Dipak C Jain: Indian Business Schools Need to Improve Diversity

Dipak C Jain spoke with Forbes India about creating a truly global management programme

Samar Srivastava
Published: Apr 16, 2012 06:27:51 AM IST
Updated: Apr 12, 2012 12:48:30 PM IST

After studying law I vectored towards journalism by accident and it's the only job I've done since. It's a job that has taken me on a private jet to Jaisalmer - where I wrote India's first feature on fractional ownership of business jets - to the badlands of west UP where India's sugar economy is inextricably now tied to politics. I'm a big fan of new business models and crafty entrepreneurs. Fortunately for me, there are plenty of those in Asia at the moment.

Dipak C Jain: Indian Business Schools Need to Improve Diversity

Dipak C Jain
Profile: Dean, INSEAD and INSEAD Chaired Professor of Marketing. Independent director, Reliance Industries
Career: Was a former dean at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University
Education: BSc Statistics (Hons.) in 1976 from Darrang College and Masters in Statistics from Gauhati University.
Interests: Teaching Jainism.

Q. After spending 13 years as dean of the Kellogg School of Management you moved over to INSEAD. What was your motivation to take up this job?
My main interest in coming from Kellogg to INSEAD was to see how we can create a truly global MBA programme. One of the most important [ways to do this] is to have students from different nationalities. The other is to have global campuses. American business schools find it hard to attract students from all over the world. While there may be a lot of students from different nationalities, most have come to the US to study and stayed on to work. I don’t think they count as international students.  

Q. And your plans to create worldwide campuses?
We already have two campuses in Singapore and Abu Dhabi. While at Singapore we accept MBA students, at Abu Dhabi we are building up through our executive MBA programme. A strong executive MBA programme will help us attract students for the full-time programme. In the US market also we will go through the executive MBA route and for this we will tie-up with an already established American business school.

Q. How do Indian business schools score on diversity?
Unfortunately, they don’t score too well. The Indian School of Business (ISB) set up in 2000 was a bold experiment, but it has struggled to attract international students. I was involved with the school and have followed it from the beginning. The time has come to replace the ‘I’ in ISB and make it an International school of business. This will require some vision in terms of accepting people from other nationalities. Look at Chinese B-Schools. They score very well on diversity as there are a lot of expats who do their MBA in China itself. In India it is very difficult to have an admission standard that is not marks driven. Until that happens, schools here will always be less diverse.     

Q. With the Middle Eastern market becoming increasingly attractive how do you plan to serve it?
We plan to tap into the Middle East through our campus at Abu Dhabi. Most parts of Africa are within a four-hour flight. There is a huge need for management training in the Middle East and I have found that countries like Saudi Arabia are acutely aware of this. They are very keen on promoting top-notch management education for their next generation of managers. A combination of the African market and demand from the Middle East will help establish our Abu Dhabi campus. For India, INSEAD has developed a senior leadership programme for Indian executives.

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(This story appears in the 27 April, 2012 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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  • Shrey Sharma

    There is definitely a need to go international, if you look at Asian b-schools such as HKUST School of Business, Hong Kong, it produces more than 30 research papers in top journals in a single year, while American b-schools such as The Wharton School or MIT Sloan School of Business are known to publish between 70-100 research papers every year whereas research excellence in Indian b-schools has been sidelined in favor of teaching excellence though IIMs have been great teaching institutes. But most of what they teach is not generated within the IIMs. Unless we become knowledge generators, we are not going to improve our standing at the international level. There is hardly any significant research culture in Indian b-schools; there is a strong need to integrate our management academics with the rest of the world.

    on Jun 5, 2012
  • Nupur

    These days, improving the diversity ratios in MBA classrooms has become a common point of discussion in management education circles. Although gender and discipline diversity are extremely important, it is equally necessary now to create internationally diverse management classrooms in Indian b-schools, understanding the problems that would be encountered in making that happen and coming up with the right solutions. Having an inflow of foreign students to Indian b-schools would not only help increase the foreign exchange revenue, but having international students as classmates would enhance the learning experiences of Indian students in many ways. For example, case studies would draw even more diverse opinions and make for rich discussions.

