Thursday, August 09, 2012

Now, B-schools offer specialised courses

Avinash BH, 33, who served in the Indian Navy for 10 years, decided to shift to the corporate world after retiring. He had to first find a relevant course to help him graduate to the next step of his professional life. That’s when the executive management programme for defence personnel at Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI), Jamshedpur, came in handy. He graduated from the course this year.

XLRI is not the only institute offering such niche courses. Realising that mere ‘plain-vanilla MBA courses’ for management professionals have not been adequate, institutes, including Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research (We School), XLRI, UK-based Sheffield Hallam University and Imarticus Learning, have introduced specialised courses to cater to the varied interest of students.

At XLRI, the six-month, full-time programme for defence personnel is partly sponsored by the Directorate General Resettlement, Department of Ex-Servicemen (Ministry of Defence), where the student pays 60 per cent of the fee and the rest by the body. The total cost of the programme is approximately Rs. 140,000. Placement assistance is also offered to students.

“Due to the inherent pyramidal structure, many officers retire at an early age or seek premature retirement from service and opt to side step into a second career. XLRI Jamshedpur has been our partner in providing General Management Programme for Defence officers. It is structured to polish their skills and provide a launch pad for them enter the corporate world,” said Major General Pramod Behl, Director General, Resettlement, on the XLRI website.

Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research (We School) offers an electronic business course for this niche market. Named ‘E-Biz’, this post-graduate diploma in management (E-Business) course has 60 students in their Mumbai campus and 120 students at their Bangalore campus. Uday Salunkhe, Group D
irector, We School said, “There were several IT related courses offered in India, but what the industry wanted was a mix of system knowledge and management education. That is where we fill the gap.” He added that the programme was continuously tweaked and modified to cater to the latest industry needs. We School course fee is Rs. 330,000 per annum for the two-year course, approved by All India Institute for Technical Education (AICTE). Placements are offered to students mainly in e-commerce firms. Salunkhe said some of their students had set up e-commerce ventures after passing out. For example, Librarywala.com was created by some alumni.

Foreign institutions are not lagging behind. UK-based Sheffield Hallam University offers niche courses dedicated to sports engineering and sports business management and offer masters (MSc) programme in these disciplines. The course fee is approximately Rs. 820,000. Though the varsity does not offer placements to the students of this course, each student works with one of the institute’s industrial partners on major research project.

David James, leading sports engineer and science communicator, member of the International Sports Engineering Executive Committee, Sheffield Hallam University, said, “The global sports equipment industry is valued at £200 billion annually and is driven by new research and innovation. The sector requires graduates with a mixture of high level engineering skills and knowledge of sports physiology and biomechanics. This is what our course delivers.”

The university works with several leading international sports brands, such as Adidas and the company also helped the institute develop the course content to enable graduates meet the needs of the industry. The course duration is one year full-time, starting every year in September. There are 20 seats for the MSc sports engineering course. The MSc in sports business management is also of one year duration. James said that in previous years they had a couple of Indian students. “This year we shall have two Indian students. “Further, we are happy to explore partnership opportunities for this course with Indian universities,” he added.

This market has also attracted new players like Imarticus Learning. The institute will launch its niche courses in investment banking this year at its Mumbai campus. These courses will soon be extended to Pune this year and Bangalore at a later date. Sonya Hooja, Director, Imarticus Learning, said as per a report by FICCI, the current human resource requirement in BFSI segment of 4.3 million is expected to reach 8.5 million by 2022. “Investment banking being at the top of the BFSI pyramid, we chose to initiate our journey with this sector. It’s an attractive career choice that is currently inaccessible to many due to lack of awareness,” she said.

Imarticus Learning will introduce two courses — certified investment banking IT professional, and certified investment banking operations professional — in September this year. Course fee for the certified investment banking operations professional course is Rs. 85,000, while for the certified investment banking IT professional (CIBIT) it is Rs. 125,000. Placement assistance will also be provided.

Industry players, however, caution students to carefully select courses, especially when it comes to niche ones. “These courses may sound exciting, but one needs to make sure that one is able to secure a job. Students should identify whether the course they wish to join gives a good return on investment,” said an education-sector consultant requesting anonymity.

Source: Business Standard, August 9, 2012

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