On Campus

‘Manipal, TAPMI brands are getting noticed’

A. J. Vinayak | Updated on March 17, 2014

R.C Natarajan, Director, TAPMI

The brand Manipal, which is synonymous with medical education and health care, has had a B-school with nearly three decades of history. T. A. Pai Management Institute, popularly known as TAPMI, is a well-known name in management education.

The late T. A. Pai, a nephew of T. M. A. Pai, founder of Manipal-based institutions such as Kasturba Medical College, Manipal Institute of Technology and Syndicate Bank, was a former Union Minister in Indira Gandhi’s Cabinet in the ’70s and held the portfolios of heavy industry and railways.

He was also a Chairman of Food Corporation of India, LIC and Syndicate Bank. T. A. Pai founded Manipal Institute of Management in 1980-81. This was later renamed as TAPMI.

For almost two-and-a-half decades, the institute operated from its own campus in Manipal town. It moved to a new spacious 5.5 km away from the town, in 2009.

TAPMI is one among the two management schools in the country to get accreditation from the international body – Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business – for its postgraduate programme, the other being ISB, Hyderabad.

R. C. Natarajan, who heads TAPMI as its Director, graduated from IRMA (Institute of Rural Management in Gujarat), and has more than 13 years of experience in the dairy sector. Natarajan shared his thoughts and plans for TAPMI with Business Line. Excerpts:

Are you worried that with the proliferation of B-schools, TAPMI brand is getting diluted?

No, in fact our brand is getting strengthened day by day. Our brand is getting noticed.

In that case, is the location an advantage or a disadvantage?

Compared to metros, yes, there is a disadvantage in terms of conveyance of guest lecturers. Otherwise, there is no problem. Our airport is one-and-a-quarter hours from here.

However, it is there in the minds of some industry people, and we are trying to change it slowly.

How do you view the slowdown in the economy? How has it been affecting the placements of your students?

There is no doubt that the economic slowdown has influenced the companies to reduce the intake across 4,000 B-schools, but at the same time we have grown our brand name so well that we have got more organisations coming in.

If we sustain what we are doing now in our curricular rigour, industry interface and keep our eyes and ears open about what is happening in the industry, I think we will be ahead of quite a few of the new IIMs.

Can you give us a comparison of placements and salaries last year and this season?

This year, already we have placed 95 per cent students. Another five per cent will be placed in another one month.

On the of convocation day, we will be through with the placements. We have excellent salaries this year. Microsoft recruited a few students. There are new companies coming in. This year, I guess the average salary in Indian placements should be more than ₹9 lakh per annum. Last year, it was ₹8.65 lakh, which was better than the previous year, which was ₹8.02 lakh. Despite the slowdown in the economy, we are going up with 100 per cent placements.

TAPMI’s placement reports are audited by Crisil as per the Indian Placement Reporting Standards (IPRS). TAPMI is a founding member of IPRS that was introduced by IIM-A to bring about greater transparency in B-school placements reporting across the country.

Do you have good interface with the industry? Can you give some examples?

First of all, we get between 70 and 100 executives visiting the campus every year as guest lecturers. In addition, we also have industry people coming and handling courses for us in areas such as HR, IT and advertising. Many of us have worked in the industry and are still in touch with it.

The market research fair, Brandscan, is another thing. It is entirely managed by students. Every quarter we have leadership lecture series from industry leaders. I am trying to organise the lectures every two months. My aim is to have 12 leadership lectures every year.

Have you introduced new courses to meet contemporary demand from the newer and emerging sectors?

Yes, we are introducing a course in business analytics. It is going to be done by an organisation, because it requires a lot of data.

It will be an elective course. The other course is regarding business consultancy. That is an extremely popular course. We introduced it last year and it is doing very well.

What is the existing student-faculty ratio at TAPMI?

Our student-teacher ratio is at 1:18. .

Has the batch size become an issue, especially in terms of placements and classroom learning?

In terms of placement, no. However, classroom learning has been affected to an extent, because the increase in faculty was not at par with increase in the number of students. So the immediacy of feedback gets affected to some extent. In various B-schools abroad, alumni have played a great role in making these institutions great. How the alumni network of TAPMI has helped the institute grow?

We have a good alumni network. Etihad Airlines job came to the students purely because of one of my alumnus whom I met in Dubai.

He came and picked up five students at an annual package of ₹47 lakh. Like this, we have got many of our job leads through our alumni.

Alumni are both backroom catalysts and front end leaders for our relations. Simeran Bhasin, Marketing Head of Fastrack at Titan Industries Ltd; D Narasimha Prasad, Director and Head (People, Technology and Operations), APAC, Google; and Rajiv Jain, CEO of Bajaj Finance, are some of the names that I can recall immediately.

Published on March 16, 2014

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