The premier institute is opening a satellite campus in Kochi to offer a variety of executive education programmes. ABDUL LATHEEF NAHA says the brief is to make tough classrooms where demanding executives will challenge each other and try to outsmart their professors.

The Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode (IIM-K), is taking executive education in India to greater heights. Already a leader in the field by offering the internationally accredited Executive Management Education Programme, the institute will open a satellite campus in Kochi to make greater strides.

The Kochi campus, coming up on the Infopark premises at Kakkanad, will focus on executive education as the demand for it is on the rise. Education, particularly branded education, being a lifetime investment, the executive education programme offered by the IIM-K is generally viewed with much expectation and enthusiasm.

The institute says it is the only premier institution of that class in the country offering such an executive management programme. The campus, expected to become functional by October, will offer full-time and part-time MBA programmes for middle- and senior-level executives.

M.G. Sreekumar, Corporate Communications Manager, IIM-K, says the Kochi satellite campus will offer several short-term management development programmes, besides a one-year executive MBA programme and a two-year part-time management programme.

The executive education programmes offered by the world's leading universities and business schools, including Harvard Business School and the Stanford Graduate School of Business, has been in great demand despite the worldwide economic slowdown in recent years. Companies are spending millions of rupees on executive education as they seek to build up the skills of their employees, particularly at the managerial level.

Executive education is considered an intelligent investment as the employees, after acquiring new skill sets in leadership and management, will help the company benefit from a well-trained and highly motivated management team.

“By positioning its satellite campus focussing on executive education in Kochi, the IIM-K is planning to support the growth and development of business and industry in the region,” Dr. Sreekumar says.

The campus will have specialised courses for executives of the information technology (IT) sector. It will directly help the executives at Infopark to hone their management skills, enhancing the competitiveness of the Indian IT sector and boost its growth in the State.

Apart from offering its established programmes, the IIM-K is planning to devise several generic and customised executive courses of different durations. Customised executive education will help people increase their management capability by combining the science of business and performance management into specialised programmes that enable executives to develop new knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

Customised executive education programmes of top business schools are currently engaging executives, researchers, and senior business faculty who are on the cutting edge of current business thought and management theory development.

IIM-K officials admit that maintaining quality will be a challenge when expanding its executive education. They say the expansion will never be allowed to become an opportunity for certificate mills. Rather, it will offer tough classrooms where demanding executives will challenge each other and try to outsmart their professors.

Apart from offering executive training and education programmes, the Kochi satellite campus will support the institute's mission of inclusive education, as it is planning to incubate a finishing school to offer specialised programmes for the people belonging to the marginalised sections of society.

“This will be done with a view to enhance their skills to enable them to be a part of the Indian growth story. However, this will be taken up once the full-fledged campus is functional at Kochi,” Mr. Sreekumar says.

The officials say the satellite campus will start offering programmes by the year-end. However, it is expected to take nearly three years for it to become a full-fledged campus.

IIM-K Director Debashis Chatterjee has been happy that many initiatives of the institute have had a direct impact nationwide. Other IIMs in the country emulated it when the institute reduced the student fee and increased the intake of women students last year.

“It is good that our action has had a direct impact. A small decision or move made here can have a wide effect,” Professor Chatterjee says.

The IIM-Kozhikode saw a drastic increase in women presence on the campus in the past two years by effecting some changes in its admission approach. The institution attracted more women not through quota but by reforming its admission policy.

Women made up 35 per cent of the student strength on the IIM-K campus when in other IIMs, they constituted an average 12 per cent only. The IIM-K took the lead in social responsibility initiatives by donating hundreds of books to five colleges in and around Kozhikode last year. The Government Arts and Science College, Kozhikode; the Government College, Kodancherry; the Zamorin's Guruvayurappan College, Kozhikode; St. Joseph's College, Devagiri; and Providence Women's College, Kozhikode, got 800 textbooks each.

It was the suggestion of one of the alumni that prompted the IIM-K to collect the used but unsoiled books of its outgoing students and donate them for a cause. The students graduating usually leave behind around 4,000 books a year. The IIM-K has set up the country's first museum of Indian business history, which collects, consolidates, and conserves the rich business traditions of the land.

The museum, IIM-K officials say, is expected to inspire and ignite business entrepreneurship among the youth. “Entrepreneurship cannot be taught. It is a combination of art and skills. We can inspire the youth with the museum,” says Mr. Sreekumar, who is convener of the museum.