10 October 2022 06:24:16 IST

Akshaya Chandrasekaran is Sub-Editor, businessline. She covers education and start-ups for fortnightly supplement bloncampus, and writes features on brands and advertising. You can write to her at akshaya.c@thehindu.co.in and find her on Twitter at @akshayaiyerr

Internationalisation is now the focus: IIM Indore Director

Himanshu Rai, Director, IIM Indore

IIM Indore hit many significant milestones in recent times. Last year, the B-school completed 25 years since its inception and a decade of successfully running the five-year integrated programme which it introduced to the world of management education. In 2019, it added another feather to its cap by acquiring the ‘triple crown’ status with EQUIS accreditation.

bL on campus caught up with Director Himanshu Rai to talk about his ambitions for the B-school, its internationalisation strategies, post-Covid revamp, and the journey so far.

The B-school inked pacts with B-schools in Egypt, UAE, France, Taiwan, and Germany. How are these unique exchange programmes beneficial to students?
Student exchange programmes provide a platform for students to get international exposure and learn from top-ranked business schools across the globe. They experience and soak in the culture that helps them work subsequently in cross-cultural teams. These student exchange opportunities also offer prospects for earning a dual degree or a different certificate during the programme.
These international exposures come in handy if a student decides to pursue a PhD after graduation. Being a part of the student exchange programme during MBA also allows students to gain an edge over others while working for a multinational company in India. They bring to the table the diverse set of experiences that they have gained during their exchange programme.  
IIM Indore completed 25 years last year. How has the institute grown over the years? What has changed? 
Last among the first-generation IIMs, IIM Indore has grown incredibly over the last 25 years. We started with a very small class size of 37 on a different campus, and today we have the highest number of students among all the IIMs, living on a state-of-the-art 193-acre campus. We are also the second highest in terms of the number of faculty.
IIM Indore is the second IIM in the nation to attain Triple Crown Accreditation from AMBA, AACSB, and EFMD. It is now among the 100 B-schools in the world to have these three prestigious international accreditations. We are now rated consistently among the top ten business schools in India and are among the top 100 in the world.
We focus on offering the best infrastructure facilities and contextually relevant programmes, that help our students develop into socially conscious leaders, managers, and entrepreneurs. We look forward to achieving many more milestones in the coming years.  
Post-Covid, the B-school has launched a number of online programmes. Will this trend continue going forward? 
The number and the scope of online programmes seem to be increasing exponentially, especially with the advancement in technology. I feel that online education has led to the democratisation of higher education. People can now get a certificate or a diploma from IIMs via these online programmes while continuing their jobs.
I believe that online programmes have a tremendous scope with the increasing demand and popularity among aspirants. These courses will expand in terms of numbers and topics in all three formats — classroom, online and hybrid modes. I am sure that we will also see a blend of synchronous and asynchronous programmes in the online and hybrid modes soon.  
IIM Indore is among the five B-schools that made it to the top 100 in FT global rankings (89th position), going up by six places from 2021. What makes your PGP programme special? 
The flexibility and sensibility we have imbibed in our PGP programmes make them unique. IIM Indore‘s PGP module includes a Rural Engagement Programme that requires our students to live in villages for a week and identify and address the villagers’ problems with the administration’s help.
To augment the managerial skills of our students, we have incorporated the Himalayan Outbound Programme, wherein the students go to the Himalayas and not only learn the elements of leadership, decision-making, and team building but also get exposure to the problems and challenges faced by the people living in those regions.
These two programmes and many other initiatives make our PGP distinct from that of other institutions. Among these initiatives is the Entrepreneurship Track, where students can choose to start their venture. Fifty percent of the evaluation is done on their start-up. This unique option is available only at IIM Indore.   
How important are rankings — from an institute and a student perspective? And, what are IIMI’s plans for the year to perhaps push your global rankings even more in the next year, to say, be in the top 50?  
Global Rankings give you an idea of the best international best practices. They offer you access and opportunities to learn from and associate with the top business schools worldwide. These rankings also provide a platform to strengthen connections with the leading educational institutes through student and faculty exchange, joint research, and multiple other avenues of collaboration.
IIM Indore is now focusing on internationalisation. We have associations with 40+ business schools in 18 nations. Now we aim to get more international students and faculty, which will help us reach a top position in the global rankings.  
How is the IPM doing, and how do students fare against those who are selected directly for an MBA? 
I am enormously proud of the five-year integrated programme in management (IPM); a unique programme launched first by IIM Indore. Not only are our IPM students doing exceedingly well in their corporate careers, but the feedback we get from the corporate and the outside faculty is very encouraging.
Recently, one of the top consultants mentioned to me that the IPM students are brilliant and, in general, have more awareness and enthusiasm than other cohorts. I am happy to share that the programme has completed its ten years in 2021, and the number of aspirants for the IPM Admission Test has increased from 3,000 in 2011 to 20,000+, competing for 150 seats.