Kaustubh Dhavse, a Mumbai-based computer engineer was one of those fortunate few who landed a good job after his graduation. After a six-year stint in the telecom industry, Dhavse was sitting pretty with a plum job and a fat salary. But he wanted to study further. He wanted to do a management programme. But he could not afford to spend two years on an MBA course.
Richa Rauniar is an architecture graduate who had spent the last five years working for a Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO). She figured that if she were equipped with some managerial skills, she would be able to do her job much better. She wanted to do an MBA to improve her profile. Only, she wasn’t prepared for the conventional management institutes offering two-year MBA programmes.
Dhavse and Rauniar joined the one-year management programmes at S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR), Mumbai, and the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad, respectively last year.
Says Dhavse, “The one-year management programme at SPJIMR came as a perfect fit for my aspirations. It catered to experienced individuals like me. It laid emphasis on content, complexity and theory.” According to Kamlesh Sajnani, managing director, IMS Learning Resources, one-year management programmes help those individuals who are graduates and have a work experience of six to seven years. “They have the experience but need the functional and strategic inputs to become potential managers, which is where a management programme steps in,” says Sajnani. Amitabha Ghosh, who was with the Indian Navy for seven years, also settled for a one-year MBA programme when he chose to make a smooth transition to the corporate world.
Indian management institutes have always offered two-year management programmes. ISB was the first business school to offer a one-year programme in 2001. Says Mendu Rammohan Rao, dean, ISB, “When ISB was started, its objective was to provide management education to people who have worked for a while in the industry.” The institute had drawn up a management programme on the likes of INSEAD, France, IMD, Switzerland, and other US and European B-schools. Today, the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) have followed suit.
But the question is, is one year enough for management education' Says Rao of ISB, “The two- year MBA is never really that long. The academic sessions begin in June, followed by a two-month summer internship. Actually, the academic sessions do not last for more than 16 months. The one-year MBA does not include a summer internship or long breaks between semesters.” Prof. Rai of SPJIMR adds that the curriculum is so designed as not to include concepts that are already known to experienced people. It is chiefly case studies based but they are in no way any less demanding than the conventional programmes.
The admission to one-year programmes is through GMAT scores. In some cases, scores of the Common Admission Test (CAT) and the XLRI Admission Test (XAT) are also accepted. The minimum work experience sought is two years. Says Sumantra Roy, a Calcutta-based entrepreneur and an ISB alumnus, “The one-year programme helped me focus on my business from a strategic viewpoint. We had the best B-schools (Kellogg and Wharton) as partners which resulted in a global development of skills.”
The institutes offer placement facilities for their one-year programmes. Says Sajanani, “Corporate India faces a shortage of experienced men in the middle and upper level managerial talent. Such experienced management candidates always find favour with the corporate sector.” Adds Rai of SPJIMR, the average salary of the one-year management students in 2005 has been Rs 10.5 lakhs per annum. Internationally, one-year MBAs are an accepted qualification for working professionals.
The course fees are quite steep, though. They range between Rs 6 lakh and Rs 15 lakh for a one-year programme. Academics feel that the demand for one-year programmes will increase in the coming years but will always cater to those with work experience.