Business Today

Flexi Lessons

IIM-B's focus on online courses, published research and customised learning sets it apart from others.
By Venkatesha Babu   Delhi     Print Edition: December 4, 2016
Flexi Lessons
STEPPING OUT: IIM Bangalore says it will 'arrive globally' in a couple of decades (Courtesy IIM-B)

The 100-acre campus of Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in South Bangalore is an oasis of tranquillity. Established in 1973 as the country's third IIM, its original mandate was to cater to the needs of PSUs. The land provided by the state government was then on the outskirts of Bangalore. It now falls right in the middle of a bustling city. While the campus continues to look as serene as ever, beneath the surface, IIM-B is changing rapidly to adapt to the new market conditions. "We are noticing three shifts - disruptive technology, internationalisation and demand for skills. IIM-B is taking action on all three fronts," says R. Srinivasan, Director-Incharge, IIM-B.

Srinivasan says IIM-B is now offering a number of Massive Online Open Courses, or MOOCs, apart from some Small Network Open Courses. Also, faculty members are using blended models in classes. "We have significantly increased the international component of our programmes and given more options to students to study abroad and our faculty members to teach students from international institutions. Our membership of the Global Network for Advanced Management has been very important for this." It is the only management school in India to have this membership.

IIM-B has also introduced a number of skill-oriented courses such as Communication For Leaders. While it continues to have a famed Center for Public Policy, for students, PSUs have clearly lost sheen over the years. Asked if IIM-B still plays a role in public policy, Srinivasan says, "We have, in the recent past, engaged with several state utilities, state-run programmes (covering education, health, etc), government departments, and state-run training institutions."

The institute has had to change many things to address the changing needs of students. For instance, earlier, international student exchange programmes meant a standard three-month commitment. Not anymore. "IIM-B has become even more flexible. It allows a student to go on an international exchange programme that could be, say, for just two weeks. This flexibility is something I love," says Swati Geriani, a second-year PGDM student. Swati, an Electronics and Communication engineer from IIT-Allahabad, worked with Qualcomm for a couple of years before deciding to get a management degree. "I had the option of joining any IIM but chose IIM-B because of its diversity and the exposure I would get here. The brand cachet is unbelievable."

Vishal Bhaskaran, an alumnus who works as Senior Manager at EMC (a part of Dell), says he still uses lessons learnt there to solve problems at work. "The two years I spent at IIM-B broadened my horizon. I learnt to deal with ambiguity. Today, I am unfazed when confronted with challenges because of what I learnt at the institute."

The institution has also been focusing on research. "For the past 15 years or so, we have been emphasising on publishing research in leading journals. While we have made significant progress, we expect to arrive globally in a couple of decades," says Srinivasan.

Last year, the average placement salary was Rs 17.2 lakh (excluding international offers). Srinivasan is unfazed about a few e-commerce companies going back on hiring commitments. "We offer graduates a career development service that is responsive to changes in the external environment. In a market economy, there will always be year-to-year shifts in the composition of sectors and functions that graduates join."

The institute is also seeing the trend of more and more students becoming entrepreneurs. The NS Raghavan Cell for Entrepreneurship has also helped kindle students' interest in starting up right away.

It is no wonder then that IIM-B emerged as the number one management institute in the country in the latest National Institutional Ranking Framework study by the Ministry of Human Resources Development.

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