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Making managers

Published : Jan 27, 2012 00:00 IST


Students at the School of Management Studies, Cochin University of Science and Technology.-H. VIBHU

Students at the School of Management Studies, Cochin University of Science and Technology.-H. VIBHU

The growth of management education in India has been phenomenal, with new management schools opening almost every month in some part of the country. However, students find it difficult to choose the right school, except when it comes to the premier institutes.

Management education in the country began in the late 1950s, when the universities of Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta and Madras started part-time courses in management at the post-graduation level for working executives. Their popularity resulted in other universities also offering such courses. The Indian Institutes of Management then came up in Ahmedabad, Calcutta (now Kolkata), Bangalore and Lucknow to offer full-time courses of two-year duration for fresh graduates.

Within the university system, the faculty of management studies of the University of Delhi was the first to launch a full-time MBA programme in 1967, which was followed by several other universities in India. A good number of universities also started offering part-time and correspondence courses in management. The Indira Gandhi National Open University today offers a wide range of courses in management.

While in the early 1990s there were only a handful of management schools in the country, a Supreme Court judgment in 1993 led to a surge in the number of management schools.In Kerala, only a few institutions, such as the School of Management Studies, Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT); Department of Commerce and Management Studies, Calicut University, and the Institute of Management in Kerala, University of Kerala, were offering MBA programmes in the early 1990s. However, there are many new institutions now offering MBA degree programmes.

One cannot, compare the performance of a university department with that of a private school as there will be big differences in factors such as faculty strength and infrastructure. University departments tend to have better quality faculty but poorer infrastructure compared with many new private schools. Universities have realised the need to involve industry professionals in framing the curriculum. Currently, interaction with industry is restricted to industry personnel handling special classes at management institutions.

It is important that universities do the following to foster a mutually beneficial climate with industry:

provide for adequate number of industry personnel on the board of studies in management and commerce, faculty of management and commerce and also in the governing bodies.

revise the curriculum as per the requirements of industry and have continuous interaction with leaders in industry for the same.

Have close interaction with industry by setting up Chair centres, Chair professorships as was done recently in Kerala University where the State Bank of Travancore established a Chair professor in Banking by transferring Rs.55 lakh.

Have more interaction with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and other chambers of commerce.

Conduct industry-relevant projects and training programmes.

To conclude, in 2011-12, as per the statistics put out by the All India Council of Technical Education, the number of applicants for (establishing) management institutions was only 400. In another five years, only those that can sustain their faculty, impart training to them, have a close link with industry, offer niche specialisations and choose students with a focus on cross-subsidising fees will be able to survive.

Dr K.S. Chandrasekar Dr K.S. Chandrasekar is Professor and Head, Institute of Management in Kerala, and Dean, Faculty of Management Studies, University of Kerala.

(This story was published in the print edition of Frontline magazine dated Jan 27, 2012.)



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