A slew of steps, including the slashing of fees, have made IIM-K a trendsetter.

The Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode (IIM-K) is hitting national headlines not just by doing a few things unique but also by mounting pressure on other IIMs in healthy competition. The recent slashing of fees by the institute for its prestigious postgraduate programme has had a nationwide ripple effect.

IIM Calcutta has followed suit by announcing that any student joining the public sector will get a fee waiver. The IIM-K move has made it difficult for other IIMs to either increase or decrease their fees. By slashing the fees, others will be portrayed as imitating their Kozhikode sibling.

“It is good that our action has had a direct impact. A small decision or move made here can have a wide effect. More than losing a part our revenue, we are sending out a great message by reducing the fee,” IIM-K Director Debashis Chatterjee says.

IIM-K authorities say the reduction of fees by three per cent will partly protect the students from inflationary pressures in the economy. It took the decision to slash the fees in the wake of an increase in the interest rates on student loans in recent years.

Prof. Chatterjee says that 10 per cent of the students in the institute have a parental income of less than Rs.1 lakh a year. It is one of the responsibilities of a socially conscientious institute such as the IIM-K to protect the students from a steep increase in fees, he adds.

Another IIM-K move that has had a nation-wide effect is the increase in the intake of women for its postgraduate programmes. For the first time, the number touched 35 per cent, when other IIMs maintained an average of 12 per cent.

“Following the moves we have made, all new IIMs have decided to increase the intake of women,” Prof. Chatterjee says.

The IIM-K 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. “We did not tweak our admission procedure. We rather reoriented it by giving importance to consistency in academic record,” M.G. Sreekumar, Corporate Communications Manager, IIM-K, says. The replacement of group discussion with essay writing during the IIM-K admission process has thrown open opportunities for many students from rural and semi-urban backgrounds. Today, almost all but a couple of IIMs have adopted the essay method by doing away with group discussion.

The inflow of women into the IIM-K campus is likely to increase. It is projected to touch 45 per cent soon.

Book donation

The institute took the lead in social responsibility initiatives by donating hundreds of books to five colleges in and around Kozhikode. The Government Arts and Science College, Kozhikode; the Government College, Kodanchery; the Zamorin's Guruvayurappan College, Kozhikode; St. Joseph's College, Devagiri; and Providence Women's College, Kozhikode, got 800-odd textbooks each.

It was the suggestion of one of the alumni that prompted the institute to collect the used but undamaged books of its outgoing students and donate them for a cause. The students leaving the IIM-K campus usually leave behind 4,000 books a year. “Catching the idea mooted by one of our alumni, we collected those books and distributed among the colleges. And for them (the colleges), it was a great help,” Dr. Sreekumar says.

The IIM-K is set to start postgraduate programmes for executives on its Kochi campus being set up at Infopark from the next academic year. Both short- and long-term programmes will be offered on the new campus. “We will be concentrating on executive education and training at the satellite campus,” he says.

The institute is planning to introduce several scholarships to support top achievers and contributors to the national cause. It will offer full fee-waiver to one per cent of students with a proven record of excellence in academics, sports, and social activities through awards or recognitions at the national or international levels. More than 100 firms, including like Deutsche Bank, Citibank, and soft drinks majors, have made summer placement offers to the 340-odd students.

G. Sridhar, placement chairperson of IIMK, says it is the first time that all students of the postgraduate programmes received good summer placement offers with attractive stipends. Two of the students got a stipend of Rs.1.6 lakh each for two months of internship. It was the Australia-based investment bank Macquarie which offered the tempting stipend for working in its Mumbai office. Last year, the highest stipend was 1.2 lakh. The students will work during April-June next year. Sources say the summer placement record of the IIM-K reflects the market trends.

Marketing companies have taken 40 per cent of the students for summer placement when finance companies picked up 30 per cent. Top marketing firms such as Hindustan Unilever, ITC and Marico were among those who recruited the IIM-K students. Among the financial institutions that visited the campus at Kunnamangalam were Deutsche Bank, Citibank, American Express, and Goldman Sachs.

Tata Administrative Services (TAS) was a leading company in the general management sector to visit the campus. TAS directors were impressed with the IIM-K and its students and offered the largest number of placements in their recruiting history across all campuses.

There was also an increase in the number of new recruiters this year, making up 20 per cent of the total. This, IIM-K sources say, is double the number of last year's new recruiters.

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