A Colloquy with Dr. Pranabesh Ray, Dean (Academics), XLRI
“The goal was to address the unique needs of the participants who have rich work experience and are coming back to school to position themselves as future business leaders. Since the participants have rich work experience, it is possible for us to make the program much more rigorous than our two year programs.
This also leads to much richer class discussions and peer learning,” says Dr. Pranabesh Ray, Dean (Academics) – BM, PMIR and GMP, XLRI.
CoolAvenues.com, in its endeavor to bring most relevant information to MBA aspirants as well as corporate recruiters, keeps on bringing details about the most happening courses and management colleges in India.
Following this trend at CoolAvenues.com, we decided to speak to Dr. Pranabesh Ray Dean (Academics)– BM, PMIR and GMP, XLRI. Dr Ray has been teaching in XLRI for more than 15 years. He joined XLRI after about a decade of corporate experience, both in the private and public sector. His teaching, consulting and research are in the areas of Human Resource Management with special emphasis on Managing Redundancy, Managing Negotiations, Performance Management, Union Management Corporation, and Employment Relations in the service sector.
Here he gives an insight into the Executive Postgraduate Diploma in General Management—curriculum, target students, selection criteria, fee structure, scholarships and much more. Read on…
Q. What has been the guiding principle at XLRI, which distinguishes it from other B-schools of the country?
In last 60 years of our history, one of the values which we have held supreme is our commitment to "Magis" which means “excellence in everything”. Besides the focus on developing managerial competence among our students, XLRI emphasizes the importance of developing a sense of social justice with the right attitude and values of discipline, dedication and commitment among all its members. An example of this is the fact that we were the first b-school in India to introduce courses in the area of business ethics and corporate citizenship. We have a very unique XLRI culture which gives all of us freedom to choose and pushes us to outperform ourselves, each day.
The result is that our students have achieved great success not only in the world of profits and market capitalization but also in the areas of social responsibility and societal change.
Q. What components have been added to the Executive Postgraduate Diploma in General Management of XLRI to ensure that it acts as a value addition to employees who have considerable work experience and a prior qualification in management?
As the name “General Management Program” suggests, this program aims to expose the participants to all the streams of business management.
As GMP students come in with substantial work experience, we have tried to structure the course towards solving practical business problems rather than provide theoretical knowledge alone. The course has different modules such as village exposure program, International immersion program, adventure program, industrial visits, simulation games, etc. which prepare the participants on how to grapple with the dilemmas they would face in middle management roles after this program.
Q. In what ways is it different from the executive programmes offered by other colleges around India? How better is it from others?
The average experience level in GMP is about 6.5 years which is neither too high nor too low for executive education. We have noticed that at this experience level, a working professional has gathered useful industry knowledge and more importantly has a clearer sense of direction. This makes it easy for them to get back to school and learn fast for the long haul.
Starting with the current batch, GMP is now our flagship program. So it goes without saying that we take this program as seriously as we take our other programs. The same features which XLRI stands for – the faculty, the coursework, the infrastructure and the unique XLRI culture - make this program one of the best executive MBA programs in India.
Q. Generally MBA programs are of two years so have you compressed the two year curriculum to one year or you have redesigned the whole curriculum? Can you elaborate on this?
The goal was to address the unique needs of the participants who have rich work experience and are coming back to school to position themselves as future business leaders. Since the participants have rich work experience, it is possible for us to make the program much more rigorous than our two year programs. This also leads to much richer class discussions and peer learning.
Each year, we take a hard look at the students’ requirements and customize the courses accordingly. While doing this, we introduce new modules whenever necessary and remove parts of the courses which students find less relevant. It is a continuous and rigorous process.
Q. Is the course recognized by AICTE or AIU?
When we started GMP in year 1997, it was the first 1 year full time MBA program in India. The industry received the program whole heartedly and lack of AICTE approval was never felt to be an impediment to the success of the program.
Q. What made you launch this one year Executive Diploma in General Management?
In fact, we set the trend. GMP was launched in 1996 when no one had heard of a 1 year full time MBA program for executives. It was initially available only for executives of Tata group of companies, but we opened it to public in 2002 when requests from industry for such students started piling up. I can say that the industry wanted to build a strong middle management layer in their organizations and we responded with GMP.
Q. Who are your target students for this particular course?
The course is a general management program and is open for participants from all job functions and industry backgrounds. It is optimized for professionals with at least five years of relevant managerial experience. We believe diversity is important to facilitate rich classroom learning in such intensive programs and hence we welcome professionals from all industries.
Q. Please give a brief on the students' background and diversity in the current batch admitted at XLRI– in terms of age, gender, educational background, entrance test score cut-off, work experience, etc.
We get applications from a very diverse set of industries and job functions. The current batch is no different where the lowest age is 26 and the highest is 43. We have good representations from all industries and have many interesting student profiles. Detailed information about current student profiles can be found on our website www.xlri.ac.in.
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