03 Dec 2019 19:15 IST

Executive education extends IIM-C’s impact to broader managerial cadre

IIM Calcutta’s Prof Anirvan Pant describes the executive training programmes and future plans in the space

Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Calcutta, has been witnessing a 15-20 per cent rise in participation in its executive education programmes. The institute offers such programmes for both a short-term period (MDP), ranging from three to seven days, and for longer term courses (LDP), from six months to a year.

According to Prof Anirvan Pant, Chairperson, Long Duration Programmes, IIM Calcutta, executive education programmes have not only been a revenue churner for the institute, but are also an important way of extending IIM-C’s impact on management education in the country.

In a freewheeling discussion with BusinessLine on Campus, Prof Pant spoke about the various programmes offered and the plans to roll out more in the future.



What are IIM-C’s revenues from executive education? Is this area key to your revenue growth?

While I cannot go into details on the revenue numbers, I can confirm that this is a very important part of our portfolio. Revenue is, of course, important because the older IIMs, like IIM Calcutta, are now fully self-financed. But, for us, executive education is an important way of extending our impact on management education in the country.

This is because our impact through the full-length residential programme is rather limited in terms of numbers. We teach some of the best managers in the country but we also want to make an impact in terms of the broader managerial cadre out there and, for that, executive education is critical. So, yes, revenue is important but, to me, the defining aspect of IIM Calcutta’s executive education is the impact, beyond the full-time programme.

That impact shows in terms of numbers. For example, last year (2018-19), we had 4,530 participants in executive education across both the short-duration and long-duration programmes. If we add all our full-time programmes, such as PGP, PGPX, PGDBA, and VLM, it would come to roughly a quarter of this number. So that’s what I mean by widening our impact. We have full-time residential programmes that are very important but executive education allows us to impact a broader managerial class.

How much do you charge for different executive education courses?

We have the short-duration programme, which we call MDP (management development programme), where participants come to our campus for three days to a week and leave after completing their programme. The average fee structure for MDP is in the range of ₹65,000-₹2 lakh. The modal figure for a short-duration programme would be ₹1 lakh.

In a long duration programme (LDP), participants attend from wherever they are through live online platforms once or twice every week, and come to the campus for face-to-face interactions at least two times in each programme. So LDP is 70 per cent online and it is interactive; you can pause and ask the faculty a question, and vice-versa. On-campus interactions constitute 30 per cent of such programmes. The average fee structure for a LDP is in the range of ₹1.75 to ₹8.3 lakh. The modal figure for LDP would be approximately ₹3-3.5 lakh.

How much has been invested in these programmes, and are there plans to invest more?

We are investing in our executive education programme in many different ways. We plan to get into an asynchronous programme — traditionally known as MOOC, or recorded programme. We currently have a nice mix of live online and face-to-face programmes. If we can complement this by adding an asynchronous programme, then it could help participants greatly.

If we move into the asynchronous space, the advantage is that you can sign on whenever you want, so it is ‘on demand’. That is the space where we have not so far provided services to working professionals. Currently, we plan to invest in that space and develop that under the rubric of LDPs. For this MOOC programme, we have signed an MoU with Coursera, a global player, and hope to come up with something by 2020. We might look at rolling out at least one programme on Management Science on the MOOC platform, wherein IIM-C’s quantitative and analytical depth can be leveraged.

The other investment will be on infrastructure — upgrading campus accommodation and classrooms.

There will be investment on the faculty side as well, especially in creating the structures and facilities necessary to help them seamlessly move from research, to executive education to full-time residential training.

What courses do corporates typically want executives to be trained in? Do they prefer general programmes or specialised skills, such as data analytics ? Which courses do the executives opt for?

There are certain trends on both sides of the equation. MDPs are driven by staple elements of demand that never go out of fashion — programmes on leadership and team effectiveness are evergreen. Over time, we have seen a big jump in interest for programmes in analytics and fintech. In fact, this year, we have some new MDPs planned in the fintech space, in data analytics and artificial intelligence, and how it is related to marketing. We have a new sectoral programme on agri-business.

In the LDP space, general management programmes are the mainstay. Most of these are one-year programmes and provide an overview on basic management and core competencies. Managers at different levels join this programme to acquire holistic capabilities. Such courses are offered in four tiers — there is a tier for young, less experienced managers (executive programme in general management); another with slightly more advanced material for executives with five years of experience; then a 10-year experience programme called a senior management programme, which brings in strategy and leadership in much more deliberate fashion; and then there is the advanced management programme, for those with 15 years experience, which seeks to curate different contemporary topics.

Beyond that, we have emerging functional spikes — business analytics and data science have become very popular. We also have programmes on sales and marketing and supply chain management which are becoming extremely popular.

Have you developed new courses in consultation with industry? What courses do you offer as part of executive education?

We continuously develop programmes in collaboration with industry. For instance, in the LDP space this year, we designed two programmes in close consultation with industry experts. One of them is the fintech programme, where leading industry practitioners gave inputs to our programme director that went into the core design of the programme.

We also launched a programme called ‘competing on digital mindset’, aimed at IT industry professionals and here, again, we reached out to IT and consulting firms and sought their inputs on industry requirements, that then shaped this programme.

Our customised programmes are based on specific needs faced by enterprises and we work with their learning and development teams to craft and fine-tune programmes that meet their exact needs. Across both MDP and LDP, we have such customised programmes that are co-created.

How many mid-career and early-career executives do you teach and are their numbers growing every year?

We have 118 short-duration and 25 long-duration programmes, making it a total of 143. In 2018-19, we had around 2,678 participants in MDP and 1,852 participants in the LDP. We saw a 15-20 per cent growth in the number of participants. We expect that growth to continue, and there is an opportunity to extend our reach among working professionals even further. The more we invest in this space, the more we can extend our reach. We will continue to grow at around 20 per cent.

What are the new programmes you are looking to add?

We plan to add a dozen more programmes across both the MDP and LDP space in the next year, and also add courses on the MOOC platform.

This year, we have at least three-to-four exciting new initiatives. I spoke of a fintech programme on the short-duration side. There is also a six-month certificate programme we have launched on fintech.

We are also launching a senior management programme on business analytics this year because our existing programme on analytics is great but it is very hands-on. With business analytics becoming a strategic tool, we felt that we need to train leaders how to interpret business analytics. This will be conducted in LDP mode, and will close with an immersion at Judge Business School, Cambridge.

Another exciting programme we launched this year is the executive programme in communications strategy for corporate leaders. We realised that a very important part of leadership is persuasion, and no programme helps build that. That is exactly what this programme aims for — how to articulate, and how to persuade, not in terms of the old-world business communication but by means of strategic communication. For example, people who are in investor-facing or regulator facing roles could benefit from such a programme, which emerges from research work by two of our faculty members, who published a paper on the subject.