Meet The Indian Institute Of Management Calcutta MBAEx Class Of 2023

Class of 2023 batch enjoying a fun photoshoot


Of course, Kolkata is a pretty good place to spend a year in business school. Think Eden Gardens for cricket, Park Street for cuisine, and the Burrabazaar for shopping – or you can just sip tea at an Adda too. With a $150 billion dollar GDP – the third-largest in India – Kolkata offers an array of opportunities for IIM Calcutta grads looking to shift industries and roles, pursue passions, or gain influence.

“Calcutta is a heritage city and eastern hub of India. It housed the early business empires of India and played a pivotal role in setting up the business environment & economic/capital structure of the nation,” observes Manojit Kumar Dalai. “It has a significant impact on the social, political, and cultural landscape of the nation as well. A lot of major public and private enterprises spanning different industries are headquartered out of Kolkata. These include ABP Group, Apeejay Surendra Group, AMRI Hospitals, Balmer Lawrie Co., Bandhan Bank, Britannia Industries, Emami Group, Exide Industries, Hindustan Motors, ITC Group, Lux Industries, RPSG Group, and Spencer’s Retail. This gives the city a mixed flavor of business culture along with socio-economic movement. Hence, the city sets up as an ideal locale for understanding the dynamics of the Indian economy and business contexts.”

And culture and entertainment too, adds Rajiv Kumar Suman. “For a connoisseur, one will fall in love with this city for its amazing variety of sweets, vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes (e.g., mishti doi, aloo posto, hilsa, etc.). Simultaneously the city draws you to its roots of the rich culture in forms of various arts (e.g., music, literature, painting, dance, idol making, spirituality, etc.). And then you will run here into several discussions of politics, economics, business, and sports with well-read and opinionated individuals making you re-think your own ideas.”

This year, IIM Calcutta’s one-year, full-time residential EMBA program features 78 students, including 13% women. The Class of 2023 brings a 697 average GMAT to Joka. Academically, 86% of the class majored in an engineering-related field as undergraduates, with the remainder holding degrees in commerce (6%), science (5%), and other majors (3%).

Batch enjoying indoor sports competition


What can MBAs expect from the MBAEx program in the coming year? In July, P&Q posed a series of questions to Dr. Pragyan Rath, the program chairperson. Here are her responses on what differentiates the program and what MBAs can expect in the coming years.

P&Q: What are the two most exciting developments at IIM Calcutta and how will they enrich the MBAEx experience for current and future MBAEx?

Dr. Pragyan Rath

Rath: “The two most exciting developments at IIM Calcutta are:

(a) Internationalisation through Accreditations:

The Internationalisation efforts by IIM Calcutta, with its triple International Accreditations expands the global potential, reach and exposure for IIM Calcutta and its programs across Europe, America, and the Asian geographies. These accreditations are as follows:

  • EQUIS, EFMD Quality Improvement System Accreditation by EFMD, (international organization for management development)
  • AACSB, The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (USA based)
  • AMBA, The Association of MBAs (UK based)

The MBAEx Program itself has an in-built international component called the IIP, International Immersion Program, which is a uniquely designed 2-week immersion mandatory for all students. In the academic year of 2020-21, we partnered with ESSEC Business School (France) and Mannheim Business school (Germany). This component itself has been a highlight for the Institute’s Internationalisation efforts, and the accreditations further consolidate the importance of the Immersion event as very critical to the MBAEx program curricula. It will help us expand our international partnerships with a larger landscape of business schools.

(b) IIM Calcutta has encouraged more experiential forms of learning by encouraging more industry connects through events and projects with various stakeholders for hands-on management experience.

The MBAEx has developed a Live Project component that aims to provide the students a platform to apply their learning from the MBAEx program as well as provide them exposure to functional areas other than what they have been working in before joining the program, as these students are all executives with more than 5 years of experience. The exposure helps them integrate the classroom learning with practical market / research experience.”

P&Q: What are two most differentiating features of your MBAEx program? How do each of these enrich the learning of your MBA students?

Rath: “The two most differentiating features of the IIMC-MBAEx program are:

(a) Diverse Student and Faculty Cohort for IIMC-MBAEx Program – In India, MBAEx is the only full-time residential program for executives with prior industry experience (minimum 5 years, and we have had more than 10 years of experience attending the program as well). Work experience makes this executive program a unique kind of MBA that offers a platform to industry practitioners to integrate their industry experience with management education, as they prepare themselves for senior leadership roles.

