u201cGlobalu201d is the new u201cLocalu201d for elite B-schools

From International Exchange for a select few, to International Immersion for entire batches – “Global” is the new “Local” for elite B-schools

Back in the mid-nineties, India was sprouting B-schools and Engineering colleges like nobody’s business. By the turn of the millennium, the charlatans and fly-by-night operators began going out of business. There were, and still are, repercussions, but by and large in the last decade or so, the higher education scenario in India has undergone a definite improvement. Management institutions, in particular, have begun to display a certain maturity, in terms of infrastructure, faculty, pedagogy and curriculum amongst the Top 50 B-schools in the country. The conflicting list of ‘Top 10’ to ‘Top 100’ B-schools, produced annually by a number of media houses, bears testimony to this fact.

So what is the differentiator for the elite B-schools like IIM’s, ISB’s, XLRI etc.? A rather interesting trend seems to be quietly emerging to the fore. Apparently, the ‘elite’ quotient of B-schools is slowly and steadily based on the ability of a B-school to create managers for whom international boundaries are no longer barriers. In other words, elite B-schools are now the ones that have a multilingual, multiethnic student and faculty community, and whose students are knowledgeable of other cultures.

FORE School of Management, which has over the past few years catapulted into the elite list of Indian B-schools, has a very strong differentiator in its well designed Student Exchange Programme and International Immersion Programme (IIP). At the time of going to press, FORE had more than a dozen foreign students studying in its campus. The institute has over the years steadily collaborated with renowned institutes across the globe. The current flavour is very much French, with the majority of the foreign students coming in from ESC Rennes, France. On the other side, 9 students of FORE School of Management are currently completing their credits at ESC Rennes in France.

Out of all these accomplishment, the IIP is making a significant impact. Last year, FORE School of Management sent a group of 57 International business students – along with three faculty members – on a five-day IIP to Nanyang Technical University, Singapore. This year, the stakes have been raised in every possible way. The entire batch of FMG (Fulltime Managers Group) and IMG (International Managers Group), totalling 217 students embarked on an IIP, rendering the FORE Campus literally deserted for the 5 days between 31st March and 4th April 2014. While 108 students attended the IIP at Nanyang Technical University, Singapore, the other 109 students were at Polytechnic University IFE, Hong kong.

In effect, the IIP has gone from being optional to mandatory in a very short period of time. Prof. Mohit Anand, the Chairperson of International Immersion Programme, FORE School of Management, explains why: “The students had a unique and unmatched opportunity to understand the culture of a new place while also accumulating knowledge of its business environment. Considering the unique nature of this programme, subjects like “Management of Talented People” and “Cultural Difference and Its Influence” are taught by some of the finest experts in their respective fields. These sessions, spread across five days, provide valuable insights on how to adapt the cultural and social practices of the host country to an Indian context.”

In fact, the elite B-schools are now moving towards customising these international programmes to groups of students. For instance, students at Hong Kong had a range of subjects, including the economy, banking industry, business environment, business culture and effective communication. Also, almost every day included an Industrial visit. Students in Hong Kong were given a first-hand look at the operations of organisations like Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Hong Kong Trade Development Centre SME Centre, New China Laundry, and Hong Kong Airlines.

Students at Singapore had subjects that dealt more with the essence of doing business in the biggest corporate hub in Asia. The subjects taught here were Asia in the Emerging Global Order, Sun Zi Bingfa and Competitive Leadership, Growth with Equities – The Singapore Economic Strategies, and Managing Talents in Asia’s Emerging Markets. The industry visits in Singapore included its famous Urban Redevelopment Authority, and the state-of-the-art Port of Singapore Authority.

Surprisingly, there is no significant financial implication to the course fee owing to the International Immersion and International Exchange programmes. But a closer look reveals that these destinations are chosen with great care, and for a better Return of Investment. Not only has FORE School of Management seen a steep spike in International Placements over the last couple of years, but the median placement package of its student has also taken a quantum leap. That the ‘elitest of the elite’ B-schools might, in the next few years, be regularly taking their entire batches to Europe or the Americas for industrial exposure, does not seem too far-fetched.

Note: This is a sponsored article and has NOT been written by the PaGaLGuY Editorial Team. It is intended from an informational perspective only and it isupto the readers to research and verify the claims and judgements in the article before reaching a conclusion.