New specialisations, in the form of two-year programmes, are set to be introduced to the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore. Director of the elite business school, G Raghuram, threw light on the proposed additions to the courses, saying "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." However, devising the curriculum for these courses may actually a couple of years to formulate. As per last year’s IIM Act, the IIMs were allotted the autonomy to establish new campuses. The government will likely issue notifications elucidating the rules of the said 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.
Another proposal in the IIM Act incorporates the granting of degrees in place of the PG diplomas that IIMs used to traditionally provide. The HRD Ministry has left it open for the institutes to decide if want to grant diplomas or degrees for the two-year programmes. However, there is still an ongoing debate as far as the fellowship students are concerned.
"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.
IIM-B is awaiting the ministry’s nod for granting PhD degrees for the students. But, uncertainty is still there since these students are enrolled directly after their Bachelor’s and (mostly) not after their Master’s. This has drawn criticism as many fee that enrolling such students directly for postgraduation programmes can quite possibly affect the quality of research. Raghuram, however, disagrees with the notion. "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.
He added, "We do not expect the students to come fully-prepared in research. We would teach them the research methodologies," before remarking that a master's degree does not necessarily imply that the student would be adept with research methodologies.
"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.
Introducing women-only seats, akin to IIM-Kozhikode, is not on IIM-B’s radar however. "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," said Raghuram. It’s worth mentioning however that the institute had launched a pilot project in a bid to encourage women in entrepreneurship last year.