Along with experience, MBAEx cohort boasts of rich industry diversity, as represented by the class of 23 diversity index in Figure 1.

Even the faculty cohort dedicated to MBAEx develop courses come from diverse knowledge systems. IIM Calcutta has unique cohort of faculty – we have courses from management-based disciplines like Finance & Control, Operations, Marketing, Information Systems, Human Resource, and Strategic Management; at the same time, we also have unique faculty groups offering courses from Economics, Business Ethics & Communication, Public Policy, and Organisational Behaviour.

Diversity brings in the much-required integrative learning skills, essential for future-ready leaders in agile markets, and a greater range of knowledge systems and industry backgrounds help develop a very integrative analytical and experiential learning experiences.

(b) Industry-Based Events, Projects and Courses – Lattice is the only Business Conclave for any program in IIM-Calcutta – it is the flagship MBAEx event in the form of a business conclave – the only event of this nature specific ONLY to MBAEx, and by extension for the institute. A Business Conclave is a one-day event that invites industry leadership to participate in panel discussions, key notes, and Leadership Talks.

MBAEx also hosts a series of Leadership Talks throughout the academic year that enables students to continuously interact with industry experts while continuing their academic activities. We also have an industry-based academic course – Being a CEO – which is unique to MBAEx. The course presents a series of industry leaders discussing ‘being a CEO’ in different industries, and the students develop reflective assignments on the same at the end of the course. LP, Live Project is the icing on the cake. It runs parallel with the academic courses in the same academic year. LP, unlike regular internships, is a novel activity for students with work experience to enhance their business knowledge base by either choosing to opt for projects with industry leadership or even participating in case writing / research writing with academic professors in the institute’s own Case Research Centre.

View from inside the classroom

P&Q:  If you were giving a campus tour, what is the first place you’d take an MBAEx applicant? Why is that so important to the MBA experience?

Rath: “In a campus tour, I would take an MBAEx student to…

(a) The B. C. Roy Memorial Library – The library is considered to be one of the best libraries in Asia in the area of Management Science and allied subjects. It acts as the learning resource centre and occupies a unique place in academic and research activities of the Institute. It houses a spectrum of data and theory and treatises and journals from Management, Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities and even Philosophy and Liberal Arts.

(b) The Centres of Learning – These are unique Centres that offer inter-disciplinary research and industry insights in social, sustainability, emerging market and intellectual spaces. Of which the two striking ones include:

MCHV: Management Center of Human Values (MCHV) is the centre of learning from Indian Psycho-Philosophical wisdom housed in a unique architectural stupa-shaped building called MCHV, synonymous with IIM Calcutta. Visiting Fellows include researchers from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology – Melbourne, Australia; Stockholm Business School – Stockholm, Sweden; Curtin University – Perth, Australia; Singapore National University – Singapore; University of York – Ontario, Canada; Regina University – Ontario, Canada; Auckland University – Auckland, New Zealand; among others

CEI: The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) nurtures innovations and start-ups by collaborations from students, faculty, alumni, industry and policy makers, addressing crucial interdisciplinary issues associated with emerging perspectives of national and international significance – Sustainable Development, Environmental Economics, Industry, Trade and Environment, Biodiversity and Biotechnology, Climate Change among others.”

P&Q: IIM Calcutta is one of the most prestigious and selective MBA programs in India. What are two ways that applicants can set themselves apart and increase their odds of receiving deeper consideration for admission?

Rath: “Two ways in which the applicants can set themselves apart for consideration for admission:

(a) The statement of purpose with a clear vision as to why the candidate wishes to join IIM Calcutta, after having worked in the industry for more than 5 years, and how s/he aspires to align his/her past experiences with the learnings from IIM Calcutta to develop an imagination for his/her future career vision beyond IIM Calcutta.

(b) Letters of recommendation from industry who is familiar with the applicant’s professional achievements and can acquaint us with their intellectual abilities, academic performance, career progressions and personal character which help in selecting suitable candidates for the program.

Next Page: Profiles of 12 IIM Calcutta MBA Candidates

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