Rajagiri Business School, one of the pioneers in introducing PGDM programmes in Kochi, has received EFMD (European Foundation for Management Development) and AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) accreditations, which are global benchmarks. To gain these, Arun Elias, Director and Dean, maintains that the institution has developed mission-led processes and policies while strengthening internationalisation and links to practice.
Edited excerpts from an interview:
What does the EFMD and AACSB accreditation mean for Rajagiri?
Both EFMD and AACSB accreditations are a golden feather in the crown of Rajagiri Business School (RBS). RBS is the 21st B- school in India to get the AACSB accreditation, and its PGDM programme is the third in the country to have been accredited by EFMD. We are the first institution in Kerala to get both these global accreditations.
It is a great moment of pride for the entire RBS family that our overall quality of the teaching-learning process are of global standards. In addition, it is a launch pad to enhance the global footprints in the realm of partnerships, association, placements, admission and collaborative research works and other intellectual contributions. We can now use these accreditations as pillars to develop our future strategic directions.
Do you think the accreditations will influence students when they select B-schools?
Yes indeed. Management education is becoming more competitive, especially in India, owing to the sprouting of numerous B-schools. But if we critically observe the trend of choice of prospective students, it is evident that they are not ready to compromise on quality.
This year — the first year after the AACSB accreditation — we have received a number of enquiries regarding the admission from all over the country. Apart from the students from outside the State, we have foreign students as well in our current student mix.
All these indicate that international accreditations does influence the selection of B-schools by students.
What did you have to do internally to gain the accreditations? How did you have to change your processes and in what aspects did you have to change and transform?
We already had almost everything that AACSB and EFMD wanted in its rudimentary level. For instance, ethics, responsibility and sustainability is one of the key parameters in EFMD. The vision and mission of the School revolves around social responsibility and sensitivity. Also, RBS is one of the pioneers in bringing outcome-based education (OBE) in its curriculum, which is one of the focal points of AACSB.
We had everything in hand even before we embarked on this journey. What we needed to do was to give a shape to our activities and streamline our process. To cite an example, the School formed a new wing, Centre for CSR and Development Innovation, to organise its social responsibility and social sensitivity programmes.
Although we were one among the first institutions to evoke the OBE structure in Kerala, we did not have a robust system in place to track the changes. Hence, we have implemented a strong platform internally to surmount this obstacle. It is being carried out by the Assurance of Learning wing of the School.
The entire RBS community cutting across ranks held their hands together under the leadership of the IQAC of the School and reached our goals by traversing the righteous means.
How long did the process take? When did you kick off the process to get the accreditation?
We had initiated our AACSB accreditation work in 2017 and EFMD related work in 2018. It took five years to complete both the processes. We had always been careful to follow the advice of AACSB and EFMD mentors. They were truly supportive and cooperative, which made us bring in necessary changes in the system and process simultaneous with our accreditation journey.
Will you now look for other accreditation such as AMBA?
Yes, definitely. We wish to have all the reputed global accreditations in our bag as the RBS family is always driven by its motto: “Relentlessly towards Excellence”. We see each accreditation as a mechanism to improve the quality of the teaching-learning process.
Apart from students from Kerala state, where do your students come from to study for an MBA?
We see students from the North-eastern States, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Besides this, we have students from Kenya as well.
How has the school fared in placements? What has been the median salary and compensation package in the last placement rounds?
In the last placement season, 91 per cent of our students could be on board in different companies. Rest have either opted for higher studies or opted out of the placement process to look after their family business or start-ups. The highest salary we have got this year is ₹14 lakhs, which is undeniably a formidable figure for a B-school other than IIMs and other premier institutes.
In addition, the median salary for the latest placement season stands at ₹7 lakh, which is more than the last year’s median salary.
Which are the companies that Rajagiri students have been placed in?
National and international companies regularly visit RBS during every placement season. We have the Big 4, Accenture, ICICI, Reliance, Khimji Ramdas as our recruiters and each year they absorb our talented students.
Does having these two global accreditations mean that your students can command better compensation packages?
Definitely they can. The bedrock of every accreditation is the quality of the teaching-learning process at the institution. Achieving EFMD and AACSB means that our students meet the highest standard of skills necessary for business management. RBS has its own unique innovative pedagogy called Rajagiri Immersive Learning Experience, which is meant to transform a student holistically.
Besides, we do offer valued added courses in different areas of management studies so as to equip our students to meet the VUCA situation of the biz world in the 21st century.
What is unique about the Rajagiri MBA programme in terms of courses and pedagogy?
We revise our curriculum without fail once every three years. It is a rigorous process, where the inputs of both the internal and external stakeholders are sought. During the process, new topics are included and outdated topics are omitted from the present curriculum. This does help us to go in tune with the changes in the business arena and make our students industry ready by the end of their learning at RBS.
Besides, we often invite experts from the industry to deliver a talk on a topic of the invitees’ area of specialisation. This will give our students an idea as to how a business is run in real time.