IMT Ghaziabad: 'Only B - school with entrepreneurial immersion' ; overhauls the PGDM curriculum & selection process

Monday, October 17 2016
IMT Ghaziabad has overhauled its PGDM programme architecture and selection process to achieve the goal of alignment of the curriculum with the vision of the institute
IMT Ghaziabad is probably the only school which is going to have a required entrepreneurial immersion with start-ups Dr Atish Chattopadhyay, Director IMT Ghaziabad

IMT Ghaziabad, the premier B-school opened admission process for its 2 year PGDM 2017-19 programs on September 1 and proposes to close the same on December 1, 2016. Although, IMT Ghaziabad will accept CAT 2016 and XAT 2017 scores to shortlist candidates for final selection round but the admission process will have a radical shift.

With its penchant for offering world-class management education in India, this year, IMT has announced various innovations & changes in its PGDM programme architecture and departure from its regular selection process to a new and innovative method of selecting the “IMT-fit” candidates via the CT-GE-PI process. IMT expects to get the best fit candidates who are imbibed in the IMT core values of Innovation, Execution and Social Responsibility.

Talking to, Dr. Atish Chattopadhyay, Director, IMT Ghaziabad throws light and shares the key changes in PGDM programme curriculum, modified admission process to achieve the goal of alignment of the curriculum with the vision of the institute. Below are given the excerpts of the interview

Q.What are the key changes brought about and proposed in flagship PGDM programme at IMT Ghaziabad?
Ans. The changes are brought to achieve an alignment of the programme with the vision of the institute, which is to impact the business and society by way of grooming leadership.

IMT Ghaziabad, as an institution, considers three pillars which form the foundation of grooming leadership – the first being Innovation and Entrepreneurial Orientation, the second Execution or Understanding of Implementation Feasibility, and the third pillar is the whole issue of Social Responsibility. So the change or rather the process that has been set in motion is to achieve an alignment of the curriculum with the vision of the institute.

It implies that each of the admissions (input), the curriculum, the delivery mechanism, and our graduates (output) should also be in alignment with this vision. We would like to communicate this to all our stakeholders including the recruiters who would look for professionals with certain values, which means individuals who are innovative and entrepreneurial, who can execute effectively, understand implementation feasibility, and are socially responsible.

The process has been rolled out to achieve this alignment. The process is meant to achieve the alignment of the vision with those who come into the programme, the education that happens in the programme, and reaching out to industry which values individuals who come with the above orientation.

Q. How the flagship PGDM at IMT Ghaziabad is distinct from other B-schools?
Ans. It flows from the vision of IMT Ghaziabad. There are three important components – Innovation, Execution & Social Responsibility, and that essentially differentiates the curriculum of IMT Ghaziabad. Recently we’ve gone through a comprehensive review of the curriculum which was led by Prof Srikant Datar of Harvard Business School and the author of ‘Rethinking The MBA’, to achieve this alignment of the curriculum with the institute’s vision.

The first distinct feature of the new curriculum at IMT Ghaziabad is the required courses in ‘Design Thinking and Innovation’ and ‘Critical Thinking’ in the first year of the programme. Design thinking, innovation, and critical thinking become the essential elements of the first year curriculum which we feel is required to function as a leader in the long run.

The second distinct feature of the curriculum is the integration of social responsibility. We recently launched a required three-credit course on ‘Sustainability and Social Responsibility (SSR)’ which is to work with the community and we’re fortunate to be supported by the local district administration, the police administration and the development agencies. The idea is to understand how people who are different from us live their lives, to appreciate contribution as a value and the issue of sustainability which means how each of the decisions we take in business impacts the society.

The third distinct feature is a full-fledged specialisation in Entrepreneurship. We believe that our curriculum will allow each student who graduates from the programme, to develop an entrepreneurial orientation. IMT Ghaziabad is probably the only school which is going to have a required entrepreneurial immersion with start-ups spanning across six weeks for each student in the second year of the programme.

