Big Boys go to B-school for betterment

26 Jul,2012

By Anumeha Chaturvedi


Liane Cabral Ghosh was working as a senior manager and strategist at Dell’s research and development centre in Bangalore, when she decided to enroll for an INSEAD leadership programme for senior Indian executives last August.


“I was growing well in technical functions, but did not have management skillsets. I wanted a programme that could provide a career jump for senior leadership positions,” said Ms Ghosh. The programme concluded last month, and it seems that Ms Ghosh has been taught well. She will now join Canadian IT company Innovatia this month as country manager.


Senior-level professionals across functions, profiles and industries are going back to school for short-term and long-term executive education programmes in order to reskill themselves. Ms Ghosh’s batchmates at INSEAD included Rajshree Naik, the marketing head of Forevermark, De Beers; and Manesh Nair, former director of business relationship consulting, India and Thailand, at American Express, and after the course, global director for partnership development posted at American Express, New York.


“We are witnessing a growth of 25 per cent when it comes to participation in ‘open enrollment’ executive education programmes every year,” said Deepak Chandra, deputy dean at the Indian School of Business (ISB).


Open enrollment programmes are meant for professionals from all fields looking at a specialisation in functions like marketing, finance or sales strategies. ISB will host 5,000 such students this year. It currently offers 45-50 such programmes, up from 5-6 a decade ago. The courses at ISB last anywhere from a week to a month.


“Reskilling assumes greater importance in challenging times,” said Chaitanya

Kalipatnapu, co-founder and director of Eruditus, a firm promoted by the alumni of INSEAD and Harvard Business School (HBS) to deliver executive education programmes. “Business schools witness a spike in activity during a slowdown, as candidates consider it safe to turn to education and feel the slowdown would be over and done with by the time they pass out.”


Among the IIMs, Kozhikode is the only one to offer a two-year executive post-graduate programme in management for professionals. The batch size for this programme accredited by the London-based Association of MBAs (AMBA) has increased from 220 in 2010-12 to 333 for 2012-14. “We have increased the batch size owing to a significant demand for this course among professionals,” said C Raju, professor, quantitative methods and operations management, at IIM Kozhikode. The institute will also have two new one-year executive education programmes on human resource management and IT this year.


“The number of requests and applications for customised and open enrolment programmes have more than doubled this year,” said Mr Kalipatnapu. It offers executive education programmes from INSEAD (one-year), Wharton (both short-term and long-term), and Tuck School of Business in India. While Wharton has introduced open enrollment executive education programmes in the country this year, Tuck School of Business entered into a first-of-its-kind by-invitation consortium with a few companies like TCS, Mahindra & Mahindra and HSBC this year, wherein the companies nominated their senior managers for a programme on innovation and leadership. The Tuck programme is spread over nine months.


Individuals often opt for these programmes on their own, but companies too nominate and shortlist candidates and even work with universities on customised case studies to address their business needs. “Companies are realising that education is a good motivating tool to attract and retain talent,” added Mr Chandra.


“Companies realise that the economic challenges demand a more targeted approach to talent management,” said Mr Kalipatnapu. Firms like Bharat Petroleum, Accenture and IBM work with these top schools for programmes tailor-made to suit their needs.


Harvard Business School India Research Center, which handles executive education programmes in India, has diversified its portfolio of executive education programmes this year. “We had three executive education programmes last year, and we plan to have around 10 this year,” said Amrita Chowdhury, associate director, education, at HBS India Research Center. It has introduced new programmes on leadership and corporate accountability and innovation. “As senior professionals move up the leader, they realise they need specialised skills in general management and leadership,” said Ms Chowdhury.


She said that while the majority of candidates in a programme would comprise large private companies and PSUs, 30-40 per cent of the candidates are senior management professionals or owners of SMEs. “These are companies with a turnover of around Rs 100 crore, have gained a lot of scale, and are now looking at skilling their top management for the next phase of growth.”


Companies like Genpact and Aon Hewitt also have tie-ups with the HBS Research Center for shortlisting candidates for their programmes. “Our managers run large teams across the world and they learn about leadership and understand how cultures operate through these programmes,” said Amit Aggarwal, senior vice-president, global leadership development and training, at Genpact.


While Genpact sends around 3-5 professionals for such programmes every year, Aon Hewitt shortlists its partners and even sent one of the directors for the programme this year. “The programme touched upon all elements of leading businesses and people, and was insightful, as managing people is one of the most crucial aspects of our business,” said Ryan Lowe, director at Aon Hewitt, who attended the HBS programme on managing professional services firms in January this year.


Post a Comment 

Comments are closed.