IIM Ahmedabad PGPX founder in-charge – “Hire the boss from one year MBA and his subordinate from two year PGP”


Part 1

Alok jainIn conversation with Dr. Alok Jain, Founder in-charge of IIM Ahmedabad’s One year MBA (PGPX) and Professor, Marketing and Director, Corporate Engagements & Communications at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai. Dr Jain was founder Dean at Universal Business School, Mumbai and he served at IIM Ahmedabad for nearly 6 years after his corporate career. He joined IIM, Ahmedabad as the Manager of PGPX (One year MBA) which has been ranked as 11th in the Global MBA ranking by Financial Times, UK for 2011 and 2012. Dr. Alok Jain has more than two decades of experience spanning across the corporate sector and academics. Oneyearmba.co.in caught up with him to get a sense of where the One year MBA is headed in India.


Q. While ISB was not the first business school to launch the course in India (I believe it was IMI which actually started the programme way back in 1984) it played a big role in popularising the one year format by adopting it for their flagship MBA. Soon after, IIM Ahmedabad launched PGPX. You were at IIM Ahmedabad during this period and had a huge contribution in launching PGPX. This was a bold new step for a B-school with a long history of running a very successful two year programme. Could you share with us how it all started? What was the thinking behind starting the One year MBA at IIM A?

Yes, ISB indeed brought One year MBA on the national canvas by corporatizing it and by promoting it with a lot of noise in the media. However the One year MBA is not the contribution of India in the global MBA scenario. India has merely copied the concept from the West and moulded it a little based on local suitability.

IIM A’s story of launching a One year MBA has a voluminous history dating back to 1994. The plans finally saw the light of day with the One year full time MBA (PGPX) getting launched in 2006.


A meticulous analysis of industry, academia and alumni was done by the business school to arrive at the decision to launch a One year MBA to address a new segment in management education. The industry felt the need of having middle managers with latest orientation and things clicked at the right time. During the IT revolution, many engineers had migrated for greener pastures but they soon realized that they must have an MBA to climb to a senior management scale. Hence it became a win-win for all.

Q. Today PGPX is the No.1 MBA in India and Asia as per the ranking brought out by Financial Times, UK,  and the course has consistently featured on the Top 15 in the Global MBA rankings. But starting a new course at IIM A back would not have been easy. Tell us a little more about the discussions in IIM A at that time. Unlike the two-year programme the One year MBA (PGPX) was not going to be subsidized by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). Were there apprehensions on the course’s potential for success and the acceptability of a course that demanded work experience the way MBA courses at foreign universities did?

Well, this is an extension of the earlier question. A lot of brain storming was done and the Governing board was finally convinced to give a go ahead for the launch of PGPX.campus focus 1

More importantly, once the decision to launch was made, I would say that the follow though cleared all doubts of the potential of the programme. A careful selection of academic content, a rigour of 665 sessions in some eleven and half months, careful selection from applications and constant monitoring at each stage helped in establishing the programme firmly.

Regular feedback was drawn from students and faculties and necessary modifications were implemented after taking a 360 degree view. Placements were certainly an apprehension but the average incoming salary of Rs 8 lakh and the average outgoing salary of Rs 25 lakh stole the show. None of the government employees who joined the course went back to their earlier role.

But yes there were challenges. The toughest challenge we faced was how to confirm the work experience of a candidate. In India, where ‘jugaad’ is a part of life, it was very difficult to determine the authenticity of work experience. For example, if the ward of a flour shop owner brought a certificate from his father that his ward worked as COO for 5 years; how could you dispute it? Therefore, considering the fact that a typical student in India graduates at 22 or post graduates at 24, we set 27 years of age as the minimum entry age for PGPX to account for 4-5 years of work experience after graduation. frisbeeiima

As regarding subsidy, the lack of it may actually have been a contributing factor in the success of the One year MBA. Most students entering the course spend their own hard earned money and often have families depending on them which makes them extract each penny of their investment with absolute seriousness. In the two year MBA, most students play on their father’s money and are single.

Q. Unlike graduates of the two-year programme at Indian B-schools, the graduates of the one year MBA join organisations in senior roles. This is in sync with the recruitment pattern at international B-schools. As opposed to this, Indian organisations have typically picked up talent at the entry level from B-schools. Do you think the industry today understands the proposition of the One year MBA? What more can be done by industry in conjunction with B-schools to make the most of the world class MBA talent coming out of One year programmes in India? Akin to the Management trainee programme for talent graduating the two-year programme, should corporates start a ‘Management Leadership’ programme as a means to induct talent from One year MBAs in India?

When we started PGPX, it was challenging for us to explain to the recruiting world why we were approaching them for final placements. An IIM approaching corporations was seen with some amount of suspicion and something not typically required if everything was right in our house. But after our detailed presentation and explanation to recruiters, they understood the mathematics and gradually accepted it. Now the industry very well understands the proposition of a One year MBA.

I suggest that recruiters should hire the boss from the One year MBA and his subordinate from the two year PGP/ PGDM of the same institute (in India). This could help diminish, for instance, the initial friction that comes in the mind of an IIM graduate when he works under a non IIM boss. EOS 019A boss and a subordinate from the same school can do wonders in terms of team functioning and leadership.

Secondly, the restless two year MBA graduate from an IIM will wait with his boss to move to greener pastures. Learning & Development is a constant exercise. It is a must at all levels. Executives at all levels must be given a complete orientation on the philosophy of the organization. I find many Indian organizations now focusing hard on Learning & development.

Part 2 of the interview will appear next Thursday and will focus on the way ahead for One year MBA courses in India.

