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BW Businessworld

Ecosystem Needs To Be Globally Responsive But Locally Rooted: Vaibhav Bahmoriya

The Indian Institute of Management, Kashipur (IIMB), young among the established stalwarts is focussed on being global while rooted locally in India. While it keeps afloat with new innovations and updated curriculum, Vaibhav Bahmoriya, Chairperson (MBA Programme), IIM Kashipur, during a conversation with BW Businessworld discusses its rich faculty and the latest industry trends of management education of the country. Excerpts:

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How do you look at the postgraduate management education / B-school ecosystem in the country today?
The postgraduate management education / B-school ecosystem has evolved into maturity over the last half-century of management education in the country. We have significant achievements in producing some of the most valued business leaders and organisations in the world. While boasting of a wide variety of sectoral institutions that are serving specific and regional needs, the system is not just modelled but is a copy of western management education. The ecosystem needs to be globally responsive but locally rooted which now needs to transform from a global to a glocal management education system.

Are we creating enough potential leaders or mere job seekers in this market?
We are creating a generous mix of potential leaders as well as job seekers in the market. The management schools are producing business, political, community and social leaders today. The sheer number of diversity of leaders and job seekers produced cannot be missed. Management schools like IIM Kashipur put their best efforts to give the best inputs to all participants for making informed choices. A successful ecosystem comprises of well informed and educated leaders as well as job seekers who excel in their partnerships. 

Even after all these reforms, why have the Indian B -schools failed to compete with the world’s best schools?
 Indian B-schools is a huge ecosystem and their success is a function of many variables including the social and business context, and their internal processes, governance and leadership. Management education came in the limelight post-liberalisation as the corporate needs boomed during this era. The growing needs of society and industry have put a lot of pressure on management education in India. Best global management schools have been around for centuries and have been located in more mature, stable and benevolent societies that have allowed them to flourish. We are catching up fast and over the next decade, we expect to see many more Indian B-schools competing with global B-schools. 

Why do we fail to regularly update and overhaul the curriculum, in keeping with the latest industry needs?
IIMs have been at the forefront of reforming education and a lot of innovations are taking place within the IIM systems. We must keep in mind that some of the IIMs such as IIM Kashipur or IIM Amritsar are very young themselves. We have systems in which new course outlines can be introduced every academic year and all the faculty are encouraged to update and change 10-30 per cent of the course outline or content to keep abreast with the latest industry trends. This change process is owned by the faculty and is not forced. The peer pressure in the IIM system makes the system responsive and receptive to the latest trends. 

How do we make sure that the faculty is equally at home in theory as s/he is in practice?

 All IIMs and IIM Kashipur in particular works on a multi-stakeholder approach. Different stakeholders are our eyes and ears for the latest industry and social trends. Participants, recruiters, visiting faculties and scholars, consultancy and training seekers are all rich with history and present innovations and future perspectives of the industry. At the institute, we promote a lot of interaction and conversations with them. The faculties are recruited with strong theoretical capabilities. We also promote faculty to visit and work in close cooperation with industry through consultancy and research studies. Funds are earmarked for such initiatives and faculty appraisals also work in tandem with them. It is a combination of earmarked funds, peer expectation and governance processes that are focused on faculty improvement and development. 

Due to fast-paced technology, it’s difficult to predict what happens one year down the line. How do the B-schools prepare for such a scenario?
Change is constant. The best way to prepare for tackling change is to gain expertise in permanent knowledge that transcends changes. The theory is one such founding pillar. The firm grounding in the theory of the faculty helps develop the ability to perceive and comprehend technology changes and their impact quickly and even predict them. The industry-faculty interactions further help to keep the faculty not only abreast but also ahead of the change curve. We have a carefully crafted system in which faculty can participate in seminars and conferences which are helpful. 

In India, the IIMs, and a few other top B-schools are progressing well, but the rest of B-schools churn out hardly employable graduates. What’s the way out?
The original model of handholding of other colleges by the better colleges will go a long way in building social capital in management education that can help build a strong ecosystem. This will help the institutions to learn from each other and contribute to the success of each other as well. The senior IIMs have to take on a trusteeship role and do more beyond faculty development programmes in building a better management education ecosystem in the country. 

How often do you inspire your passouts to come back and teach in their alma mater and pursuade them to contribute funds to their institute? 
 We are too young to ask our alumni formally for funds but we are positive about alumni contributions to institution building in many other ways. We seek to get our alumnus to interact and address our participants every week outside the curriculum. We have a homecoming event for the alumni with many activities around this theme of giving back to the institute. We have also embarked upon an ambitious mentorship programme wherein the alumni will mentor the current participants.