Executive programme at IMT Ghaziabad grooms high performers as change agents; Dr Atish Chattopadhyay, Director


Published: mbauniverse.com | Date :  February 20, 2017

The key feature of our executive programmes is to groom high performers as change agents within the organisations – professionals who can drive change through execution of innovation: Dr Atish Chattopadhyay, Director, IMT Ghaziabad

IMT Ghaziabad, one of the premier B-schools in the country offers well designed executive programmes in management apart from its
flagship 2 years PGDM. The B-school also enjoys the most prestigious AACSB accreditation. It has been consistency ranked among top 10 by various credible ranking agencies like Business Today, Business World, CRISIL and has extensive and exclusive industry partnerships in the B school arena today.

This year IMT has announced innovative new executive PGDM programme apart from its existing Executive PGDM. Talking to MBAUniverse.com, Dr. Atish Chattopadhyay, Director, IMT Ghaziabad shares about the key features, objectives and key USPs of executive PGDM programmes at the institute.

What distinguishes IMT’s Executive Education from other B-Schools?
Primarily IMT as an institution distinguishes itself in terms of its philosophy of grooming leadership through innovation, execution and social responsibility. The key feature of our executive programmes is to groom high performers as change agents within the organisations – professionals who can drive change through execution of innovation.

We believe in a pedagogical philosophy where ‘doing’ leads to ‘knowing’. The approach is, to make the participants discover knowledge: The classroom is essentially a platform for discussion and insight generation leveraging the experience of the participants. We have a faculty group, who engage actively with practice through research and consulting, those who can relate practice with the theoretical frameworks, along with their limitations and boundary conditions.

Each of our executive programmes is residential in nature, to facilitate peer learning and includes a component of global exposure. The alternate-weekend programme (PGPM) integrates the Global Innovation Lab (GIL) in Europe, and the participants of the modular programme (PGP–ACE) go for the Global Leadership Lab (GLL) to USA. IMTG is probably the first institute in India where each of the participants of the 15 months ‘PGDM Executive’ programme spends a full term with our partnering universities in Europe as part of the Global Career Accelerator (GCA) programme.

Please share a few of the problems that you faced while launching the executive programmes and how did you overcome them?
In India, the idea of a management programme is typically a full-time two-year MBA. The model of earning and learning and the idea of life-long learning is somewhat new. The way IMT looks at executive programmes is that they are as effective if not more effective, than a conventional two-year programme. This is something, which as a concept needs to be built upon.

Today, a two-year MBA has become an entry level qualification to get a job in India. Even if someone gets a good job after graduation, s/he most often leaves the job within three years and pursues MBA to be in the fast lane of career growth. We have observed that majority of the top B-schools in India restricts admission of graduates with more than four years of experience in their two-year MBA Programme. If a high performer needs to be out of the job within three years, it is obviously a lost opportunity both for the employer (who loses a high potential employee) and also for the individual. Now, look at the opportunity cost of the individual; if the person is earning say around INR 6 lacs per annum, gives up the job, and does an MBA which requires another 20 lacs, the cost of doing an MBA is as high as INR 32 lacs (which makes her saddled with debt to start with).

The real challenge is that there is an acute shortage of high-quality executive programmes in India and that is the gap that we at IMT intend to fill in. To me, someone who has more than three years of experience and is doing well at the job, need not be out of a job for two full years for career acceleration. That is where our executive programmes have an important role to play.

IMT is an AACSB accredited Institute and our programmes are approved by AICTE, implying both national and international recognition. As far as the output is concerned, a graduate of our executive programmes will be as effective if not more effective as someone who has done a two-year MBA – the only difference will be that there is no opportunity loss of two years and INR 32 Lacs (on a conservative basis).

Please tell us something about the collaborations and the various tie-ups of IMT Ghaziabad in terms of executive education ?
For executive education, we have two types of collaborations. One is a partnership with the companies who are there to support such programmes by sponsoring executives – we already have existing tie-ups with companies like Coca-Cola, Apollo Tyres, Hero Motors, etc. So, tie-ups with companies within India are already there from where we get their executives to come and do programmes at IMT.

