New Delhi: Enthused by a sound placement season for their first batch of graduating students, the new Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) are venturing into executive education to enhance industry linkage and boost revenue, although they are still operating out of temporary campuses.
Just three of the five new schools have been around long enough to see their students graduate from the 2010-12 MBA programme. While some say they may be spreading themselves too thin this early in their life, the B-Schools argue that the move will provide much-needed exposure to real-life corporate culture for faculty and students.
The move may also strengthen placement efforts in coming years as some feel that sustaining a good campus-recruitment record even while operating from smaller towns needs a proper strategy, without which the IIM brand may get diluted.
“Other than building capacity for industry, customized education programmes for corporate executives will help better our industry relations, which is important for placement of our current and future students,” said P. Rameshan, director, IIM-Rohtak.
The institute is set to start both short-term and long-term executive education programmes in two months. “Such programmes open up your mind and challenge you to do better academically as well as when in corporate life.”
M.J. Xavier, director of IIM-Ranchi, said that his institute was the first of the new IIMs to venture into this space. “We started last year with a long-term, part-time executive education programme. When you are new and not all your faculty members are veterans, such programmes give exposure to both faculty and students.”
The three-year-old IIM-Ranchi started its 18-month executive course last year and has lined up several short-term courses and consultancy projects both for the private and the public sector. In the previous academic year, the institute had a revenue of more than Rs 1.5 crore from such courses. While a long-term executive education programme could exceed six months, the short-term ones largely range between two days to around seven weeks.
“The revenue is the goal but the aim is to have the required ecosystem. Management education is like the practice of law, the more you practice, the better you become,” Xavier said.
IIM-Tiruchirappalli, which started operations in 2011, has opened a satellite campus dedicated to executive education.
“The Post Graduate Programme in Business Management (PGPBM) at the Chennai Centre... (was) launched to groom working executives who aspire to move into senior leadership roles,” according to IIM-Tiruchirappalli’s website. The IIM brand can help build capacity for industry and government and executive education is a step in that direction, said IIM-Raipur director B.S. Sahay.
“As IIMs we have a larger national role of capacity building. By starting early in the executive education space, it helps the purpose of the institute as well as industry,” he said.
The Raipur B-School is set to enter the space in a few months.
“The state (Chhattisgarh) has a lot of mining and power-related activities and here we can contribute,” Sahay said. “The state government too is eager to involve us in training and different projects and this makes our situation better.” Earlier this year, the three new IIMs at Ranchi, Rohtak and Raipur recorded robust placement of their first batch with an average salary for their students upward of Rs 12 lakh per annum amid a slowing economy and talk of poor hiring trends in the country. The other two new IIMs are in Kashipur, Uttarakhand, and Udaipur in Rajasthan. In total, there are 13 IIMs in the country.
The move by the new IIMs looks like a sensible step, said Debashis Chatterjee, director of IIM-Kozhikode, one of the older IIMs.
“Management education is a performing art and you have to practice and improvise,” he said. “IIMs starting executive education is like a medical college starting a hospital. You study theory in one section and practice in another.”
Given the debate about employability, the trend is set to expand. IIM-Kozhikode set up an extension centre in Kochi to focus on executive education two months ago.
“Such courses give a lot of advantage to students, faculty and the institute,” he said. “The revenue earned, too, helps it improve infrastructure and depend relatively less on government funds.”
When Chatterjee joined IIM-Kozhikode in 2009, the institute earned Rs 27 lakhs from such executive programmes; this has risen to Rs 8 crore.
Bala Chakravarthy, an India-born professor at IMD Business School, Switzerland, said the new IIMs can mould themselves to suit the needs of the industry as they weren’t carrying any baggage. The primary focus of IMD is on executive education.