ICFAI Business School (IBS): Instilling KSA via Action Learning & Student-Centric Pedagogy

Prof.Y.K.Bhushan,Senior Advisor & Head, ICFAI Business School (IBS)When Michael was rebuffed for a job due to his inadequate preparation, he protested that his business school prepared him for this position. However, the employer promptly replied - “you just have college experience, not practiced hard-nosed business experience”. This exchange between an academic degree holder and the industry recruiter, from a motion picture, opportunely, defines today’s industry culture. Though professional educators desire the students to not only learn theory but also apply these frameworks into practice, many fail in this transition when placed in the real world. Clearly, these novice scholars need to viaduct theoretical knowledge with its practical implication and develop inimitable skills advocated by these frameworks. To help students become capable and competent, ICFAI, ensconced in 1984, has been effectively incorporating practice based learning into its curriculum knowledge through its active learning module.

Established with an eclectic objective to bridge the gap between theoretical conceptualization and practical experience, ICFAI Business School (IBS) has carved remarkable niche in the Indian educational industry by keeping students abreast with the industry dynamics through action learning while significantly inculcating pertinent knowledge, skills and attitudes. Prof. Y.K.Bhushan,Senior Advisor & Head,ICFAI Business School(IBS),Mumbai, asserts,“We at IBS focus on action based learning and close involvement with industry to make students work-ready for corporate environment, armed with relevant knowledge, skill set and attitude. Our approach is student-centric that fosters individual career guidance, mentoring and personalized training by adopting ‘participant-centric’ pedagogy”. Since its establishment, IBS has master-collared 43000+ alumni, placed nationally and internationally, under its umbrella of nine campuses PAN India; one among them is ICFAI Business School, Mumbai that envisions analogous buoyancy for the generations to come.

A Paradigm of Quality Learning
As companies recruit people from various cultural backgrounds, the need for professionals with a standardized set of skill increases. Owning to this desideratum, IBS has chosen to focus on one academic course – Post Graduate Program in Management (PGPM) on the lines of an MBA program so that the students attain excellence in business management, encompassing diverse managerial expertise. The institution follows contemporary curriculum, case based pedagogy and proffers over 77 elective specialization courses to choose from, a provision significant of IBS’ prowess. The competence augments as IBS provides joint certifications and industry interface as well. An annex to this is its 14-week summer internship program where in the students have access to managerial experience and explore their problem solving creativity and team skills under the guidance of corporate professionals. Thus, the gap between management theory and practice connects and reflects IBS’ dynamism.

The Future Managers
Just when these scholars become ready to put into practice their classroom learning, IBS’ PACT (Placement Advisory Counseling and Training) team, inclusive of Domain Faculty, Soft Skills Faculty, IT Faculty and Placement Manager embarks upon their efforts. Every thing, from mock sessions to final interviews, aptitude test to excel sessions and specialized sessions are conducted in-house to create industry awareness and prepare them in their chosen field of practice. Also at this stage, interaction with the alumni adds to their practical experiences. Provided that research catalyses theory-practice relationship, many students take up small projects through ‘Budding Researchers Club’ that helps in report learning of practical aspects of management like leadership, organization, public relations, and project planning, and management discipline.

While all these activities are executed within the campus, students are oft-times taken for exploratory tours conducted in metropolis like Delhi NCR, Bangalore Chennai, and Ahmedabad-Baroda along with UAE, Qatar, Malaysia and Indonesia for international prospects. In addition to these external affairs, continuous data-mining and creation of new database helps IBS shoulder with dynamic industry changes and corporate requirements, and sponsored events by
D&B/HT Media increase this networking exploration. Thus, umpteen of IBS’ students have secured place in reputed organizations with packages rolling between Rs.11.5 LPA to Rs.15 LPA. “An Annual Corporate Meet is held to maintain the continuous cordial relation and express our gratitude to the corporate world for bestowing the faith and confidence in our students,” avers Prof. Bhushan.