Want to ask Dr. Alok Jain a question? Go ahead and pen down your thoughts in the comments section below.




  1. With due respect to all the MBA institutes mentioned in this article, I would like to highlight 2 specific points from the article –
    1) ‘the average outgoing salary of Rs 25 lakh stole the show.’ – This is an extremely misguiding number. Even the most honest institutes don’t explicitly state that these average numbers are calculated based on ‘all job offers made to students’, which could range between 1-5 or more depending on institute’s placement policy and quality of talent, and not based on ‘job offers accepted and jobs joined’, which can only be 1. I am sure readers here are aware of other figure escalating means such as currency conversion, one time bonus, CTC maze.

    2) ‘I suggest that recruiters should hire the boss from the One year MBA and his subordinate from the two year MBA of the same institute.’ – Why? Does it mean that just 1 or 2 year of academic life at an institute renders the person incapable and unwilling of working with bright professionals from other academic/ institutional backgrounds. If that’s a trend which is being observed then I must say that the ‘entitlement syndrome’ that a majority of students from top MBA institutes suffer with must be addressed as a top priority.

    • Dear Vidhan as regards the first point made by you –

      The number isn’t misguiding and hasn’t been put for any publicity or credit. The crude fact of the success of any MBA institute is ‘Outgoing Salary’. Since incoming salary of 8 lakhs was based on Indian and International averages, outgoing was calculated on same basis. However, with more number of students coming from abroad, this difference surely decreased in coming batches. But, salary component till then became history.

      As regards the second point put forward by you – I feel this is a negative reading of what I have shared. My comment is to be read in totality which largely expresses that the senior and junior can make a great team because of similar learning environment. No research has been done to verify the factual status of this thought by the interviewee. Readers have all rights to form their opinion.

  2. Oneyearmba.co.in on

    Hi Vidhan,

    Your point on inflated numbers is very valid and is a common concern for aspirants. Data is often sliced and diced till it presents the story a business school wants to showcase. In IIM Ahmadabad’s case, this does not seem to be the case.

    IIM Ahmedabad took the lead a few years back and became the first business school to publish an audited placement report. The 2012 placement report was audited by Crisil.

    The placement numbers put across by Dr. Jain are corroborated by those mentioned in the placement report and in fact the average Domestic CTC for the PGPX batch of 2012 was Rs 29 lakhs. This number does not include any international salaries.

    The average international salary at PGPX for 2012 was $1,68,197. This has been reported in dollars and not in rupee terms as that can be misleading due to differences in purchasing power parity across countries and has also been kept separate from domestic salaries so as to present an accurate picture.

  3. Dear Dr.Alok Jain,
    I have a question for you and would love to hear your feedback on that.
    My Profile in Brief:
    I am a Business Intelligence consultant with 9+ years of experience ( 3 Years India- Cognizant , 6+ years in USA) working in the IT /Training and HR domain as part of my Job description and also part of the Leadership team for a business started in partnership with an IIM A grad.

    My Assumption:
    PGPX admission process gives preference to Green card holders and citizens of foreign countries.

    My question to you:
    I am planning to apply for the PGPX program – 2015 and I believe that IIM A considers me as an Indian applicant, since I hold an Indian passport and yet to receive my US green card. Even though my international experience is valued during the process of admission, why should I not be considered as an International applicant or NRI( except for scholarships) based on experience? Most of my business contacts and exposure comes from USA.

    Please advice.

    Thanking you in advance.

  4. I have been working in Software Industry for about 6 years and I have been in the dilemma of how effective will the one year MBA program be compared to the two year program for a working professional especially with years of experience more than 5?
    I am interested to move into management from the software stream. However, the finance that is involved is high enough and the ROI is something that I am not sure about.
    Please help em out with these Details.

    S Shalini

    • Hi Shalini,

      We assume that by programmes for working professionals you are referring to programmes for people with work experience (or simply MBA courses as work experience is taken for granted in any MBA programme globally :-). Programmes for working professionals are Executive MBA programmes which are part-time programmes meant for professionals who work as executives during the day and pursue their MBA alongside work.

      One year MBA vs two-year PGP – these are entirely different programmes. One is an MBA programme as understood globally, while the PGP is an MIM programme by global standards and largely inducts freshers. Read One year MBA vs two-year PGP for more information on this aspect – http://www.oneyearmba.co.in/one-year-mba-vs-two-year-pgp/ . Read about the global accreditation of these two programmes here: http://www.oneyearmba.co.in/one-year-mba-iim-c-pgpex-awarded-mba-accreditation-by-amba-uk/

      With 5+ years of work experience, we would guide you to a one year MBA programme. Peer learning is important in any MBA programme, and the two-year programme in India as an MIM programme is not geared for that. Also the learning in the classroom is different – an MIM programme provides freshers a theoretical grounding in business, while an MBA programme takes a more practical approach to learning.

      The ROI can be gleaned from placements gained by participants more details of which can be found on our programme pages. Most candidates report 33% to 100% hikes post a One year MBA and a jump in profiles. Most participants are placed at senior manager, AGM, VP profiles with some bagging CEO profiles too. Average placements for one year MBAs at at Top 5 IIMs range between approx 18 lakh and 33 lakh per annum depending on profile and a candidate’s years of work experience while average placements for two-year PGP’s range between 12 lakh and 18 lakh on average across years.

      We would also advise you to read our series of articles – Basics of a one year MBA in India which is essential reading for anyone planning a One year MBA in India – http://www.oneyearmba.co.in/category/one-year-mba-around-the-world/one-year-mba-in-india-2/basics-of-a-one-year-mba-in-india/

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