27 Oct 2015 15:05 IST

What about the 90 per cent while they try to protect the 10 per cent?

V Panduranga Rao, Group Advisor to IMT speaks about the IIM Bill and its effect

Why should we run from pillar to post for the sake of nomenclature? After all, a post-graduate diploma in management (PGDM) offers the same value addition to students as does an MBA degree, says V Panduranga Rao, Group Advisor to IMT (Institute of Management Technology, New Delhi. Rao spoke to BLonCampus recently about the IIM Bill and how it is likely to affect other premier management institutes in the country. Excerpts:

Will the IIM Bill jeopardise the existence of premier private business schools such as XLRI and IMT?

I can only hope the IIM Bill will benefit us as well. Somehow, the nation only worries about the IIMs and IITs but there are hundreds of institutes which have also done quite a service to the nation in the higher education domain, particularly when the infrastructure was meagre. These institutes were very few in number, many promoters came in and built up the institutions that not only survived but are also doing a great job.

Now the fate of those institutions is an issue. We are not sure how AICTE is going to shape up in the coming years, and UGC is only concerned about the universities. AICTE is the only one which is supposed to take decisions about these institutions.

Where does the deadlock exist?

There are questions that remain unanswered. If the students who have been getting PGDM from the IIMs are given MBA degrees, what will happen to the other institutes that are awarding PGDMs to students? Are we trying to take a stand which will hinder the growth of the education sector itself, as 90 per cent of the management students graduate from the non-IIM institutes in this country? What will happen to this 90 per cent while they try to protect the 10 per cent?

Therefore, there is no level playing field as far as the IIM Bill is concerned, unless some assurance is given to the private institutes as well. But there is no mention about these institutes in the Bill.

The private institutes had collectively filed a petition too, but nothing came of it…

Is this an issue? The issue, I think, is that we are not looking at this problem holistically. If you look at the issue holistically from a policy perspective, then we don't require to move the courts. We are not taking a very cohesive view of the education sector, which needs policy changes.

How is the move likely to hurt the brand image of premier private B-schools?

Right now, a school awarding a PGDM instead of MBA is not an issue. If we decide to go for an MBA degree, IMT also can affiliate itself with Delhi University and go ahead with giving MBA degrees. But doing that will only hurt the brand image of IMT.

The issue is why does this kind of confusion exist in the marketplace? All students graduate with an equal emphasis on curriculum, quality and other aspects, then why is everyone not measured by the same yardstick.

I personally don’t think that we as a B-school will suffer if IIMs are allowed to grant MBA degrees. If it allows you to give better education or more value, it makes much sense. But for the sake of nomenclature running from pillar to post is a problem.

What kind of roles are offered most at IMT this year? Where is the trend?

The job market is looking for a lot of people with an analytical bent of mind. Over a period of time, data analytics has evolved into a different field of study, which is more inclined towards IT.

It may happen that the general MBA input will come down and the generic MBA input may go up as most companies are trying to recruit data scientists, business analysts and analysts in large numbers.

Particularly, e-commerce companies require such people in large numbers. Therefore, the idea is the number of students admitted in the analytics programmes may grow much higher as we go by the numbers, compared to the general management MBAs.

E-commerce companies like Snapdeal are recruiting from the campus in large numbers. Another sector recruiting aggressively is banking and services. IT consulting is also recruiting in good numbers.

What kind of focus is given to research at IMT?

Focus on research has always been there, and now we want to see that it becomes a sustained effort and grows rapidly. We want our research to be published in the best journals and want our faculty to attend the best conferences across the world. We also want our faculty to be more active in policy-making and consulting assignments for corporates and governments.

We are also encouraging industry-oriented research. Right now, most of our faculty is involved in standalone research. We are putting up an incentive structure to ensure faculty picks up industry and government projects as well.

Do you see any new trends in the making for B-schools?

Earlier, people gave most importance to the quality of education, so they went abroad, studied and came back. But the next generation which went abroad for research settled there and did not come back. The third generation went abroad not only to get the benefits of education and research but also started businesses abroad and came back and set up businesses here as well.

The fourth trend which is going to happen is that the businesses will come and park themselves here. Because of this, Indian business schools have to gear themselves to such new practices as faculty willing to do a lot of pro-industry research and work, as is done in the US. Thus, about 60 per cent of the developmental work for businesses should come from B-schools in India. Most American businesses, such as Amazon, have already set up shop in India.

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