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XLRI: The Small Town Wonder

XLRI is a classic example of what that kind of dedication can adhesive, particularly when education and the acquiring of a degree or diploma goes beyond classrooms to the difficult but important lessons of ethics, morality and good behaviour towards fellow human beings

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When you think of clichés, two things come very quickly to our mind. First, distance makes the heart grow fonder. And second, the grass is always greener on the other side. Nestled in a “steel” town, far away from the corporate rat race of metros and big cities, XLRI stands out as an oasis of excellence in a troubled heartland of India. Just two years after India became a free country, the founders of XLRI decided to set up base in a distant town called Jamshedpur (or Tatanagar as locals and railway authorities would like), where Tata Steel stood shining like a beacon of what an industrial India could achieve.

The new factories and the new industrial age that beckoned India needed human resource managers, who could tackle modern day challenges of an industrialised and awakened workforce comprising both blue and white collar employees. Since then, XLRI has been the finest institution when it comes to sending forth, what is known in jargon today as HR managers.

While praising XLRI last year, the global chief people officer of Cipla Probir Jha had said, what he maintains even now: “The students experience how the theories of management actually work in the real world. They also get to understand how an organisations cultural nuances impact performance. They are better able to appreciate the interdisciplinary nature of most businesses today. Best most of all is as a collective they share their learnings and experiences with each other that is a tremendous source of enrichment for the students.”

There is much that has been said about the role of Jesuits in the country. But no one can deny the passion and commitment they have displayed in the field of education. XLRI is a classic example of what that kind of dedication can adhesive, particularly when education and the acquiring of a degree or diploma goes beyond classrooms to the difficult but important lessons of ethics, morality and good behaviour towards fellow human beings. XLRI is visited by some of the best known companies during the placement season not just for moral science lessons, but also to hire the best trained human resource professionals.

When you are in a “small” and distant town, it is even more important to have facilities that are world class. The campus in Jamshedpur is not far away from the Tata Steel plant, arguably one of the oldest symbols of what Indian entrepreneurs can achieve. It goes without saying that the entire campus is Wifi and the students as well as the faculty are connected all the time. This has enabled the XLRI family to develop bulletin boards and e-discussion forums that ensures learning and interaction well beyond classroom lectures.

For young aspirants, XLRI offers courses in HR Management, Business Management and Global Business Management. Recently, the institution has tied up with Weatherhead School of Management in the US, and Tongi University in China. As all the courses offered at XLRI are attractive, it is the HR course that attract the best students and aspirants from all over. Since 1949, the institute has acquired the reputation of being the best in HR, a feat that even the formidable brand IIM finds difficult to match. Over the years, XLRI also offers excellent training to mid-level managers, who want to re-invent their careers. In fact, they offer the most attractive programmes for HR managers, who want to scale new peaks.

Amidst all this, XLRI has formed partnerships with India Inc that helps students get exposure to the real world. Students go to the best companies for their summer intern programmes and come back ready to face bigger challenges. The Tatas and Wipro — two of the best known corporate groups in India — have shared a long, mutually beneficial relationship with XLRI.

Buoyed by this legacy and consistent success, XLRI has also spread its wings beyond Indian shores. It has a fully-operational campus in Shanghai and is preparing global managers for global challenges. As the Make in India and Skill India programmes launched by the government gather momentum, institutions like XLRI would be uniquely placed to play their part in this journey of discovering a new India. Sure, it is not in Mumbai, or Delhi, or Bengaluru. But from its own small corner in India, XLRI continues to deliver excellence!

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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