World-class students, schools second to none

Gokul Krishnamurthy | Updated on: May 31, 2011


The new crop of B-schools must strive to learn from those that have established themselves as credible sources of talent of the best corporate entities.

The new crop of B-schools must learn from those that have become established sources of quality talent beyond the IIMs

What do Adidas India Company's MD, Mr Subhinder Singh Prem, McCann Erickson's lyrically gifted chief, Mr Prasoon Joshi, and angel-minded Milagrow founder, Mr Rajeev Karwal have in common? They are all products of IMT, Ghaziabad.

Mr B.S. Nagesh, Vice-Chairman of Shoppers Stop Limited, became the first Indian to be inducted into the World Retail Hall of Fame in 2008, and was lauded by his alma mater at the Faculty of Management Studies, Banaras Hindu University, for the recognition.

Mr Lloyd Mathias, now President-Corporate, Tata Teleservices, and a much respected marketing head having served at Pepsico, Motorola and Tata Teleservices, holds an MBA from Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research, Bombay University.

Mr Ramesh Natarajan, Deputy Country Manager for DHL Express, South Asia, got his bachelors from an IIT, and went on to IIFT in New Delhi to do his MBA. Mr Raja Ganapathy, Vice-President of Marketing at Sequoia Capital India, went to School of Management, Pondicherry Central University, for his MBA. Mr Sanjay Tripathy, Executive Vice-President & Head-Marketing at HDFC Standard Life, is one of the many pass outs from IRMA who are doing their institute proud.

Emerging Superstar

Mr Sanjay Behl, CEO, Reliance Digital TV, is a product of Sydenham Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai. Mr Ridham Desai, MD and head of India research at Morgan Stanley, holds an MBA from Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research, Mumbai.

Management Development Institute in Gurgaon is not ‘second rung' but an ‘emerging superstar institute', corrects ‘alumnus of the decade' Mr Anurag Batra, Co-founder and MD of trade publishing group exchange4media. Mr Sanjay Varma, one year his junior from college, is now Asia-Pacific CEO for Cushman and Wakefield, based in Shanghai.

The list is indeed endless.

There was a time when it was hard to find an aspirational corporate professional in India Inc who did not carry the IIM badge. And often, and even till today, it is the IIT-IIM badge that many people in envied positions sport. And then of course there are the Harvard, Wharton, Kellogg, Carnegie Mellon and London Business School badges that shine brighter in the white-collared world.

Back home in India, there are a veritable number of institutes that have produced stars — professional and entrepreneurial — beyond the IIMs and ISBs. From Jamnalal Bajaj to XLRI to BIM down South, and to others like MICA for the advertising-focused, there has been no dearth of quality institutes that have quenched the corporate world's thirst for managerial talent.

The truth is that there are need gaps at multiple levels of the management ladder — there are companies that can only pay a limited salary and so go to only certain campuses, and there are companies that need people at multiple rungs, with multiple growth paths, and therefore hire from across the B-school spectrum.

The new crop of B-schools must strive to learn from those that have established themselves as credible sources of talent of the best corporate entities, despite the IIMs being the first port of call for many employers.

An IIM-Ahmedabad pass out of 1987, Mr Harish Bhat, now COO at Titan Industries, makes the case for the IIMs, from his experience as a student, a teacher and a recruiter. His comments must be read in the context of recent news articles questioning the quality of staff and lack of research papers at India's premier B-school.

“The faculty they have is the best. In general, in India there is inordinate amount of focus on teaching. There is also a very large body of work of case studies that are very relevant to the Indian market in the IIMs.”

MDI, Gurgaon, which started off in 1973 training managers, introduced a full-time two-year MBA in 1994. The industry linkages it had developed since 1973 helped the institute when it launched the full-time courses, notes Prof Vinod K. Gupta, its Director.

He says, “We were industry oriented from day one, with everything from the faculty to the syllabus geared towards the industry. Even today, it's almost compulsory that in each course we teach, 20 per cent inputs are from practising managers.”

With 75 permanent faculty members, Mr Gupta notes that MDI would score better than some of the IIMs on that count. And, thanks to MoUs with B-schools across the world, 80 MDI students went abroad last year under an exchange programme.

The exchange programme is fast becoming a norm in several B-schools. Employability does go up with students coming in with work experience, and 40 to 50 per cent of students at MDI come in with work experience.

The best of MBA aspirants who flock to the IIMs naturally attract the best employers. But companies are forced to look beyond — not just because of the lack of numbers or sky-high salaries expected by IIM grads, but because there are other options today.

Mr Bhat has been on the interview panels for Titan and other Tata Group companies in the past, and the company has a steady input of management trainees. And the hiring happens from a slew of B-schools across the country, including MDI, TAPMI, JBIMS, NMIMS, XLRI and BIM.

“They also have world-class students. They do deserve their place in the sun. My personal view is that wherever they are, be it a Wellingkars or an ICFAI, the best always come out with flying colours. One must understand that getting into the IIMs is a competitive race,” notes Mr Bhat.

On the new crop of private B-schools that have come up, there are some concerns in the minds of industry professionals. Mr Bhat stresses the need for quality control, adequate infrastructure and quality faculty.

“There is a perception that some of the very new crop of B-schools are established from a commercial perspective rather than for providing world-class management education. If there is rigorous quality control, I would feel confident about recruiting from them.”

Published on May 31, 2011
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