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With a number of universities introducing MBAs, IIT has also launched its business school model with an aim to build a human resource who can think of moving to the next frontier in their careers.
Business North East spoke to Head of the School of Business Professor Laishram Boeing Singh. Professor Singh tells us about the unique project-to-Startup capacities of the MBA program as well as a curriculum that will inculcate entrepreneurship among young graduates. IIT Guwahati aims to create job-creators instead of job-seekers. Here are the excerpts of the interview.
1-Please, tell us about the IIT Guwahati School of Business.
Answer- The School of Business is one of the latest editions of IIT Guwahati. We started conceptualizing this school in 2021. The MBA first batch started joining in 2022. We have the second batch last year in 2023. There was always a need for MBA school in an IIT because the kind of ecosystem we have in IITs always has the requirement to move to the next frontier of where we talk about technocrats becoming managers and all that where most of the technical problems are solved from a managerial perspective. That was where we started the School of Business. This was also a requirement of NEP 2022 as well.
2- What is the eligibility for admission in this department and what are the future prospects?
Answer- The kind of selection criteria which we have a the particular mix of screening criteria we give weightage to the GATE score. We also give weightage to people who have work experience. Major weightage will be given to those who have done their undergraduate and have one or two years of experience or who want to move to the next level like senior level or middle level. We have a separate weightage for that. The process that we use is that we have a two-level kind of screening process. In the first process, we give importance to the GATE Score and some weightage to the performance to their performance in the 12th standard, their performance in their undergraduate, and their experience. We give more preference to the ladies as well. We give 10 percent weightage to them. So a mix of gender diversity is there in the program. Second, we have a personal interview for selection. That is how we have formulated it.
3- What kind of work experience?
Answer-Mostly, I think we expect their work experience in some of the companies that come under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. It has to be certified by them. At least such kind of work experience is looked at.
4. Many IITs have launched Executive MBAs. Is there any such plan by your department?
Answer-We have a vision of it. First, we want to begin with a plain vanilla kind of MBA. This is the backbone of any MBA.
Whatever executive MBA you are talking about they have not jumped into the executive MBA at first. Once they have core expertise in place then we can diversify to executive MBAs scattering to particular industries or maybe specialized MBAs like MBAs in particular streams and all that. That is the trend that is followed by most of the B-Schools
5. What is the funding source of the department?
Answer-This is already under the Ministry of Education. Like any other department, we have funding like that. If you look into the kind of resource generation that we have the kind of fees that we have is almost at par with the fees that are collected by B Schools and some of the old IITs. That is also one source through which we generate our funds. But every funding is the same as that of the other departments. We do not have funding from other agencies.
6. Recently, the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry has recognized Assam Start-ups as a leader for its pioneering role in building a strong start-up system. Do you think IIT MBA will help the upcoming entrepreneurs of the region?
Answer- If I look into my MBA students, we have a couple of start-up companies who want to recruit them. That start-up has already reached a stage that they can employ our MBA students. Another way of looking into this particular problem is to convert these job seekers into job creators. Maybe a few batches down the line that culture will come up with time. The kind of curriculum that we have has the flexibility to venture into those directions as well. We have people with Company Secretary qualifications, mechanical engineering, and all those places where some of the start-ups are conceptualized in those areas.
The curriculum has its own unique features of having the flexibility of doing a project with some of the associated faculty members belonging to some of the parent departments of IITs where they can take up very important ideas which can be converted into start-ups and bring them here and give it here which is required from an MBA perspective and do that. We already have that. This is one of the unique characteristics of having a three-term project where they have to work on a topic that they can convert to a start-up if they are very enthusiastic about it.
7- In the Wall Street Journal’s Instagram post we have found that many MBAs from top B- Schools like Stanford University, Harvard University? What coping mechanism does IIT have for those students who passed out from IIT that in case they do not find any job then they can do something of their own?
Answer- The expectations of the graduates depend on what they want to do. If some of them are very enthusiastic and have a very high appetite they can jump in with a start-up company also. Maybe most of the aspirants may be looking at a typical kind of job where technology is taking over where the shift has to be there in the employment market and all those things. That could be the reason for that. Having said this if somebody has the appetite they can always jump to a different mode where they are already equipped with the basic necessities things to handle that requirement. If they want to shift from a typical MBA-linked job and become an entrepreneur or a particular stage where they are already equipped with the business knowledge for this.
8. Who according to you is an ideal manager?
Answer- Different people are going to have different ideas about an ideal manager. Some will say that an ideal manager is one who is ideal to use his resources most effectively. At the same time, he needs to take care of the goals of the stockholder. That could be one way of looking into it. Depending on the paradigm where you are every manager has his own way of working it out. One of the objectives of being a manager is to fulfill the objective of a particular organization. Nowadays, this has been extended to Corporate Social Responsibility and all these activities, Managers are required to go beyond the profit and whatever margins of objectives to CSR and then sustainability objectives and all these things. The goal of the manager is to expand with time in the coming years. The basic objective of maximizing the profit. At the same time we should think about externality from the particular organization is being felt by the society around it.
9) Has the Assam government approached you for any suggestions for a budget?
Answer- As of now we don’t have anything on that. If any such requirements come we will be willing to help in whatever possible way we can. We are always ready to help governments and institutes of Northeast India which is also one of the mandates of IITs.
10) How can MBA aspirants expect placement if they graduate here?
Answer- This is the first batch. The placement is going on. It is very promising, Some of them already got an offer, But they are still looking for a better package as well in the first batch itself.