All you wanted to know about LIBA admissions

What are the top 3 reasons an applicant should join the LIBA PGDM over other b-schools in the same league?

Besides the general reasons that mark any great b-school such as the well experienced and highly qualified faculty, constantly updated curriculum meeting the needs of the industry, 100 pc placement records with good salaries, etc., the top three other reasons are our emphasis on first, ‘cura personalis’ – it is individualized attention to the needs of the students, distinct respect for each of the student’s unique circumstances and concerns, and an appropriate appreciation for his or her particular gifts and insights. Secondly, we put emphasis on ethics and compassion to the underprivileged and thirdly, on the spirit of entrepreneurship.

How is the PGDM program structured and how does it add value to participants?

The flagship full-time PGDM program is over six trimesters with a summer internship after the third trimester. The structure is designed to deliver optimum academic inputs considering two factors: depth and breadth of curriculum. Alternate structures such as a semester system or a bi-monthly system, we believe, have certain inherent disadvantages in delivering the desired academic inputs.

The pedagogy is application oriented, and case-based. The curriculum is revised at least once in three years and at least one or two new courses are offered each year. The delivery is not only by experienced teachers with wide set of industry experience but the pedagogy is supplemented with ample lectures from industry doyens to make students job ready.

What specializations and areas is LIBA strongest in?

We at LIBA offer specializations in HR, Finance, Marketing, Supply Chain Management, Logistics, Retail Management, IT, General Management etc. We consider that we deliver all these specializations with equal intensity and rigor. Of course, traditionally, Marketing has been a shade more popular with the students at LIBA than other specializations.

What is the number of fulltime and part time faculty at LIBA and how many of them are in each area?

Total Full time: 19 (Ethics: 2; Economics: 2; Marketing: 4; HR: 5; Finance: 2; General Management & operations management: 4). Total number of visiting and adjunct faculty is about 100; a large number of visiting and adjunct faculty teach at LIBA regularly, for instance, Prof Marcel Waverbergh of University of Antwerp, Prof. ISF Irudayaraj of XLRI, Jamshedpur, Prof Ven Venkatesan of University of Rhode Island, Prof Alexandra Benz, Bordeaux Business School, France, etc.

Please explain the admission process for LIBA PGDM in brief.

Students have to undergo XAT. A unique feature of our admission process is that admission application form submission dates (this year it is Feb, 1 are well after the announcement of the XAT results. It is followed by GD and PI at various centers. Until a two years back, our GD/PI was held only at Chennai. Due to increasing popularity of our flagship program, this year for instance, we plan to conduct GD/PI at Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Hyderabad and Bangalore besides Chennai.

Students are admitted based on merit only. A relaxation in the cut-off is provided for Catholic Christians.

How many applications did LIBA receive in the last two years? How many make it to the GD-PI stage and on what basis?

The number of applications received in the year 2006 are 2,558 and in 2007 are 3,399. This year, the process is still open. The last date for submission of applications to the fulltime PGDM program at LIBA is 18th February, 2008 and going by the current trend we expect easily in all about 5,000 filled in applications. As, I said, we have a policy of having the last date well after the XAT results are out; this year the XAT results were declared on the 19th of Jan. So, unlike other institutes, only those students would eventually apply, who consider they have a fair chance of getting a GD/PI call from us. For instance, the cut-off last year was 91 percentile. So only those students who have XAT scores above 91 percentile would apply. In this sense, the quality of applicants is extremely high.

After a student shortlists for the GD-PI stage, does his XAT score still play a role?

The XAT cut-off score is a filter. Any candidate above the cut-off (shortlisted candidates) stands the same chance at the GD-PI stage. The XAT score does not play any role after shortlisting of candidates. Researches point to the fact that below a certain cut-off, students may not be able to clear the PGDM program; however, there is not much correlation between CGPA and XAT scores above the cut-off.

What is the placements process at LIBA like? Which sectors and functions have been popular at LIBA in the last 3 years?

LIBA has ensured 100 pc placement since inception. Placements, as in any good b-school, are managed by the students themselves, under the overall guidance from a placement coordinator. Placement days are usually in the first week of December. In day zero most students are placed.

