IIM Sirmaur to be among Top 15 B-schools in India in NIRF; To Offer more electives and will Launch More Programs: Dr Prafulla Agnihotri, Director IIM Sirmaur tells MBAUniverse.com

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Updated on May 25, 2022
Dr Prafulla Y Agnihotri, took over as Director of IIM Sirmaur on May 17, 2022. Prior to taking over this responsibility, Dr Agnihotri was a Professor in Strategy and Marketing at IIM Calcutta and has served as the Founder Director of IIM Tiruchirappalli. MBAUniverse.com interviewed Dr Agnihotri who envisions to see IIM Sirmaur among top 15 B-schools in Govt of India NIRF Ranking in next five years and plans to launch more programmes and offer more electives
IIM Sirmaur to be among Top 15 B-schools in India in NIRF

One of the newer institutions of the IIM family, Indian Institute of Management Sirmaur was set up by the Government of India in 2015. A Centrally Funded Institution of National Importance, IIM Sirmaur aims to provide Management Education of high quality and promotes allied areas of knowledge and inter-disciplinary studies.  Today IIM Sirmaur offers many programs including flagship MBA, MBA (Tourism & Hospitality Management), Executive MBA in Digital Transformation and Analytics, Ph.D. (FPM) in the field of management studies. The Permanent 210 acre campus of IIM Sirmaur will soon be ready at Dhaula Kuan near Nahan in District Sirmaur (Himachal Pradesh) on Ambala- Dehradun National Highway, 15 kms from Paonta Sahib.

Dr Prafulla Y Agnihotri took over as Director of IIM Sirmaur on May 17, 2022. Prior to taking over this responsibility, he was a Professor of Marketing & Strategy, IIM Calcutta and has served as the Founder Director of IIM Tiruchirappalli. Dr. Agnihotri took the charge as Director from his predecessor, Prof. Neelu Rohmetra, who has completed her five year term as the founding Director of IIM Sirmaur.

Dr Agnihotri has over thirty years’ experience in the industry - in sales, marketing and training as well as in academics.  Dr Agnihotri’s academic journey started with NMIMS Mumbai in 1996 after being a practicing manager for over ten years. In 2006, when he was the Head of Marketing Department at NMIMS, he moved to IIM Calcutta as a Professor in Marketing Group and was also IIMC Placement Head. Then, he was appointed as the Founding Director of IIM Tiruchirappalli from February 2011 till April 2017 and again remained associated with Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta as Professor of Marketing before joining IIM Sirmaur as Director.  Dr Agnihotri also launched Vijay Patil School of Management (VPSM) in Navi Mumbai as its Founding Dean.

Dr Agnihotri was also a visiting faculty with Euromed, Marseille Provence (an EQUIS Certified B-school), and CERAM, Sophia Antipolis, France. He has also co-authored a book titled Principles of Marketing with Dr Philip Kotler and Gary Armstrong. He is also on the Board of SBI Mutual Funds as an Independent Director.

MBAUniverse.com interviewed Dr Agnihotri to know his Vision and Plans for IIM Sirmaur. Indeed, Dr Agnihotri has ambitious plans for IIM Sirmaur. He envisages his institute to be in the top 15 positions in the NIRF ranking in next five years. IIM Sirmaur also plans to offer more electives with a focus on strategy and application to the MBA and PhD students and has plans to launch new programmes in due course... Edited excerpts from interview follow:

Q: Congratulations for your appointment as the Director of IIM Sirmaur. What are your first priorities…?
Thank you

There are many things that need an urgent attention. But my first and foremost priority shall be to recruit faculty members with PhDs or Fellowships from IIMs or the best of the schools in India or abroad and an excellent track record of teaching and publishing.

Q: What qualitative aspects in Faculty Recruitment IIM Sirmaur is looking for?
IIMs are the centres of excellences and are the best management schools in the country; so only the best and nothing less than the best faculty members should be recruited to offer quality education and rigour that IIMs are known for. It will be my endeavour to see that the faculty members get congenial working environment and required support to pursue their teaching and research agenda so that they can publish their research work in the best journals in their areas. Secondly, my focus would be on enhancing the quality of life for our students. They should consider these two years as the best two years of their lives. Fortunately, our permanent campus would be ready soon; so our students can enjoy the state of the art learning and living facilities on the campus.

Q: What is your Vision for IIM Sirmaur? Where do you see it in next 4-5 years?
IIM Sirmaur should be ranked among the top 15 b-schools in India as per NIRF in next 5 years. We have an excellent location, state of the art permanent campus, great faculty members and an excellent support from the Board.

Q: What are the Key Initiatives that you are planning to take towards achieving the vision?
The key initiatives being planned are:

  1. Recruitment of quality faculty members;
  2. Strengthening the industry connect;
  3. Expediting the construction of the permanent campus;
  4. Expanding the international linkages with reputed b-schools abroad for students and faculty exchanges so that the students can get an international exposure that is so crucial in these days of globalisation;
  5. Offering holistic learning experience on the campus to the students; and
  6. Emphasising on the strategic inputs and application oriented courses to the students.

Q. What makes IIM Sirmaur distinct from other good B-schools? Please share key strengths.
Key strengths of IIM Sirmaur are

  • First, the location. It is one of the few IIMs that is located in a serene environment at the foothills of Himalayas;
  • Second, the quality of academics and learning environment;
  • Third, the industry connect which shall offer our students short term, live projects to work on as well as the summer and final placements. The faculty members shall get ample opportunities to write case studies or obtain the primary data for their research or get a chance to work on consulting projects or MDPs.
  • Fourth, the 210 acres, state of the art permanent campus which has been designed to take care of every need of the learning community.
  • In sum, it would be a great place to learn; a great place to research and teach; and a great place to work.

Q. Does IIM Sirmaur plan to launch any new program in near future... Many are offering 5 year Integrated Program in Management. Does IIM Sirmaur also plan to launch IPM program?
Yes, IIM Sirmaur does have plans to launch new programmes. We shall talk about them when we are going to launch them. At this moment, my focus is on offering more and more electives with a focus on strategy and application to the MBA and PhD students that will enrich their learning experience and shall also make them future ready for the job market.

Q. As an Expert and Academic in the area of Marketing & Strategy, please share how should the curriculum in this area be updated? What should be key aspects and parameters to be considered?
Management education has long moved from mere concept elaboration to strategic application and experiential learning. We shall strive to offer strategic inputs in all the courses with an emphasis on application-orientation. We shall also emphasise on participant-centric learning with the help of case studies, simulation games, role plays, live projects, etc.

Q. Finally, what is your message for MBA aspirants seeking MBA/PGDM admission? How can they choose the right B-school and prepare for future careers?
My simple advice for them is to choose the institute wisely. Look for the quality of the faculty that the school has. Ultimately, it is the quality of the faculty and the infrastructure on the campus that are going to drive their academic learning and overall experience during their stay on the campus. The placement is the outcome of the process. If a student has learned, he/she will get a good placement.

Q. How does IIM Sirmaur plan to enhance learning experience for its students?
IIM Sirmaur recruits its faculty members who have earned their PhDs from the best of the schools in India and abroad. Just a look at our faculty page on the website will tell them the quality of our faculty. IIM Sirmaur has a great location. It can partner with the industry in a number of ways. And thus can offer its students the best of learning from its own full-time faculty members as well as the visiting faculty from the industry. We are proud of our infrastructure. One of the best firms of architects has designed our campus by considering every single need of the academic community to make learning enjoyable.

Stay tuned to MBAUniverse.com for more updates on IIM Sirmaur and other developments in Indian management education.