students and tell us that our students display positive attitude, enthusiasm and distinguish themselves because of the strength of their values and ability to lead!

Any success stories you would like to share of SOIL students who have successfully transformed into leaders in their spheres?

Two of our students have become social entrepreneurs and are spreading happiness to countless others. Many others have created their own business enterprises which are growing successfully.

But leadership is much more than heading oragnisations – it is also about ‘service to the community. Perhaps that is where our and our students’ biggest success lies. 

We often hear stories of organizations in which our alumni have gone the extra mile to help those in need.

When companies like HCL Technology, Anand group, Maveric, Genpact, Wipro and many others single out SOIL Alumni for their ‘perspective and character’, we feel satisfied that our experiment is working

When companies like HCL Technology, Anand group, Maveric, Genpact, Wipro and many others single out SOIL Alumni for their ‘perspective and character’, we feel satisfied that our experiment is working.

One of the key questions that MBA aspirants might have is: Who is the ideal candidate for SOIL’s programmes? Are there certain qualities a future leader must possess? 

The ideal candidate is around 24-25 years old, has got an undergraduate degree in any discipline and has 1- 4 years of work experience and has the basic values of ethics and compassion.

Such a person has a dream of making a difference instead of complaining about the state of our organizations/community/country/planet.

The person is looking for a ‘Transformational Learning’ experience rather than a short cut to get a better job.

The person deeply loves the idea of being of service to others and enabling others to be happy.

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