The Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore (IIM-B) will soon introduce new specialisations in two-year programmes. Director G Raghuram tells Education Times about the expansion plans. "The new campus in Bangalore, is currently running executive programmes. We are planning to expand the center and the faculty members will add specialisations in Real Estate, Analytics etc in the already existing two-year programmes." Formulating the curriculum for these courses may take a couple of years.
The IIMs were given autonomy to establish new campuses under the IIM Act 2017. The government is expected to issue notifications defining rules of the Act this month. "The IIMs had always enjoyed autonomy in terms of faculty and student recruitment and to launch new programmes. But the Act enabled us to set up campuses anywhere and hire our own chairperson and director. Earlier, we had to take a nod from ministry, which would delay the process. Between my appointment and the exit of earlier director, there was a gap of 11-months. The Act would make these administrative processes faster," says Raghuram.
Degree, diploma, direct PhD
A proposal in IIM Act includes granting degrees instead of the traditional PG diploma in management. While the MHRD has left it upon the institutes to decide whether they want to grant degrees or diplomas for the two-year programmes, the debate is still on for the fellowship students.
"Granting degrees would help the students in the doctoral programmes. In the present scenario, these students are considered as fellows and they have to often explain what a fellow means to international bodies or universities etc. Granting a doctorate degree to these students would make them project themselves better, globally," says Raghuram.
The institute is seeking the ministerial approval to grant PhD degrees. Since these students are enrolled right after Bachelor's degree instead of Master's, as opposed to the usual trend of PhD enrolments, there is a debate around the same. Many argue that enrolling bachelor's students directly for postgraduation programme might affect the quality of research. But, Raghuram begs to differ. "We do not enrol regular BCom or BA students in these programmes. Only students with a four-year bachelor's degree including BArch, some of the BTech programmes can apply," he says.
"We do not expect the students to come fully-prepared in research. We would teach them the research methodologies," he said, while adding that a master's degree does not mean a student would be well versed in research methodologies.
New CAT exam
Admission criteria for other courses to IIMs have also been changed as the focus of the questions in the Common Admission Test (CAT) to be held in November 2018 is expected to be more towards management. This move aimed to have more non-engineering candidates in the IIMs.
"The CAT is not changed but nudged a bit. Every IIM will decide how much weightage they want to give to the CAT exam or its sub-sections. This will make the classrooms more diverse. In any learning environment, more the diversity, richer is the learning," says Raghuram.
The IIMs have been seeing steady decline in female enrolment. Regarding the gender-diversity, he said that the older IIMs already have nearly 30% women enrolment which is same as the number of women participants in CAT exams. "We have lesser women enrolment as less women pass CAT entrance, because of socio-economic reasons," he says.
While IIM-Kozhikode is ready to introduce women-only seats, IIM-B has no such plans. "We cannot pamper the female candidates in the name of diversity, if the enrolment is equal to CAT participation, reserving any more seats for women would be a topic of debate," adds Raghuram. However, IIM-B had last year launched a pilot project to encourage women in entrepreneurship and the project enrols 100 women incubates in its first year.