Integrated MBA courses are offered by many top institutes in India. Premiere management institutes such as IIM Indore, IIT Mumbai, IIT Kharagpur, IMNU and some central universities are successfully running the 5-year integrated course in management that aims to create administrators from all branches that are industry ready with the best managerial skills. Institutes claim that the Integrated MBA courses are better suited to enhance business skills and provide expertise to students in the desired field. These flexible dual degree programmes are designed by combining two or more disciplines.
With IMNU running the Integrated MBA program for almost 5 years now, Career2NextOrbit team decided to interview Dr. Anup Singh, Director General at Nirma University in an endeavor to let the aspirants and the corporate fraternity know the various benefits of this program.
About Dr. Anup Singh: Dr. Anup Singh is an eminent academician and thought leader. He did his PhD from the University of Allahabad and Post-Doctoral Fellowship from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He was a visiting scholar at the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Business Administration, North-western University, Evanston. He has held various top management/ administrative positions in organisations of repute. He has many publications to his credit comprising Books, Research Papers in International and National Journals, Case Studies, Book Chapters in addition to paper presentations at international level. He has received various prestigious awards for his teaching and learning excellence.
Career2NextOrbit: The World over, which are some of the B-Schools that offer Integrated MBA programme and what is their acceptability across stakeholders?
Dr. Anup Singh: Management is a profession and it necessitates long and rigorous training of management students so that they are able to perform their roles effectively. Although some management thinkers have identified management as a profession and accordingly suggested that the format of management education should be changed. Professions like medicine and law have at least five-year training to produce doctors and lawyers. It is high time we rethink management education format so that we produce high-quality management professionals.
A few B-schools were, however, able to change their format. They retained either one year or two-year format. It requires courage of conviction to introduce a new format to address the emerging needs of present times. At Institute of Management, Nirma University, we regard management as a profession. We believe that long and practical approach to management education is a must. Therefore, we started i-MBA in 2013. Although a few institutions commenced a five-year management education programme before us, our programme is highly suited to the needs of different stakeholders. There is a high demand from parents. Further, HR professionals have appreciated our endeavour. The first batch shall graduate this year. We hope that the industry would find our graduates ready to meet its expectations.
Career2NextOrbit: Integrated MBA programme means the intake of students right after Class XII? What are the benefits and pitfalls of intake at this level?
Dr. Anup Singh: Today, most MBA students complete their undergraduate engineering programme, prepare for another year to enter an MBA programme, and finally take two years to finish their MBA programme. Thus, on an average, they take seven years to complete MBA. In contrast, they complete i-MBA only in five years and save two valuable years. The selection process for i-MBA is equally rigorous. Thus, we - at Nirma University - select crème de la crème for our programme. We also offer minor specialisation in engineering/information technology. As a result, the students have reasonably good knowledge of engineering as well as liberal arts. Along with functional specialisation, the students can also opt for industry specialisation. Hence, odds are in favour of i-MBA.
Career2NextOrbit: Since the learning duration is 5 years for this program, what are the extra things which students may learn in such programs?
Dr. Anup Singh: Our i-MBA programme provides some unique offerings to students. Firstly, it offers them multi-specialisation. They can opt for two functional specialisations and one industry specialisation. Secondly, they are offered minor specialisation during the UG phase in engineering/IT. Thirdly, students have opportunities to do several skill-based courses. Fourthly, several courses are offered in the areas of communication and leadership development. Finally, various internships – varying in complexity and difficulty – are a prerequisite so that students acquire practical knowledge.
Career2NextOrbit: What are the various internships which students may undergo during this program?
Dr. Anup Singh: The students do internship in i-MBA programme from the very first year. The first internship is a month-long internship in an NGO, while the second internship is again a month-long training either in a CSR wing of an organisation or in an industrial organisation. The third one is a two-month internship in a business organisation. Finally, the fourth internship is for a period of approximately four months. All the internships are supervised and designed to yield significant learning experiences. The internship experience is assessed and high standards of learning are ensured.
Career2NextOrbit: How does this program help in more holistic business education learning compared to the common 2-year programme?
Dr. Anup Singh: The salient characteristics of effective managers are their soft skills like communication, leadership, self-knowledge, teamwork, people skills, etc. It takes time to develop them. A two-year programme is not sufficient to work on the soft skills of students. Similarly, personality development is a long process and it requires a host of interventions, which is possible only in a five-year programme. In addition, students are offered more functional subjects. Internships provide students excellent opportunities to learn by doing. Through prolonged and rigorous training, students emerge as consummate professionals.
Career2NextOrbit: What are the options available to students who may want to change stream/college after 3 years in this programme?
Dr. Anup Singh: This programme is flexible, intended to meet the career aspirations of students. If a student realises that s/he has different career aspirations, then they can leave the programme after three years and obtain a BBA degree.
Career2NextOrbit: Do you think Indian students, parents and the corporate world are ready for this programme? How has their response been to the program?
Dr. Anup Singh: The i-MBA is a new educational format, designed to meet the emerging needs of the industry. Although a few B-schools are offering this programme, its popularity is increasing by leaps and bounds. In last five years at Nirma University, the demand ratio for the programme is on increase. The corporate world is continuously supporting the programme by providing internship opportunities. In addition, HR professionals have also shown their interest to recruit i-MBA students. We are sure that this programme format would emerge as the most coveted programme in management education.