The words ‘management studies’ conjure up images of a horde of sombre, humourless grownups crunching numbers and discussing complex problems in high-intensity classroom sessions, and studying hard to solve those problems the remainder of the time. While the part about number crunching and complex problem-solving is fairly accurate, life at a B-school isn’t all work and no play.
It is especially true if you choose the Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) for your postgraduate studies. Established in 1979 in the town of Anand, 65 km from the bustling city of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, IRMA is a pioneering institution in the domain of rural management education and research. It offers a two-year Post-Graduate Diploma in Rural Management (PGDRM) that equips motivated individuals with the professional know-how for contributing to the development of rural India.
While this very fact sets it apart from other B-schools offering conventional management education, life at IRMA is full of pleasant surprises that one isn’t prepared for. Here are some unique things that make the two years at IRMA a truly enjoyable experience.
A Novel Welcome
What good is an education about rural India if the students have never really experienced life in a village? Recognizing this fact, IRMA sends all its freshly-arrived students off to villages in Gujarat for a week-long stay, known as the Induction Fieldwork Segment. Students – most of whom hail from urban areas – stay in a rural household, observing their lifestyle and customs. They are also introduced to the socio-cultural dynamics in a typical village and its institutions, and return to IRMA primed to learn more about this sector.
The induction segment extends well beyond this short rural excursion. Once back on campus, students are engaged in ice-breaking sessions, multiple rounds of formal and informal orientation, a visit to the renowned AMUL Dairy, all of which develop a sense of community and camaraderie among the students.
In addition to this, there are welcome celebrations for fresh graduates, both of the formal and informal variety. With the number of formal teas, informal get-togethers, hostel socials and club dinners, it is not surprising that being at IRMA can begin to feel like a party that goes on for two years.
Learning through exploring
Do you prefer solitude and quiet over boisterous parties? While the IRMA campus is in itself a verdant haven complete with a tiny farm, serene pond and expansive wooded patches, the PGDRM participants also take off to rural pockets across the country for the stipulated Village Fieldwork Segment (VFS) at the end of the first term. In what is perhaps IRMA’s most unique offering in terms of experiential learning, participants stay with a family in a village for two months, living like they do for the duration. They also observe rural life more keenly; conduct intensive research into thematic issues of their choice and in this process, gain a memorable experience. After all, all the partying in the world cannot beat lying under a starlit sky on a breezy night, away from the din and bustle of a city, after having had your fill of clean, unadulterated local delicacies in a hospitable household. You would be hard-pressed to find an institution that lets you enjoy the best of both worlds, and add tremendously to your learning in the process.
Fun in the Classroom
Like any other B-school, IRMA also has a challenging curriculum and timetable that keeps the students on their toes. Studies at IRMA, however, are never a drag because you would hardly ever encounter a class where the professor is simply going through the motions. Classroom discussions are always lively and insightful. Discussion is encouraged both during and beyond the lectures, and it is not odd to find students engrossed in debate with faculty members during tea breaks. Neither is teaching limited to plain old lectures. At IRMA, you learn through simulations, games, guest lectures, movie screenings and everything in between.
Participants in the PGDRM programme learn not only from their professors, but also from their peers as well as the alumni. Thanks to the diversity of backgrounds – both personal and professional – that IRMA ensures in its selection process, there is never a dearth of perspectives on any issue worth discussing. If you reward intellectual stimulation over rote internalisation of concepts, IRMA is the place for you.
Fun outside the classroom
The said parties are not the only instruments of never-ending revelry at IRMA. Not only do IRMAns celebrate every major Indian festival, but there are also plenty of student-organized events that punctuate academics. There are sports fests, inter-block competitions and alumni reunions – each of which becomes another excuse for IRMAns to get together and have a ball.
At IRMA, the emphasis is never on obtaining good grades, but on actually learning and inculcating the insights and values that are on offer. Mere classroom teaching does not turn out well-rounded professionals. IRMA recognizes this fact, and therefore offers its students an unmatched experience that is edifying and enjoyable in equal measure. This is also evident through the various events that IRMA students regularly ace in B-Schools across India.
To learn more about IRMA’s flagship Post Graduate Diploma in Rural Management (PGDRM), please visit the Admissions Page.