MBA at IIMs offers many opportunities to the students and one such unique opportunity are the student exchange programmes. Simon Muller, a foreign student at IIM Calcutta through CEMS programme shares his experiences and observations about MBA at IIMs and how do top B-schools compare against their international counterparts.
Experience in India
I am really honoured to be here. India as a whole has been one big surprise, wherever you go, you find new things and huge diversity, it’s such a variety of country. So, it’s really been a pleasure travelling around.
Studying at IIM Calcutta
CEMS – the Global Alliance in Management Education, formerly known as “The Community of European Management Schools”, is a club of 30 premier business schools from across the world. Together, these B-schools offer CEMS MIM Programme i.e. Masters In Management Programme. As part of the CEMS MIM programme, students get to spend one semester abroad. Given a choice of 30 premier B-schools across the world, I choose IIM Calcutta because it is the farthest away from home i.e. Germany. In addition, being part of a B-school in a developing world also gives me expose to a variety of different things and aspects that I wouldn’t get normally.
Starting out from Germany, I didn’t know anything about the standing of Indian B-schools. Back in Europe, we don’t really know much about IIM Calcutta and other Indian MBA Colleges. So, coming here was one big surprise for me. But, in the 6 – 7 weeks that I have been here, I am amazed by the quality that this institute holds up within. IIM Calcutta is a really high quality institute when it comes to management education. Add to that the various clubs and cells that operate on IIM Calcutta campus enrich our academic experience further.
Gender Diversity at IIM Calcutta
I had some previous experience with students from IIT, Kharagpur and all of them were male. So, coming here, I subconsciously had a expectation. And, although there are more guys than girls here, IIM-Calcutta is trying to achieve a balance. There is a general trend of having more girls studying here. Also, some of my greatest teachers like Leena Chatterjee and Smita Mishra, they are both women, working here with a faculty and giving great courses actually. So, that’s something, I am really happy to see.
Activities involved in the Foreign Exchange Student Programme
As part of the CEMS MIM Programme at IIM Calcutta, International students get to discover new things every day, whether on campus or off it. The Foreign Exchange Student Programme gives you a lot of inter-cultural experience and international sensitivity. As part of the programme, every participating B-school also has a CEMS Club which conducts unique activities for the international students. For instance, in one such activity, CEMS Club Calcutta had organized a field trip to a local village to do a research project on healthcare in rural India. That is something which I wouldn’t have exposure to back home. So, the Foreign Exchange Student Programme exposes you to a variety of things and helps you learn from them.
Faculty at IIM Calcutta
The quality of faculty at IIM Calcutta is top-notch. Having studied in different countries in Europe including Germany, Poland and Sweden, I can say that the faculty at IIM Calcutta follows the global academic standards followed internationally. However, each B-school has its culture and focus areas and at IIM Calcutta a lot of emphasis is given on the Quant and Harder Business Topics. Compared to that, European B-schools are more focused on Softer Business Topics. But, when we compare the academic standards and quality, IIM Calcutta can definitely match up to the standards followed by international institutions.
Campus Life at IIM Calcutta
The most interesting thing that I have come across in terms of Campus Life at IIM Calcutta is its residential campus. Mostly, in European B-schools, students rarely have residential campuses, in-fact students there stay scattered across the city. Here, because there is so much to do and so many activities happening on the campus, students prefer to stay on campus. Another interesting aspect about Campus Life at IIM Calcutta is the hostel life. For International students coming to IIM Calcutta, hostel activities act as a great catalyst helping them to forge new bonds and make new friends here.
About the Expert:
Simon is an Exchange Student through CEMS International Programme. He is part of the PGP 2 batch at IIM Calcutta