The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) recently approved the one-year Post Graduate Program in Management (PGPM) offered by SP Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR). The program now extends from the current 12 months to 15 months. The immediate impact for the students will be the reduction in fee for the program.

The program fee which was around Rs 14 lakhs will come down to Rs 13 lakhs since students will not need to pay service tax. Out of the total fee of Rs 14 lakhs earlier, Rs 9 lakhs were for tuition fees, Rs 3 lakhs for the global immersion program, Rs 80, 000 for the hostel and Rs 1, 11, 240 was the service tax. However, the institute has increased the fee by an additional Rs 20,000 for the extra contact hours (which is explained later in the article) and the money spent on faculty for the additional time.

The change, will not come into effect for the current batch of the program and will apply for the batch in the next academic year 2014-15. The application for approval was sent last year. The institute can now admit 120 students in the program.

Talking about the reasons the institute went in for the AICTE approval for the PGPM, Indu Niranjan, chairperson, PGPM, explains: “When you have the AICTE approval, it becomes easier to go in for international accreditation such as The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Also, it will make it easier for students to apply for education loans and help students who wish to pursue higher studies abroad. Having an approval also helps the positioning of the program when you try to forge partnerships with other b-schools abroad.”

Despite the AICTE nod and the additional three months, not much might change in the structure of the program. The PGPM was anyway of 15-months duration if you take into account the web learning component of the program which was conducted three-months prior to the start of the course. According to Ms Niranjan: “The web learning might be formally included as part of the program to help the meet the AICTE requirements. The students had to undertake web learning from October-December before the program which is conducted from January to December. The students had to put in approximately two hours everyday on the web learning and then come to the campus for four days in December. Now, we might increase this time period in December and make the program more rigorous.”

If the web learning becomes formalised into the program, the institute will give credits to the program and monitor the attendance of the students more strictly. “Earlier, web learning was an optional exercise and students would not come regularly for the process. In the earlier process, only an exam after the process was mandatory for students. If the new system comes into effect, everyone will have to attend the programs regularly. We used to interact with the students through audio chat in the previous process but now we are looking at having video interactions with these students every weekend. This exam might now become a part of the evaluation process,” says Ms Niranjan.

Another option that SPJIMR is contemplating is including internships in the program. Ms Niranjan explains: “We might include an internship component after the course but we are still not sure about it. One reason why we are against this idea is that students already come with many years of experience behind them. So, the internships might not be a value addition. In any case, we already have an industry-integrated project component where the students have to work with corporates on projects.”

If SPJIMR decides to go ahead with internships, students will need to pursue it after the program and the web learning will continue as per the current model. In that scenario, the institute might complete the placements in December and the students will complete their internships in the companies that they will be finally placed in. Wouldn’t that go against the basic idea of internships as a tool of value addition to the students? “Arranging for both internships as well as separate job offers at the end of the program will be a complex process. In most cases, students go to internships with the idea of converting that into a permanent job offer. In cases where students feel that the internships did not match upto their requirements, our career services team will support the students to find opportunities elsewhere,” quips Ms Niranjan.

This clearly means that in terms of course content, the program will not see any significant change. The only change will come in terms of students required to put in more hours during the web learning process or during internships as part of the program. Since the program will now be of 15-months duration, the PGPM will be equivalent to a diploma program, akin to XLRI’s GMP. The students will be awarded a Post Graduate Diploma in Management (Executive) after the successful completion of the program. However, the institute will not change the name of the program since it will affect the students who have already passed out as well as the branding of the program which is in its ninth year since inception.

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