Introduciton Some two decades ago, a group of India's best-known industrialists wanted to set up a high-quality B school that could cater to the needs of those with experience. The unique PGDM course was envisaged as a one-year course. Today, since the land was given immediately, the Indian School of Business, that found the then State Government of Karnataka rather stiff on conditions, decided to opt for Hyderabad over Bangalore.
The rest, as they say, is history. Today, the Indian School of Business is giving the toughest competition to the IIMs and to date, is not even recognized by the AICTE or the Government of India. Yet, ISB has placements that are global and is right on top, giving the prestigious Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, a run for its money.
Yet, there is a yawning gap in the number of highly specialized higher education institutions in South India. With five fastest-growing and the highly-developed States of India, as also a global skill-base in Information Technology, that is among the best in the world, South India deserves its own highly specialized courses and institutions.
In the main, this article is an attempt to focus on the need for higher education, with highly specialized institutions in a) Human Resources Management b) Foreign Trade and c) Investment and Captial Markets Management.
Introduction The HR ecosystem of the best HR professionals in India is virtually conquered by professionals from two main institutions. These are the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, which is based in Mumbai, and the Xavier Labour Relations Institute, that is in Jamshedpur, with a tremendous backing of the Tatas and major industrial groups of the country. Similarly, the two institutions have massive research orientation and a good resource position. This article is an attempt to focus on the yawning gaps in higher education in South India, in selected courses.
Human Resources ManagementSouth India is home to some prestigious industrial organizations like the TVS group, the Amalgamations group, the Murugappa group, and the Madras Cements and the India Cements group, all of which are headquartered in Chennai. Similarly, the prestigious MRF, the Indian company with world-class products in the tyres industry is also headquartered in Chennai.
Why is that these industrial groups have not thought of a good institute for higher education in human resources management, with direct affiliation from the AICTE, is a question that has no answer. Case-studies in successful collective bargaining practices, strikes, lock-outs, and what have you, are available aplenty. Some of the country's best legal minds are also available in Chennai city. What is needed is the will to start such an institution in collaboration with the likes of the prestigious VIT or SRM deemed Universities. The scope is very wide. We need the equivalent of the TISS and XLRI in South India.
The University affiliation is just optional. There is already a scheme where a Post-graduate Diploma in Human Resources Management can be offered by any recognized institution, with the direct affiliation of the AICTE. The University affiliation will enable the course to be called a Professional Master's Degree in Human Resources Management. Either way, there is an urgent need for such a course.
Foreign TradeTake the example of Fashion Technology. There are outfits in Bangalore and Chennai, of the National Institute of Foreign Technology, offering a wide range of courses. The professionals are all gainfully employed in a number of prestigious organizations or gave their own enterprises.
However, when it comes to Foreign Trade, there is a big gap. The Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) is headquartered in New Delhi. There is not a single institution in entire South India, that has the same reputation and scope. There are a few Universities like the Annamalai University that offer some Diploma Courses. However, even these courses are only through distance education. Somehow or the other, neither the State nor the Central Government has done anything in this regard.
South India's contribution to the total national exports is one of the highest in India. There are organizations like the TVS group, with the heaviest export bases. Chennai is home to every auto major and is called the Detroit of India. The export potential is massive. Yet, South India does not have an institution of the caliber and reach of the IIFT. There is an urgent need to do something in this regard. The likes of the TVS group have to be involved and the CII, which is very active in South India, can play an active role in enabling the setting up of a good private institute of repute in South India, with a presence in each of the five States. For example, such an institute should be started in Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Trivandrum, and Vishakhapatnam. Such a good presentation can ensure a steady supply of professionals who can add to the high quality of existing and new export opportunities.
South India desperately needs a good national institute of foreign trade. This institution should have facilities for not only the master's degree course, but even the integrated course after the plus two levels. This course should be similar to the Post-graduate Diploma in Business Management being conducted at the Indian Institute of Management, Indore. There is always a good demand for professionals in this field, as Indian exports keep on increasing year after year. The institute should also have the facilities for those interested to pursue the doctorate degree course in foreign trade.
Investment and Captial Markets ManagementThere is only one institution in India, where the emphasis is clearly on Investment and Capital Markets Management. Somehow or the other, this institution that actually had started the Chartered Financial Analysts(CFA) course in India and then had landed into litigation with the apex institution in the USA, has had a big focus on the nuances of investment and capital markets and their MBA has a good standard in this field. The professionals are gainfully employed in so many organizations not only in India but elsewhere in the world as well. This institution is the ICFAI University.
This institute is headquartered in Hyderabad, but there is an urgent demand for an apex institute in the field of Investment and Capital Markets Management, in South India, that can add to the number of professionals in this field. There is only one institution in Mumbai, which is run by the UTI, which offers some courses. The same institute may be roped in to start a good Master's Degree course in the subject and over a period of a decade or less, the same institute could offer the doctorate degree as well. One is given to understand that there are highly advanced courses available in the UK in this regard. All that needs to be done is to have a good collaboration with such institutions and get this institute growing from strength to strength. There is also another alternative. An existing institution like the Great Lakes Institute of Managementor Loyola Institute of Business Adminstration, both of which are based in Chennai, can be effectively used to start this course, with active participation from the industry. It should be remembered that the Indian School of Business (ISB) had the support of the Mukesh Ambani group, ICICI Bank, and several other corporates. There needs to be a similar push to get this institution started.
The time to act is now. For, it is now or never. South India should not lag behind the North in terms of intellectual capital, in the three vital disciplines discussed above.
ConclusionSouth India, which now contributes most to the overall GDP growth of India and has the best intellectual capital, also needs very good educational institutions for higher education and these should be set up in the major cities of South India. There should be facilities for those interested, particularly those from the industry, to do the doctorate in the respective fields of specialization. Three of such fields have been discussed above. It is hoped that someone who reads this article will take up the matter seriously and take appropriate action in this regard.