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Like Milan, Mumbai is a cross-road of people and biz: Dean, Bocconi B-School

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SDA Bocconi School of Management, the Italian B-School has shifted its focus to India. It has set up the with Mumbai International School of Business (MISB) Bocconi, an new international business school in Mumbai by partnering with Ultimate Knowledge System, a group of Indian entrepreneurs. In a telephonic conversation, Alberto Grando, Dean, tells M Saraswathy the reasons for setting shop in India and the way ahead. Excerpts:-

Why did you choose India for setting up a campus?

India is an attractive place for several reasons. From a macroeconomic perspective, the strong fundamentals related to GDP expected growth, the capability to attract people and resources from many places of the world, the quality of young people represent an exceptional backdrop whereas high level education following high quality international standards can grow up and generate a lot of benefit to the society and to the business community. From a more insider perspective, Bocconi University (whereas SDA Bocconi represents its business school) has a strong tradition of entrepreneurship, economics and business and in the same time a strong international mindset, continuously bridging the world outside but staying in Milan, one of the business and financial centers of Europe.

Mumbai represents a place where motivated faculty meets motivated people to bridge them towards the corporations, the financial institutions and the world outside: Mumbai, like Milan, is an incredible cross-road of people, business and financial community whereas is possible to generate a lot of value for the students.

Will this partnership help you in building closer relations with Indian institutions?
In terms of exchange and collaboration, we have more than 200 tie-up around the world. In China, for example, we have a tie-up with Shanghai University. In India, we already have partnership with Indian School of Business in Hyderabad for a double degree and also a programme with Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad. Since we are an international university, we would continue to build our relationships with institutions across the world.

How will your institute's expertise help the Indian students?
SDA Bocconi can help increase international exposure to students. Since our stress is on constant interaction with the business communities and our well placed alumni, students can benefit out of these liaison. We would transfer the successful model in Milan to Mumbai and aid in the tie-ups with local companies. I belive that since we are a global institute, it would help students in getting good job offers from multinational corporations too.

Not just India, I believe that Italy can also learn from India at this time of crisis. though our government is reducing public debt and aiding entrepreneurship. This is because India has maintained a steady growth rate, even at such a crucial period.

How will the school work?
MISB Bocconi which will open its doors to students from July this year, will serve the purpose of global level quality education to the students, executives in India. Further, it would help enhancing the skills of the manpower in India by providing exposure to the global corporate environment during the curriculum. It will provide a two year post graduate programme for students. They would need to take either the CAT or GMAT for getting into the institute. Not just experienced candidates, but freshers can also enroll here for the programme.

The faculty involved into MISB are a high-quality group of people based on to three different groups building up a dedicated team focused on the wide spectrum of business topics. SDA Bocconi faculty would be moving from Milan to Mumbai, spending a relevant part of their time and energy to teach in MISB. International faculty would be recruited on an ad hoc basis on the job market by SDA Bocconi and devoted mostly to MISB. There would be also be local faculty directly recruited by MISB itself.  

Our idea in the future is also to have specific courses persistent to local markets. Since we have a strong research group at Bocconi, especially for concepts like family business, this would be extremely beneficial to the Indian market. Managerial skills in family business in India could be part of our curriculum. Even topics particularly relevant to India like real estate could be made a part of the course in the near future.

Would you be interested in setting up a full fledged campus here, once the Foreign Educational Institutions Bill is passed?
We would definitely be interested in setting up a campus in India. Since our values are of educational exchange and learning from other nations, this would be a good opportunity for us.

Is your institute also working with Indian corporates for leadership development?
Bocconi has been doing for more than one century is devoted to build up future entrepreneurs and future managers with a first-class and international mindset, with a strong background solid for the theory and concrete for the practice both learnt in the class experience. For these reasons, MISB is creating strong connections with Indian corporation to offer opportunities to the students but also working to deliver executive education, clearly focused to improve the skills the leadership of the management inside.

Has your institute been affected by the slowdown?
SDA Bocconi has become a brand in Italy. We have grown as leaders as compared to our competition. Though institutes who do not have a brand name have certainly been affected by the slowdown, we have not suffered. In fact, being among the top in terms of ranking, companies have preferred us even more in the present situation. Therefore even during this crisis, placements have been good, as companies continue to hire our students.

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