Global businesses have been beating a path to India for a while. Now, the academic world is following suit, and they are not limiting themselves to working with just the cream of Indian institutions.
“At this point, we cannot ignore India. It has got to be on our agenda,” says David Bennett, professor of technology management and director for special projects at Aston University, Birmingham, UK. Bennett and other academicians from universities in the UK are currently in India as part of an education mission.
The Aston Business School has recently started an India research centre and has plans to expand its focus on the country. “We will be starting an executive MBA programme and are considering including an India element in the programme,” says Bennett.
Ruth Herman, the faculty international recruitment manager for the Business School at the University of Hertfordshire, says the university is looking forward to building strong relationships with institutions and individuals in India. “We are open-minded about what we might want to do with institutes in India. It could be faculty exchange, it could be student exchange, it could also be collaborating in some areas of research,” she says.
The mission, which is being organized by the British Council in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai, hopes to initiate a dialogue between Indian and UK institutions. The focus in Mumbai and Kolkata is on business and management. In Chennai, the mission will focus on biotechnology and in Delhi on art and design.
While collaborations between Indian institutions and their counterparts in other countries are not new, these associations have usually been limited to the top institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Management and the Indian Institutes of Technology.
But, increasingly, other institutions are also seeking tie-ups with schools in the West as much as academic institutions in other countries are seeking to partner with those in India.
“There are other institutions, beyond the established Ivy League, in India and outside that are looking for mutually beneficial collaborations,” says Suchita Gokarn, head of Education UK, West India.
“Today, when we impart management education, we have to focus on preparing global managers,” says K. Sunder Ram, dean (in-charge) of School of Business Management, NMIMS University. “To ensure that, we have been looking for international collaborations over the last few years.”
Senior faculty from the business schools of Kingston University, Newcastle University, University of Hertfordshire and Aston University are visiting institutions in Mumbai and Kolkata.
Institutes from Mumbai participating in this mission include Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Jankidevi Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, SP Jain Institute of Management and Research and Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies.