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HindustanTimes Tue,22 Jul 2014
IIMs repackage themselves for new markets
Vanita Srivastava, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, July 12, 2014
First Published: 19:18 IST(12/7/2014)
Last Updated: 19:49 IST(12/7/2014)
The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) has remained the country’s top ranked B-school since its inception 50 years ago.

Business China, an elective course at IIM Bangalore, was introduced for the 2013-15 class, while keeping in mind the growing importance of China for the Indian managers. The course has drawn a good response from students.

Among the new 23 elective courses that IIM Bangalore has offered are German language and the Rise of the Asian Economies.

IIM Calcutta has recently introduced innovative courses on Marketing at the Bottom of the Pyramid and Corporate Irresponsibility. Next month the institute is going to roll out  a unique programme in Health Care Management.

The programme, designed with the help of Glocal Hospitals is a unique blend of class room learning (5 months), on-job training (5 months) and international experience (1 month).

As part of re-designing, IIM Lucknow has started a unique doctoral programme for executives - EFPM, a one-of-its-kind programme in India by any IIM. This programmes caters to the senior level executives who are interested in the field of research, but with the pressing work priorities and other commitments cannot opt for a regular doctoral programme.

Keeping in mind the new global and domestic market trends, IIMs are reinventing, repackaging themselves in terms of introducing new courses, new programmes and bringing more cultural diversity in the classrooms.

Ashok Banerjee, Dean (New Initiatives & External Relations) IIM Calcutta said the new course on Marketing at the Bottom of the Pyramid caters to the surge in rural India.

"The students need to know that there is a market that flourishes at the bottom of the pyramid. They need to build a different strategy for this market. The course on Corporate Irresponsibility allows the students to look at a contrary view, how the corporates are acting in an irresponsible manner, be it pollution or misguiding. The to-be manager should analyse all these before he steps out to take on a role in the corporate sector."

Acknowledging the need to re-design to keep pace with market trends, Banerjee said, " Two clear trends are emerging globally in the field of management education - increasing global popularity  of one-year masters programme in specialised areas and innovation in teaching and learning methods, called blended learning experiment. We believe that IIMs are geared to embrace these challenges."

IIM Bangalore director Dr Sushil Vachani said, "Even before I officially joined  as director of  the Institute on July 1 this year, I invited some of our faculty to visit Boston and we went and looked at key elements of the entrepreneurial eco-system in Boston, which is the world class. We also looked at some of the educational innovations at Harvard, MIT and Yale. Specifically, I would like to borrow from some of the very successful ideas with regard to international curriculum, program innovation and experiential learning that I was personally involved with or have had the opportunity to observe at leading schools."

Admitting that business schools need to re-design themselves to keep pace with global market, Dean (Programme) at IIM Ahmedabad Dr Ajay Pandey said: "Change is a dynamic process. We are in the process of re-designing our core programmes and a concrete design is likely to emerge in a month's time. The changes will however be introduced from next year."

"In the program review, we do a global benchmarking and see which courses have worked and which have not.  Accordingly, we introduce new innovative courses and themes. While re-designing, we ensure that the courses that are core to the programmes remain. Entrepreneurship has gained ground and we may look at introducing course(s) on this theme. Likewise, business simulation and other pedagological elements may be introduced."

Devi Singh, director, IIM Lucknow, said, "Keeping in mind the global trends and the needs of the corporate world, IIM Lucknow regularly introduces new electives and new courses.   We have recently introduced a unique doctoral programme for executives."

Singh said efforts were being made globally to increase diversity, but one cannot come up with an ideal formula. "Gender diversity is one of the components and we have in the past three years been able to bring this to an ideal level - this year we have more than 45% female candidates. This percentage till a couple of years back used to remain at around 5-10%. The next step now would be diversity in terms of educational backgrounds."

Rishikesha Krishnan, IIM Indore director, added, "We are strongly focusing on inclusion and integration of simulation with all core courses to make learning real time and interactive."


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