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BW Businessworld

‘We are also known as IIM 3.0’

Mahadeo Jaiswal, Director, IIM Sambalpur, in an interview with BW Businessworld, talks about innovative learning pedagogy, ‘flipped classrooms’, Incubation Centre and a very high gender diversity ratio as being the USP of IIM Sambalpur. Excerpts

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How is IIM Sambalpur uniquely positioned in comparison to other IIMs and other top business schools in India?

The vision of IIM Sambalpur is “to be an institute par excellence in nurturing responsible leaders with an entrepreneurial mindset”. The core values of our institutes are defined by three Is -- Innovation, Inclusiveness, and Integrity, and hence IIM Sambalpur is also known as IIM3.0. We at IIM Sambalpur lay emphasis on experimentation, differentiation, and collaboration while imparting thoughtful management education. We strongly believe in innovationled entrepreneurial grooming for enabling rapid socio-economic and sustainable development of our society. As part of our innovation value propositions, we have implemented ‘flipped classrooms’ with an objective to adopt experiential learning pedagogy in all our management education programmes. Apart from the rigour in the classroom curriculum, we encourage our students to take up live projects from the industry, government, and NGOs so as to gain wholesome field experience. In terms of inclusiveness value propositions, we had 49 per cent and 41 per cent female students in our MBA 2019-21 and MBA 2020-22 batch, which is amongst the highest gender ratio across all the IIMs. We had specifically designed policies to attract quality female aspirants to increase our gender ratio. 

What has been the impact of the Covid- 19 pandemic on IIM Sambalpur and how have you been managing this crisis?

Ever since the crises began in March end, we shifted our classes as well as exams and admissions, etc. to the online mode so as to continue all our activities without any disruptions and learn to live with it. We converted all our traditional classrooms into smart classrooms by installing digital smart board so that faculty can deliver classes online from the classroom and at the same time record the sessions for future reference to students. 

Besides, we were amongst the first to adopt online Artificial Intelligence (AI) based proctoring systems for conduct all our examinations so that students could appear in the exams from their homes. We are in a situation which is uncertain and therefore recommend that we should not wait for the problem to get out of hand and instead we need to shift the model of management education and not merely the mode. The flipped classroom is the new model using LMS (Learning Management System) for conceptual learning outside the classroom and experiential learning through projects/ cases inside the classroom. These are unique approaches and propositions and we are proud to say that we are the first to implement this innovative and experiential learning pedagogy in the country. 

Most business schools in India produce job seekers and not job creators and hence only placement matters. How is IIM Sambalpur addressing these scenarios?

Majority of students in the MBA programme come from middle class background and they cannot take risk to start their own venture and hence need job. However, many of them do get into entrepreneurship after a few years of experience. At IIM Sambalpur, we have set up an Incubation Centre in collaboration with MSME, GOI and hence promoting entrepreneurship in big way. Moreover, we impart management education to our MBA students in such a way that they adopt the entrepreneurial approach in their decision making process. Recently, we signed an MOU with India SME Forum and as part of this collaboration we have launched business leadership programme for entrepreneurs and business leaders across India.  

What are your views on the New Education Policy and how does it reflect on IIMs?

We welcome the New Education Policy as it has many innovative plans to make India a global destination for higher education. Allowing global institutes to set up campuses in India is also a positive move as it will increase competition because it will open up our education system and it will also help sustain high talent in the country as students don’t have to move out to pursue education. 

Allowing technical institutes to become multidisciplinary will help IIMs and IITs to start other departments like law, medical, etc. and to make their size bigger and allow them to admit more students. This will enable them to compete with the elite institutes of the world and become at par with them in the coming years. Diversification makes education more complete and helps increase intellectual outcome. Overall, the changes have been made according to the global system of education. This will also help attract foreign students to India and help the economy as well.”