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BW Businessworld

Charting A Course Of Their Own

After the IIMs at Calcutta, Ahmedabad and Bangalore, the government has been setting up new ones at regular intervals to cover almost all the states

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After the IIMs at Calcutta, Ahmedabad and Bangalore, the government has been setting up new ones at regular intervals to cover almost all the states. While the first three IIMs attract considerable attention from the media, students, and industry, the remaining ones, including the more recent ones, have tried to acquire distinctiveness by taking one or more of the following three routes: rapidly scaling up, creating unique value propositions, and acquiring international recognition. Each of these routes has manifested through various approaches.

As to scaling up, one approach has been to grow by rapidly increasing the intake for their flagship postgraduate programmes. In fact, larger batch sizes has been part of the planning process in many of the newer IIMs.

A second approach has been diversification into the executive education space through executive programmes. Besides, the newer IIMs have taken to operating satellite campuses in metros to cater to a wider audience. IIM Lucknow’s campus at Noida, IIM Kozhikode’s campus at Kochi, IIM Indore’s campus at Mumbai, and IIM Trichy’s campus at Chennai are some examples. Some of these programmes go further to target a niche in the executive education space, such as IIM Lucknow’s programmes on agribusiness and sustainable management.

Thirdly, some of the IIMs have also leveraged the latest information and communication technology (ICT) in this diversification process. IIM Kozhikode was the first to have executive management programmes delivered over communication networks rather than in classrooms.

Offering unique value propositions is the second route adopted by many of the newer IIMs. In some cases, such as IIM Kozhikode’s ‘Globalising Indian Thought’, it has meant identifying a general theme to provide the broad motivation for the institute. At others, such as IIM Lucknow and IIM Kashipur, this has meant identifying centres of excellence relevant to industry, policy making and social enterprises. Intense research focus is another approach. IIM Udaipur is a case in point. Another approach has been to explicitly build in social concerns in curricula. IIM Kozhikode’s Social Development Projects, and IIM Indore’s Rural Emersion Programmes are illustrations.

The third route to distinctiveness has been through international linkages. The newer IIMs have been very quick in forging collaborations with leading B-schools and universities abroad. While most have gone for student exchanges, many have also been regularly sending faculty members for training abroad. The faculty development programme offered by Harvard Business School, for example, sees a large representation from these IIMs each year. In addition, accreditation by international bodies such as AMBA has also been actively pursued.

These three routes to distinctiveness, though not exhaustive of the activities pursued by the newer IIMs, capture the most prominent themes in their approach to carve out a niche for each of them. As such, despite their ‘liability of newness’, the newer IIMs have been able to carve out a niche for themselves in the management education space in the country.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Debabrata Chatterjee

The author is professor, Organization Behavior, and Dean (Administration & Development), IIM Kozhikode

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