‘IMI’s vision is to solve industry problems, widen global footprint’

Parimala S Rao Chennai | Updated on January 11, 2018

Debashis Chatterjee

IMI Delhi Director outlines the top B-school’s vision for the next three years

It’s a big change from the verdant and peaceful campus of IIM Kozhikode to the crowded and bustling Qutab Institutional Area in New Delhi, where Debashis Chatterjee moved early this year as Director-General of the International Management Institute, Delhi with two other campuses in Kolkata and Bhubaneswar.

But Chatterjee, a former Director at IIM-K, is too busy to miss the quiet. His days are packed with daily operations and long-term planning, and in the evenings he is immersed in music and writing. Speaking to BLoC, Chatterjee outlined plans to actualise the shared vision of the stakeholders of IMI-Delhi, India’s first corporate-sponsored B-school.

Four critical areas

“My focus will be on four critical areas,” says Chatterjee. “There will be efforts to consolidate growth across all of IMI’s campuses, integrating activities that will highlight IMI’s strength as a single brand. We plan to contemporise research to keep it relevant to today’s needs.

“Alongside, we will work towards deepening the engagement with industry. This could be through collaborations, such as the recent tie-up with Power Grid Corporation of India, and by offering management development programmes for working executives,” he says.

The third growth area involves widening IMI’s international footprint in the emerging markets. Chatterjee and his team are planning a 15-month international programme, in which participants will spend two weeks each in different cities that are key business hubs on five continents.

“The fourth growth pillar would be gaining social access and technology to connect with the new generation of learners,” Chatterjee says, adding that the IMI faculty is exploring ways to make management education more relevant. To take forward this work, IMI Delhi will soon launch a Centre for Disruptive Innovation and Enterprise that will develop short-term online and offline courses, often in collaboration with non-business schools, to create courses such as design thinking.

“It’s important for us to deliver on all aspects of executive education,” says Chatterjee. “We are conducting leadership clinics across the country, which help us understand the issues industry is facing, so we can create a framework for solving these real problems.”

All this is part of a three-year vision, during which IMI will also invest in faculty development programmes that “focus on intensifying the faculty-industry interaction, so we can come up with real-world learning material.”

Ranking vs rating

Asked if rating, rather than ranking, institutions would be a fairer way to assess the worth of institutions, Chatterjee says it’s time to distinguish between reputation and ranking, the former an intangible element reflective of the education process over a long period.

“Reputation capital then becomes far more critical than a sporadic ranking exercise,” says the IMI Delhi Director. The core aspects of teaching and learning cannot really be measured through numbers, and the rankers must realise this.

Raising the bar

What does he think will be the impact of the stricter visa regime in the US? Qualitatively, says Chatterjee, there will be a raising of the bar, with top schools receiving some students who may otherwise have gone abroad. But, with an eye on the ‘return on investment’ factor, the US may have to soften its stance. For most top American universities, their USP is global talent, and they may find it difficult to run with an all-American student profile. It does, however, signal, both to the IT and the education space, that there is sharper volatility ahead.

“Many bright students don’t want to work abroad because the job market there is in a state of flux. So, a more India-centric approach, with an outward gaze and global worldview, may be what is called for. The brighter the talent we can retain here, the better it will be for the country; it will make our systems more competitive,” says Chatterjee.

Published on May 24, 2017

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