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Distance learning in times of slowdown

Management institutes register rise as professionals hope to beat downturn blues, reports Aastha Katyal.

india Updated: May 19, 2009 03:00 IST
Aastha Katyal
Aastha Katyal
Hindustan Times

He’s shaping up now, just so that he might not be forced to ship out later.

Manoj Yermalkar (39), purchase manager with an Italian subsidiary firm, has enrolled for a distance-learning post-graduate diploma in international business at the Symbiosis University.

This, he says, is his mantra to keep out uncertainties of global economic slowdown and its impact on the local job market.

Yermalkar is one of many professionals who have enrolled for correspondence courses to beat slowdown blues and to acquire new skills to add value to his profile. “This is the right time to do so,” says Yermalkar. “Today, recruiters demand stronger profiles of prospective employees.”

Enrolments in distance learning courses have increased by three times in Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies this year compared to previous year. The average annual growth in enrolments is between 20 and 25 per cent at NMIMS.

Such correspondence courses are “extremely convenient” feels Ashutosh Shelke (38), purchase manager with Otis who is pursuing a post-graduate diploma in materials management from the Indian Institute of Materials Management.

“In the current economic condition, job prospects are low and it is the right time to sharpen one’s skills,” said Shelke.

Samir Chowdhary (30), who also completed his diploma in materials management through distance learning, now plans to set up his own business. “This course will help me gain expertise and will help me consolidate my position in the market during the slowdown,” said Chowdhary.

Not surprisingly, distance-learning courses are seeing a rise in enrolments. “We have witnessed a growth rate of about 15 to 30 per cent in distance learning courses over the past year,” said Uday Salunkhe, group director of Welingkar Institute of Management.

Most applicants, he said, are over 30 years of age having work experience.

“Registrations have gone up six times in the last three years,” said Vidya Naik, Associate Dean of School of Distance Learning, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS). “The slowdown is surely one of reason as people want to improve employability.”

Those who took up such courses before the meltdown hit the market are happy about their decision.

Like Amit Uke (30) and Rahul Ramdasi (32), both senior executives with Tech Mahindra, who enrolled for a distance-learning programme at NMIMS.

“Multiple specialisations do assume importance in the current job market,” said Uke.

First Published: May 19, 2009 02:59 IST