I welcome you to the process of discovering the “School of Inspired Leadership”. We were co-created by a team of founders and enlightened organizations who wished to take responsibility for the state of our world. It is our belief that business plays a powerful role in creating the culture of our times and their operations enable people to work across geographies and boundaries.
If the workplaces of these organizations are nourishing and caring, if ethics is practiced in letter and spirit, if Leader of such organizations role model the values of “Sustainability” and “Diversity”, they would empower our communities to practice responsible citizenship.
This worldview requires leaders to have “Mindfulness” so that they become fully aware of the role they play in shaping our world. For this, they need “Whole Brain Thinking', emotional intelligence and inspiration to make a difference.
We, therefore, decided to design a Selection System that follows a unique “Talent Appreciation Process” that uses tools such as the Princeton based Caliper's “Leadership Profiling” and a series of conversations to identify the “Values” and “Gifts” of each applicant.
We also co-created a curriculum with the leading businesses of our times who believed in this “Holistic” model. This is improved each year to make our students “Future Ready”. We use several creative pedagogical approaches like theatre based
simulation, “Social Innovation” immersion (in which students work one day a week with an NGO), the week-long learning journey to the Himalayas, “Role Model Leadership Circles” (in which CXO level has chosen leaders to host informal conversations to share their inputs), one on one mentoring with both senior Corporate Leaders and Faculty members, Wellness and Meditation Sessions and opportunities to create and lead a number of “Clubs and Academics” to enable students to explore their own talent and potential.
We carefully choose both our full-time faculty and adjunct faculty members (we believe that each person teaches who she is, irrespective of what she/he teaches) from amongst outstanding academics and thoughtful practitioners. We, therefore, have some of the highest scores on student evaluation of faculty in this sector.
We assess learning outcomes based on a unique grading system that measures the impact on the student and do not compare students with one another (it is possible for all students to score the highest grade in each subject).
This enables them to “Unlearn” the habit of competing with one another and teaches them the virtue of beating themselves to keep improving.
Perhaps the most crucial part of our learning design is the concept of “Individual Development Plan” for each student. Within the first few weeks of their joining SOIL, we conduct a “Development Center” for students to appreciate their reasons for joining SOIL, their gifts and their areas of development. Each student is then encouraged to define their learning goals. These are regularly reviewed in the “Mentoring Sessions” held every month. Students also participate in three surveys at the end of each term to share their feedback about their experience. They are also given feedback from their peers, mentors, faculty members, NGO partners and Industry Internship supervisors as part of a 360-degree instrument.
Given the “Intensity” of a one year PG Program and a fast-paced program design, we proactively study “Work Load” on students in terms of assignments, projects and readings to ensure that students feel inspired but not overly stressed by their schedules.
Throughout the year, I personally teach a course on “Self Leadership” to enable students to find their own “Purpose and Calling”, “Discover their Gifts” and learn how to transcend their fears so as to leverage their strengths to overcome their “Development Areas”. This involves a powerful methodology of “Self Disclosure”, “Community Building” and some very unique exercises to go deep within themselves to transform themselves. All students report the significant positive change within themselves by the end of the year.
SOIL is appreciated by recruiters and industry for its breakthrough innovation in higher education. They particularly appreciate the fact that we are genuinely committed to learning and not seen as a “Placement Agency” that is attempting to obtain well-paying jobs for students.
It is for this reason, that we strongly advise students that if their only motive for joining SOIL is getting a “Good Job”, they should seriously challenge their assumptions. If on the other hand, they are attracted to us because of their goal of going through a transformational learning experience, they would be
most suited to our philosophy.
I am often asked – “Has SOIL turned out to be what you had envisioned in 2008?”
With over 900 alumni from our full-time Program and nearly 1000 alumni from other executive education offerings, we have indeed come a long way!
These leaders are demonstrating to themselves and the world that our vision of building leaders with character, competence and enthusiasm is certainly making a difference! At the same time, we realize that we have a long way to go. It is for this the reason that “Learning and Innovation” is a non-stop process in SOIL as evident from our recent decision to start tracks on
“Analytics” and “Finance” and joint Program with MIP, a top European School and Executive Education products with CEDEP (The Leadership School at Fontainebleau in the INSEAD Campus) and ISL in Japan, the unique school founded by Dr. Tomo Noda of Harvard Business School.
I look forward to welcoming you to Soil.
Founder & Dean