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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Overthere
In tune with industry

PRAXIS BUSINESS SCHOOL, CALCUTTA

When Niyati Gauba, a senior credit analyst at Crisil (a global analytic company) decided to join a management school six years ago, Praxis Business School was only a year. “I had some reservations but all my doubts vanished when I interacted with faculty members and students,” she recalls. The “rich pedigree” of faculty members and the institute’s alignment with the industry were reasons enough for Gauba to join Praxis. “Yes…it was a calculated risk but it paid off really well,” says Gauba.

“It makes us proud when we hear students telling us that joining Praxis was the best decision they made in their life,” says Srinivas Govindrajan, the dean. “Most of our visitors, comprising recruiters, students and faculty members from other B-schools remark that Praxis students are a very ‘happy bunch’,” says Govindrajan. According to him, rarely is there an issue of dissonance after a student passes out of the institute.

A visit to the campus indeed reveals that students enjoy life and are inspired to work hard. “Students have a great rapport with teachers,” says Charanpreet Singh, associate dean, academics. According to him, the institute lays a lot of emphasis on hands-on learning which goes far beyond the occasional guest lecture by an industry representative.

“Ours is perhaps the only B-school in the region with a robust academia-industry tie-up. The name Praxis has its root in Greek, meaning ‘to do’, or the practice of an art, science or technical occupation,” he says. In other words, the institute focuses on practice while being firmly anchored in theory.

Naturally, the faculty members at the institute — both core and visiting — are from organisations such as IBM, Hewlett Packard, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), AC Nielsen, and Tata Steel, among others. Says Arunachalam Ramanath, a consultant and analyst at HP Global Analytics, “The institute has such a strong relationship with industry that many courses are designed and taught in collaboration with it.” This alumnus from the 2010-12 batch believes that hands-on learning imparted at the institute helped him land a job at a top global organisation.

ICICI Bank and PwC are organisations that have forged alliance with Praxis as knowledge partners. According to the terms of endowment, Praxis develops curriculum and case studies, creates certification courses and undertakes research in the areas of ‘banking and financial services industry’ and ‘data analytics’ for ICICI Bank and PwC respectively. “These collaborations offer direction to the industry to cope with its changing business needs. And also helps address the need to create a local body of knowledge relevant to the Indian situation which is unique in many respects.”

The institute stepped into the field of business analytics a couple of years ago. The postgraduate programme in business analytics (PGPBA) has been drawing a number of students. Says Naveen Gumgol, a final-year PGPBA student, “Though I have worked with a data warehousing company for three years, this course will help strengthen my base.” Having worked in a Dubai-based company, he wants to learn about the statistical side of business. “Data analytics offers immense opportunities in the current business environment. To stay ahead in the stiff competition, one needs to build a strategy based on analytics,” says Chaitali Basu Mukherjee, a faculty member.

The institute also makes use of strong digital infrastructure. “We have put the course material online. Students access books, journals and even the college notice board online,” says Singh.

A significant, innovative part of the Praxis learning environment is the Kollaborative Klassroom — an extension of the traditional learning environment into the digital domain.

Study materials are distributed and assignments are submitted on this platform that allows students to learn from the work of others in an open and transparent manner.

Because of strong links with industry Praxis students get good placements across different sectors. However, due to the bleak investment scenario in West Bengal, most of the placements are outside the state.

Another drawback is that both the courses — programme in business management (PGPBM) and PGPBA — are not approved by the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE). But the authorities are not bothered about this lacuna. “Students come here fully aware of this. They know quality of education matters the most and they take the risk,”observes Singh.

Sure, the risk pays off in the long run as Gauba would attest.

Vital Statistics

WHAT IS IT?

A business school offering a postgraduate programme in management

WHO’S THE BOSS?

Srinivas Govindrajan is the dean

Where is it?

Bakrahat Road, P.O. Rasapunja, Near Charaktala Brick Factory, South 24-Parganas,
Calcutta-700104,
Phone: 24980553
Website: www.praxis.ac.in

Pros
Strong links with industry, web-based student support, most faculty members have industry experience

CONS
Courses not approved by AICTE, no local placements

PRASUN CHAUDHURI