Appreared first in Business Standard, Rediff.com, Indian Management
Many B-schools in India offering a One year MBA have tweaked the ‘student exchange’ offered in a two year PGDM/PGP to a international immersion. For instance, instead of a student exchange for a few candidates, the entire batch of the one-year full-time MBA at the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) spends a substantial period at an international B-school, to gain a global perspective of business. Students get immersed in a class consisting of candidates from around the world. In an era of globalization and inter-cultural working, this experience is highly valued by the students.
At IIM Indore, for instance, those pursuing the one-year full-time MBA (EPGP) spend an entire term (eight weeks) at the University of Pittsburgh, US. The term includes a mix of classroom lectures and visits to prominent businesses.
The classroom component opens subjects such as global macroeconomics and cross-cultural dimensions of business for debate in an environment which is intensely multi-cultural. MBA students at the University of Pittsburgh come from various countries.
The discussions that ensue gain considerably from the vast international work experience of students of IIM Indore’s one-year batch. The students of the batch of 2013, on an average, have close to two years of international experience, spanning 29 countries across four continents.
Debating, discussing and finally coming up with solutions to business cases in such a multi-cultural environment prepare IIM students for international business assignments after graduation. Upon completion of the international immersion, they tend to become more empathetic to different communication and managerial styles and possible conflict points in an international workplace.
A big part of the learning is gained through visits to premier companies such as Bombardier and PPG, as well as studying management techniques in non-corporate environments such as the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, one of the largest hospital chains in the US.
Students tour factories and labs to understand international manufacturing techniques and interact first-hand with a foreign workforce. Most tours end with invigorating discussions on business strategy with the management at these companies.
As part of the term, beyond classroom work, learning is also encouraged through observing local culture through guided tours of culture repositories such as the Carnegie Mellon Museum. Understanding the culture that makes a nation is often the first step to understanding the people that make the nation. Local art and theatre is, hence, seen as a window to the minds of men and women that students at IIM Indore might soon engage with in a business environment.
On completion of the term, students are awarded an Executive Leadership Programme Certificate from the University of Pittsburgh, an additional qualification on the CV.
Similar tie-ups exist at XLRI, SP Jain, IIM A, B, C and L, IMI, IMT etc and this is a unique feature of the one-year full-time MBA.