Bhubhaneswar-based Xavier’s Institute of Management (XIMB) is in the process of turning into a university soon, its Director Fr PT Joseph, SJ tells PaGaLGuY. In this interview, he also speaks about the curriculum changes the institute is planning for its Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) and the PGDM Rural Management courses.
What changes can the incoming batch of 2013 look forward to benefitting from at XIMB?
From the point of view of the fulltime programme students, we will be revising the curriculum a little bit next year. Apart from that, although it doesn’t directly affect PGDM or PGDM(RM) students, but we have started a 1-year advanced management programme on Resettlement and Rehabilitation and Corporate Social Responsibility for 15 executives of Uttarakhand’s Tehri Hydro Development Corporation. This along with our other initiatives in the rural management and social sector will continue to be under focus in the coming year.
Are you looking at an increase in intake for any of the the two-year programmes?
We were looking at expansion in the number of seats but the proposal hasn’t gone past AICTE’s regulations. But we may become a university soon and therefore increase intake from a university perspective. That process might take one or two months to finalize, but we are in the process of becoming a university.
Would that mean that the PGDM degrees would be offered as full-fledged MBA degrees under the XIMB University?
The PGDM will still remain as an AICTE-approved course, it may not become a university degree for now. But after we get university status we may start some other type of programmes under the university. Right now we have gotten the government sanction of Rs 10 crores and are involved with acquiring the necessary land for the University in Sambalpur. Until land is acquired, which is priority for now, we aren’t in a position to share more details.
What is XIMB’s faculty strength now and how are you thinking about expanding it?
As of now we are 55 in total. One more is joining in December and another two may join in January 2011. We hire faculty whenever we come across somebody good. For example, one of the faculty joining next is a Cornell University PhD with lots of experience. Another person in the recruitment process has worked in Netherlands and has a PhD from Korea.
What kind of curriculum changes are you going to make in the PGDM and PGDM(RM) courses before the next batch joins?
We have already started a new course on Environment and Sustainability which is mandatory for all the 180 PGDM students. There’s another mandatory course on Emotional quotient and Leadership. Next, we are planning a meeting of all the faculty on the January 12, 2011. Before that meeting, a committee is preparing the background papers by looking at changes in the global and Indian economy. Only after the January 12 meeting will a clear picture emerge about the exact changes.
But speaking in general, we’ve been teaching management that is too bifurcated by specialization in our view. As you know, students choose to go for either marketing or finance or other specializations during the course. We are having a feeling that there should be some integration between these specializations by changing their content and give each course a holistic approach. For example, we know that there is a good market for inkjet printer cartridges. But inkjet cartridge production also generates a large amount of waste and affects the environment. So when we teach either of marketing or production management, we need to also bring awareness of sustainability in and show how both marketing and production are linked. If we can do this, we will not only make better managers but also better human beings. Apart from that, we would like to increase our connection with the bottom of the pyramid. We have a very strong programme in which all 180 PGDM students went and stayed in villages for 3 days. We want to increase their exposure to bottom of the pyramid and to leadership. We would also like to focus on ways to increase mentoring from faculty and senior students.
What are your thoughts on b-schools changing their admission policy to reduce the number of engineers in the batch?
This is something we tried to do last year already. We wanted to bring down the number of engineers and increase the batch diversity by taking in students from other backgrounds. But unfortunately all the students who are getting good grades in XAT were engineers and we could not reduce their number last year. But we’ll continue to give quantitative ability lesser weightage compared to verbal and commnication skills and try to reduce the number of engineers.
Looking at the Indian scenario, I would prefer 60% engineers and 40% non-engineers ideally in the XIMB batches. The job market requirements are still such that the engineering background is preferred so we cant reduce it too much.
We have traditionally seen what an engineer-driven MBA job market looks like. But in your view what scope do non-engineers with an MBA degree have in the market?
Only the product marketing, production and manufacturing companies need people to necessarily have engineering backgrounds. But the remaining type of jobs, that is finance, human resources, some types of marketing and market research, advertising are areas that do not really require engineers.