The institute has been devising new coursesto equip its students with skills necessary toface management challenges.
The figure of Arjuna in the courtyard of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Kozhikode, is symbolic in many ways of the premier management institution in the State. As its Director, Debashis Chatterjee puts it, the image indicates the alertness and readiness of a person.
The institute has made huge strides, especially in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis, in equipping its students to face the management challenges of the future.
When the global economic crisis started throwing questions about the effectiveness of the business and management programmes offered by the world’s major institutions, the institute responded to the situation by quickly adopting a futuristic approach.
The return of Humanities and Liberal Arts to the campus was an immediate effect of the introspection made by the institute and its faculty led by Prof. Chatterjee.
Currently, the campus has five faculty members dealing with different aspects of the social, economic and political structure within which business takes place. Special thrust is being given on the humanistic aspect of business and management.
“Before the manager comes the human being. The ultimate aim of any institution is to create good human beings,” Prof. Chatterjee says.
Keeping this objective in mind, the institute has given shape to a few elective programmes for its students. All of those programmes have become hugely popular with other IIMs trying to emulate their Kozhikode sister.
“Self-incorporated” is one such course, which has already begun to catch the imagination of the students.
The programme, a brainchild of Prof. Chatterjee, is designed in 24 sessions. Several workshops and a one-time mentoring session makes it unique.
The programme covers aspects such as positive attitude, self-awareness, courage and confidence, health and fitness and time management. Autobiography and self-disclosure are two unique features of this programme. The project makes the students practise and gain the skills of effective written communication, reflection and self-expression in the written form.
They will explore the different approaches in communicating their lives, dreams, achievement, aspirations and dilemmas to their readers.
Using the learning and insights, participants will endeavour to reflect their own lives and put together a cogent piece of writing that reflects their life, aspirations and dreams. The project will give an opportunity for participants to explore several competencies, such as self-awareness, a positive attitude, courage and confidence, creativity and communication and articulate ways of developing them.
“I don’t make any big claim about this programme,” Prof. Chatterjee says. “Incorporated,” he explains, “is the body. We are discussing the importance of understanding one’s potential in a perspective which is rooted in values and culture.”
Pointing out the achievements of cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and the farewell he received from the cricketing world, Prof. Chatterjee says these are because of Sachin’s anchoring in core values.
Peeyush Patil, a student, says the “Self-incorporated” programme will be a boon to those who lost their self. It will help in regaining one’s conscience and soul. As the body is a medium of expression, he said, it is just the soul that matters in the end.
“Social Transformation” is yet another programme rooted in addressing the persona. “We have tailored our new programmes to suit the business needs of the future,” Professor A.F. Mathew, says.
The institution believes that the manager of the future should have a clear idea about the circumstances in which he or she works.
Factors such as social structure, communities, caste, religion, and nationality should be understood well and taken care of. “This is where the Humanities as subjects play a crucial role in moulding the modern manager,” Professor Mathew says.
“Evolution of Indian Business” is yet another course unique to the IIM-K. Although the IIM, Ahmedabad, has run such a course for about three decades, it wound it up not because of lack of demand but because of lack of efficient faculty. The IIMs, Ahmedabad and Bangalore, are chalking out plans to revive the programme.
“You cannot manage the future effectively without understanding the past in the right perspective. This programme offers a basic understanding of how business evolved in India,” says M.G. Sreekumar, corporate communications manager at the IIM-K, says.
The programme covers the business history from the early period to the modern age.
The IIM-K launched a business museum as a precursor to the business history course. “Unlike the museums which are a venerable repository of old items, the IIM-K business history museum offers a focal discussion point and various symposia rooted in business,” Dr. Sreekumar says.
With the intention of taking the museum to further heights as a debating platform, the IIM-K launched a heritage lecture series last year. Eminent business historians from across the world are flying down to offer lectures.
The IIM-K has tied up with the Calicut Heritage Forum headed by the historian M.G.S. Narayanan to promote history as an academic subject from a business perspective.
The role of communities that have made it big in business such as Marwaris, Parsis and Chettiars is discussed at length as part of the IIM-K programme.
History is certainly not a core subject for the managers. But the IIM-K launched the programme with the aim of instilling the right perspective among students to deal with situations requiring analysis.
The return of Humanities and Liberal Arts to the campus was an immediate effect of the introspection made by the institute.