The International Management Institute, New Delhi, has been featured among the top private B-Schools in the country as offering a wide range of programmes across management industries and sectors. The institute equips students with strong conceptual skills to direct businesses in an integrated manner. Its emphasis is on developing a holistic manager with a vision to take on the challenges of the future in a socially sensitive manner.  Pradip K Bhaumik, professor,  IMI-New Delhi, explains the flagship programme and admission criterion that the institute has been offering and on how it has grown and taken shape over the years. Excerpts from an interview:

Could you throw some light on the modules of “Production and Operations Management” that you have specialised in?

Operations refer to the process of changing inputs into outputs and thereby producing products or services adding value to some entity. It may then be considered as the design, operation, and improvement of the production system that creates the firm&’s primary products and services and involves decision making in the strategic, tactical as well as operating domains. For example, how one should manage capacity, choose the best technology, decide on location and layout of facilities, manage inventories and the supply chain, move towards lean operations and monitor and improve the quality of the products and services. When products compete in the market, in reality it is the operations function of one firm competing against the competitor. 

Discuss the flagship programme and admission criterion that the institute has been offering?

When IMI started its operations in 1984, the postgraduate programme in international management was the only course. Gradually, other programmes were started and today the two-year PGDM with an intake of 240 students has become the flagship programme. Although open to freshers, the vast majority of students have some previous work experience typically one to two years. Management is not a discipline by itself but is interdisciplinary in nature. Also it is not a purely theoretical subject, although the study of management theory is important. There would perhaps then be more learning taking place outside the classroom than inside it. A diverse mix of students would further aid in this broad based interactive learning. Our admission process is dynamic and reflects the above-mentioned realities. It is designed to attract academically bright students from different parent disciplines with demonstrated strengths, abilities and competences. We give some preference to those with prior work experience and look for those who can articulate well and have strong communication skills. With these as the broad requirements, the exact parameters and criteria keep changing every year.

You have been associated with the institute for close to 25 years. Share your experiences on how it has grown and taken shape over the years?

I have literally seen the institute grow from its very first batch operating in Kailash Colony. In this journey it has grown immensely in size — its infrastructure, facilities, number of students and staff and faculty members. However, its basic values and culture has largely remained the same. Right from the beginning, IMI was fortunate in not having any promoter interest and was provided complete autonomy by its board of governors. For many years, the institute continued as a relatively small institute but right from the beginning it acquired a reputation for its outstanding faculty. 

What are the current research projects that you are working on?

For the last few years I was doing empirical work in studying the process of internationalisation of technology development. Along with my co-author Alok Chakravarti, professor of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, we studied the patents granted by the United States Patents and Trademarks Office along with four major technology trajectories — namely mechanical, electrical, chemical, and ICT. We published many papers after studying this process for India, China, Brazil and even some developed countries. For the last couple of years my work has turned more theoretical. I am working on developing an appropriate risk addendum for firms considering investments in really risky projects. I’m also working on developing and using a new family of project progress curves that could be used for cash flow forecasting, estimating, bidding, resource planning as well as monitoring and control of projects. One paper outlining the mathematical properties of the Beta S-curve, its flexibility to represent different types of project and how it could be estimated at different stages of a project is accepted for publication in Journal of Construction Engineering and Management and is due for publication soon. I am now working on integrating the Earned Value Method with the Beta S-curve to improve project monitoring and control. 

How is the institute gearing up for the next phase?

The institute is nothing but a collective name for all its resources and primarily its faculty. They have generally been readying by remaining on the frontiers of knowledge in their respective domain. The institute continuously reviews our processes to improve the same, make ourselves more market friendly and use technology to continuously upgrade the learning experiences we provide to our students. We have close interaction with recruiters and try to keep our ears to the ground. We recently started our PGDM in banking and financial services, which is currently a huge success. With one of the highest intellectual capital among all management schools in the country, our structure and processes are constantly upgraded so that we are continuously ready for the next phase.

What about career options for students studying international management?

When we first started the course, we were ahead of our times. India was still very much a closed economy as export and import were considered exceptions. But from our very first batch we had courses on international marketing, finance and economics. We also had global participants. There were foreign students sponsored by the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation programme of the Central government as well as the Canadian International Development Agency. Our students were hired by foreign banks, multinationals as well as large Indian companies with growing international operations. Today&’s situation is vastly different. With an open economy, almost all management is international. All procurement and sourcing, for many firms even markets are worldwide and often capital is coming from outside the country. A management graduate has to be efficient and effective in such a scenario. This orientation prepares its students to excel in such an environment, familiarises them with regulatory requirements and hones the skills necessary for compliance. This is generally reflected in outstanding placements for our graduates.