Shortly after he got married, Dr Rishikesh Prabhavale brought his wife to a place where they could stroll along shady avenues every morning, enjoy picnics by the riverside on weekends and sip on Café Coffee Day brews whenever possible. Fairly typical of any honeymoon — except this one was going to last a year.
The doctor has taken admission in the one-year general management programme at the Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI) School of Business & Human Resources.
Nestled in the heart of Jamshedpur in Jharkhand, the 40-acre campus is located west of the famous Jubilee Park, while to its north lies the Subernarekha river, the main source of water supply to the city and to India’s first steel plant, Tata Steel.
A 62-year-old institute, XLRI is one of the country’s oldest B-schools, set up to give independent India the leaders of business and industry. And it hasn’t disappointed — the school now has an alumni network of more than 12,000 working around the world.
“In my opinion, XLRI has the best general management programme,” says Dr Birendrajit Singh, 28, a specialist in telemedicine and sonography who also took admission here this year. Singh has worked at the Government Medical College in Chandigarh and the National Health Service, UK, and now wants to learn more about health services in rural areas.
XLRI has 120 students in each of its three programmes and a teacher-student ratio of 1:9.5. There are a lot of out-of-classroom lectures and students take up development projects in rural areas, where they work to integrate the masses with the mainstream. This penchant for novelty has helped XLRI rank eighth in the third HT-TNS Best B-Schools in India survey.
“It is the only B-school where the study of business ethics is compulsory in all programmes,” says Pranabesh Ray, dean of academics at XLRI.
The school also prides itself on its placements record.
“Besides helping students during placements, we have a restructuring committee comprising the alumni and representatives from the industry, who restructure the programmes with the faculty, helping the institute stay ahead of the competition,” he says.
The school also boasts a strong global presence, with tie-ups with 30-40 international B-schools, mostly in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. These tie-ups include student exchange programmes.
“We will be going to Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, US for a three-week project beginning November, where we will be exposed to the industry, working conditions, art and culture of the place,” says Ashwani Agarwal, 26, a general management student at the institute.
Peter Bonnerjee, class of 1975 alumnus, says many things have changed since he was a student at XLRI.
“When we were students, there were lots of boundaries that have been breached now. The regimented rules and regulations have been abolished and there is lot of freedom for students,” says the 62-year-old Bonnerjee, who did a two-year personnel management and industrial relations programme here.
Taking good care of students is, however, one thing the school is not keen to change. And the honeymooning Prabhavale is satisfied; “We have a well furnished, air-conditioned one-bedroom accommodation. It has all the facilities any five star hotel would have.”
Established in: 1949
Main courses: Two-year post graduate courses in HR, business management, one-year general management programme for working executives
Other courses: Part-time and satellite-based programmes for working executives
Course fee: Rs 10 lakh for two-year programme; R12 lakh for one-year course
Number of students per batch: 120
Faculty-student ratio: 1:9.5
Facilities offered: Internet facility, canteen, auditorium
Day zero placements in 2011: 60%
Top recruiters: Citigroup, McKinsey
Famous alumni: Ajay Kaul, CEO, Dominos Pizza (India), B Muthuraman, vice chairman, Tata Steel