02 May 2019 16:13 IST

‘IFMR GSB students get to interact with decision-makers across sectors’

Dean Anantha Nageswaran points out the multiple advantages of the B-school’s location in Sri City

To deal with a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world, students need to have multi-disciplinary skills and cannot be one-trick ponies, said V Anantha Nageswaran, Dean, Institute for Financial Management and Research Graduate School of Business (IFMR GSB), Krea University, Sri City. Speaking to BusinessLine, the IIM Ahmedabad graduate said that students should not only acquire functional attributes but also strengthen inter-personal and behavioural skills. On the advantages of the B-school being located in Sri City, he said that, as it is part of an industrial hub, students have the unique opportunity to interact with decision-makers across various sectors.

Excerpts from the interview:

How do you interact with industry to structure your courses? What are the courses you have launched for new age businesses?

Data science, big data and business analytics are the new courses that we have introduced, as these are very important aspects of new age demands in the market place. The certificate programme is meant not only for our students but also for industry participants. Going forward, we will introduce a compulsory course on design thinking.



What are the international accreditations you are planning for, such as the AACSB and AMBA?

IFMR is actively beginning to look at various processes and system requirements that are needed to win international accreditations. This is important because it is a symbol of quality. It gives external stakeholders a benchmark to evaluate the college. So, these stamps of approval are necessary. But, in order to excel in business education, it is not just the matter of winning accreditations and getting them renewed. We need to go beyond accreditations so that students are prepared to face the 21st century world.

What steps are you taking to improve IFMR’s ranking to be among the top 20 B-schools?

Rankings should be viewed as incidental or consequential outcomes arising out of certain things that we do. We need to focus on the admission process, placements, strength of the faculty, and depth and breadth of the courses. We have revamped the curriculum, to prepare students better. The faculty, during their appraisal process, has been informed that both teaching and research matter. Research not only includes submitting papers for journals but also case studies and similar exercises. If we do all these things better, an improvement in rankings will automatically follow.

What are the pros and cons of IFMR GSB being located in Sri City?

It is easier to start with the cons first. Because of the distance from Chennai and the lack of school facilities for children, faculty members with school-going children are reluctant to relocate here. And, of course, one cannot call this an educational hub, which it may become down the road. There are issues with telephones and internet connectivity, though all of this is constantly improving.

But the pros outnumber the cons. The school is part of an industrial hub, so students get the opportunity to interact with decision-makers across various sectors; this is not easily available to B-schoolers elsewhere. Also, the companies are from several countries. I understand that 27 countries are represented here. In that sense, students get the opportunity to observe not only manufacturing enterprises in action but also their multinational nature.

Another interesting aspect is that some of the employers here in Sri City hire women. Foxconn, for example, has 100 per cent women in its workforce. And Mondelez (which owns the Cadbury brand) employs more than 50 per cent women. So, students become better sensitised to gender diversity, productivity of companies that employ women versus men, and so on.