P&Q: What have you learned during the pandemic and the shift to hybrid or remote learning and how will impact the MBA experience going forward?
RK: “The pandemic taught us that technology can be leveraged significantly to enhance the classroom experience. Before the COVID pandemic hit the world, IIMA had already invested significantly in technology within and outside the classroom. These investments helped us seamlessly move all of our programmes to an online mode, without compromising the quality of education.
Subsequently, as we stepped into hybrid mode, teaching methodology evolved keeping in mind the nuances of the online set-up of classroom while students stayed on campus. We also benefitted from the virtual mode as it was feasible to invite more industry leaders from a variety of backgrounds to participate in the classroom discussions.
Overall, we were able to leverage technology well and adapted to the circumstances by thoughtful innovations and constant learning.”
P&Q: In the latest Financial Times ranking, IIM Ahmedabad MBAs were earning $192,340 within three years of graduation, higher than any other IIM. In The Economist survey of your alumni, your career services center ranked among the best in the world. Talk to us about how your program generates such outcomes, including how your career team helps to drive these results.
RK: “Our placement strategy follows the approach of ‘maximizing recruiter-student fit,’ rather than just getting our students a job. This long run career emphasis enables us to place students in positions they are most suited for. This allows them to not only hit the ground running, but also grow at a fast pace.
We have a strong emphasis on student-driven placement system that ensures a seamless management of the placement activities with adequate support from the corporate relations team. Our strong career progression record is a direct outcome of our rigourous admissions process that helps us recruit best talent, and further develop them into fine leaders with a strong emphasis on developing decision-making skills throughout the programme.”
P&Q: IIM Ahmedabad is one of the most prestigious and selective MBA programs in the world. What are two ways that applicants can set themselves apart and increase their odds of receiving deeper consideration for admission?
RK: “IIM Ahmedabad’s MBA is an ideal programme for high achievers. We look for people who excelled in their career so far and have contributed to their organizations in a tangible manner. Further, we look at the students with a broader world view. Finally, with our case-based pedagogy, the students develop multiple perspectives of a problem. Therefore, in order to maintain top notch quality of classroom discussion, we believe the diversity of the cohort (gender, functional, industry, academic background, etc.) plays a significant role. In this globalized world, students need to be open minded and accepting to heretical ideas, while retaining a deep understanding of nuances when interacting with people from varied backgrounds.
We look for honest and interesting narratives in the application that help us filter the most distinctive and aspirational future leaders. We also like to admit students with a diverse mix of talent. Finally, we encourage the applicants to have thought through their professional aspirations and be able to articulate how an MBA from IIMA will help them get there.”
P&Q: What are some aspects of IIM Ahmedabad’s programming and culture that make it appealing to women? International students?
RK: “Women alumni from our programmes have occupied top positions in the corporate world in several sectors. The reputation this institute enjoys in the Indian corporate world helps women significantly in breaking gender stereotypes and fostering inclusivity at their future workplaces. Our programme has also helped our alumni build international careers. While we lag in the international diversity of our student body, our programme is designed in a way that caters to international students as much as it does to the Indian students. In addition, our unique campus life is highly family friendly for students from all backgrounds.”
5 REASONS TO CONSIDER IIM AHMEDABAD
What has been the best part of the PGPX program? This is what the Class of 2021 had to say:
1) Cases: “In a traditional educational setting, more often than not, we understand frameworks in a theoretical way and hypothesize their application. IIMA offers a completely case-based approach to learning. At PGPX, you are a decision-maker every moment you breathe. One day you’re the CEO of Starbucks and strategizing its market expansion and another day you’re solving for the assembly line bottlenecks at Boeing. We assume the role of CXOs and mid-level managers while discussing our strategies to solve real business cases. It is only after we immerse ourselves into the context and understand the problem at hand that we go back to theory and refer to frameworks that can augment our understanding of how to solve problems in a real business environment.”
“As an engineer, I was quite used to having a straight-forward, optimal solution for most problems that I encountered. IIMA’s case-based learnings really pushed me out of my comfort zone and one-dimensional thinking. The method focuses on tackling open ended problems with no clear solution. You have a 10-member diverse team attacking the problem from different angles. Solution identification was done through an iterative process, where we repeatedly came up with multiple solutions and then everyone took turns to poke holes in each of them. At each step, we pushed ourselves to come up with the best version of our solution possible within the constraints. This really stretched my mind and drove home an important lesson: it is not enough to have just a solution, but one should be able to communicate it well and build consensus within the team in order to be an effective leader.”
