Inside India’s B-School In The Heart Of Its Tech Capital

Professor G. Raghuram, director of IIM-Bangalore. Courtesy photo

P&Q: What makes a student a good fit for IIM Bangalore? 

G. Raghuram: A high-performing student who’s, shall we say, enthusiastic and either high-performing academically or high-performing in their recent work experience. And enthusiastic — aspirational, I would say. Yeah, that’s the kind of student.

What do these students learn in the PGP program at IIM-Bangalore? Is there a focus on soft skills? 

We have courses in communication, how to promote a positive workplace mindset. These are required courses. And of course, we have organizational behavior, understanding of the individual and teams, organizations. Of course there is customer orientation through our courses in marketing, strategic outlook. And then of course perspectives on business, government, and society. We teach soft skills not just in terms of individual skills, but also in building perspectives.

We have the richest suite of electives in India. People can pick an elective in negotiations or in more understanding of organizational issues. Apart from economic and quantitative methods and the hard courses, there is a lot of opportunity to do some soft-skill courses. At the core of IIMB is its faculty. We have a world-class faculty of more than 140 researchers, academics and practitioners from schools and industry. The faculty generate knowledge through cutting-edge research and consulting in all functional areas of management.

How does the PGP curriculum differ from the coursework that Western business schools offer? Are there major differences that you can point out for us? 

Entrepreneurial Mindset and Action, one of the electives from first year, third term onwards, which is tied to NSRCEL, our startup hub. Some others include the Himalayan Mountain Challenge, a six-day program in some of the highest places in the country that focuses on developing management skills in real-time scenarios; the India-Japan Study Centre, where each year a group of 30 MBA students visit Japan as part of the Business Planning for International Markets program; a program in Israel with the Collier School of Management at Tel Aviv University; and such courses as Explore Management through Management Paradigms from the Bhagavad Gita, to Imagining Indian Culture & Society through Indian Cinema.

How is the PGP program at IIM-B evolving? What changes are we making in the next year, two years, five years?

IIM-B has introduced double-degree programs, increased international course experience with the Global Network Weeks through the Global Network for Advanced Management — a unique collaborative network of 30 world-class schools, introduced week-long international courses like the Business Planning in International Markets (BPIM) course (covering Vietnam, Indonesia, Dubai, Japan) — and launched experiential learning workshops to hone risk-taking abilities, situational leadership, and teamwork amongst its students. We also recently had a curriculum review to bring in topics that will impact business (IoT, blockchain, etc.), and the school mandates social impact projects.

I don’t see the core of the curriculum really changing. Everybody talks about this being a time of great change. But I think the core curriculum and the approach to education, which is what I like to call “shaping the mind,” that doesn’t change. Once you are able to read the environment is changing, you’re able to quickly read it, and then come out with implications for the organization and for the individual. I think that’s a fundamental. And so may electives will change as a result.

Can you share any major developments that are being planned? Digital offerings, etc.?

IIM-B is the first B-school in India to launch massive open online courses (MOOCs) in management education on several platforms, including edX. MOOCs are a part of many courses of the PGP. Some courses use blended learning. Students enroll into a few basic courses even before joining the program. And there are courses offered related to digital marketing and artificial intelligence. All these cutting-edge courses are taught by IIM-B faculty.

What is IIMB doing to give the PGP students an international outlook?

Courses and cases have international orientation apart from having local focus. Student have an opportunity to go for a term exchange with over 100 partner schools. International students come to IIM-B on exchange. The BPIM course introduces students to international markets with two weeks of immersion. They get the Israel experience, too. International faculty come for a term and offer courses. IIM-B students collaborate on projects with their counterparts in schools from the global network.

The main building on the campus of IIM-Bangalore. Courtesy photo

(See more photos of IIM-B on page 3.)