Students from top US B-schools coming to India to learn about economy, business and markets
21 Nov, 2012, 1020 hrs IST, Rica Bhattacharyya, ET Bureau
At a time India is a part of most conversations around emerging markets in the US, students in American universities see it as a unique opportunity to learn about the Indian economy
MUMBAI: India is the new classroom for global business schools. Top management institutes, including MIT Sloan School of Management, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Harvard Business School and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania have landed here to learn more about the economy, markets and the Indian way of doing business.
At a time India is a part of most conversations around emerging markets in the US, students in American universities see it as a unique opportunity to learn about the Indian economy, culture and business.
Catering to this curiosity among its students, in July, MIT launched its Accelerated Information Technology Initiative (AITI) in India. The programme, co-hosted by IIT Bombay and Shailesh J Mehta School of Management, saw the launch of MIT’s mobile technology start-up incubator.
The programme offered an opportunity to bring together a multidisciplinary group from MIT to learn about the needs of local communities in the mobile technology space. It also gave the students a scope to teach development skills in India and in turn get to know about the demands of the Indian market through engagement with students of premier institutes.
“In recent years, I have witnessed a groundswell of interest among students from the US, in fact from all parts of the world, in India, her economy, commerce and culture,” says Prof SP Kothari, deputy dean at MIT Sloan School of Management. The blossoming of interest is “testimony to people’s expectations of all-round robust development taking place in India notwithstanding a few recent hiccups,” he adds.
“The exchange of ideas, the flow of investment, and growth in trade presage benefits to all parties involved – an expansion in the size of the pie rather than a zero-sum scenario,” he adds.
The MIT students gained through engagement on ground with some of the brightest students and future leaders in a fast-growing emerging market. “The conversations help us gain insights and perspectives, not always possible to observe sitting in a classroom in the US. The relationships and networks that are built through these initiatives are also valuable connections in an increasingly inter-connected world,” says Sriram Emani, India Launch Lead, MIT AITI Program and a student from MBA Class of 2013 at MIT Sloan School of Management.
MIT last year launched its first-ever MIT India Conference prompted by strong demand from students and business community in Boston to engage with Indian industry leaders and discuss recent trends and challenges in India.
Stanford is planning to open a branch office in India in the next couple of years to enhance its understanding of business and government here, which it can incorporate in its course curriculum back at the institute. “We are interested in deepening our presence in India… It is important for us to be here so we can learn about the Indian businesses and economy, and teach our own students better,” says Garth Saloner, Philip H Knight Professor and dean of Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Harvard Business School, on its part, is further enhancing its presence in India through its research centre in Mumbai from where it has come out with 90 case studies written by HBS faculty.
“Today, India is an integral part of the global economy and will play a vital role in the future of this region and the rest of the world,” says Prof Das Narayandas, senior associate dean, HBS Publishing and Executive Education.
“Access to this knowledge and expertise (through different forms of association) is a benefit for both Wharton and India as we continue to explore the challenges and strengths of one of the most rapidly growing economies in the world,” adds Harbir Singh, vice dean for global initiatives at Wharton.
It’s a win-win for the local institutes too, which gain through learning from world-class global faculty and exposure to global technology know-how, innovation and teaching techniques.
The offerings include an increased number of executive education courses for local students, online courses and tie-ups with top domestic institutes in form of student exchange, faculty development and exchange, collaborative research, and joint development and delivery of courses.
“As the world economy becomes increasingly multi-polar and distributed, different markets will play different roles in the new economic order. You need to increase understanding of the markets for business to take place. Global schools are attempting to play here to increase understanding of the emerging economy,” says Deepak Chandra, deputy dean, Indian School of Business. Adds Atish Chattopadhyay, deputy director, PGDM programme, SP Jain Institute of Management and Research: “With global businesses interested in the Indian market, there is an increased demand for research on the Indian context globally.”
Also, some feel the financial crisis raised serious questions about the materialistic approach of conventional management education. “Pedagogic innovations like undertaking social projects during summers with voluntary organisations in rural areas, mentoring of underprivileged school children in Mumbai slums and courses like ‘Gita in Management’ resonated with the top global schools post financial crisis,” says Chattopadhyay.
Warm Regards / Ganesh Srinivasan
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