The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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To learn B-school basics, go play a game of golf

Managers replacing academicians, golfing lessons scoring over textbooks, dinner-table etiquette elbowing out management theory, five-star hotel rooms slamming doors on classrooms, networking crowned need number one…

Signs of change in modern management pedagogy' “Yes,” asserts V. Pujari, chairman of the Visakhapatnam-headquartered Indo-American Institutions, experimenting with a new formula for grooming budding managers. In the Indo-American School of Business scheme of things, the skill to manage politicians, bureaucrats, time, family and work-pressure — “essential ingredients of the corporate world” — matter more than playing it by the book.

“We want the programme to be experience-driven, rather than theory-driven. Around 500 senior managers will share their experience with students over a year in classes held in star hotels of eight cities. The second year will be for internship, with students honing their skills in marketing, finance and human resources development with three companies,” says Pujari.

With minimum emphasis on theory, the two-year programme to be launched by the Indo-American School of Business on August 25 will lay special emphasis on lessons in golf and dinner-table etiquette. Sessions on swimming and tennis will also be the coordinates on the learning curve.

“Today, an individual’s net worth depends on his or her network. While playing golf, the students will rub shoulders with the who’s who of India Inc,” adds Pujari, who used to head Hyatt in Washington DC before coming back to India.

Not everyone is convinced about the ‘they don’t need no education’ B-school concept. Manish Singla, a 2002 pass-out from Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC), accepts the need for networking, but adds that replacing faculty members with professionals from the industry can’t give an edge to a B-school over other institutes.

“It’s true that interaction with industry is an important ingredient of management education. But learning can’t be complete when it is based solely on the experience of professionals,” says Singla, now with an international consultancy company.

Shayan Das, another IIMC graduate, emphasises that such a course may help people already in the industry, but focus on theory is a must for managers-to-be. “Unless one knows the theoretical fundamentals, it’s very difficult to crack real-life cases. One needs a broader horizon,” says the 1996-pass out from Joka.

Will the Indo-American School of Business broaden the horizons that matter, instead' Stressing the need for the right attitude at the right place, students will be exposed to ‘upper-crust environment’. A tie-up with ITC Welcome Group of Hotels as ‘campus’ is already in the bag, and those with golf courses and some clubs in Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Calcutta, Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad are at the tee.

To avail of the luxury-loaded learning, students will have to cough up Rs 2.25 lakh for the programme, besides bearing a part of the accommodation and travel costs, not less than Rs 30,000.

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