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BW Businessworld

IIM L: The Master Of Executive Education

IIM Lucknow now has a formidable reputation for helping mid-career professionals rediscover themselves

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It was born in one of the most tumultuous and turbulent years in independent India — 1984. But amidst all the tumult, the Indian economy was changing, slowly opening up to a world of new ideas, new competition and new aspirations. Since then, IIM Lucknow has emerged as a powerhouse of business education that has sent forth generations of path breaking business leaders. Housed in a pristine and green 185-acre campus in the outskirts of the city, IIM Lucknow represents the rise of a new confident India, all set to regain its place in the global high table.

The IIM Lucknow has earned a justified reputation for pioneering business education suited for contemporary times. Like all other institutions, it offers a standard post graduate diploma in management that is a full-time two-year programme meant for aspiring youngsters. Another popular offering sets the institute apart. The IIM offers a full-time two-year diploma for specialists in the mushrooming world of agri-business and the exploding world of entrepreneurship. Yes, the course actually makes efforts to train budding entrepreneurs. The institute also offers a full-time diploma programme in sustainable management. In this era of environmental degradation and climate change, the programme has a special resonance with young business leaders who want to make a difference even as they chase market shares and profits.

The sustainable management programme is offered at the Noida campus of the institute. Extension campuses have become fashionable in recent times, but the concept was new when IIM Lucknow started one in the suburbs of the national capital. Though smaller in size, the Noida campus is equipped with all the bells and whistles that make a world class institution. According to an authorised spokesperson of the institution, the Noida campus has emerged as a leading hub for executive development programmes. The emphasis on trying out new things works as a powerful magnet for companies and organisations that seek to reskill and retrain their young business leaders. Senior faculty and resource leaders at IIM Lucknow interact regularly with companies to design custom made programmes for their managers. Some of the companies and organisations the institute has forged successful strategic “partnerships” are ONGC, Reliance Industries, Axis Bank, MetLife, LIC, Indian Revenue Services and Indian Railway Traffic services.

The Noida campus enjoys a huge advantage because of its favoured location. To take advantage of the location, IIM Lucknow offers a one-year full-time executive MBA programme that has proven to be a big hit. It is specifically designed to help mid-career professionals with new skills to propel them towards leadership roles in their organisations. It has been accepted and recognised by now that executive education will play an increasingly important role in this age of constant and continuous disruption. If change was something that worried leaders and entrepreneurs as a sudden source of disruption in an earlier era, it is something that has become frightening in contemporary times. To that extent, constant reinvention is no longer a luxury but a necessity for all managers. IIM Lucknow has recognized the value and power of this necessity and has tailor made courses and programmes. It is no surprise then that it has acquired a formidable and enviable reputation among mid-level managers in need of rediscovery.

More than 3,000 have crossed its portals to become successful business leaders. Companies like McKinsey and Company, Merrill Lynch and American Express, are among the dozens of global repute, who do campus interviews at IIM Lucknow. Quite a few of the alumni have carved out successful careers as entrepreneurs and some have acquired legendary status, like Amitabh Thakur, an IPS officer and renowned social activist. Another alumnus, Shanmugam Manjunath, who was killed by the “oil adulteration” mafia while he was working with Indian Oil, has become a source of inspiration for a generation of youngsters.

Born though in a year of political crisis, IIM Lucknow grew in an era when Indian economy and Indian entrepreneurs were discovering a whole new world of opportunities. Neither India, nor the institute have looked back since.

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.

A Sengupta

A journalist who has covered the education beat for Hindustan Times and now pursues research at Observer Research Foundation

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