Continuous data-mining and creation of new database helps IBS shoulder with dynamic industry changes and corporate requirements

From Professionals to Entrepreneurs
With 60 years of industry experience, Prof. Bhushan, certainly, has stockpile of distilled wisdom. He believes, “Management is a scientific discipline, not a creed”. Trailing this belief, IBS Alumni are helping many buds blossom with its roots inside the campus. ‘IBS Alumni Federation’ (IBSAF) brings together alumni from all IBS campuses in Mumbai’s vicinity to meet, socialize and set programs to augment students’ industry knowledge, the policies and budget of which is decided by the alumni network itself. This meet is also organized abroad to galvanize their support for international placements and institutional development. Today, alumni like Sujay Talath(Operations head, Transparent Value) and Aniket Pargaonkar(Head of Research, Merger market | an Acuris Company) proudly say that ‘a student of management has now become a master’.

Prof.Bhushan adds, “Management schools like ours links up management education with the needs of entrepreneurs and not just management job”. Best known for tracing out and enhancing leadership skills in students at an early age, IBS Entrepreneurial Cell escorts them all through the process, from inception of business idea to facilitating them with business oriented accoutrements. In addition to this cell, a Student Enterprise Incubation Center has also been set up (equipped with working space, guidance and financial support) wherein six student entrepreneurs have already winged their entrepreneurial ideas into business ventures. This experience accentuates when banks and venture capitalists provide managerial assistance to students in-house.

Experienced Maestros
IBS’ faculty is a perfect blend of industry and academic experience. Prof. Bhushan has always been a persona of inspiration to the staff; he himself feels motivated from respected past masters like Prof. T.S. Grewal, Dr. Dharni Sinha and Prof. Udai Parrek,well known for their research based insights, experiential influence and strengthening management schools through strong networking. Thus, imbibing this rationale in work, many avid researchers are continuously elevating their research interest (by presenting research papers ever quarter) and improving teaching record simultaneously. Proactive steps like faculty development programs in areas of research methodology and online feedback system are undertaken to ensure quality education delivery. Hence, the institute retains superior quality professionals with high level of acceptance by students. Besides curricula teaching, the faculty discusses management case studies for experiential learning. Teaching is based on ‘Moodle’ platform which has provision not only for instruction but also for evaluation and guidance. The learning management system in vogue is called ‘QuickForce’.

A Foundation Well Accoutered
Ideally located in one of Mumbai’s posh area, the B - School is accessible to all. Once the bell rings, swarm of scholars congregate under the IBS’ infrastructure secured with tight security and aced with facilities like atrium, counseling centre, cafeteria and equipped labs. Placement of sanitary napkins vending machine and standalone lady guard for girls represent institute’s initiative for women safety. Prof. Bhushan proclaims, “The students feel free to approach the Deans and Campus Head whenever they have any difficulty or witness any kind of offensive bustle happening in the campus”. With no compromise with resources, a spacious library stockpiled with 35000+ books and electronic material is available to students.

IBS has also reserved time for several group activities wherein students manage 23 clubs/societies themselves to explore their literacy skills. On the flip side, permission for infrastructural adjustments allows students to organize fun events like music & dance. Prof. Bhushan adds, “We believe that management education is imparted not only through class teaching but equally through self managed activities outside the classroom”. Over the years, Parivartan (student’s social empowerment group) has significantly contributed in development work under programs like ‘Leaders of Tomorrow’ (training underprivileged children in English speaking, personality development, academic knowledge and computer skills), ‘tree plantation’,'Swatch Bharat Campaign’, ‘Blood Donation Camp',and many more. “The future autonomous activities of the institution will be linked with the changing state of the educational environment with premium on innovation,” avers Prof. Bhushan.

Field of Vision
Tying up with UTARA University (Malaysia) and ESSEX University (UK) for joint research and academic collaboration, IBS is en route to emerge as a stronger institute responsible to take forward its vision, mission and strategy. The institute has plans to incept 'centre for language development' for selective foreign languages education apart from knowledge improvement and English language usage. Also in the pipeline is development of state-of-the-art management education for the generation of new management knowledge through meaningful research. “Taking a futuristic look at IBS Mumbai, we are experimenting with newer forms of teaching, learning and added students’ participation for managing the institutional affairs,” signs off Prof. Bhushan.

Key Management:
Prof.Y.K.Bhushan,Senior Advisor & Head
An educationist generating new management knowledge through meaningful research & distilled wisdom, Prof. Bhushan brings in six decades of higher education experience in the field of business management and envisions developing state-of-art management education within the IBS vicinity.

Placement Companies: JPMC, CRISIL, Deloitte, Kotak Mahindra, HDFC, Dun & Bradstreet, Amazon (domestic placement) and Landmark group (international placement)