17 July 2022 15:30:00 IST

From chefs to film-makers, an eclectic bunch sign up for MBA

Unconventional: There has been a steady increase in the number of candidates from non-traditional backgrounds across various B-schools.

From donning the chef’s hat and managing kitchen operations at the coveted Taj Palace Hotel, and working as a faculty of food production at IIHM, to joining the PGPX batch of Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Ati Alok Kumar took the leap of faith just to “stay relevant”.

Twenty-nine year old Ati, who chose to become a chef inspired by her father, decided to take a relook at her career options following the Covid-induced slowdown. “When the Covid crisis happened, the industry I was working with changed drastically. I soon realized I need to develop skills to stay relevant and I felt there is nothing better than an MBA to ensure that,” Ati told BusinessLine On Campus.

Ati is not alone. Shivam Gupta, a B.com graduate who runs his own e-commerce jewellery venture called Asli Chandi, has signed up for the two-year full time PGDM course at Bhavan’s SPJIMR. “MBA provides an ideal opportunity to interact with people and enhance your skill sets. I plan to take up a marketing role in a big FMCG company upon finishing the course to get the corporate experience before making it big in my business,” he said.

According to industry insiders, there has been a steady increase in the number of candidates from non-engineering and non-traditional background across various B-schools. The genesis of this diversity comes from the world of work and the kind of skill set that companies are looking out for, says Shantanu Rooj, Founder and CEO, TeamLease Edtech.

Diversity, the buzzword

Diversity has been one of the cornerstones for the PGPX programme of IIMA, comprising a 140-candidate cohort., which presents talent from different sectors from manufacturing to IT/ITeS, defence and security to planning and architecture; shipping and logistics. From filmmakers to teachers, and from NGO workers to even a chef, the batch presents a set of ambitious and industrious young women.

“Every class of PGPX at IIMA comprises students with exceptional academic and professional credentials from diverse backgrounds. We have had students from healthcare, finance, legal, manufacturing, defence, policymaking, and others. The average age and work experience of the class is 30 years and 7.3 years, respectively. Several of our students come with considerable international work experience. This kind of diversity adds to the classroom learning and also creates an incomparable experience of learning from peers,” said Professor Viswanath Pingali, Chairperson, PGPX, IIMA.

The three full-time programmes (PGP, PGP-LSM and PGP-F) at IIM Kozhikode, has nearly 46 per cent of the students from a non-engineering background.

Their share across the three programmes has been steadily increasing from around 40.87 per cent in admission year 2020 to 46.11 per cent in 2022.

“The class of 2024 will also be a culturally diverse one with representations from 26 states and union territories. We also have six international students enriching the diversity quotient in the classroom,” Professor Debasish Chatterjee, Director, IIMK said.

SPJIMR’s Post-Graduate Programme in Management (PGDM) class of 2022-24 has a veritable mix of talented high achievers from across various domains including professional chess, cricket and football players to award-winning photographers, musicians and scouts.

Unlike earlier days when medicine and engineering were perceived to be the main career options, youth these days like to explore newer areas particularly in arts and humanities, said Bindu Kulkarni, director – central admissions at Bhavan’s SPJIMR.