27 Aug 2020 17:51 IST

Liberal arts UG degree to a deep digital dive, IIMB buzzes with plans

Rishikesha Krishnan, IIMB Director, on ‘disruptive moves’ and the institute’s unfolding vision

Of its 47 years of existence, Rishikesha Krishnan has spent 24 years at IIMB teaching strategy, with a break of five years as IIM Indore’s Director. Now having taken over recently as Director of IIM Bangalore (IIMB), Krishnan is well aware that the top B-school is running smoothly as a well-oiled machine. It’s either number one or two in the NIRF rankings, done well in research, executive education, PhD programmes, and publishing in top journals.

 

Rishikesha Krishnan

 

 

 

 

The main question is, what next? It’s time for some disruptive moves, according to Krishnan. “We are doing all the right things but now I am putting emphasis on how we are going to create more and deeper impact,” he says. He will be looking at three platforms for that impact.

IIMB’s new 110 acre campus, where a management development centre is being constructed, allows the B-school to launch new academic programmes. One which it is exploring is an undergraduate programme with a liberal arts flavour. “This is also aligned with the NEP, which encourages institutions to be multi-disciplinary. We are evolving a consensus on what kind of a programme we need but we will definitely look at majors which are connected to our existing disciplines such as economics, psychology, statistics. It will also have programmes in critical thinking and creative writing in the first two years,” says Krishnan.

IIMB will also look at offering more specialised MBA programmes. This year, it started a new MBA in business analytics. “We are looking at other variants of the MBA programme for which there is a need in the country and students will also be interested in. We are still discussing but one of the areas is related to business economics and public policy.”

The second prong of its plans is to take a deeper digital dive. IIMB has offered courses on MOOCs (massive open online courses) since 2014. Today it has more than 40 courses on edX while some are also being offered on Swayam, the government’s online learning portal. “The next thing we are looking at is how to use MOOCs to create even better learning experiences and possibly offer full-fledged degree programmes through this channel,” says Krishnan.

Under discussion is a proposal to offer a bachelor’s degree in digital entrepreneurship, which will be a mix of entrepreneurship, digital tech and traditional management learnings. It would be a stackable credits course and learners can do it in parts; receive a certificate for the first year, a diploma in the second year, and third year will be a degree. This course will be offered in the next couple of years. The course will be done with some collaboration for the tech part, while IIMB will offer the entrepreneurship and management learnings.

The third prong will be to use IIMB’s faculty’s research skills and capabilities and identify large research programmes where it can make an impact. “We could look at urban development or the MSMEs sector, for instance. We are having discussions with faculty to identify two or three areas to do some deep research and also contribute to policy and have either a social or business impact,” elaborates Krishnan.

All these plans, Krishnan says, will fructify over the next couple of years as a lot of work would need to be done. “Academic institutions need to have consensus, top-down plans won’t work well,” he adds.

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