A towering white building with a cavernous mouth for an entrance and green and purple patches of colour on its façade distinguish the campus of L.N. Welingkar Institute of Management from the other colleges lining L.N. Road in Matunga in central Mumbai.
“The idea was to create open spaces while also providing the feel of walking into an educational institution,” said Uday Salunkhe, director of the institute, explaining the campus design.
“It’s all about vertical growth in Mumbai,” he added.
For Welingkar’s, vertical growth has been as much about its swanky new building as about its fast rise as one of the country’s finest management schools.
In the second HT-TNS survey this year, Welingkar’s ranked 16, climbing 27 rungs from its 43rd place last year. The institute prides itself on constant innovation, the most likely factor helping it gradually consolidate its position.
“It’s critical to identify new areas and move away from the typical management silos,” said Salunkhe, also an alumnus of the institute. “We have understood that people need a blend of skills, beyond just functional expertise in one area.”
The newly instituted post-graduate diploma in management (PGDM) in e-business is the best example of this — marrying a technical and a management syllabus.
“Our credo has been to constantly challenge our own position and to ask ourselves how we can add value to what we are already doing,” said Salunkhe.
Part of the strategy to push students into thinking differently is by approaching management education through diverse positions — from “immersive thinking” to mind mapping to case study.
“The course is in sync with the needs of industry. Our interface with industry is very high,” said Vignesh Bijumani (23), a first-year PGDM e-business student.
The institute regularly invites professionals from industry for talks and workshops, and one of its most recent visitors was Harvard Business School dean Nitin Nohria.
Non-academic activities include personality grooming and soft skill development workshops, the Friday Club — a discussion group, an entrepreneurship contest
and an insight lab.
“It’s a very strong contender in my mind,” said Monica Mandyani (20), who will be applying to business schools next year. “It’s got good infrastructure and also offers so much exposure through talks and workshops on campus.”
It’s these varied dimensions that Welingkar’s alumni treasure. “They have so many different initiatives that it really gave me a well-rounded education,” said Pushkar Kalyankar (26), who finished the two-year PGDM in finance last year.
Recent campus recruiters include Deutsche Bank, Mahindra & Mahindra, Reliance Energy, ING Vysya Bank and Larsen & Toubro.
The campus has students from different backgrounds. “The student profile is very mixed, which is great,” said Bruce Sequeira (24). Unheard of in a management school, one of the institute’s most well-known rituals is the dahi handi event on Janmashtami.
“It’s a great way to make friends and get to know people in the first year,” said recent graduate Nishtha Sarna (22). The college teams also participate in the Thane dahi handi competition.
The institute also plans to reach out to different professionals, through a new programme for legal professionals and an executive post graduate diploma in management for professionals with five years of experience.