Barely two months after the Indian Institute of Management, Indore, got autonomy, it announced a new five-year integrated programme in management (IPM). In spite of protests from other IIMs, institute Director N Ravichandran went ahead with his plans to introduce the programme after a Ministry of Human Resources and Development approval. Speaking to Vinay Umarji, Ravichandran talks about what made him venture into something no other IIM had tried so far. Edited excerpts:
How did you come up with the idea of a five-year integrated programme?
The point is very simple: One way to look at any organisational activity is that there should be a product for every segment. In fact, for every price point there should be a product. I applied this principle to management education. We need to understand that markets will be segmented, and for every segment you need to come up with an appropriate product. For instance, there are people with work experience of over five years who now need a management education. So you come up with a post graduate programme for executives.
Your counterparts say it would dilute the IIM brand. How did you convince the MHRD?
I didn’t have to do anything. The MHRD’s perspective is very clear. They respect the fact that IIMs are autonomous institutions. They genuinely believe that IIMs should be able to decide on their own as much as possible.
How do you propose to address faculty and infrastructure issues for the programme?
As of now, infrastructure is not an issue. However, faculty will remain a challenge. We will have to look for people from within and outside the country. The first two years will be demanding.
How have the students reacted to it?
It is difficult to gauge the responses since we are behind schedule. There is a lot of enthusiasm visible about the product. While it is not a very expensive programme, we expect only serious people to apply for it.
How do you plan to market the programme?
We will not get into an ad campaign. But marketing the product will not be hard. India is a huge country and we will find takers. We have been communicating with the target audience. For instance, we have made it clear that there was no exit option within the five-year programme and at the end of it, we will be providing a diploma and not a degree certificate.
Have you spoken to recrui-ters about the programme?
It is too early to speak to recruiters. This is a student-centric programme. While recruiters are an important part of our system, it is still sometime before they come into the picture.