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