If there is one thing that sets the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore apart from other top business schools in India, it is the location.
The institute was launched in Bangalore in 1973, which was then known as India’s garden city. Today, it enjoys the honour of being located in the information technology capital of the country — comparable to that of Stanford University, US in the Silicon Valley.
Both students and faculty agree that the school’s location is a big advantage. It not only facilitates greater industry-academia collaboration than many other business schools in India but the energy of the city extends to the campus.
“Being located in Bangalore helps students visit offices of leading companies, make contacts and gain invaluable experience,” said Vernon Fernandez (23), a second year
management student. “It also makes it easier for industry leaders to come to the campus for talks and programmes.”
While Bangalore offers a cosmopolitan culture and a vibrant nightlife, one of the reasons students love living in the city, the campus life isn’t any less exciting.
Sports, drama, music, dance, the annual cultural festival UNMAAD, student clubs, parties at L square and the night canteen between 10.30 pm-2 am — the campus is alive 24/7.
Besides a robust exchange programme that includes partner schools such as Stanford University, London Business School, Yale School of Management and NYU Stern, among others, the institute boasts of infrastructure comparable to top global business schools.
It was the first Indian B-school to go Wi-Fi. There are also more than 100 full-time faculty members here with a student faculty ratio of 6:1.
“We want to gradually recruit younger faculty members at IIM Bangalore,” said Dean (Academics) Trilochan Sastry. “Younger faculty brings a new perspective on campus and after the recession, several bright young people also want to enter the academia."
The curriculum of its two-year post graduate programme in management is based significantly on case studies — practical lessons from real events. Harvard Business School, USA, has been a leader in developing case studies that are now a sophisticated tool in management education. Most B-schools, including IIM Bangalore, borrow case studies made by them.
Now, IIM Bangalore is developing its own case study bank that includes practical studies of several Indian businesses— an area not addressed by Harvard case studies.
Amidst discussions on whether business schools should revamp their curriculum in the light of the global economic slowdown, the faculty at IIM Bangalore feel there is no need for drastic changes.
“Although, gradually lessons from the recession will be more talked about in classrooms and in case studies, in two years we teach our students to grapple with and adapt to any business problem and hence a course revamp doesn't make sense,” said Sastry.
The school, however, did see a slightly higher number of students opt for entrepreneurship during the 2009 placements. “The school encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to pursue their business plan on finishing the course and if they want, two years later they can return to the campus and participate in the placements like other graduate students,” said P D Jose, Chairperson, career development services, IIM Bangalore. “Students with work experience have also been increasing at IIM Bangalore.”
Placement week in February is an exciting time on campus simply because the students at the school get some of the most lucrative job offers. Notwithstanding the global slowdown, the entire second year batch of 270 students got summer 2009 internships in two slots with 45 per cent of the batch going outside the country for its internship. “Whoever did a summer internship with a top consulting firm this summer has already got a pre-placement offer from the same firm,” said Fernandez, who interned with global management consulting firm Bain and Company in Australia and has already got a job offer from them.
However, even the best business school has areas to improve upon.
IIM Bangalore’s location in the hub of IT activity by default helps it attract a disproportionately high number of engineers.
The current first year batch has 92 per cent of the students with an engineering background. The number of women students is less than 15 per cent.
“There are a high number of engineering students here but our application process through common admission test means that the school sometimes doesn’t have a choice but to consider applicants who have competed in the exam,” said Praveen Das T. (24), a second year student.
Some exchange students on the campus feel that though it might be difficult to get through IIM Bangalore, the school has some way to go before it makes it to the list of best global business schools.
“Things here are more relaxed in comparison to business schools abroad, especially when it comes to meeting deadlines and preparing for lectures,” said Toronto-based Indian origin student Seema Varma (29), visiting the country for the first time in order to study at IIM Bangalore. “If more focus is put on creating a more professional environment in classes, it would help IIM Bangalore build a global brand for itself.”
IIM-B has decided not to make the salaries offered to its students public.
Placement season days
2009: more than a week
2007: 5 days
2008: 5 days
Executive Director, Tata Power
Co-Chair, Executive Education Program for Leadership Development, Harvard Business School
Director (marketing), Cadbury, India
Executive Director, UBS AG, London
Dr. K. Radhakrishnan,
Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre
McKinsey & Co, Morgan Stanley, Boston Consulting Group, Merrill Lynch, Google