Our Indian campus will be world class

Global orientation will be key for students at the GMR campus of the Schulich School of Business

education Updated: Jul 13, 2011 11:10 IST
Ayesha Banerjee
Ayesha Banerjee
Hindustan Times

Dezsö J. Horváth, dean of the Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto, Canada, is one of the longest serving business school deans in the world (He has been Dean at Schulich since 1988). Someone who has been one of the key figures in forging of ties between the Schulich School and the GMR Group (best known for the Delhi and Hyderabad airports) for setting up a top-ranked international B-school in Hyderabad, Horváth shares with HT his plans for the Hyderabad campus, the education that will be delivered to Indian and international students and how he hopes the Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operations) Bill will get through Parliament on time.

You have been associated for long with some institutes in India...
We have quite a history with India. I went over to India in 1991 and looked at working on a partnership with IIM Ahmedabad, and six months later with Bangalore IIM.It was only after 2001 that the Indian government started deregulating things for investment opportunities, making it easier for foreigners to work in India. This also made the Indian corporate landscape an international market from being an inward oriented and very protective market. We had started looking for opportunities to deliver executive education in India from 2000 onwards when we had been invited to open up institutes there. We have undergraduate programmes and MBA programmes - which are among the larger ones in the world, and which putting us in the league of the top 10-15 B-schools in the world. Apart from offering PhDs we also have a very large executive education programme. In fact, just before the meltdown we trained about 16,000 executives worldwide.

The institute has been associated with international education for long. The Schulich School was already in China in 1983 to deliver the first MBA programme in that country. We were in Tianjin University – one of China’s better known institutes (Zhou Enlai was a graduate). We trained faculties from the best of schools from China.

We also looked at Eastern Europe - the former Soviet Union, offering large scale shorter training programmes; then we had tie-ups with institutes in the Czech Republic and later with some American schools. We were not inexperienced when it came to dealing with global education. We had a global mandate from American Express to train everybody worldwide in their organisation in leadership skills. Citibank, too, had a tie-up with us.

By 2007, we started a dialogue with the corporate community in India. A number of corporates were looking at management students who had some global exposure. So I went to the Indian human resource development ministry to see if I could get into the country and offer degree programmes. They refused, so I offered to come in and do half of the programme with students in India and then take them back to Toronto for the other half. Things did not work out, so I returned in 2009 and made an offer to do twinning programmes with an Indian partner where some courses would be taught in India and the rest in Toronto. They agreed and so we had this tie-up with SP Jain Institute of Management and Research in Mumbai. I applied to AICTE for accreditation and by September of the same year we got it. So we got 26 great students to start with – they actually graduated this summer.

The second group came in in January 2011 and they are now finishing in India. About 35 students are coming to Toronto in August and then I will take in the last group from SP Jain in January 2012.

Tell us something about the tie-up with the GMR Group.
I met the HRD minister Kapil Sibal when he visited Toronto, and got to know that there was an effort to push the Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operations) Bill through Parliament. Then the High Commissioner from Canada to India suggested that I talk to the GMR Group. The meeting took place almost exactly two years ago in – 2009. I met V Raghunathan, CEO GMR Varalakshmi Foundation, and and K Balasubramanian, member, GMR Holding Board. In retrospect, I can tell you that when we met with the GMR officials it was love at first sight. It has to do with the philosophy of the school. There is a global orientation, but, more importantly, we believe in corporate social responsibility, environment issues, ethics and they do too. So it clearly created a resonance. There were a number of meetings. We invited representatives of the GMR Group in October 2009 to Toronto to look at the school, look at our students, see the quality of education we offered. They liked what they saw. Then we decided to take a look at what we could work out. I was offered Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru, but nothing seemed feasible. Then I was told to consider Hyderabad because Bangalore was also getting overcrowded. Frankly, all the foreign investments, the high tech ones, are going into Hyderabad, so I agreed. The GMR group has in that city about a 1000 acres of land which they are developing for education, health, aerospace, pharmacy service, entertainment. We met there and GM Rao, the chairman of the GMR Group said ‘we have a deal, let’s work it out’. I said yes, that I saw potential in Hyderabad and that it was interesting. So by March-April 2011 we signed an MoU for the development of the school. We are to deliver executive education, and maybe master of finance. We will develop an academic building with residential facilities for all students and also for all the faculty and staff. We are also in the process of setting up an executive learning centre, but that’s not final. I shall be going back to India to deal with that part. I shall also be in India on July 12 for the ground breaking ceremony of the GMR campus of our school. The facility provided to us is part of phase-1, for taking in 60 students by June 2013, after a year we hope to increase the number to 108-120.

