Managing the nation

Published : May 08, 2009 00:00 IST

Arindam Chaudhuri: The vision [behind the IIPM] was to groom managers who have a macro-level vision for the nation.-RAJEEV BHATT

Arindam Chaudhuri: The vision [behind the IIPM] was to groom managers who have a macro-level vision for the nation.-RAJEEV BHATT

PROFESSOR Arindam Chaudhuri is the Honorary Dean of the Centre for Economic Research and Advanced Studies at the Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM). This economist, philosopher, film-maker, and writer reflects on the evolution of management education in India and tells us about the ways in which people can tackle the economic recession.

What was the vision behind the IIPM?

The vision was to set up an institute that would not just groom managers for the micro-level but managers who have a macro-level vision for the nation. Thats why we call it the Institute of Planning and Management. Planning does not stand for just micro-managerial planning; it stands for national economic planning. Given a choice, our institute would have been called the Indian Institute of Planning and Administration of the National Economy. But then there would have been no market for us.

As a pioneer in management education, how do you think management teaching has evolved over the years? Have market needs necessitated this evolution?

Yes, market always influences education and it should, in the right manner. For instance, globalisation made us add a paper on global opportunities and threat analysis. Today we are the only institute from where students go abroad and study at top B-schools. As the digital revolution took place, management courses included papers like digital marketing. As investment banks closed down, the investment banking paper at the IIPM was rechristened wealth management. Management as an education stream has also evolved totally, thanks to market needs.

What makes the IIPM different from other management institutes in the country?

The IIPM is different due to many things but the first and foremost reason is our education. Its unarguably superior to the education imparted at any B-school in the world. Its an MBA programme with compulsory specialisation in marketing and entrepreneurship combined with an M.A. Economics level course and a specialisation in national economic planning. So while the best MBAs are above 120 credits, the IIPM programme is 200 credits.

Then there is our faculty. They are the only ones in India who take regular workshops with the faculty of the top 20 B-schools of the world. Conducting corporate sessions jointly with them requires abilities that very few possess in this country, where every real estate company to sweet shop is imparting education.

The slogan Dare to think beyond IIMs is quite popular. But why compare with the IIMs?

We say it because if true education is what matters, then there is no institute better than the IIPM. And its important to make people realise it in a comparative manner. The IIM aura, due to their placements, blinds people so much that they dont care about who gives better education. At the IIPM, we are waiting for our placement packages to touch the level of the IIM packages. When it does, people will start opting for the IIPM first.

Has the economic recession changed your approach to management education?

Recession has not changed the IIPMs approach towards education at all. Yes, it has changed our approach towards placements. We had a team of 66 people doing placements globally. Now we have a team of 88, as more feet on the street means more companies on the campus.

This year we are concentrating on small and medium enterprises and aim to get around 750 companies to the campus instead of the 600 that we got last year.

Is the corporate sector the only option for management students or should students look out for other sectors such as non-governmental organisations and the public sector in such tough times?

When my students ask me where I want to see them 15 years from now, I always say politics. I tell them that they are the most suited to become politicians with their knowledge of management and economics.

What is your advice to MBA aspirants in such times?

My advice to students is: gather as much knowledge as you can. Even in these difficult times, if there is a student who can show that he can make a difference to a company, there wont be a dearth of jobs for him.

Sign in to Unlock member-only benefits!
  • Bookmark stories to read later.
  • Comment on stories to start conversations.
  • Subscribe to our newsletters.
  • Get notified about discounts and offers to our products.
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide to our community guidelines for posting your comment