Business Perspective Aside, Mentorship Extends To Personal Growth

Vinaychandra M. Mahendrakar, Chairman of IBMR Hubli

In an interview with Vinaychandra M. Mahendrakar, Chairman of IBMR Hubli, Education Post’s Prabhav Anand gained valuable insights into the innovative educational approach adopted by the IBMR Business School, as he stressed on the importance of industry connectivity in preparing students for the challenges of the 21st-century job market emphasizing the need for practical skills beyond university curriculums.

Question QWhat inspired you to pursue a career in education and become a leader in business education?

When we were pursuing education, back when I started studying engineering myself, we noticed that there were very few institutions in north Karnataka. Most institutions were concentrated in Tier 1 cities like Bangalore, Delhi, and Kolkata. So, we thought of expanding education to Tier 2 cities like Hubli, which is the fastest-growing city in Karnataka and our second-largest city in terms of population and business. We wanted to make quality education accessible to students who couldn’t afford high fees. The idea was to provide affordable management education to students in north Karnataka who would otherwise travel to cities like Pune and Bangalore for MBA and higher education.

That’s how the concept started taking shape. I left my job and embarked on this passionate journey. In 1999, we took the first steps, and by 2004, we had established branches in Bangalore and Chennai. We extended this model to Ahmedabad in 2006 and Gurgaon in 2008. Currently, we have four branches in India—two in Bangalore, and fourteen institutions across the country, including one in Ahmedabad and one in Delhi.

Question Q

With the increasing globalization, how can business schools encourage international perspectives and cultural diversity among their students, preparing them for a globalized workforce?

Back in 2006, IBMR embarked on a unique journey. We recognized the onset of globalization and aimed to provide our students with international exposure. This idea became a reality, and in 2006, we started sending our students abroad to countries like Dubai, Malaysia, and Singapore. We sought out smaller universities that could offer valuable experiences for our students. We established collaborations with several foreign universities, allowing our students to immerse themselves in different business and economic cultures.

Alongside country exposure, we arranged special lectures by professionals and professors from these foreign universities. This initiative allowed our students to gain insights into diverse walks of life and understand global business cultures. Since then, every year, we organized a boot camp abroad. During this program, our students spend three days in universities, three days in industries, and three days participating in various programs. It’s a comprehensive approach, offering a glimpse into the global landscape.

We consistently provide support by inviting experts from different business backgrounds to our institution, both virtually and physically. They share valuable global perspectives, enriching our students’ understanding of the competitive world. This multifaceted approach ensures our students comprehend the global challenges they’ll face in their careers. Addressing the essential aspect you mentioned, this approach equips them with the necessary skills for the competitive environment they’ll encounter.

Question Q

Mentorship and guidance often play a significant role in a student’s academic and professional journey. How does mentorship factor into the educational approach at IBMR Business School, and what advice do you give students seeking mentorship in their careers?

See, mentorship isn’t just about the business perspective; it extends to personal growth, shaping their careers, and achieving personal goals. This realization dawned on us a while back because of my business background and extensive interactions with industry experts. We noticed that mentorship played a crucial role. In 2008, we initiated small mentorship camps, inviting experts from various parts of India since online platforms weren’t prevalent then. These experts came to our campus and provided mentorship, guiding students not only in business but also in honing their skills to be industry-ready.

This approach has been ingrained in IBMR for years, and we’re pleased with the results. Over time, we’ve expanded our mentorship programs to include psychological mentorship and diverse forms of entrepreneurship guidance. We offer a range of mentorship options, allowing students to choose based on their interests. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. We assess their preferences through surveys and campaigns, tailoring the mentorship experiences accordingly.

Our efforts have yielded positive results. The students are genuinely enlightened through these mentorship initiatives. It’s not just something we say; it’s something we see in their progress, and that’s truly satisfying.

Question Q

In your opinion, how can educational institutions best prepare students to meet the challenges of the 21st-century job market, especially considering the rapid advancements in technology and automation?

The thing is, connecting to the industry is very important. Without that dot, if they can’t connect to any educational institution, they can’t transfer their students. Without industry connect, we can’t understand the industry’s needs. Due respect to the university curriculum, students can’t get placed with just that. They can’t match the industry skills. So industry skills are vital. These skills can only be learned from industrial experts. We keep inviting them for board meetings, board of studies, everything. Every board of studies has one or two members from the industry experts. We keep calling them. With these dots, we can connect a lot of things.

We also understand the challenges for the next century, next decade, or the next two years. For example, now AI is running on waves. If students don’t understand data analytics and AI, they are nowhere. These are basic skills nowadays. So, these skills can only be understood from industry people. We keep inviting them, debating along with them. We encourage our faculty members to attend small trade fairs, chambers of commerce, and such events. We encourage them to participate as well. So, they understand new challenges and prepare students for the next level. IBMR started this about 4 and a half years back. We started with Education 4.0 before announcing 4.4. We were ahead of time. Faculty members and the entire team understood it and implemented it. In 2008, we started the PGPM program, which focuses on next-level scaling. We have been teaching that for a long time. We keep innovating something new apart from regular academics so that our students can flourish and tackle industry challenges.

That’s our focus at IBMR Business School from my side. We emphasize core skills, literacy, soft skills, and lifelong learning. We pick up global perspectives with different experts, mentorships, diversity, and networking with products. These topics are what we elaborate, debate, and experiment with, involving students and faculty members, all education stakeholders. Moving to the next level. That’s how it is.


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