Kochi: Realizing the potential of the growing commodity futures market and its need for trained hands, management institutes have started making it a part of their curriculum.

Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIM-B) and Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM-A) have already started courses in commodity futures. And the latest to join the club is Indian Institute of Management Lucknow (IIM-L), which will have it from the next academic year.

Huge potential: The course will focus on agri-commodities such as coffee, chana, chilli, cashew and jeera.

According to Sushil Kumar, associate professor at the institute, the vast potential of the commodity market and the lack of trained professionals to manage the affairs have prompted the institute to introduce commodity futures course in its syllabus. Kumar was the convener of a seminar on commodity futures on the institute campus last week where executives of national commodity exchanges focused on the need for trained professionals.

Kumar says the focus will be agri-commodities such as coffee, chilli, chana, cashew, jeera, etc., and the trained students will be employed by the exchanges. Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd (MCX) and National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange Ltd (Ncdex) are India’s two main commodity exchanges. Ncdex is primarily into agri-commodities while MCX focuses more on gold and other metals such as aluminium, lead, nickel as well as petrochemical products. Indiabulls Financial Services Ltd now plans to set up a commodities exchange in partnership with government-owned Minerals and Metals Trading Corp.

“The syllabus is being finalized and it will take off in the next academic year. Students can chose this as one of their papers for study," says Kumar.

Interest in commodity derivatives trade started with the futures trade beginning in 2004, says Sanjay Kaul, director and CEO of Ncdex Institute of Commodity Markets and Research (NICR) that has been supporting the course in IIM-B and IIM-A. Around 40 students have opted for this course in the two institutes. Kaul’s institute has had discussions with IIM-L and helped it in preparing the curriculum and also supported it with faculty. It is also discussing with the Delhi University, which plans to have a similar course.

P.H. Ravikumar, managing director of Ncdex, says the the exchange needs more trained people and such courses will expand the pool of resources for us. Joseph Massey, deputy managing director of MCX, also feels given the growth of the commodity futures and the risks involved, there is a need for trained professionals.

Kumar of IIM-L says the institute is seeking the support from MCX and the market regulator Forward Markets Commission for faculty support and readying the syllabus.