Monday, May 23, 2011

MiM is a unique programme developed for India: Strathclyde Business School

Strathclyde Business School is one of the only 48 in the world to hold all three the major global accreditations. And it’s coming to India,” said Prof. Phil Taylor, Academic Director of Programmes, Strathclyde SKIL Business School, who was in India recently. In the interview with FE’s Vikram Chaudhary, Taylor shares, what he believes, is going to be a unique experience for the students:

Why did you partner with an infrastructure company for setting up a B-school in India?
We were approached by a man called Gaurav Mittal, who had graduated from Strathclyde, and who is associated with the SKIL Infrastructure Ltd. SKIL, at that time, was interested in expanding into the education sphere. (I would like to add that this was before the Foreign Education Providers Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha). At the same time, the University of Strathclyde, which runs as many as nine offshore centres in places such as the Middle East, Hong Kong and Europe, and already has the experience of delivering programmes internationally, was interested in entering a growing economy such as India. So, in this partnership, SKIL provides the physical infrastructure for the college and the University of Strathclyde provides its educational programmes. That’s how the Strathclyde SKIL Business School (SSBS) campus in Greater Noida was born. I must add that this is yet another first in our illustrious history—our first branch campus, and where better to establish this new campus than in one of the world’s most vibrant nations: India. The campus will be ready by September this year.

How different SSBS is going to be from your nine offshore centres you mentioned?
Well, some of the offshore centres we have essentially deliver the same programmes that we develop in the UK. But at SSBS we are coming up with something called a Masters in Management (MiM)—a programme that we don’t deliver anywhere else in the world and that we have developed for the Indian marketplace. In this programme, the case studies, placements, applied knowledge, etc, are going to be specific to the Indian conditions. And I must add that 50% of the faculty at SSBS is going to be from Strathclyde and the other 50% is going to be the locals. So, it is the coming together of the Indian expertise and knowledge and Strathclyde expertise and knowledge.

How different is MiM from the usual MBA?
MiM is actually a pre-experience masters in management. It is specifically designed to provide high-calibre recent graduates with a solid foundation in understanding what business is about while developing the skills and awareness needed to be a successful manager. The programme is targeted at candidates with non-business related undergraduate degrees, such as in humanities, science, arts or engineering, and at those with a background in business studies. The MiM enables one to expand one’s career options by combining the specialist knowledge of one’s undergraduate degree with a broad and general business and management postgraduate education. Also, the quality of the programme is such that we are able to offer our students the opportunity to convert their MiM into the internationally recognised Strathclyde MBA, after, of course, they have gained appropriate work experience and completed some further advanced study.

This two-year masters builds on Strathclyde’s long established excellence in research and teaching. Following a foundation first year in India, students will spend a semester taking specialist elective classes at our Glasgow campus, where they will become a member of our global community of post-graduate students studying in Glasgow. The company-based project will provide an invaluable opportunity of applying the knowledge gained from full-time studying to a concrete business setting.

For any B-school, accreditation offers a very objective way of measuring its credentials. Has your programme got any accreditations?
We are an internationally accredited business school, and here I would like to add that we hold not just one but three accreditations—from AMBA (the Association of MBAs), which originates in the UK; from AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), which is the US’s best known accreditation body; and from EQUIS (European Quality Improvement System), which is the European accreditation body. Strathclyde is one of the only 12 business schools in the UK and one of the only 48 in the world to hold all three of the accreditations. Before you ask me about India, the Strathclyde SKIL MiM programme holds full accreditation in its own right from AMBA. We sent them the details of the programme last December and they have given it formal accreditation status and so MiM has already been accredited by AMBA in advance.

So what are the requirements to get into SSBS?
As I mentioned earlier, students from any discipline can apply for the programme. We are looking for students who get 60-65% in their degree courses, although we are not fixated on this score because we know getting that sort of percentage may not be easy in some universities in India, say, Delhi University. Then we look for strong verbal reasoning and numerical abilities, competence in English (so the applicant may be asked to achieve a minimum of 6.5 across the board in IELTS or 95 (IBT) in TOEFL), etc. So these are some basic requirements but overall, as far as possible, we will try and judge the students holistically. And that’s where interviews and face-to-face interactions come in, which will be valued highly.

Lastly, what kind of career prospects SSBS students can have?
SSBS MiM will prepare the students for entry into the dynamic world of business. In addition to the new skills and knowledge our students will acquire during their studies, they will also have completed a formal company internship as part of their final MiM project. Also, three months of intensive training in the UK will give our students a global perspective. So, the world will always welcome them with open arms. In addition, we will be approaching the Scottish as well as UK companies that are running their businesses in India. Lastly, our students will always have the option of converting their MiM into the Strathclyde MBA after they put in three years of practical work experience in the field of business right after MiM.

Source: The Financial Express, May 23, 2011
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