IFMR Graduate School Of Business (GSB) at Krea University provides a comprehensive approach to education that assists ambitious individuals in adapting to the rapidly changing world and making a positive difference. Students are empowered to excel as accomplished professionals and capable business leaders by mastering the complexities of both business and society.

During an interview with IFMR’s Dean, Prof. Lakshmi Kumar, we delve into the significance of an MBA and explore her recommendations and insights based on her extensive 22 years of experience at IFMR GSB. The interview outline offers valuable information for anyone considering pursuing an MBA.

Q. You have been in the field of education for a long time now. What inspired you to become a part of Business Education?

After completing my MA in Econometrics, I relocated from Chennai to Mumbai with the intention of pursuing an MBA. However, a principal in my complex suggested that I try teaching Economics instead. Intrigued by the idea, I started teaching and quickly found that I enjoyed it immensely.

This led me to question whether pursuing a career in teaching might be more fulfilling than pursuing an MBA. I soon realised that a Ph.D. degree would be necessary to be taken seriously in the field of education. Though my foray into management education was largely accidental, I went on to teach at various colleges in Mumbai and even in Bangalore, including Sophia, S.P. Jain, and Rizvi College. 

Upon returning to Chennai, I decided that I wanted to join an institution and eventually found my way to IFMR in 2000, where I have been for the past 22 years. During this time, the institution has experienced exponential growth. 

Q. As the dean of IFMR, what is your vision for the future of young professionals learning the business world under your leadership?

Over the past 22 years of teaching, I have observed significant changes in the business world. Therefore, I focus on imparting to my students the importance of developing lifelong learning skills and acquiring knowledge that can be applied throughout their careers. Having an open mindset towards continuous learning is a crucial skill for anyone in the field of business or business education.

Q. Can you provide further insight into IFMR’s multi-dimensional approach to learning and explain how it helps high-potential individuals navigate a rapidly evolving world and make a positive impact as tomorrow’s leaders?

Our focus at IFMR has never been on creating an atmosphere of just high-impact individuals. Instead, we prioritise regularly reviewing the curriculum every two years to ensure our teaching remains relevant and up-to-date. This review process involves our internal faculty, external faculty, and corporate representatives.

One of our main goals is to prepare our students to adapt to various roles and responsibilities in their future careers, recognising that the corporate world constantly evolves and differs significantly from what is taught in the classroom. This approach has enabled our 2000+ students to achieve great success in their domestic and international careers by equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate a constantly changing landscape.

Q. You mentioned MBA isn’t just about studying, but it also requires the element of doing things right. Can you provide three examples of how IFMR is providing students with industry exposure and preparing them for the corporate world?

We at IFMR offer several opportunities for students to gain industry exposure and prepare for the corporate world.

Firstly, we provide live projects from various companies during the curriculum, allowing students to gain a practical understanding of corporate operations. We are associated with multiple research centres that require students to work on live projects in their first and second years.

Secondly, we have a highly competitive summer internship program where students can earn a substantial salary for two months. This internship can often lead to a final placement with the company.

Lastly, being situated in a prime location, our campus is surrounded by small and large companies, providing students with excellent exposure to the corporate world. These opportunities collectively prepare our students to excel academically and thrive professionally in a rapidly changing business landscape.

Q. What four key aspects should students consider when finalising an institution during the GDPI rounds or while selecting a B School?

To assess the quality of a management institute, there are a few key aspects to consider. Firstly, it is important to look at the alumni and where they are in their careers, which can often be found on the institute’s website. This can indicate the institute’s pedigree and success in producing successful graduates.

Secondly, the faculty is also an important factor to consider. In management education, it is necessary to have a mix of theory and practical knowledge, which requires experienced faculty members from both academic and corporate backgrounds.

Thirdly, the environment and peer exposure that the student receives while on campus is crucial. Diversity in terms of student backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives can enhance the learning experience.

Lastly, it is essential to consider whether the institute provides students with a choice of specialisations, as this is a crucial decision in their career path. I suggest our students to consider these factors, so one can make a more informed decision when choosing a management institute.

Q. Can you describe your approach to decision-making and leadership, particularly as it pertains to management, considering that our students are aiming for leadership positions?

My foremost priority is to establish trust with the people I work with. Whenever I delegate a task to someone, I believe in their ability to accomplish it. Additionally, I make it a point to seek advice from multiple individuals before making any significant decisions. This is because every decision has a ripple effect, and everyone needs to be on the same page to achieve our goals. I prefer a bottom-up approach where I encourage individuals to volunteer support, assign critical roles, and work together. 

Q. According to you, what are the two recommended ways for one to measure their academic and professional success?

The salary you get indicates how valuable you are to the organisation, but I do not believe your salary and your position are a measure of success. The measure of success is the satisfaction of knowing that your team is comfortable working with you. Having that satisfaction and going to sleep happy every night is what matters. 

Q. How would you explain the relevance and importance of doing an MBA in 2023?

MBA is the passport to better skills & equip one for the global business world

This Interview provides a guide, recommendations and suggestions to take the most optimal decisions and get an overview of the IFMR MBA World along with various interesting insights to the world of management and education. 

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