12 Dec 2017 19:40 IST

Return on knowledge a TRICK up IBS’ sleeve

In conversation with Dr S Venkata Seshaiah, Director of the institute, on rankings, research and more

Dr S Venkata Seshaiah is professor and Director at ICFAI Business School (IBS), Hyderabad, a constituent of ICFAI foundation for Higher Education (declared a deemed university). He holds an MA, MPhil and PhD (Econometrics) from Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati.

 

Prior to joining IBS, he was associated with BITS Pilani as a faculty member in the Department of Economics and Finance; with Siva Sivani Institute of Management, Hyderabad and with Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies, Harihar, Karnataka.

In this interview, Prof Seshaiah says he believes in the ‘TRICK’ approach to academic excellence — Teaching, Research, Institutional Development, Community Development and Knowledge Sharing. This, he believes, helps individuals develop along with the institution. Excerpts:

You have an interesting acronym — IBS TRICK! How does the TRICK help IBS students get the best return on investment for their MBA?

We strongly believe that return on investment is a function of return on knowledge. To meet this agenda, IBS has created a unique ecosystem which encompasses the objectives and aspirations of students’ well-being, encourages effective learning transfer, and instils in them the right set of skills, knowledge and attitudes.

Benchmarking focuses on integrating teaching, research, institutional development, community development and knowledge sharing, collectively termed as TRICK. Hence, IBS students get best return on investment.

Which are the three ‘must-dos’ in the near future for the institute?

1. AACSB Accreditation

2. QS world ranking

3. Internationalisation

How important are rankings and accreditation for a B-school today? IBS has been ranked among the top in different rankings. You are also in the race for accreditations such as the AACSB. How important are they for your stakeholders?

The concept of quality is not static — it is a continuous journey and, hence, dynamic. Moreover, management education today functions in an environment of monopolistic competition. Unless we know where our business school stands, it is very difficult to differentiate our product.

To move towards this goal, we need to accelerate the journey and hence, rankings and accreditations. The procedures involved in ranking and accreditations help stakeholders understand where our business school stands which, in turn, help us frame strategies that differentiate our product based on the industry demand.

In these fast changing times with new industries mushrooming everywhere, how is the curriculum keeping pace? What new courses has IBS launched? How often do you tweak your courses in discussion with industry to meet their requirements?

IBS conducts regular curriculum reviews to meet the market demand. Thanks to industry experts in general and IBS alumni, in particular, most of the courses are vetted and changes incorporated. For example, IBS launched courses in marketing, operations and financial analytics based on such feedback.

What is IBS doing on the research front and how does it incentivise the faculty to undertake research?

Research is an important link that connects the faculty competence and skills with industry challenges and issues. It complements effective teaching, since faculty engage with industry and bring valuable insights into the classroom and case discussions.

Students also benefit as faculty members tend to bring inputs through published research papers, case studies and consulting assignments. IBS supports faculty research through generous cash awards and teaching load reduction.

It also funds conference participation by faculty members and provides seed money for primary research.

What is the academic and gender diversity at IBS?

We have a total of 153 faculty members, one third of whom are women. Among students, women make up 47 per cent of the total strength.

How has IBS fared on the internships and placement front? What were the median and maximum salaries in the last academic year during placements? Which companies and sectors were the top hirers from IBS?

IBS has placed its students in 489 companies spanning 32 sectors for their summer internship. The median salary was ₹6.5 lakh per annum and maximum salary was ₹22 lakh a year. The top five hirers were HDFC Bank, TCS, Cognizant, ICICI Lombard General Insurance and ICICI Bank.

Does the MBA in its current form, need to revamped? What new teaching methodologies are you following? How much do you depend on and use the case-based system of study?

IBS believes in continuous adaptation to the business needs of industry. In this quest, it organises regular interactions and round table meetings with industry executives and senior alumni. It also adapts a 100 per cent case-based approach for all its courses in the MBA programme.

What’s cool about the IBS Director? What does he do to relate to the current generation?

I believe in a hands-on approach to run the business school and strongly believe in a transparent and democratic process of functioning. Students and faculty members are free to approach the director’s office any time to discuss and deliberate on a wide variety of issues that concern them. Official hierarchy does not come in the way of human relations.

I suppose there are no constraints to IBS granting an MBA degree?

ICFAI Business School is a constituent of ICFAI Foundation for Higher Education (deemed University) and, hence, we do not face any issues in granting MBA degree.

ICFAI Business School, Dr S Venkata Seshaiah, Director, Accreditation, Ranking, MBA, Courses, Alumni, Placement, Salaries, Research, Industry

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