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Foreign B-schools eye executive education in India

January 09, 2008 12:56 IST

Come February, Harvard Business School - in association with Harvard Business School India Research Centre - will offer its first executive education programme in India.

The programme called `Building a Global Enterprise in India' will be taught by HBS senior faculty in Hyderabad and is specially designed for senior executives from India and around the region.

HBS, however, is not the only B-school serving the needs of India Inc. International schools like the Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth and Singapore Management University too, plan to provide executive education to Indian corporate houses.

Other research-oriented schools like the London Business School, Stanford University and UCLA Anderson School of Management are in the process of setting up centres in India to fill the same need.

Though the `India Initiative' is high on the agenda of global business schools, which are vying for a slice of the executive education pie, Indian B-schools are also bracing themselves to face the challenge.

Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, for instance, is in dialogue with around eight foreign universities like Wilfrid Laurier School, Olin Business School, Washington University and HEC Montreal from Canada - to tie up and provide executive education programmes in India.

The institute says Japanese Universities are also keen to offer executive education programmes for Indian executives.

Indian B-schools however, believe it is going to be a costly affair for international B-schools to hold executive education programmes in India.

"It's not feasible for foreign B-schools to conduct programmes in India as the cost is very high. While the pool of potential partnership in these programmes could be difficult, one also has to fly professors down in business class. Accommodate them in a five-star hotel and also conduct the programmes in five-star ambience. Unlike Indian B-schools, which conduct such programmes on their premises and accommodate the executives on the campus too," says an IIM Calcutta professor.

While every B-school charges a different fee, on an average, an international B-school will charge anywhere between Rs 900,000-1,500,000 per participant.

For instance, the Tuck School of Business charges anywhere between Rs 1,100,000-1,500,000 per participant, for a three-week programme. An Indian B-school would charge anywhere between Rs 25,000-90,000.

"If an executive can afford to pay huge costs, he might as well go to the US or UK for that short duration programmes," added the professor.

There are two things that bring these schools to India - importance of the growing economy and need for research.

Professor Colin Blaydon, Director of Tuck's Center for Private Equity and Entrepreneurship: "Around the world today, capital is flowing to India and China where there is growth and potential for growth. So, if any international business school is not involved in India, they are simply not participating in major changes in the world of business internationally. No school can afford to ignore it. Also there is a need to educate senior managers who operate in this particular environment."

Quite a few international B-schools have been exploring opportunities to forge tie ups with Indian corporates. Such tie ups for executive education not only help the companies, but also the international B-schools in placing themselves well in India.

These schools are also able to spread the word about themselves to the aspiring management graduates, who wish to pursue a full-time MBA on their soil.

With the Indian corporate sector booming, the Indian market is the start of the journey to grow competencies across Asia.

Says Associate Professor Annie Koh, Dean, executive education, Singapore Management University: "We are in for exciting times ahead. Existing pools of business executives as well as the senior managers should recognise the need to keep abreast of changes in the business environment, legal requirements and the position of trust that is required of them in their roles as leaders - whether of public, private or even non-profit firms."
Kalpana Pathak in Mumbai
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