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IIM Calcutta's STEP to send Indians abroad, bring in foreign talent
Shubham Singal
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September 03, 2007

This September, a third of the second-year students at IIM Calcutta will head off to various locations across the world from Singapore to USA, but not on vacation.

Instead, they are part of IIM C's STEP programme (Student Exchange Programme), designed to equip students with cross-cultural exposure and train them in global business ethics to complement their knowledge of the Indian business scenario

The 80 participating students will have the opportunity to understand cultures abroad and gain an international perspective to management -- essential in the current age of globalisation. The wider participation of students has been enabled by the scholarships available to them which have increased from 12 last year to 46 this year.

IIMC students are in great demand, with several universities and foreign embassies offering scholarships to attract them. The French Embassy and DAAD (German Academic Exchange Program) have already offered 32 scholarships to IIM C students, each worth $3000 (about Rs 1,20,000).

From the US, CBS at the University of Colorado and City University of New York (CUNY) have provided scholarships to participating students.

The biggest attraction is the 'Diamond Scholarship', awarded by Diamond Management & Consultancy Group to Prabhat Chandra, the only student in India to get this prestigious scholarship worth $3000 (Rs 1,20,000).

Besides these, the institute itself supplements the exchange program with contributions from its coffers. Special efforts were made to ensure that no students misses out on this opportunity due to lack of funds and financial assistance was arranged for all of them.

In all scholarships in excess of Rs 6,000,000 are on offer to the students this year.

"IIMC helps its students in all possible ways -- bulk airfare discounts, visa assistance, travel insurance and even French and German classes were arranged for them. In addition representatives from Thomas Cook [Get Quote], ICICI [Get Quote] Lombard and STIC specially visited the campus to make arrangements for the exchange program participants at discounted rates," said Gaurav Goyal, the STEP representative. 

IIM Calcutta's partner universities include Simmons School (Boston), Instituto de Empresa (Madrid), UCLA Andersen School of Management (Los Angeles), Universit� Commerciale Luigi Bocconi (Milano), NUS (Singapore), ESCP-EAP (Paris) and 31 other world-renowned institutes, spreading across 5 continents and 17 countries.

Gaurav said "With the biggest geographical reach, ranging from developing countries like Brazil [Images] to France [Images], Spain, Italy [Images] and USA, we have the tie-ups with the best universities across the globe. This helps recognise IIMC at the international arena and is also reflected in the placements." 

IIMC will also play host to a large number of exchange students of various nationalities. India as a emerging economy has been the major attraction to these students who spend a few months at IIMC to gain a holistic perspective of India, both from a managerial perspective and as a tourist.

"When I started B-School I set a goal for myself to visit the two markets that are shaping the business world: China and India. Last summer I had to opportunity to visit China for a month so I seized the opportunity to see India this summer. When I discovered that CUNY had a direct exchange with 'the Harvard of India' - IIMC, I jumped at the chance. Simply mention 'IIMC' to any Indian or Asia-based businessman in the West and they get excited," said Leslie Hunt, an exchange student from City University of New York. 

The success of the STEP programme over the years has attracted even full-time foreign students.

Travis Donselman, who is in the first year of the PGDM program said, "My research left me very impressed by the curriculum and the caliber of IIM-C's finance faculty. The institute's previous placement records were, in fact, the clincher. The classes like economics and financial planning are very rigorous and will hold me in good stead while pursuing my goal of taking up a position on Wall Street."

Ana Parez from Spain said, "IIMC took my learning experience to an unimaginable level. This was an enriching experience that I cannot describe in words how rewarding and fulfilling it was personally and professionally."

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