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A well-known academic in international finance & management, Devi Singh, director, Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow, believes that faculty crunch is a major concern for B-schools in India. To tackle the crunch, IIML, under his leadership, is taking the lead in creating a robust fellowship programme. "IIML is planning to set up a national faculty development centre. It aims at honing the skills of the faculty from other B-schools so as to help them acquire best teaching methodologies and upgrade their knowledge and teaching skills. It also seeks to have the largest number of research scholars amongst all B-schools in India," he says. In an interview with FE's Vikram Chaudhary, he talks about IIML's various initiatives. Excerpts:What do you think of the Foreign Educational Institution (Regulation of Entry & Operation) Bill, 2010?The Bill is a good move and will help bring internationally reputed education providers to India. However, it is important that foreign institutions entering India offer the same degrees and diplomas they offer back home.This will ensure that certification provided by them in India will have the same value internationally as their current qualification. Foreign universities seeking entry into India will have to study the market closely, offer localised content & case studies and train students for both global and domestic markets.IIML has international partnerships with 24 institutes. Will and how IIML benefit if any of those institutes enter India?We do not believe that there will be much impact in the initial years, as we do not foresee too many of our partners opening up an Indian campus immediately. Our collaborations are all with the leaders of global education, who have built their academic expertise painstakingly over years and decades. Replicating the same in India within the next few years does not seem to be an easy option.IIML has broken new ground in being the first IIM to start an additional campus. What made you open a campus in Noida?IIML's Noida campus has been operational for the past four years. This campus is a vibrant nodal centre for post-experience management education, research, consulting and corporate training. IIML has been successfully running various programmes, such as working managers programme and general management programme for defence officers at its Noida campus. We are launching the international programme in finance for executives this year.Links with industry are important for any B-school. IIML, therefore, took the decision to open a campus in Noida as it is a hub for various leading industries. The presence in NCR also gives us immediate access to leaders from both industry and government.Among IIM aspirants, the alphabet preference goes like A, B, C, L—IIMA, IIMB, IIMC, IIML. Why is IIML related more to an XLRI than, say, IIMA or ISB?All IIMs are a part of the big umbrella called the IIM system. As in a household, the elders are named first, so we see no harm in mentioning IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Calcutta before IIM Lucknow. While A, B & C have been operational for around 50 years, we have just completed 25 years. Rather than considering one another as competitors, our relationship is more collaborative. A, B & C have been our elder siblings and today, we are also cast in the role of an elder sibling to IIM Rohtak, which we are mentoring.ISB was started with a different mandate. We respect what they do. It is always good to have good institutions at the top. We have high regard for XLRI, as it has been a phenomenon so far as building a robust HR programme is concerned. But beyond that, we are a recognised brand in our own right and any comparisons are not really fair.What was IIML's experience during the slowdown? Did it affect placements?Economic slowdown took a toll on all sectors. Though management education was not affected by the economic slowdown in terms of student enrolment, the effect of slowdown was evident on placements. The slowdown presented an opportunity for business leaders to optimise the current opportunity to emerge stronger for competitive times to come. IIML has always been successful in placing all its students in the most coveted positions in renowned national and multinational companies. The effect of economic slowdown was self-evident, but good B-schools were able to sail through.We achieved 100% placements last year as well as this year. This year, 370 offers were made to the batch of 315, which was the highest amongst all IIMs. Also, placement week saw the return of finance and IT in a big way.What is your take on the lack of quality faculty?Quality faculty is major concern for all the educational institutes in India. Faculty crunch, on the other hand, is another big issue that management institutes are facing. To tackle the situation, we have taken the lead in creating a robust fellowship programme and to have the largest number of research scholars amongst all B-schools.Over and above that, IIML is also planning to set up a national faculty development centre. It aims at honing the skills of the faculty from other B-schools so as to help them acquire best teaching methodologies and upgrade their knowledge and teaching skills.
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