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B-schools set new trends

Four B-schools that started out as obscure, unaffiliated institutes are now trendsetters with unique methodologies report Vimal Chander Joshi

education Updated: Sep 08, 2010 09:24 IST
Vimal Chander Joshi
Vimal Chander Joshi
Hindustan Times

In a recent research study carried out at IIM Ahmedabad’s Ravi J Matthai Centre for Educational Innovation, four B-schools were named trendsetters in business education. They are Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad; Great Lakes Institute of Management (GLIM), Chennai; School of Inspired Leadership (SOIL), Gurgaon; and Indus World School of Business (IWSB), Greater Noida.

Sanjeev Bhalla, who was a student of IIM Ahmedabad's 2009-10 postgraduate programme for executives (PGPX) batch, carried out the study under the guidance of two professors. He found one common feature in the above B-schools – none had the mandatory approval from All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE).

Walking out of the club, GLIM recently got the much-needed approval and is currently the only B-school that offers a one-year management programme. There is one other similarity between these emerging B-schools pertaining to the duration of programme. All of them, barring IWSB, run one-year programmes. This is unlike other B-schools, all of which offer two-year postgraduate management diplomas. Conventionally, one-year programmes are run for working executives who are looking for ‘compacted’ management education. Some of the institutes go on to cut out summer internship from the curriculum.

“As all students have already worked in the industry for a minimum of two years, they don’t need to undergo internship. The normal 72-week programme spread over two years is taught in the period of 50 weeks,” says Prof TN Swaminathan, director, external relations, GLIM.

The selection process for all these B-schools is different from other Indian B-schools. While ISB and Great Lakes use GMAT as the selection criterion, SOIL takes a leadership assessment test, while IWSB has a comprehensive approach to accpeting students.

“We eliminate applicants through exams such as CAT/ XAT and later, we test their problem-solving skills by making them play Tower of Hanoi (a mathematical puzzle using three rods and discs of different sizes) before interviewing them,” says Satya Narayanan R, co-founder, IWSB.Vital stats of the trendsetters

Indian School of Business, (ISB) Hyderabad
Fee: $ 40,000 (R18.40 lakh approx)
Programme duration: One year
USP: Faculty from top B-schools in the world
Can change: Exorbitant fee
Established in 2001 with the launch of its flagship programme, the post-graduate programme in management (PGPM), ISB was set up in a vast campus spread over 260 acres. From an initial class of 126 students, the school currently has 571 students in the Class of 2011. Thanks to its coveted tie-ups with international B-schools such as Kellogg and Wharton, ISB draws students who dump offers from the likes of Oxford and Yale in its favour.

Within a short span of ten years, ISB has made a mark for itself as a premier B-School in India. Accepting a diverse mix of students from different industries and backgrounds, holding the GMAT score as a selection criterion, promoting international-quality research are a few firsts for ISB.

Recently, ISB was listed among the top 12 global B-schools by the Financial Times annual MBA 2010 rankings. It is on its way to set up its second campus at Mohali, Punjab. The first academic session at the ISB campus in Mohali is expected to commence in 2012.

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai
Fee: R11.22 lakh (including hostel stay)
Programme duration: One year
USP: Tie-up with the Yale University, AICTE approval
Can change: Average pay package falls short of the fee charged
This is one B-school where students with a minimum work experience of two years are admitted but the class average usually runs to three-and-a-half years.

“We choose students from diverse backgrounds, which augments peer learning. When people come from different industries, they learn from each other's experience,” says Prof TN Swaminathan, director, external relations, GLIM. The 28-acre campus has a student-faculty ratio of 13:1. Every week, students attend two lectures delivered by industry captains, such as Ratan Tata and Rahul Bajaj.

After spending a year and a little more than R11 lakh, you are well on your way to earning a handsome salary in the corporate world. “We believe in the money-value of time,” adds Swaminathan. However, be warned that the compact programme calls for strenuous work. Students are normally pushed hard and forego weekly offs. “We don't give any leave on Sundays. The curriculum is run on a 24X7 model,” adds Swaminathan.

School of Inspired Leadership (SOIL), Gurgaon
Fee: R9 lakh (for business leadership); R7.36 lakh (for marketing/ HR leadership)
Programme duration: One year
USP: Promoted by an industry-led consortium
Can change: Just one batch old, it’s run from a building in Gurgaon From live projects to working with NGOs, students at SOIL learn everything through a curriculum designed by an industry consortium.

“It is the only B-school co-founded by companies such as Infosys, Dabur, Glaxo-Smithkline etc. These companies play a role at every level – from shortlisting the students, to designing the curriculum and of course, at the time of recruitment,” says Nishchae Suri, president, SOIL and former partner, Hewitt Associates.

SOIL offers quite personalised learning where each student is given a learning plan on the basis of his/ her strengths and weaknesses. Each student is mentored by an industry person of the vice-president or director level who is mandated to spare two to three hours a month with the mentee.

Students work not only on live projects, but also spend one day in a week (Wednesday) in one of the 16 partner NGOs.

Students are selected on the basis of Leadership Assessment Test (unlike CAT /MAT/ GMAT) conducted by Caliper, a US-based company.

“Around 30 to 40 per cent of the faculty comes from the likes of Harvard, Stanford, Columbia and Ohio. And, when they come here, they take the entire course (read module, not the entire programme),” adds Suri.

Indus World School of Business, Greater Noida
Fee: Around R5 lakh for two years (excluding boarding and lodging)
Programme duration: Two years
USP: Focus on entrepreneurship, reasonable fee
Can change: You spend two years, but still get an unapproved diploma
While tutoring thousands of B-school aspirants every year, Career Launcher made a back-up plan for those who couldn't make the cut. It opened its own B-school - Indus World School of Business (ISWB). Its uniqueness lies in the fact that it prepares students to run their own enterprises rather than joining the corporate world and managing someone else's business.

ISWB, spread over a five-acre campus at Greater Noida's Knowledge Park also runs an entrepreneurship competition known as ‘Srijan’ where B-school students from around the country take part. It also runs a Entrepreneurs’ Society, called ‘Disha’. The college runs a $1-million fund, which allots seed money for projects proposed by IWSB students. The institute incubates the start-ups on campus. Co-founder R Sreenivasan, an IIM-B alumnus, says, “Rather than becoming glorified clerks, we want our students to think laterally and be willing to dirty their hands. We don’t encourage them to join big multinationals. They are trained to join small but growing companies so that their position is not eight or ten layers away from that of the CEO and their contribution is acknowledged fast.”

Jaydeep Mandal, an IT engineer who finished his MBA at IWSB in 2010, runs Renaissance, a consulting firm. He says, “I joined IWSB as it focuses on entrepreneurship and boasts of a faculty which sits on the board of big companies.”

First Published: Sep 07, 2010 11:32 IST