Could Calcutta be giving us our very own Harvard? Calcutta Business School, a brand new venture spearheaded by the Shikshayatan Foundation is getting ready to cast its spell on prospective management students. “This initiative was undertaken so that the city could have a modern centre of study for business management,” says S.K. Birla, chairman of the S.K. Birla Group and trustee of the Calcutta Business School. Birla explains that he teamed up with some of his industrialist friends to start a management school because they wanted to give something back to the city they have grown up in. “It will be an institute that will bring about the best collaboration between industry and academia,” he says.
Built on 16 acres of land at Bishnupur on Diamond Harbour Road, the institute aims to induct the first batch of 60 PGDM (postgraduate diploma in management) students in July this year. “The eligibility criteria is very strict to maintain a high standard, and students have to clear the CAT to gain entry,” says Subir Chowdhury, former director of IIM Calcutta and advisor to Calcutta Business School. Management institutes generally offer specialisation in marketing, finance, human resources and information systems but in addition to these, Calcutta Business School will also offer students information technology, manufacturing, retail, infrastructure projects, banking and insurance, and hospitality management as options, Chowdhury says. “To maintain academic freedom, autonomy is being sought from the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE),” he reveals.
A one-year executive postgraduate diploma in management will be introduced in 2010-2011 with a batch of sixty and the target to accommodate 120 students by 2011-2012. “This course will be meant for candidates having more than two years of industry experience. A three-year part-time evening PGDM programme will also be introduced two or three years after commencement of the school,” says Chowdhury.
Short-term courses like management development programmes will also be introduced, primarily geared towards professionals. “We are planning a cluster concept for some courses whereby students would be able to delve into subjects like IT management and applications, financial management and international law,” says Birla. Teleconference facilities will be provided so students may make the most of their learning experience at the institution.
The Calcutta Business School is currently in the midst of negotiations with several leading business schools abroad for possible collaboration. All courses will be residential and there will be hostels to accommodate all students. “We have plans to accept students from all over India; non-resident Indians and candidates from Southeast Asia would also be eligible for entry provided they possess the necessary qualifications,” says Birla.
Broadband and hi-fi equipment will be provided for students to surf the Internet and a fully computerised library will serve the students’ academic needs. All students will be given laptops. Research will also be encouraged and a fellowship programme in management equivalent to a PhD is likely to be introduced in the near future. “We will also welcome visiting faculty from institutions in India and abroad and will encourage our faculty members to conduct consultations and utilise tailor-made case studies that suit the Indian business circuit,” Chowdhury says.
What makes this institution unique? “We aim to have the best infrastructure, excellent faculty, an active placement cell and a wide international network so that the institute remains a front runner in business education in the country,” Chowdhury stresses. The two-year PGDM course will cost Rs 7 lakh. The Calcutta Business School will also host a state-of-the-art management development centre spread over 38,000 square feet with 60 air-conditioned rooms and lecture theatres to be used for training programmes, seminars and guest lectures. “We want to implement the best technology in the education that we impart,” points out Birla.
The Calcutta Business School has received a favourable response from the chief minister of West Bengal. “He has been much impressed by our innovative ideas,” remarks Birla. According to him, Calcutta deserves a high-quality business management institute and the Calcutta Business School is a concerted effort by industrialists fond of this city to face that challenge.
“The involvement of stalwarts from the industry will ensure that students get placed in firms they interact with during their academic period at the Calcutta Business School,” he concludes.