An IMPM class in session at the IIM-B campus


There are a variety of business graduate programmes across the world but how many you know start by telling students that most business graduate programmes are destructive. Or, that to become a good manager, you need to have rain gear handy at all times. This one does and it is called the International Masters Program in Practicing Management (IMPM).

The course is dispersed over 16 months and is led by a consortium of schools from five countries including INSEAD and McGill. The programme is divided in modules of ten days each, held once in three months in five countries, namely China, Brazil, India, Canada, and the UK. In India, the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore conducts the course under the authority of Prof Sourav Mukherjee, who is Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour & Human Resource Management at IIM-B.

IMPM, over the years has earned a status of being an anti-MBA programme and that is because it teaches ‘management’ in a rather radical mode. Very few case studies and primary learning from fellow students. According to Dr Leslie Breitner Cycle Controller, of the programme, it is not so much anti-MBA as much as non-MBA. “IMPM works with a mindset approach that respects know-how and patience. Our prime aim is on how participants apply theoretical notions directly to their workplace. Along with ideas offered by teachers and not from theories from 20 sheet documents.”

But natural then, that this course attracts only senior professionals. Those in their 30s and 40s who have achieved a fair amount of success in their managerial vocations. had the privilege of travelling to the Indian module and first thing this correspondent saw was an amazing set of 27 ‘students’ all Vice-Presidents, Directors, CEOs, of different businesses from distinct countries jostling for location at a water filter outside the classroom door. The scene looked off the wall but a little endearing too.

Adds Prof Mukherjee: “Unlike the traditional MBA, which converses about how abilities can be used, this one notifies how they are really utilised because you have live people in class all telling you how they have done things in their company and how they have undertook situations. This is where the genuine learning occurs. “

Leslie adds that scholars are furthermore boosted to invite colleagues and team members to various modules of this class so that the business and the groups that the scholars work with can advantage from the assembly discovering.

What moves against this programme, however, are the fees which are rather vertical. The tuition fees are $55,000 USD plus the journeying and lodging. And these numbers are going to go up from the next batch onwards.


New start

The day starts differently at the IMPM class. Since it is understood that older executives are just in the custom of ‘doing work’ for most of their lives, the mornings begin by a Reflection meeting. It was a hilarious sight to see suited-booted students scampering to the flower bed locality of IIM-B as early as 8.30 am for the session. “It is not just thinking but furthermore investigating, questioning and endeavoring to make sense of what was educated the day before that this morning session concentrates on,” said Prof Mukherjee.

Participants begin by composing thoughts in their ‘Insight Book.’ From there, they enlist in deliberations on range of business, political, economic issues. For example, Abdulaziz Mirza, one of the students and CFO for Kenyan Red Cross and Nairobi-based said he was aghast to know ((from a previous address) that 70% of most businesses in India function at the unorganised level.

Another student Rajesh Ghosh who works for Novartis in the US but now in India said that he was shocked to learn that in India one pays a bribe to get even the smallest of works done. “In most nations, one pays bribes at higher levels,” he said.

In between the modules, participants return to their normal work life and compose a Reflection Paper relating learning’s to their job.


Bhopal Gas Tragedy

Sessions at IMPM can proceed on for hours because no one really gets bored. It was briskly distinct the way Bhopal Gas Tragedy was educated, rather discussed at one such address. First Prof PD Jose from IIM-B provided the class a chronological revision on the case. This encompassed data on the political twists behind the case advancement, the court’s instructions, the NGO and activist leanings, the victims’ sound, the ecological influence, the amalgamation of Carbide’s stand, the sequences of events on the day of the tragedy – and all this, both, in the Indian as well as the US context.

After every issue, Prof Jose asked the class which was split up in 5-6 teams to reveal how they (as in individually and as a team) would have reacted to the gas tragedy given their national and professional backgrounds. The answers discussed were indepth, and diverse. Students were also asked to speak about disasters in their own countries and reactions from across the class were again recorded.

This particular lecture only got vigorous as time went by. The Bhopal Gas tragedy threadbare and at the end of the class it felt like that the disaster had struck only yesterday.


Cultural diversity

The fact that students come from all over the world and the batch is as little as 27, cultural diversity peaks in the IMPM class. More so, since all the scholars are senior, the arguments are more mellow and developed. But of course, diversities can be oddly requiring as well, away from class that is.

Prof Mukherjee supplemented that scholars when in the other nations are used to a distinct lifestyle back dwelling. “For example they are in the custom of having a drink or two in their lodging amenities in communal context, while bearing class discussions into the evenings. But being in India, we have a different outlook and IIM-B does not allow alcoholic beverages on the campus. Some international students may find this childish.”

Infrastructure-wise too, while India may have architecturally attractive buildings and snug rooms, they may not match up to conveniences accessible in b-schools in the west.

Important business and community visits play a significant function in IMPM. “It is different if you glimpse the working of a company as an authorised senior, rather than a junior one. You go arranged, studied and with numerous distinct questions. Allotment of time is spent in organising the right inquiries because as older persons you cannot look stupid,” said one of the scholars. In India, besides visiting companies and NGOs, they also visited a few villages.


Never too late

The programme is for those who believe that age has nothing to do with learning. Sharon Cohen, (39) from Canada is an Executive Director of Loyalty Marketing Fairmont Raffles Hotels International. She studied Hotel Management in college but never received an undergraduate degree. “I went directly into the work force and worked my way up,” she notified PaGaLGuY.

She chose this programme because she realised that “learning by doing’ did not fit the other customary EMBA programmes. “The IMPM pedagogy, the course structure and the material enclosed all through the 5 modules is unbelievably practical and immediately applicable to what I do on a daily basis,” she supplemented.

Sangwoo Lee, 43, is Korean with a BS in electric technology, MSEE (George Washington University in USA). Presently he is with LG Electronics as controller of Content Business partition. He chose IMPM because he does not have a regular MBA. Fortuitous for him, his company sponsored his course.


Moms and dads

Most of the students in the class are either young mothers or dads and it is not easy leaving family back home. Says Sharon: “There is pre/post work that needs to happen in order to depart from the work place for two weeks at a time, I have a two year old son and every day with him is prized. That means that the time I spend away from him and the office needs to be well worth the investment.”

As much as family, older professionals also have sizeable amount of work to attend to before heading for such long gaps from work. Says Sangwoo. “To leave my work place for 2 weeks is too much so I do office work in the evenings when I am with the programme. “

Students deal with other odd balls as well. To get back to studies after 20-30 years is no joke and tough to get into a classroom mode immediately. Says Sharon: “But it is a great change of pace from my day-to-day where I don’t afford myself the time to reflect, talk about thoughts or take time to re-evaluate my viewpoint on a given subject.”

As for “fixed thoughts”, for a group of highly successful mature managers, most are surprisingly open to discovering new notions and shifting from prior held biases which makes the course even more stimulating. Every student at IMPM is as much as educator as much as a learner. And he or she comes to the events at a time when new learning is most required.

“As people grow older in their organisations, there is little of cross cultural and out-of-office learning. Which is very significant for growth particularly for persons at this juncture of expert life?” said Prof Mukherjee.

The scholars only agree. And nothing like getting back to a school after so so long. May be a power point presentation has taken over a black board and a few light wrinkles may have replaced supple cheeks but hey, learning is life-long, right?


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