Going forward, the kind of tie-ups that we are going to have are: for the participants who would go to our partnering schools abroad to do advanced level courses and the other type of collaboration, which is now happening, is in terms of content development and adoption of new pedagogies. For e.g. we are in discussions with Darden, University of Virginia, to create online content for our executive participants using new media. The idea is to expose our faculty to emerging pedagogies and to develop cutting edge course material.

Are there any new programmes, like the recently launched PGPM, which will be launched in the coming years?
As we discussed earlier, we will also be launching a modular executive management programme PGP–ACE, where the participants will be on campus for around nine days (which is starting one Saturday and ending the next Sunday) every two months. This programme will be essentially for experienced professionals who are to be made ready to take the role of an SBU head – the idea is to enable organisations to groom leadership from within. We are proposing this programme only for those participants who are sponsored by the companies and not for self-financing individuals. Our idea is to co-create it in a manner that we work closely with the partnering companies in the development, management, and retention of talent.

We will also be launching specialised certificate programmes for executives, for example, in the area of digital marketing. So, certificate programmes in specialised areas and the modular executive management programme (PGP–ACE) are the two which are immediately on the anvil.

Can you give us a little sneak-peek into the courses that IMT’s executive education will offer?
We envisage that graduates of our executive programmes will be future ready. IMT is establishing a lab and a centre in addition to the already existing Analytics Lab and the Finance Lab. We are the first institution in India, to have a Real Time Contextual Marketing Lab (RTCML), which essentially is going to be a melting pot of digital, mobile, social and new media. This is being followed by the Centre for Development Management, to sensitise participants towards the issues of equity and distributive justice.

We have introduced courses in the area of design thinking, innovation and critical thinking. We believe that going forward executives need to be relevant to the global context – so cross-cultural negotiation, cross-cultural communication, and international immersions (GIL, GCA, and GLL) constitute a sizeable chunk of the required courses.

We believe that ‘self-awareness,’ ‘self-management’ and ‘self-development’ are central to ‘leadership development’. Each of the participants in our programmes is exposed to our ‘Assessment Centres’ and the ‘Personal Growth Lab’ to enable them to understand their strengths and weaknesses, to draw a plan for ‘self-management’ and ‘self-development’.

Is it possible to measure the outcomes of the executive coaching that will be offered in the times to come?
The way we have designed our programmes, both for the supporting companies and for the participants, is in a manner that the outcome will be measurable by the time they graduate. There will be an immediate measure and a mid-term measure. The immediate measurement is through an internal consulting assignment that each participant will be required to do with the company in which they are working to address a problem or an issue as they identify. We call it an internal consulting assignment because, under normal circumstances, the organisation would get someone external or a group to work on that as a project which will be chargeable. In this case, the participant will work on the assignment and will be assigned a faculty mentor from IMT and also a mentor from the sponsoring organisation. The outcome of the assignment, as we see it, should not be less than five times the course fee if the same assignment would have been given to an outside consultant. So, by the time s/he graduates, the ROI is both visible and measurable in terms of the contribution as an internal consultant.

We continue to engage with the sponsoring organisations to track the performance of our alumni, and our assessment says that those who go through the programme, in three years’ time, will be having more responsibility within the organisation as compared to their counterparts. It resonates very well with the twin objectives of the sponsoring organisation, namely retention of talent and creating a leadership pipeline.

What is your advice to the Executive Education aspirants in the country?
My advice is very simple – If you are a high performer, don’t leave your job, learn while you earn. Go for an executive programme which puts you on the fast track in terms of career goals. I think that is the key. A conventional two-year MBA programme is for those who want to do a track change or want to get the first job.

Executive programmes are for those who are high performers, who want to fast-track their career without actually making any compromise on either learning or earning. If I can earn and learn simultaneously, why do I need to give up my earning to do the learning? To me, those who are high performers and can work hard, an executive programme is a smarter choice than a conventional two-year MBA. Unconventionality pays a dividend!

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