New Delhi: Some Indian business schools are setting up new campuses across the country in an attempt to meet demand for MBAs, executive education programmes and consulting services, and, through these, increase revenue and brand presence and prepare for competition from foreign schools that could soon enter the country.
Among the schools doing these are Chennai-based Great Lakes Institute of Management, XLRI in Jamshedpur, Management Development Institute (MDI) in Gurgaon, International Management Institute (IMI) in New Delhi, and Birla Institute of Management Technology (Bimtech) in Greater Noida.
The schools are convinced there is demand.
“Though over 200,000 appear for CAT (the Common Admission Test for entry to the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management, or IIMs) to get a seat in IIMs, less than 3,000 get through. The top 20% of students in the CAT exam deserve better quality education,” said Bala V. Balachandran, dean of Great Lakes, and one of the founders of the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad.
And, not surprisingly, Gurgaon, the satellite town of Delhi that has seen frenetic industrial and corporate activity over the past decade, tops everyone’s list of preferred destinations.
“The National Capital Region (NCR) is a hub of corporate and we’ll be well positioned...to become a resource centre for them, providing consulting, research, customized education to meet their needs and challenges,” added Balachandran.
Another dean echoed that sentiment.
“The NCR is a fantastic option as it has connectivity with major countries. In Gurgaon, we would love to have a campus in collaboration with some foreign university,” said Pranabesh Ray, dean of XLRI. Indeed, Gurgaon would appear to have replaced Hyderabad as the school’s choice, although Ray added that while the Hyderabad plan is not being abandoned, the current political turmoil in Andhra Pradesh could mean a delay.
With a school typically requiring an investment of Rs100 crore, the expansion plans won’t come cheap (Great Lakes’ plans in Bhubaneswar could cost thrice that), but the schools are convinced it will be worth it.
Interestingly, many schools are also looking at setting up campuses in places that currently don’t have too many of them, such as Orissa.
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“We want to expand in Greater Noida, but land availability is a major issue. The Orissa government has helped us get some 40 acres of land at non-commercial rates and we are opening our campus (there) this year,” said Bimtech director H. Chaturvedi. “If Posco and Vedanta can go to Orissa, why can’t leading B-schools go to the state. The industrialization of the state will also help.”
That’s a view shared by Pritam Singh, director general of IMI (its Bhubaneswar campus, which cost Rs44 crore, opens this year). In five years, he said, the state “will be fully industrialized”. And placement won’t be a problem, he added.
“Industries such as metals, mining and IT are growing fast. Though India has nearly 4,000 management schools, less than 40 are high-quality institutes. Instead of allowing more schools, the good schools should expand to fulfil the need of quality education,” Singh said.