“NICHE” is the word here to illumine an impression in management education that distinctively talks about programmes designed to meet specific needs of a recruiter. While in simple parlance we call it a ‘customised’ or a ‘tailor-made’ programme, the essential outcome is to create a niche in nurturing such management professionals who are equipped with unparalleled skill-sets and ready-to-deliver from day zero.
Consider the new degree offered by NIIT University (NU) in partnership with ICICI Bank, known as MBA (Finance & Banking) which is being offered to working professionals with minimum three years of full-time experience. A couple of years ago ICICI, recognizing its five-year-long educational training relationship with IFBI (another NIIT initiative), embarked on this partnership with NU and launched the first of its kind programme in January 2011. ICICI Bank decided that the middle level management needed people with more acumen and skills that suited their needs, particularly in areas such as corporate banking, global risk management and information technology. On the part of NU too it was beneficial - “Apart from the steady stream of good students to the university, the programme gets enriched as industry practice is fed back to theory where both faculty and students get access to actual field data” says Parimal V Mandke, Registrar, NU.
According to Smarajit Dey, President, NIIT Ltd, “This programme is mutually beneficial in the sense that it fills in the void - while industry does not address things like comprehensiveness of concepts and abstractions, academia would not venture into problem solving, productivity etc, so this gives the students an added advantage of both the worlds.
MBA (Banking & Finance) at a Glance
|Offered at: NIIT University, Neemrana (internship at different locations)
Admission: Twice a year – Classes commence in April and October
Duration: 2-years full-time residential (8 terms of 3 months duration each)
Eligibility: Graduates lass than 30 years (60%) from engineering, IT, Finance, Economics, Law, Commerce, Statistics, CA/ professionals with minimum 3-years full-time experience.
Selection: Aptitude Test followed by Group Discussion, Psychometric Profiling and Interview
Term 1 & 2 – Comprehensive General Management at NU + Specialised Finance Papers
Term 3 & 4 – Internship at ICICI Bank + 4 courses of General Management
Term 5 & 6 – Specialisation Programme at NU
Term 7 & 8 – Internship in area of specialisation
10 Core Management Courses - 30 credits
6 Core Finance & Economy Courses - 18 credits
10 Compulsory Banking Courses - 30 credits
6 Elective Set Courses - 18 credits
4 Internship Courses - 24 credits
Fee: Rs 4.5 lakhs per annum
Stipend: Rs. 10,000 per month during
Classroom training:Rs. 50,000 per month during the internship phase
No. of Students: 58 (April 2011); 88 (Oct’ 11)
No. of Faculty: 25
Assured Placement: ICICI Bank (Grade II Level Entry with C2C Rs 15 lakh per annum depending on prior experience)
Bond Period with ICICI: 3 years
A naïve concept in India, customised MBA programmes are relatively more known in foreign countries, particularly in the West. In fact the customised ‘executive education programmes’ are more popular in India that are of a much shorter duration catering to the immediate training concerns of the organisations.
Increasingly, many prestigious Business Schools have felt a need to address the needs of individual employers, and eagerly respond to companies demanding more relevance for their money. Though the customized executive education modules are more in number, highly specialized, detailed and demanding, the longer duration programmes that have conceptual learning as an integral component are very few.
Looking at the current specific needs of a industry or the emerging ones, a recruiter may well negotiate if it is worthwhile investing in a programme (in terms of time, effort and funds) that would be profitable. In return, the advantage would be getting a steady pool of skilled personnel who are known and assessed for their work, aptitude and attitude over the duration of the programme. The advantage would also be in terms of getting the desired outcome as soon as they join and also saving on the training cost.
The limitations of such programmes, may be in terms of the difficulty that some students may face if they are willing to switch roles provided they find unlearning the specialised concepts a bit difficult. Secondly, the course content might be too diluted in the interest of the partnering firm driven by customer needs. Further, though the university would bank on the faculty members, there might be a concern if the classes are taken by company executives or such personnel who are not well versed with teaching students.
||“The NU-ICICI MBA (F&B) is a superior programme since it comprises components of both industry and academic world”
President, NIIT Limited
“Thankfully we at NU do not have such limitations since a careful thought has gone in designing the content and there is an in-built feedback mechanism wherein every Saturday, even during the internship when students are out of the campus, they are linked through an NIIT centre with video-conferencing facility,” says Shivendra Mathur, coordinator of the MBA (F&B) programme.
Dr. Mandke adds, “The specificity of this university MBA programme comes from internships and a student’s exposure in the bank, otherwise this is a university programme.” Prof. Praveen Sharma, Director, Management Area and a key figure in administering the MBA (F&B) also says that switching roles for students is also not an issue since “It’s full-time, 120 credit, 32 course management course with practical component. So students have a comprehensive understanding of the programme with specialisation in finance”
Win-win situation for students
The biggest sense of satisfaction echoed by one and all during interaction with NU students of the MBA (F&B) programme was that one can devote more time to learning as against thinking about the prospective employer or employment. Since the programme is designed to admit students with varied industry background, “It is all the more interesting and engaging,” says Deepak, seconded by Neha. “The faculty is also very understanding as they realise the maturity level of students here,” says Abhilasha. A fact also shared by Dr. Mandke who opined, “Instead of a diffused programme there is a focused programme where students have tasted the world of work”.