Like senior technocrats going beyond business and entering public life, the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore (IIM-B) is now at a stage where business is just one of the many things it teaches its students to manage.
“Today, business is not isolated from government and society. They are all intertwined. Learning to manage one and not the other two is a handicap,” says Pankaj Chandra, director of the institute.
“Hence, we wouldn’t call ourselves a B-school. What we teach is management — of private businesses, public institutions and not-for-profit social organisations,” he adds.
That, according to Chandra, is one of the ways in which the school manages to stay on top despite growing competition from new private and public management institutes.
N Bringi Dev, a faculty member, says, “When IIM-B was started, its focus was on public policy and regulation.”
He continues, “When the Indian economy opened up in the early 1990s, it was the first institute to start a programme on software enterprise management in 1998. This is how the institute keeps upgrading itself. But, we still have a strong centre for public policy.”
Students in the flagship post-graduate programme in management (PGPM) undergo a course called business, government and society (BGS), which is quite popular.
Lintu K Johny, an alumnus of IIM-B from the class of 2010, who works for Hindustan Unilever in Mumbai, says, “The college also encourages students to take up jobs in the not-for-profit sector by refunding the fees of students who choose to do so. As for me, I chose to do my dissertation on microfinance.”
The IIM-B has the maximum intake for any research programme in management. The figure now stands at 125. It used to take in only about 50 students annually till three years ago, but has been increasing its annual intake by 30 every year.
Chandra says, “With increased economic and political awareness, society asks more questions these days and what is required of institutions like ours is research, especially on what is relevant to India, to try and find some answers.”
The institute has also expanded its geographical horizons with a specialised programme on business in Africa.
Prof Hema Swaminathan, who handles the course, says, “The course is not about exploiting the resources of Africa, but rather about the developmental avenues available in the continent.”
Swaminathan adds, “In class, I compare Africa’s experience of colonisation with ours and see that a majority of the students are open to that kind of a learning experience.”
Chandra says, “With the kind of autonomy we have and the maturity we have developed, we are free to experiment with our curriculum, and draw from our research to continuously develop our curriculum.”
He adds, “We feel that it is essential to introduce our students, particularly to under-managed sectors like art and theatre. It is this diversity in our curriculum that keeps us where we are today.”
Established in: 1973
Main Courses: PG programme in management
Other courses: PG diploma in software enterprise management, PG diploma in public policy management, executive PG diploma in management, fellowship in management
Course fee: R13 lakh for the main programme
Number of students per batch: 1,500
Faculty to student ratio: 1:11
Facilities offered: Modern classrooms equipped with video conferencing and hostels
Day zero placements: Not given
Top recruiters: Accenture; Bosch; Citigroup; Essar; HSBC; Microsoft
Famous alumni: Dr K Radhakrishnan, chairman, Isro; Nirmala Sankaran, founder, Heymath; Saugata Mitra, CEO, Marico