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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014
From strength to strength
Manish Chandra Pandey, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, August 30, 2011
First Published: 12:26 IST(30/8/2011)
Last Updated: 09:48 IST(31/8/2011)
Bonding with the best: Recruiters see IIM-L students as balanced, confident and strategically oriented

We used to jokingly refer to IIM-L as Hel(L) when we were on campus,” says Niharika Mittal from the Class of 2007. Sounds like a strange choice of an appellation for an institution bang in the heart of a city known for its nawabi tehzeeb (culture). But Mittal, a senior manager (marketing & alliances) with CL Educate Ltd, is not the only one who remembers Indian Institute of Management-Lucknow for its rigorous training.

Ankit Dhingra, a class of 2009 alum, currently working with a global beverage major and managing its marketing activities across five countries, recalls: “Our very first lecture at IIM-L was by a renowned and much-feared professor. In the one-hour session, 30 minutes were spent explaining the rules of the lectures, and how students were expected to conduct themselves.”

Adds Dhingra, “It was a wake-up call for most engineers, for whom bunking classes and walking in late were routine.”

Established in 1984, IIM-L has, over the years, earned the reputation of being a tough taskmaster.

And the writing is in the topography.

No sooner than you step into the lush 185-acre campus, you see two sculptures — one of Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi march and the other of Lord Krishna preaching to Arjuna at Kurukshetra. Both are reminders of the challenges a person faces in life. And in keeping with this philosophy, IIM-L keeps its course ‘very real’. In 2006, a group of students helped electrify a village that shared its boundary with the institute. Says Professor Sushil Kumar from the institute’s Centre for Business

Sustainability: “It was probably due to our grooming of the students that 30-odd families of Chakarpurwa village could get power. Our students pursued the case with the UP Power Corporation, relentlessly.”

Such training pays off the minute a student steps off the campus. As Gangadhar Sulkunte of the class of 2000 puts it. “We had to encounter scenarios very similar to what we see in our professional lives. As a result, we were better prepared.” Sulkunte has worked in India and the US for companies such as Cognizant Technologies and

Infosys and has now started a mobile health firm, 4th Main Health, in France.

Says Rajesh Garg, 44, a finance director at Tesco plc, UK: “When I was CFO of Cadbury Asia and India, we regularly recruited IIM-L students, who always came across as very balanced and confident, strategically oriented but happy to dirty their hands, too.

Over the years, the success of its students has added to the success of the institution. In the last six years the institute’s revenues jumped from R17 crore to nearly R76 crore. By March 2012, it is expected to touch R100 crore.

Devi Singh, director, IIM-L, says he is working on a plan to pitchfork the country’s fourth oldest IIM into the global league.

IIM-L, which has 22 global tie-ups, will soon ink a pact with Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. Also on the cards is a tie-up with the University of Connecticut’s School of Business.

Speaking of tie-ups, IIM-L also boasts of a strong alumni network.

In 2007, when Nishant Saxena, from the class of 2000 batch, resigned as deputy CFO P&G, to set up Elements Akademia, a Delhi-based firm with the aim of making students industry-ready and employable, major investors were IIM-L alumni and most of the company’s advisers are IIM-L professors. “The bonding helped me greatly,” says Saxena.

And it’s not just the alumni, IIM-L also shares a good rapport with the recruiters. Says Garg, “As a recruiter, you get the best advice on the students to hire. It is a well-oiled process, which students lead themselves as hosts.”

FACT FILE
Established in:
1984
Main courses: Post graduate programme (PGP) in management, PGP in agri-business management
Other courses: PGP in management for working executives (WMP); international programme in management for executives (IPMX); fellowship programme in management (FPM)—doctoral programme
Course fee: R12 lakh for PGP
Number of students per batch: PGP - 400
Faculty-student ratio: 1:5.5
Facilities offered: The institute has a library with a collection of more than 60,000 learning resources in management and related areas
Day zero placements: Not available
Top recruiters: Accenture, Avendus, Citibank, Cadbury, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Hindustan Unilever, ITC, KPMG
Famous alumni: Rajiv Sabharwal, executive director and head - retail banking, ICICI Bank; Prabal Chakraborty, group VP Johnson & Johnson


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