2) One-Year Format: “I believe a 1-year MBA made more sense for a professional with over 8 years of international experience such as myself. The opportunity cost of a 2-year MBA also seemed way too high to warrant consideration.”
3) Coursework: “For a student coming from social sciences and marketing backgrounds, an MBA programme can seem to be a daunting and intimidating experience. When I got my offer letter from IIMA, I spoke to many alumni from similar domains and shared my anxiety about the coursework. And that’s when I understood one of the key characteristics of the programme – the coursework here is designed in a way to ensure that each candidate can make the best of her own skillset to navigate the various course modules. For instance, a course in Finance Reporting and Analysis is taught without presupposing any understanding of the domain on part of the participants. This kind of awareness of the students’ learning needs was a big motivator for me to join the IIMA PGPX cohort. The programme’s academic rigor is hard no matter where you come from, but it does equip everyone with the tools needed to ensure all participants derive value from the experience.”
4) Brand Value: “The first name that comes to mind when we think of Top MBA colleges in India is IIMA. The brand value, the legacy, and the rich alumni network are what motivated me to take a leap of faith and apply to IIMA.”
“IIM Ahmedabad is one of the most prestigious organizations in India with a long list of alumni who are highly revered across the globe and being counted in this list was in itself a moment of pride.”
5) Sustainability: “One of the key reasons for me to join IIMA was the course structure and the choice of electives that the PGPX program offers. I am a sustainability enthusiast and IIMA offers an eclectic buffet of structured courses around green operations and energy, and electives such as Carbon Markets. I believe that IIMA will help me pursue and nurture my interests within the sustainability domain and build the necessary business skills to enable me to fulfill my career ambitions.”
ADVICE TO FUTURE IIM AHMEDABAD APPLICANTS
Here’s what two PGPX class members did during the application process to set themselves apart to admissions.
“I would ask you to reflect deeply and understand why you want to pursue MBA. This is important because, as a student at IIMA, you will have many choices on your career aspirations to make. As Michael Porter would say, strategy requires you to make trade-offs, to choose what not to do. Having clarity will help you make these trade-offs more effectively. During the admissions process, this would help you with the essays as well as the interview stage, particularly in answering the questions of the professors during the interview.”
“IIM Ahmedabad is a school for leadership learning and there is a lot of focus on diversity and decision-making ability. Potential applicants should highlight these aspects on their application. Since an MBA is a significant investment in terms of time and money, one should be careful in choosing a school that has the potential of fulfilling one’s learning and growth targets. Be honest in your essays and communicate clearly and directly. The admission interview has a unique component which involves discussing and debating a social issue with a member of the interview panel. It is designed to gauge the participants ability to take and justify a stand. Practicing in advance can help applicants improve their chances.”
Click on the student links below for in-depth profiles of some of this year’s most promising IIM Ahmedabad MBA students.
|MBA Student||Hometown||Undergrad Alma Mater||Last Employer|
|Ajay Antony||Kochi, Kerala||Indian Institute of Technology Madras||Airbus Helicopters France|
|Shubham Dang||Allahabad, Uttar-Pradesh||Delhi School of Economics||SCOPT Analytics|
|Shubham Gupta||Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh||Indian Institute of Delhi||World Resources Institute|
|Ridhi Jain||Gurgaon, Haryana||University College London||The Economist Group|
|Anand Kewlani||Ajmer, Rajasthan||IIT Bombay||Kean Constructions|
|Vanya Mishra||Chandigarh, India||PEC University of Technology||Reliance Jio|
|Manish Kumar Pandey||Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh||Indira Gandhi National Open University||Indian Army|
|Sarvesh Patel||Mumbai, Maharashtra||BITS Pilani||Patel Auto Engg Co|
|Aditi Sodhani||Delhi, India||Delhi University||Alohomora Education Foundation|
|Kaumudi Tiwari||New Delhi, India||Kamala Nehru College, University of Delhi||Lufthansa German Airlines|
|Parul Vashist||New Delhi, India||National Institute of Fashion Technology||Myntra Jabong India Pvt. Ltd.|
|Sandeep Yadav||Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh||JSS Academy of Technical Education, Noida||Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Govt. of India|