TAPMI Director Vision Series: The Experiential Learning Edge

TAPMI is home to India’s largest Finance Lab in association with Bloomberg and Reuters. With the help of this lab, experiential learning goes a step further in TAPMI’s Banking and Finance course with the students learning to extract data from 16 Bloomberg Terminals and 7 Reuters Terminals.

In this article, Prof Madhu Veeraraghavan elaborates how the Finance Lab is incorporated in the curriculum and the many other innovative teaching methods being applied in the PGDM course as well.

How have the students of BKFS batch benefitted from the Bloomberg Lab and how is it helping them to not only enhance their knowledge but also acquire relevant skills that are required in the corporate world.

TAPMI has the largest finance lab with 16 Bloomberg Terminals and now we have 7 Reuters Terminals as well. So how does it benefit both the BKFS and the PGDM guys who major in finance?

So, what we have done is very consciously integrated Bloomberg Terminals in accounting, in economics, in finance, subjects especially for 2nd-year students. So, faculty will be told that you must set assignments, you have to set cases, you got to do some projects using the Bloomberg Terminal. That allows all the fin students to be what I generally like to call industry ready or industry relevant graduates.

You and I both very well know that industry these days are not looking for some straight A’s. They will get dime a dozen straight A’s. But what they are looking for is:

Whether you know how to apply whatever you have learned in practice?

Do you know how to extract data?

Do you know how to assess and put a report together?

Do you know how access and pull out data from several sources?

That is important. Most fin profiles offered to TAPMI students the understanding of the database and Bloomberg terminals, for example, is much appreciated because our students are so ready that when they get into these banks, they actually start demanding Bloomberg terminals saying, sir, can we get one Bloomberg terminal because we are so used to it. We are happy to train your staff. So, this happened in a number of companies where TAPMIans are being placed. That’s the proof. The labs that we have, the terminals that we have, have delivered.

BKFS is very special because for them every course they do, it’s totally integrated. The edge TAPMI students have is unbelievable. They are way ahead of many many other finance grads coming out of the country.

Bloomberg Lab at TAPMI is officially the largest lab in India and it is also going to change the way the finance subjects are going to be taught. Are there any other innovations or methods or pedagogy which have been adopted and are going to change the way knowledge is disseminated at TAPMI?

TAPMI has always been an innovative school. One of the things we do is we continuously innovate. Before I came, they already had the Harvard cases, they already had the Ivy Cases. There was this whole strong case methodology of teaching. IIM A’s very good at it and ISB does a lot of stuff. So TAPMI used to do that.

The keyword here is experiential. How do we give experiential learning? How do we create a student-centered environment? So, let’s take a couple of examples. Let’s look at for example LADC, which is the Leadership and Development Centre. No school in India has that. We think that everybody has the potential to be a leader. The students go through several tests and we give advisory for each student. These are the things you can improve upon, these are the things you are already doing very well. That gives the student an edge. Okay, I’m being assessed. I’m also being told what it is I need to do to develop myself further as a leader. None of the business schools in the country do it. This is a very HR thing that we do.

Let’s take BrandScan which is a marketing innovation which has been happening since 25+ years. It’s a disguised market research game. Also, it’s a course.

One of the things with TAPMI is that these kinds of things haven’t been publicized aggressively. Maybe because the school was very conservative in its thinking, maybe the school thought you know what, people will realize what we are doing. Unfortunately, the realization never came in. We should go out and communicate. And we probably have not communicated well. That I am cognizant of that we haven’t done a great job in communication. That has been my beef with the school that you know, we haven’t sold what we should have. So now there is a conscious and concerted effort that we must go and talk about this innovative pedagogy, innovative methodology, these experiential methods of learning.

See end of the day, if I’m doing Harvard cases, you’re doing Harvard cases, there is no difference. A student doesn’t get anything out of the Harvard case. He or she would get if their theoretical underpinnings and the practical approach gap gets bridged. That’s what they like to see and that is what I want every area in TAPMI to do.

So, marketing has a BrandScan, HR has a whole Leadership Lab, Fin has the Bloomberg-Reuters Lab, we are now thinking of an analytics program as well as a Communication Lab. I would say that 90% of the B-School grads are not employable in the country. I wouldn’t hire them. Unless and until they come from the top 20-30 schools which probably has some focus on soft skills and communication. I mean you talk to people, you will just fall off your chair. They will have no idea what they are saying. That’s because their communication skills are absolutely cipher.

So, for us, these are the aspects that we want to be able to create. So, we are very serious about a communication lab and we may get business communication experts to run this.

T.A. Pai Management Institute, one of India’s leading B-schools, has always focused on creating industry ready leaders who are trained to face the corporate world and its challenges. Director Prof Madhu Veeraraghavan has highlighted several objectives in alignment to his Vision 2022. In conversation with him, we discovered much more about the Vision 2022 and his thoughts on research, education and experiential learning.

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