Even as Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani said he is lucky to have not studied in the IIM, the prestigious management institutes continue to attract students in droves, now even from diverse backgrounds. In fact, a member of IIM-Ahmedabad’s interview committee said one of the key features of their selection criteria is diversity. “Diversity will improve the in-class learning and other students will benefit from it,” he said.
Although engineering students still dominate the top B-school seats, there is nonetheless a steady increase in the number of professionals from varied backgrounds eyeing an IIM degree for that extra edge or a strong push to their existing career.
In the current IIM-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) batch, for instance, there is an interesting bunch of profiles including a model, a filmmaker and few fashion designers. Moreover, in PGP-FABM programme, 45 per cent are non-engineers and 50 per cent women. Among the PGP graduate programme, non-engineering student component rose from 20 per cent in 2016-18 batch to now 32 per cent.
Balance it out
Gurdatar Ryait, a Ludhiana-based stand-up comedian, feels an MBA degree will help him sell his art well. “During my engineering days, I started uploading my performance on YouTube. Positive feedback was encouraging, but one has to learn to market one’s performance,” said Ryait who is pursuing PGP from IIM-Rohtak (IIM-R).
IIM-A’s current batch student Rashmi Teltumbde is a tennis player who has represented the country in three junior Grand Slams. After bagging her undergraduate degree from Texas Tech University in the US, she went on to work as a business development executive. “Education took a backseat as I had to focus on tennis that I practised for 8-10 hours every day. However, one has to keep a backup plan ready. Therefore, I choose the corporate world over a government job,” said Teltumbde.
In IIM-R’s PG batch, of the 400-plus students, there are around 20 outliers of which one has even been a sailor and another a politician. Read | CAT 2016: Avidipto Chakraborty scores perfect 100 percentile
For a better job role
The premium associated with IIM graduates cannot be denied. An IIM-Rohtak’s faculty member said, “In India, those seeking to switch careers or wanting progression in an already established career may be interested in MBA courses since the participants get an exposure in all areas of business including accounting, finance, marketing, and human resources.”
Mayank Banka, who passed his Chartered Accountancy exam in 2016, too, joined the IIM for this reason. Like many professionals, he believes a degree in MBA will augment his knowledge base and promote him to the management level.
“During my articleship (training period for CA students), I saw HR and other verticals. I understand the financial aspects of a business but I wanted to gather knowledge on management and operations,” he said.
Most candidates take up MBA to reach the top management level or learn dynamics of a business, however, some join it to learn the reason for their failures. Shreyas Joshi, along with three friends, started an online food venture — thebh00kkad.com. But within a year, they incurred losses. “Increased expenses and lack of resources made us wind up our start-up. I wanted to learn from my mistakes and therefore took admission in the IIM to learn how to run a company successfully,” Joshi said. Read | This teacher is a CAT 2016 topper but passed IIM Ahmedabad in 2010
Learning all skills
Eighty per cent of IIM Bangalore’s current batch has work experience. Even professionals who are well-settled in their career are taking up post graduate programmes. The classes are held during the weekend and help students to either get an exciting industry or elevated position in an organisation.
While such programmes have received tremendous response from bureaucrats and company’s mid-level employees, now scientists, chefs and medical professionals too are keen on PGPEM (Post Graduate Programme in Enterprise Management).
IIM-Bangalore student Sabyasachi Mondal is a chief scientist at Biocon and is researching on cancer drugs. He believes research scientist also needs to understand the business aspect so as to make sense of the big picture.
“For the past seven years, I have been working in the research and development domain in the biopharmaceutical sector. This experience has made me realise that it involves multitudes of functional expertise apart from scientific knowledge, to take a drug from lab to clinic. You have to put additional effort to make life-saving cancer biologics affordable and accessible to the patient. Understanding business in this context becomes as crucial as understanding science part of drug development,” said Mondal.