LIBA has a unique placement process. Students rank the firms in an order of preference and two or three firms at a time in that order of preference are called in to conduct their recruitment process. A set of such firms may be offered in a time frame of maximum two hours. A student is out of placement if any one firm offers admission, though the candidate may try in just one more firm slotted subsequently in the day. This process maximizes recruiters’ satisfaction, for they are almost certain to recruit the students to whom they made an offer to. For us that is quite important. Further, the process minimizes job-losses. It also maximizes student satisfaction for the process itself aides in decision making of the students.

The set of industries that have arrived at the campus have been changing over the years in part reflecting the changes in the economy itself. For instance, IT and the Banking and Financial Services Industry (BFSI) are important recruiters in the last three years. For the other part, changes in the set of industries recruiting at campus have been possible by students implementing a well thought out placement strategy. While predicting a slackening of recruitment from the IT sector, students have made possible a renewed recruitment drive from manufacturing, consulting and hospitality.

How have the average, highest and lowest salary figures been in the last 2 years?

Average salary in the last three years has been Rs 4.63 lakhs (2005), Rs 6.00 lakhs (2006) and Rs 7.55 (2007) lakhs per annum. The range has been rather narrow in the recent times. This year (2007) for instance, the highest pay is Rs 10 lacs. It is important that we take efforts not to over-emphasize on salaries. What is important is that students find a profile and a firm of their choice. However, please await the detailed placement report that will be made available to you in these forums very soon.

In terms of recruiters, LIBA appears to a favorite among the BFSI sector; HSBC Bank is a notable new recruiter from the BFSI sector. There is a surge in consultancy firms’ wanting to recruit at LIBA; this year Deloitte is a notable new recruiter from this industry. We have reinforced our recent relationship with FMCG firms such as ITC and UB. We have opened new relationships with Hospitality and Logistics industries.

What roles did the consultancy firms recruit for? How many of these were front office jobs?

The recruitment is primarily for their Strategy Research and Innovation division. The roles are of Senior Analyst.

You mentioned ‘spirit of entrepreneurship’ as one of the top 3 reasons a student should study at LIBA. How do you inculcate it within students? How many LIBA students have taken up entrepreneurship after school I the last 3 years?

The Loyola Centre for Entrepreneurship, inuguarated recently by Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, though operational for quite some time now, fosters the spirit of innovation among students in many ways. First, is floating of courses in the field. Second is by involving students in research in the same. Third, is by way of setting up incubators for research ideas from students. Of course, while we encourage students to take up entrepreneurial ventures, still predominantly, and just like in most other b-schools, most students do only take up employment. Yet in a year at least 3-5 pc of the students end up becoming entrepreneurs. Traditionally, this proportion increases as the students (as alumni) age. For instance, we recently celebrated the alumni day of students who passed out 25 years back. A most satisfying information was that nearly 30 pc of them were entrepreneurs. Of course, some of the other students were immensely well-placed. Notable few from that batch are Mr Srikrishnan, Executing Director of Yes Bank and Mr Peter Raj Kapoor, Head of South-Asian operations of AmEx Cards operating out of Singapore.

What is life at LIBA like outside academics?

At times I wonder whether there is a heavy tilt towards a LIBA life outside academics. There are a multitude of events, seminars, conferences that students themselves organize. For instance, our management festival ‘Chrysalis’ along with its business quiz ‘Exquizite’ are extremely popular among Indian b-schools. Each year the quiz is conducted by a top professional such as Giri ‘PickBrain’ Bala and Derek O’Brian. A wide set of b-schools and firms participate in the event. Students conduct national and international level symposiums such as the Insight series and Beacon. Last year alone there were more than fifty CEOs and Directors who participated in such symposiums. Students organize each week a talk by a CEO. Not all of the students activities are of such serious nature. X-Mas, Onam, Pongal and Diwali celebrations are a treat to watch and filled with fun, bonhomie and a spirit of brotherhood. This year an Italian student (from an exchange program) dressed in all the traditional costumes and jewelry as Maharaja Mahabali on Onam celebrations was a great attraction. There are various students’ clubs that keep conducting one event or the other; or they go out to other schools to participate. Students organize and undertake various fun-filled trips to nearby tourist locations such as Mahabalipuram, Puducherry, Kodaikanal, Yercaud, Ooty, Mudumalai Reserve Forests and more.

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