ROORKEE : The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee has re-opened its doors for non-engineering students for its management programme after two decades, aiming to plug the industry demand for candidates from diverse academic backgrounds, officials said.

IIT-Roorkee's Department of Management Studies (DoMS) had started classes in 1998 and the first batch (1998-2000) had 57 students including seven international students, according to the varsity.

The very first batch had 25 engineers, while the remaining came from varied backgrounds like science, management, commerce, art and pharmacy and some had joined with background qualifications like hotel management, B.Sc. agriculture and B.Sc. home science, it said.

But induction of non-engineers was discontinued after the first batch itself only to return this year, university officials said.

"We feel it is important for today's industry to hire candidates from heterogeneous backgrounds. This move shall help bridge the gap between the demand of skilled candidates from diverse academic backgrounds and the available talent pool," said Ajit K Chaturvedi, Director IIT Roorkee.

This academic session, which started in July, four non-engineering graduates have joined the programme, making up almost 10% of the total first year strength, a senior teacher said, adding the next target is to bridge the male-female ratio in the classes.

The move is targeted towards facilitating collaborative learning and knowledge sharing, M K Barua, Head of Department, DoMS, IIT Roorkee, said.

"For instance, the engineering students get to know deeper about financial concepts from commerce students and the latter could make use of the former's technical expertise. Similar experiences can be witnessed by cross sharing of knowledge among other graduates," he told PTI.

"This shift has happened mainly due to the demands of the industry that are looking for candidates from diverse academic backgrounds. The water shed move is meant to keep up with the times and celebrate diversity of discipline in classroom," he said.

"Academic diversity not only ensures rich educational experience but also helps breaking the stereotypical problem solving and processing methods. This would also give DoMS access to larger talent pool," he added.

Currently, 10% of the MBA batch of 2021 comprises non engineering graduates including those from commerce background who believe it is increasingly important now to learn about emerging technologies even for managerial works.

"Here the emphasis is on the importance of learning new emerging technologies for the managers which is the demand of the technology-driven present times. It (DoMS) effectively provides the enabling environment and the infrastructure for building acumen and acquiring skills through inter-departmental projects," said a B Com graduate who is currently pursuing MBA at DoMS.

Furthermore, to boost cultural, regional and gender diversity at DoMS, many other schemes like carrying out admissions process in other cities and giving weightage to the women candidates during admissions, are in the pipeline.

The department is also planning to go out to other cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai from next session to hold group discussions and conduct personal interviews for aspiring candidates who otherwise find it difficult to reach Roorkee for selection, Barua said.

"Despite some weightage to women candidates and our outreach programme, the aim is to nurture quality talent pool at DoMS without compromising on quality," he added. PTI KIS RHL

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