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Dr. Himadri Das

Rendezvous with Dr. Himadri Das

Prospects of IMI’s Executive PGDM

The current business and corporate scenario is changing at a very fast pace. In order for the executives to be equipped with these changes, the academia must evolve along with it. The team at MBA Rendezvous recently got the opportunity to discuss this aspect with Dr. Himadri Das.

Dr. Das is the newly appointed Director General of International Management Institute Delhi. Dr. Das has previously served as a Professor of Finance and Information Systems for eleven years at International Management Institute Delhi and Dean (Academic Programs) for five of those eleven years. Other than that he has served as a Director at both Great Lakes Institute of Management (Gurgaon) and Management Development Institute (Gurgaon). He has over 16 years (and still counting) of academic experience and 13 years of corporate experience. He is a B.Tech and MBA from IIT Delhi and M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, USA and is a visiting professor at universities in Luxembourg, Finland and France.

Dr. Das shared his views regarding the changes that need to be incorporated in the present management education, especially full-time executive education for mid-career professionals. He threw light on the Executive PGDM Program at IMI New Delhi which is currently going through some path-breaking changes.

Team MBA Rendezvous : In the present scenario of uncertainty how would you visualise the changing role of full-time executive education to meet the business landscape changes?

Dr. Das : In the last five years, the business landscape has gone through a tsunami. A lot of disruption has been caused by the new business models which ride on new technologies. These are mostly Analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, Blockchain and Internet of things (IoT). So, the executives who had been performing really well before these disruptions happened are finding themselves out of their depth with these changes. They are not in a position to leverage the new business models and techniques and add value to their organisations. Thus, there is a very strong need to inject these mid–level executives with a serious doze of new knowledge and new competencies, which will make them valuable for their organisations.

Often a lot of this cannot be done in a condensed model of three to ten days training. Because of this, the one year MBA program has become more relevant today than it was five to ten years ago. This will only work if the one year MBA is completely transformed to address these new sets of competencies. Earlier on the one year MBA was essentially a two year MBA condensed into one year. This will not solve the problem of these experienced executives who now need to re-skill for one year. They need to be given inputs on the contemporary issues that they missed out on when they first went to college and which have emerged now. It is now time for them to unlearn and relearn. In this context full-time executive education has taken on significant importance.

Team MBA Rendezvous : In continuation to your answer, a second question arises is: How IMI New Delhi’s Executive PGDM course can help the experienced mid–level executives who wish to take up senior roles in the organisation?

Dr. Das :Currently, IMI’s Executive PGDM curriculum has been taken back to the drawing board and is undergoing a fairly significant change. We are in consultation with senior industry stakeholders regarding their requirements and expectations from executives with five to ten years experience. We expect to roll out the changes before the April 2019 session starts.

The inputs we have received from them tell us that they are in need of executives who understand things like Analytics, AI, Machine learning, IoT, and Blockchain etc. We are currently in the process of re-structuring the programme to make it less of a traditional two year MBA squeezed into one year, but make it very transformational and contemporary.

We believe no other business school is doing this in the one year space. We aim to give the mid–level executives a complete transformational experience so that they can go out and behave as if they are from the new economy.

Team MBA Rendezvous : How can the five week international study module with the IMI Executive PGDM be helpful for the students?

Dr. Das : The reason we had put in the international study module is because in a global economy we believe it is important to give the executives with five to ten years experience some meaningful global exposure. Five weeks is a significant amount of time they spend with foreign students in a foreign university.

The global exposure is not just in terms of travelling abroad but much more than that. The students get to share the classrooms with a mix of students drawn from different countries. As the popular saying goes – Your net worth is your network – the module helps them build a network with students from different parts of the world.

In addition to classroom inputs students get to learn about the culture. They get acquainted with the professional set-up of organisations of the countries they visit. They get to study various work cultures as well.

The professional exposure, cultural exposure, network building opportunity, and classroom inputs together make the five week international study module a very potent capsule.

Team MBA Rendezvous : How can the AICTE approved and AMBA accredited Executive PGDM offered by IMI New Delhi transform managers to be employable globally?

Dr. Das : As I mentioned in the beginning, we are currently building a contemporary one year MBA program. This will help us have a unique position in the market. It will give our students the skills of today and tomorrow and not that of yesterday. By skills of today I mean knowledge of Analytics, Machine Learning, AI, IoT, Blockchain, etc that we have found out by talking to our industry stakeholders. These skills are not only specific to what the Indian job market requires but something that is expected globally as well.

We are changing the curriculum by understanding on a first–hand basis with the help of industry stakeholders, what is it that they need from the mid–level executives. Our aim is to fill the gaps that these executives experience when they are working in an organisation.

In the short–run we may be depending on the industry experts, but in the medium run we will be developing our own faculty. This will be an internal process. This will help us enhance and upgrade the knowledge base of our faculty. If the one year program succeeds and we hear a positive response from our recruiters and other stakeholders, we will plan to implement it for our MDPs as well. This is going to be a gradual process.

Team MBA Rendezvous : What can be the possible future scenario of executive education in India and its increasing relevance in the global market?

Dr. Das : I feel that the one year MBA product across B-Schools in India will grow. The reason being, with technology and business models getting disrupted at such a fast pace (which was definitely not the case 10 years ago), you have to get these intermittent injections for new competencies. So the old Indian way of finishing all studies in one shot will not work now. This is because if you finish your management education immediately after your graduation and then go to the workforce and have a 35 year long career, you cannot expect to ride on that old knowledge all through out. You need regular intermittent interventions to sustain yourself in the rapidly changing environment.
There are two things according to me – one is have a significant one year product which kicks in after a person has worked anywhere between five to ten years. Secondly, it can be done with shorter injections of what is globally known as executive education, or in India known as Management Development programs (MDPs). These may be delivered through a blend of technology enabled learning and traditional classroom sessions. It could be something like a three-week long program where executives can attend class room sessions in campus for two to three days in the beginning and two to three days in the end, whereas the remaining program in the middle can be conducted by means of webinars, pre-recorded content, etc.

These models will evolve in the executive education space and cater to not only mid–level executives but senior–level executives as well who have fifteen to twenty-plus years of experience.

Team MBA Rendezvous : What message, suggestion and/or advice would you give to mid-career executives from IMI’s perspective?

Dr. Das : My main message to mid-career executives is that you cannot rest on your past knowledge, it is going to become obsolete faster than you think. You have to continuously unlearn and relearn in order to grow in a fast changing business landscape.

The IMI Executive PGDM, in a one year concentrated period, will help you do your first instalment of unlearning and relearning after you have already spent five to ten years in industry. Further down your career, we will help you unlearn and relearn through a suite of blended training interventions.

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