Outreach Pro­grammes Help IIM-A At­tract More NRIs, but Not Enough For­eign­ers

The Economic Times - - Companies - Sreer­adha.Basu@ times­group.com

Mum­bai: IIM Ahmed­abad has seen a spike in in­ter­est from non-res­i­dent In­di­ans on the back of outreach and pro­mo­tional ac­tiv­i­ties con­ducted abroad this year, but the in­sti­tute has failed to at­tract enough ap­pli­ca­tions from for­eign na­tion­als for its su­per­nu­mer­ary seats.

As many as 15 NRIs made it to the fi­nal ad­mis­sion short­list of the in­sti­tute’s two-year flag­ship PGP pro­gramme this year, con­sid­er­ably higher than the usual one or two can­di­dates. How­ever, there have been only 13 ap­pli­ca­tions for 40-odd su­per­nu­mer­ary seats ear­marked for for­eign pass­port-hold­ers. Ajay Pandey, dean (pro­grammes) at the In­dian In­sti­tute of Man­age­ment, Ahmed­abad, said based on feed­back from the outreach ses­sions, the poor re­sponse from for­eign na­tion­als was pri­mar­ily ow­ing to two rea­sons.

For some, the $50,000 tag for a two-year pro­gramme was too high to bear. Oth­ers who could af­ford it pre­ferred to pur­sue an MBA in de­vel­oped coun­tries that were a more at­trac­tive des­ti­na­tion for mi­gra­tion af­ter com­ple­tion of the pro­gramme, Pandey told ET dur­ing an in­ter­ac­tion.

The 13 ap­pli­ca­tions that have come in this year were from the US, Canada, Nepal, Sin­ga­pore and Thai­land. In 2014, IIM-A’s board ap­proved a quota for ad­mit­ting in­ter­na­tional stu­dents, set­ting aside ad­di­tional seats equiv­a­lent to 10% of the reg­u­lar class size for them. The idea to bring in for­eign stu­dents had been ini­ti­ated af­ter di­rec­tor Ashish Nanda came on board, as IIM-A tried to boost its in­ter­na­tional pres­ence and class­room di­ver­sity through such mea­sures. The first year (2015-17 batch) was more of a test run, and saw 5-6 for­eign na­tion­als ap­ply­ing. In 2015, the in­sti­tute stepped up the mo­men­tum by con­duct­ing outreach ac­tiv­i­ties in mar­kets such as Africa, South­east Asia, the Mid­dle East and Bangladesh.

“The most promis­ing mar­kets in­cluded Sin­ga­pore and Dubai which had a large pop­u­la­tion of peo­ple with In­dian pass­ports, but they were not el­i­gi­ble for the su­per­nu­mer­ary seats,” said Pandey.

In terms of ge­ogra­phies, IIM-A found that in Dubai, there were some who did not qual­ify be­cause of In­dian pass­ports while oth­ers did not want to give up their earn­ings for a two-year course in In­dia. In Bangladesh, prices of man­age­ment pro­grammes within the country were much cheaper and guar­an­teed rea­son­able place­ments, while in South­east Asia, most of the can­di­dates had con­cerns about liv­ing in In­dia.

“We will have to brain­storm on the way for­ward,” said Pandey. “We haven’t en­gaged with them yet but it would be a worth­while dis­cus­sion if the govern­ment could sub­side the cost of some of th­ese su­per­nu­mer­ary seats to pro­mote In­dia as a good ed­u­ca­tion des­ti­na­tion. Com­pa­nies can also be ap­proached to fig­ure out if they would be will­ing to hire th­ese stu­dents for the ge­ogra­phies they came from.”

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