The fourth distinct feature is domain specialisation or minors which mean that IMT Ghaziabad will offer domain specialisations within the major specialisations. For instance, one can specialise in Finance and then do a minor in Banking, Equity Research, and Development Bank Management etc. Similarly, one who specialises in Marketing, can do a minor in Digital Marketing, Media & Entertainment, Market Research & Analytics, and Services Marketing etc. This sector and role specific education post the specialisation is being made available as part of the curriculum so as to make it more specific to the immediate job at hand. While the first year of the programme deals with what is required for a leader in the long term, the second year will cater to the sector and role specific short term career objectives.

Q. How will it help in creating Entrepreneurship skills?
Ans. We at IMT believe that going forward it will not be about just the entrepreneurial orientation but creating entrepreneurs. We are very fortunate to have an alumni base of more than 9, 500 out of which more than 300 are Entrepreneurs and CXOs. Some of the best known start-ups are from IMTG, such as Milagrow, PepperFry, PharmEasy, Dare2Compete, Buddy4Study etc. Our alumni are now willing to even fund start-ups and we’re going to have an incubation centre within the institute for the graduating students as well as the alumni which builds an entrepreneurial ecosystem within the institute.

As far as entrepreneurship and innovation is concerned, at least in the South-East Asia reason, IMT Ghaziabad is going to be the leader in the next three to five years and the benefit will start accruing from the class of 2017-19.

Q. How do these changes in program go deep into faculty and infrastructure level, which impacts the day to day student engagement?
Ans. The pedagogy of teaching-learning is changing and the faculty is becoming more like a role-model or a mentor. With the advent of technology, today faculty’s role is not to impart knowledge but to create an environment where insights & ideas are generated, debates are encouraged, and the students & faculty work in a manner to create knowledge and to apply that knowledge in practice whether as entrepreneurs or as business executives. That is the emerging role of the faculty.

As a matter of fact, a large component of the courses like Design Thinking, Innovation, Critical Thinking, and SSR will be outside the classroom through projects and the faculty’s role will be that of a mentor. A process is being rolled out where the faculty starts appreciating this changing role and that the classroom interaction will be very different. The idea is that students undertake projects and then based on their experiences, there is a discussion in the classroom, which is from ‘Doing’ to ‘Knowing’.

With the SSR course, students are exposed to a very different context which impacts the ‘feeling’ that is impact on oneself as a person which drives the person to action. It is a reversed process where knowledge is sought because the person wants to do something. So the idea is that the ‘Feeling’ impacts ‘Being’ leading to ‘Doing’ and ‘Doing’ impacts ‘Knowing’. Thus, we’ve completely flipped the learning process.

We have recently added a few faculty members who are very eminent, and who add to the strength of the existing faculty. Two Deans have recently joined, and some very senior practitioners who’re also established professors have come to the IMT fold.

We’re in the process of changing the narratives by which the learning process is defined in a B-school.

Q. What are the changes you have planned for the PGDM 2017-19 admission process? Are there any significant shifts in selection process?
Ans.  In the course of alignment with the vision, admission process is the first thing that’s been realigned. We believe that the candidates should get into the programme because of what we stand for. On the other hand we should be able to identify the candidates who are in alignment with our vision. So the way the admission process has been designed this year is to make us realistically understand the value fit.

The admission process will have 3 stages – the first is a test of Critical and Analytical Thinking as we feel it is a crucial competence that an aspirant who wants to get into IMT must possess; Second stage is a Group Exercise (Not a Group Discussion) which is to identify those who have abilities such as teaming, innovation potential, collaborating in a group and effective communication; The third stage is a Personal Interview where we’re looking for 4 key things – academics (learning orientation & general awareness), past experience or interest in chosen career, extracurricular orientation, and a certain degree of IMT values (Go-getters, who are matured, and are responsible members of the society).

Q. What is your advice to the students who wish to join IMT Ghaziabad for their PGDM? What kind of candidates does your institute look for...?
Ans.  IMT aspirants need a certain level of basic competencies which are tested in the exams like CAT, XAT, GMAT, but more importantly, we place a great emphasis on the person whether you’re a go-getter, self-starter, can roll up the sleeves, willing to make the hands dirty, can work in teams, can think critically and innovatively, and have also got certain degree of work discipline.

Essentially we are looking for the candidates who’re going to be effective as Executives. Such candidates will find IMT the right place to be in.

Stay tuned to for more updates on IMT Ghaziabad