Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Harvard seeks space for classroom in India

The world-renowned and US-headquartered Harvard Business School (HBS) has decided to have a classroom of its own in the country for its executive education programmes and Indian corporate chiefs Ratan Tata and Anand Mahindra are said to be helping it find one. The B-school had been conducting executive education and management development programs (MDPs) in India since 2008 — but always in five-star hotels. Now it’s planning its “own center in India for executive education programs which have been growing”, confirmed Professor Tom DeLong, the Philip J Stomberg Professor of Management Practice. He teaches MBA and executive education courses focused on topics like managing human capital and organizational behavior. “HBS did two programs in India in 2008 and one program in 2009. This year, we are in the market with three programs, for which we need a permanent place. It could be in Mumbai,” he added.

HBS and its India Research Center (IRC) plan to offer three executive education programs in India from April to July 2010 — Building a Global Enterprise in India; Develop India-Strategies for Growth and Managing; and Transforming Professional Service Firms. The programs are for senior executives of Indian companies and multinational companies operating in India, as well as managers and investors interested in expanding operations to India.

Industry experts say HBS’s presence in India could pose a serious competition to the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad and the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) in the executive education space. For one, HBS ranks higher than all Indian B-schools. It was ranked the third best B-school in the world after Wharton School of Business (University of Pennsylvania) and London Business School, according to the 2010 Financial Times ‘Global MBA rankings’. Hyderabad-based Indian School of Business, on the other hand, was ranked 12.

HBS’s search for a permanent classroom is likely to put more pressue on executive education programs from domestic B-schools. On an average, executive education programs comprise around 35 per cent of the revenue stream for most leading B-schools in the country. “Of course it will intensify competition in the market. Harvard is an international brand that could give the other B-schools a run for their money,” said a professor from a B-school who did not wish to be identified.

ISB, however, is unfazed. Deepak Chandra, deputy dean, ISB Hyderabad, countered: “There’s space for everyone in the country and executive education from various B-schools is welcome. It’s not about demand. It’s about quality.” Charges for the executive education programs are school and program specific. For instance, HBS charges Rs. 212,000 (plus service tax) for a five-day program on “Building a Global Enterprise in India” and ISB Rs. 150,000 for a five-day program on “Marketing Strategy in a Competitive Environment”. IIM-Ahmedabad, on the other hand, is charging Rs. 150,000 for a five-day program for top Management on “Corporate Strategy - Brand Strategy Linkages”.

The IIMs, however, say that Harvard’s entry in the market could prove to be competition for ISB as IIMs offer programs at a different price point. IIMs offer programs at two levels: short duration (seven to 20 days) and longer durations (six months). “Harvard is not in the longer duration executive education programs so competition for the IIMs seems lower than for the ISB,” said an IIM professor. Meanwhile, with the global economic revival, B-schools say companies are loosening their purse strings and putting employee training programs back on track. B-schools say they see an upsurge in executive education enrollments by 40 to 50 per cent.

Source: Business Standard, February 16, 2010 (Reported by: Kalpana Pathak)

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