    on May 22, 2012
  • Rajat

    A large part of the focus of business management education is towards building business leaders of tomorrow. So we need to enhance management education with that vision in mind. Currently, management education is still operating with a 19th century outlook. B-schools today need to adapt and upgrade their curriculum to the international requirements of education. Going by the industry needs, new B-schools like MYRA school of Business have practice-led education imparting programmes which is the requirement of today'€™s world.

    on May 8, 2012
  • Anant Gujral

    B-schools would have to improve the scope and quality of research in the country. The first thing that any prospective international student does is to research the qualifications of faculty in a b-school. If we are falling short in this aspect, the market is lost there and then. There is a crunch of good management faculty across the globe but this shortage is felt keenly in India. We need to understand that even though IIMs have a global acceptance and that IIM students get placements in various international firms, the sustainability of the education offered at these institutes raises a huge question mark and create a more wholesome management education scene that would make for truly international education in the country.

    on May 7, 2012
  • Swami90210

    Western economies are lagging and bright students are struggling to find meaningful jobs. India should seize the opportunity to bring in these graduates for higher studies. Jawaharlal Nehru University has done a phenomenal job of bringing in foreign students from the top universities for their language programs. And the students LOVE it because they are able to travel around India and immerse themselves in our culture. The same should be tried with business schools. After all, India\'s economy is growing and an understanding of India is critical to any MBA graduate. India has a lot to offer the world.

    on May 3, 2012
  • Sumit56

    Globalization and technology has benefitted India immensely as our youth population quickly became an integral part of global workforce. While it has provided early exposure to corporate world, the flip side is inevitable in long run which many young executives have started realizing. While attaining economic independence at early age, working executives see a danger of getting stagnated, if they fail to equip themselves with higher professional qualification. Management education provides the conceptual knowledge which will leverage them to higher responsibilities without any fear of stagnation. Therefore, In India the need for better B-schools with International standards of education has risen tremendously. With new institutes coming up which promise world class knowledge and practice led learning, the education sector is set to take a step ahead in the international league.

    on May 2, 2012
  • Snaik Nausah

    Agreed, indeed. We must have a diversity in interests too. Just like the western universities have. they pay lot of weight age to extracurricular activities as well which ensures all rounder students at the campus. And the environment of the institute is also much more healthier.

    on Apr 30, 2012
  • Rajagopalan

    Diversity should definitely be encouraged, but it should not stop at internationalization. Isn't diversity also about attracting students with interests in music, sports, liberal arts and giving them avenues to nurture the same? - Raj, Pragmatic Learning.

    on Apr 29, 2012
  • Srikant

    Institutes need to target international students and have provisions for them and their queries all on the websites in order to attract the audiences’ attention. Recently I came across the website of MYRA school of business.. They have really nice course content and good placement opportunities as they have pre existing partnerships with some companies and NGOS, for their students. I think they can attract students from across the border as well.

    on Apr 26, 2012
  • Beej74122

    Nowadays 2 year MBA programmes include work experience as a must. At least in the form of internships, that'€™s one of the major differences between the Bachelors and Masters of Business administration. Relevance to international markets, can be taught only upto a certain extent depending on the electives of the student.

    on Apr 23, 2012
  • Arijit

    There definitely are institutes that provide a good overall experience to the students. At an MBA level, students learn more from one another by discussions and project making than mere classroom training. Therefore one must make sure that their college encourages more practical interaction and exposure than just reading up on management and appearing for exams.

    on Apr 20, 2012
  • Anant

    Indian Business Schools should focus on domestic campuses and also they should focus on accreditation with foreign universities, so that quality of education of these B-schools will improve with guidance and support of Global Universities. Also, this would reduce the trend of every talented student flying out to foreign country if he/she is unable to get into the handful of premium institutes and India faces problem of brain drain. So if Indian B-schools improve domestic campuses this problem is minimized.

    on Apr 19, 2012
  • Digvijay

    An MBA prepares the student for development of a career and equips the students to integrate a range of functional skills in business and management. Therefore, there is an immediate requirement of more such institutions which gives emphasis on quality of curriculum and delivery mechanisms. The curriculum needs to be re-designed to be intellectually challenging and practically relevant to international markets. Right now, there are very few such institutes which have restructured themselves to cater to the changing needs of the education and society.

    on Apr 18, 2012
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