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MDI, Gurgaon
BURNING BRIGHT: The Scholars building at MDI all lit up at dusk
VITAL STATISTICS
WHAT IS IT' A postgraduate management institute.

WHO'S THE BOSS' Dr Pritam Singh is the director.

WHAT COURSES' Programmes in management (PGPM) and human resource (PGPHR). Also management programmes for executives and fellow programmes.

HOW TO GET IN' Applicants for PGPM and PGP-HR should have a three-year bachelors degree. You take the CAT. Those shortlisted are called for an interview which includes group discussion and personality assessments. The MDI application form is available till October 31.

HOW ABOUT JOBS' No problem. Usually you can choose where you want to be.

GLITTERING ALUMNI: Anurag Batra, CEO, exchange4media; Girish Aivalli, manager, Cargill India Ltd; Harpreet Singh Jolly, Hewitt Associates; Nilay Verma, Deloitte Consulting and Rajat Kumar Jain, Nestle.

WHERE TO STAY' Staying in the campus hostel is compulsory. These are double seaters with web-linked computers.

HOW CHEAP IS IT' The two-year MBA costs about Rs 4 lakh, including all expenses such as fees, boarding and lodging. That would roughly be Rs 16,000 per month.

WHERE IS IT' Management Development Institute, Sukhrali, Mehrauli Road, Gurgaon, Haryana. Phone: 0124-2349831-36. E-mail: admissions@mdi.ac.in; website: www. mdi.ac.in

Last year, Management Development Institute, Gurgaon, faced a curious kind of embarrassment. Each of its 123 students was snapped up in the morning session on the first day of campus recruitment. Over 30 companies listed for interviews in the afternoon session went back empty-handed.

The corporate sector's eagerness to hire MDI graduates is understandable. In the past few years, it has emerged as a red-hot business school. In a recent Businessworld survey of the country's top B-schools, MDI emerged third after the Indian Institutes of Management, Ahmedabad and Bangalore. The B-schools were judged on five scales: infrastructure, faculty, research and consultancy, admission and delivery, networking and placement. A similar survey conducted by Outlook put MDI in fourth spot.

With such credible endorsement, MDI director Dr Pritam Singh is a happy man. 'No B-school is as strongly linked with the corporate world as MDI in areas like consultancy, research and case writing,' he says, sitting in his roomy office. According to him, MDI is a continuous testing ground where students get a taste of the real corporate world as well as the theory of knowledge.

No wonder the students are reaping the rewards. Last year, all students were recruited within six hours on the first day of the campus interviews. The average salary offered was about Rs 7.25 lakh per year, the highest being Rs 11.4 lakh.

The MDI boss takes particular pride in his faculty. 'No one can touch us in that area,' says Singh. On its part, the faculty enjoys being a part of the institute. 'This place gets the best out of me,' says Geeta Bajaj, who teaches business communications. In all, there are about 60 faculty members and the teacher-student ratio is 1:5.

The admission system is rigorous and, according to Singh, totally fair. The institute puts out a merit list of all candidates who take the interview.

One out of every four MDI students spends at least one term abroad. Last year 32 students went to foreign institutes as part of the exchange. This year, 38 international students are at MDI. 'Interacting with them gives you a totally different perspective,' says Ashish Biswas, a second year MBA student.

Biswas enjoys making use of the opportunities he is getting at MDI. 'I am into studies and extra-curriculars. Even placement,' he says. The extra-curriculars are interesting too. The students and faculty members together run a mutual fund. Students manage a retail store on campus. They also have social outreach programmes. For recreation, one can play tennis and badminton or join yoga classes.

Established in 1973 and located 12 kilometres from New Delhi international airport, MDI has a pretty campus teeming with red brick buildings and dotted with trees. The buildings have been given names such as Scholars, Renaissance etc. The MDI library, called Gyan Griha, has a collection of over 54,000 books. It has online access to international journals and over 300 personal computers. That apart, the institute is networked with top international business schools. Says Singh, 'Such an interaction helps in acquiring a macro-vision. After all, we are grooming change and thought leaders.'

MDI imparts executive education as well. The institute conducts nearly 200 weeks of intensive short-term training programmes each year. 'Be it SAIL or RBI or Maruti, MDI is the preferred place for top management workshops,' says Singh. MDI also offers fellow programmes in management. It is a residential programme and takes approximately three-and-half to four years to complete.

AVIJIT GHOSH

Old memories

Girish Aivalli, manager, Cargill India Ltd and MDI graduate, takes a trip down memory lane

Dial his mobile phone number and you can hear the hit Dil Chahta Hai track, Koi kahe kehta rahe. But back in 1994, Girish Aivalli was singing a different tune. His was the first batch of MDI’s postgraduate programme in management (PGPM) and there were no established conventions to follow.

So, as the general secretary of his batch, Aivalli went about organising cultural and business fairs and looking into placements. “Our institute was well-known but we did not have a postgraduate MBA programme till that year. So we had things to do,” he says.

But despite his keen involvement in extra-curricular activities, Aivalli kept a simple daily routine. He woke up at 7 am and hit the bed by 10 pm after planning the next day’s routine. “It was very different for my roommate who woke up around 9 am and studied till 2 am,” he recalls.

The first two months, feels Aivalli, are the hardest. Students just out of college are not
accustomed to the sudden work pressure. “Those days you study for about 12-14 hours. But later, I managed with six hours,” he says.

Among his teachers, he remembers S.R. Singhvi, who taught him marketing and was “a very hard taskmaster”. But Aivalli enjoyed his stint at MDI. The whole process of learning through case studies and working as a team shaped his outlook to work. He is involved in alumni activities and often goes back to the campus. And, sometimes, he helps out the new lot by conducting mock interviews before campus recruitment.

Some try to forget their past. Avialli has made the past an integral part of his present.

As told to Avijit Ghosh

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