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Global Rankings Cannot Assess B-schools Accurately: Director, IIM Rohtak

"Increased diversity adds to diversity in perspectives, opinions, and ideas, which results in increased sharpness of solution offered to various business problems", Prof. Dheeraj Sharma, Director, IIM Rohtak

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IIM Rohtak is focusing on imparting knowledge through customized courses for different groups on an evidence-based policy which utilizes scientific experimentation on management concept for best policy formulation decisions.  

Prof. Dheeraj Sharma, Director. IIM Rohtak talks about improving the B-school curriculum, diversity and preparing the students for future leadership.  

IIM Rohtak has seen its diversity improve over the years. How does it help the productivity of the B-school?

Management institutes across the country face complex challenges with respect to diversity. IIM Rohtak was no different but with its strong commitment to improvement in the gender diversity; IIM Rohtak has achieved a benchmark by attaining nearly 50 percent of its students and 1/3rd of its faculty as women. We have actively engaged with potential applicants through our outreach programs, management conclaves, and online interactions. These efforts have given us historic numbers in terms of diversity. Over the last 2 years, the number of female students of the institute has increased from a mere 9 percent to nearly 50 percent. This demonstrates the institute’s devoted efforts to improve gender diversity and ensure equality in the education system for all meritorious students. 

Increased diversity in the class adds to diversity in perspectives, opinions, and ideas, which in turn results in increased sharpness of solution offered to various business problems. For diversity to yield results, we attempt to facilitate an inclusive work environment and reducing biases through discussions, debates, and role plays. In a diverse environment at IIM Rohtak, we hope to produce well-rounded future business leaders.

Does online learning pose a threat to the traditional method of learning in universities? How do universities carve out a niche for themselves in an age of digital learning?

Residential management programmes provide an opportunity to the students to have face-to-face interactions with its mentors, peers, and other stakeholders, that add to the perspectives, ideas, and opinions, thus enhancing the scope of learning for the student. Regular interactions, group activities, and classroom participation help students in improving their overall personality apart from the subject knowledge.  However, the online learning platform best suits individuals who have time constraints in taking up full-time programmes. 

Thus, online learning courses provide the opportunity to attain the best management knowledge through a format where students are expected to log in, read course materials, contribute to online class discussions and complete assignments. My view is that blended learning programmes create an excellent opportunity for the participants by combining the face to face interactions with the flexibility of time and place. Taking into consideration the market requirements, IIM Rohtak has introduced multiple long and short duration programmes to cater to the requirement of the industry which are sought after by a large number of working executives. 

How to create students who are skilled enough to be employed? What skills do you prepare the students for them to be employable?

Students undergo well-developed and up to date course work in 2 years through case-based pedagogy at IIM Rohtak. Several term project and live projects are an integral part of the course curriculum to provide students with an insight into current global trends and future business opportunities. We have activities to bridge the gap between industry and academics such as management summits, leadership lecture workshops, and certificate programmes. Multiple simulation games allow the student to develop superior decision making using industry data thereby making them attuned to challenges of the corporate world. We have specialized workshops for communications to create business managers who are excellent in not just analysis but also in articulation. 

Students of IIM Rohtak attend various skill and domain-based workshops and certificate programmes to further enhance their knowledge as per the latest demand of the industry. Overall, immersive and interactive learning opportunities offered at IIM Rohtak create excellent performance outcomes for our students. 

What are the hindrances in the education system that challenges the rise of Indian B-schools in global ranking?

I believe scaling up of the top management institutes is an important issue. A typical top North American or European Business School is larger than an IIM as they are usually housed in a university. The synergy with other departments of the university allows them ease of scaling up. The scaling up will create more opportunities to innovate and experiment. Blended learning and exploring integrated programs may be a way to expand.

Management institutes need to augment and enhance the scope of the curriculum due to technological changes in the environment. I believe that there needs to be a continuous process of enriching the curriculum in line with the industry needs. I hope we can have more frequent interactions between management institutions, industry, and government to continuously revamp enhance curriculum. 

Are Indian b-schools losing their charm in global rankings because the MBA degree has become job route for students rather than learning skills?

I believe several Indian management institutions are doing really well, at least a few of them feature in the global rankings. However, global ranking parameters do not offer a level playing field for Indian institutions. First, salaries are calculated in dollars which should be on PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) basis. Second, research in Indian journals is not emphasized. Also, international students do not come to study in India as it is far more competitive to study in Indian institutions than their home institutions. Therefore, global rankings cannot be a parameter for assessing our schools/institutions. 

Is India moving towards its aim of becoming the second best global hub after the USA for B-School Education by 2025?

India should attempt to become a global hub for business management education. Being the world’s largest B School market, this can be achieved provided we focus on factors like infrastructure, eminent faculty, diversity, and innovative curriculum which will be critical to attracting industry globally. The country has premier institutions like IIMs and other good business schools which have the necessary infrastructure in place but there is a need for more. Other factors that B-schools could focus on are getting international students particular from SAARC nations and Gulf region, strengthening relationships with a global corporation, and working on crediting niche that define India as the fountainhead of knowledge at least in South-East Asia. 

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