17 Dec 2019 18:52 IST

Why older IIMs need executive education to fuel their revenues and growth

PGPx courses in new-age business models, innovation, digital strategy and analytics are in great demand

Thirty-two year old Arun Kumar T was working in the business process improvement and change management team of Ahmedabad-based infrastructure company Montecarlo Ltd. Recently, he quit his job to enroll for the one-year full-time executive MBA programme at the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta (IIM-C).

Says Arun of his course, “I wanted to get into a corporate strategy and analysis role and felt that this programme would be able to equip me.  We are all mid-career professionals looking to reinvent ourselves and jump up the career ladder.”

There are hundreds of executives such as Arun who are taking the plunge into executive education and keeping the tills ringing for the IIMs, especially the older ones, who are self-financing and no longer receive government funds.

Increased participation

Take IIM Bangalore, for instance. The executive education numbers have been going up at the B-school. In 2017-18, it had around 5,100 participants while in 2018-19, the number went up to a little above 6,000 — a 17 per cent increase. “Executive education is a critical and strategic offering for us. It enables us to make a significant impact on practice; it enables our faculty to be in touch with industry; and it provides us a much required surplus to fund research, which is a largely cost-driven activity,” says its Director, Prof G. Raghuram.

With a large chunk — almost 40 per cent — of its revenues earned from executive education, IIMB is further investing to broaden its portfolio of offerings. A significant portion of a planned ₹150-crore investment will go to develop more facilities for executive education at its second, 110-acre campus, 27 km from its present Bannerghatta road campus. The funding for this investment will come from internal resources and hence its thrust on executive education programmes is all the more important. “IIMB does not get any funding from the Ministry of HRD. It has been quite a while since both opex and capex stopped coming in from the Ministry and this is true for the six older IIMs. IIMB is a self-financing institution,” explains Prof Raghuram.

IIMC too has been witnessing a 15-20 per cent rise in participation in its executive education programmes. The institute offers such programmes for both a short-term period (MDP), ranging from three to seven days, and for longer term courses (LDP), from six months to a year.

According to Prof Anirvan Pant, Chairperson, Long Duration Programmes, IIMC, executive education programmes have not only been a revenue churner for the institute, but are also an important way of extending IIMC’s impact on management education in the country. “We teach some of the best managers in the country but we also want to make an impact in terms of the broader managerial cadre out there and, for that, executive education is critical,” he says.

Last year (2018-19), IIMC had 4,530 participants in executive education across both programmes. “If we add all our full-time programmes, executive education would come to roughly a quarter of this number. The more we invest in this space, the more we can extend our reach. We will continue to grow at around 20 per cent,” says Prof Pant.

At IIM Kozhikode, in the sylvan state of Kerala, about 40 per cent of institutional revenue comes from executive education. “Sixty-five per cent of the executives normally belong to mid-career and about ten percent of the executives in the early career,” says Prof C. Raju, Dean (Extension Programmes), IIMK. Executive education will continue to play a substantial role in its revenue growth, he adds.

General management, strategy and leadership

The latest batch of Executive Post-Graduate Programme (EPGP 12) programme, accredited by the AMBA (Association of MBAs) since 2011, also recently registered its largest batch (369 candidates) this year at IIMK. It also set up a satellite campus at Infopark, Kochi, in 2013, dedicated to executive education.

Most companies want their executives trained in general management, including issues related to strategy and leadership. This is followed closely by specialisations in digitalisation, new-age business models, innovation, digital strategy and marketing, business analytics and supply chain. “There are also sector-specific demands like hospital management, aerospace and aviation management and banking,” says Prof Raghuram.

At IIMC, most executive education programmes are on leadership and team effectiveness. “Over time, we have seen a big jump in interest for programmes in analytics and fintech. In fact, this year, we have some new MDPs planned in the fintech space, in data analytics and artificial intelligence, and how it is related to marketing. We have a new sectoral programme on agri-business as well,” says Prof Pant. Clearly, if the IIMs want to keep the tills ringing, they will need to keep the engines of executive education purring along smoothly.