What kind of an eduational model do you intend to bring to India?
We will bring a very different model to India. There are a lot of educational institutes - IIMs, IMI, other private schools. The IIMs are great schools. However, if the number of high quality graduates they churn out is approximately 4000 a year, then it would be wonderful if I could stretch the numbers to 5000. China delivers 40,000 to 50,000 MBA graduates, the US a 110,000. There is a need in India for good graduates who can help Indian corporations – which are very successful because they are globally oriented whereas the Chinese are still not. Where our school in India is concerned we will provide a seamless opportunity for students to go back and forth between Toronto and Hyderabad. In fact, we will recruit students from all over the world and give them the option of either going to Hyderabad or to Toronto.

With so many exchange partners in different countries we have very different dimensions. Globally, we have made it to the top 10 in the Forbes rankings and are in the top 20-25 list for executive and other MBAs.

What kind of faculty do you intend to have in place in Hyderabad?
For India I will not have a special but a global staff. They will work there for a year or two and then I will put another team in its place. I intend hiring people on contract. The students also have the option of doing a full degree in India. The key is that it is not only Indian but also global exposure. They might do 18 specialisations in Toronto and five-six in India. I may even have increasing numbers of Canadian students going from Toronto to India because I want to stress on India and find what the opportunities are like over there. India will be a very attractive destination for students from all over the world, who might be curious about what the corporate world there has to offer to them, what the markets are like. Some of my US colleagues are also around, working on it but they are not as fast as we are… or as strong.

What kind of money would you expect a student to pay?
Indians spend money to go abroad. Here it will be less expensive. If we charge C$30,000 for a Canadian programme then for the first few years we are going waive off C$5000-C$1000 for a programme in India. We realise we need to attract the best students, not those who can afford it. If you don’t have the right students you cannot succeed. I spent C$9 million on my students here on scholarships last year. I think we land up in the top 10-15 universities in the world in our scholarship numbers.

Forbes has also ranked the Schulich School number three in the world in terms of value for money. It takes a student 3.2 years approximately to recover the money spent on receiving an education with us.

What does the future look like to you where educational ties between India and Canada are concerned?
The growth story has moved over to China, India andJapan to some extent. I will be very happy to provide an opportunity to my faculty and to my students in Canada to be explosed to that part of the world… Today, unless you know the world you cannot succeed. Even China is not big enough to be on its own. They need to engage with the world. We in Canada are doing it and we have to bring here all the strengths from different parts of the world. We have a strong education system and in India 50% of the population is below 25 so if we provide each other the right resources we can jointly succeed anywhere in the world.

Where does the Schulich School stand?
Schulich is ranked among the world’s leading schools for its MBA programme by the Economist, Forbes amd Bloomberg Businessweek. The Kellogg global network of EMBA partner schools, which includes the Kellogg Schulich EMBA, is ranked number five in the world by the Wall Street Journal and the Kellogg Schulich EMBA is ranked number 1 in Canada by the Financial Times of London.

Schulich offers business programmes at York University and its Miles S Nadal Management Centre in Toronto’s financial district. In India it has its facility at the SP Jain Institute of Management and Research in Mumbai. For more information, log on to www.schulich.yorku.ca

First Published: Jul 12, 2011 12:30 IST