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Why & How Hyderabad Set to Emerge as MBA Hub

Published & Updated as on - 2010-10-31

Hyderabad is all set to add to its image of a city famous for pearls and biryani - by also becoming one known for sprawling education campuses and big business schools.

A recent initiative by the Andhra Pradesh government to invite big names in management education has made those of the stature of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad, Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI), Jamshedpur, Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Ghaziabad, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai and Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Sciences (NMIMS), Mumbai to line up to open massive functional campuses in the city.

The message from the Andhra Pradesh government is loud and clear: "Make Hyderabad the education-hub of South India. Bring in quality education and in return we will give lots of land at a cheap rate besides good and ready infrastructure."

Government push

The need to bring in so many b-schools to Hyderabad stems from the fact that not many of the existing b-schools are anything to shout about. The secretary of Andhra Pradesh's State Council of Higher Education MD Christopher told PaGaLGuY that while there were some 900 management institutes in the state offering 50,000 seats, many of them offered sub-standard education. "It is to improve the quality of management education that we want good and established b-schools to come to Hyderabad. No point just having so many b-schools around. Our thrust is on quality," he said.

Though the government is all agog in inviting renowned b-schools to the state, it is being very selective about it. "We have to be convinced that the education offered will be of a very high standard. When an institute approaches us, it gives us a presentation and only after we are thoroughly check all the issues involved and are convinced that they will do the job well, do we say a yes," informed Christopher.

There is a silent clause in the selection process which actually serves as one of the main criteria in the final approval. All b-schools interested in setting up shop in Hyderabad have to spell out what steps they are willing to take to uplift the cause of the local people. Christopher clarifies that this could take any form. "This could be reservation in seats, giving employment to locals or anything that will help the local population."

And once the government is convinced, there is apparently no looking back then. From land to infrastructure, the government is offering every possible help to facilitate the process of setting up the b-school.

Land and students aplenty

While IIM Ahmedabad has received 150 acres of land from the Andhra Pradesh government for its campus, IMT's Hyderabad campus has already begun construction on the 30 acre land granted to it. XLRI had demanded an allotment of 75 acres of land for their project, which the government has agreed to. The land allotted to XLRI is on the outskirts of the city at Jawahar Nagar, near the BITS Pilani's Hyderabad campus.

The Andhra Pradesh government has allocated 65 acres of land in Kothuru Mandal of Mehboob Nagar to TISS, while NMIMS is constructing its campus on 90 acres of land in the same locality and has plans of offering not just the MBA but all the other courses that they offer at the university in Mumbai. The city already hosts the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad since 2001.

Andhra Pradesh has a huge pool of ready students for b-schools. Over 500 engineering colleges yield more than 1.7 lakh students annually. Additionally, the IT and manufacturing sector workforces offer a ready pool of prospective MBA applicants.

Existing players

Existing b-school players in the market are unperturbed by the government's decision to invite the big guys. They admit that established names will raise the standard of education in the city and finally lead to employment and more professional choices for the students.

"There are 93 business schools in Hyderabad city alone and almost 900 in the whole of Andhra Pradesh, but only about 10% are able to fill their seats. This is because most institutes do not offer quality education,"  says Professor GS Rao, Director of Badruka Institute of Foreign Trade (BIFT), Hyderabad adding that students either travel to another state for higher education, go abroad for further studies or just continue with engineering.

"The opening up of the big b-schools here will ensure that our students stay back here," adds Prof Rao.

The BIFT Director agreed that Hyderabad as a city offered excellent choices for new educational institutions. "There are a certain number of things that an institute starting out needs. Hyderabad offers it all - good faculty, low cost of living, government support and ideal geographical location. Plus, the state has a huge pool of students, who have run out of options. What more does a new b-school need?"

Work begins

B-schools that have passed the government test have begun work. IMT has already announced acceptance of applications for the two-year fulltime course from the Hyderabad campus, starting 2011. NMIMS will launch its two-year full time MBA from June 2011, but will launch the part-time management programme and executive education programme from the end of this year. IIM Ahmedabad and TISS have announced that they will launch Management Development Programmes or short term courses for the local community, industries or the government departments from their Hyderabad campuses soon.

IIM Ahmedabad had earlier said that it would explore the possibility of launching a fulltime PGP programme from its Hyderabad campus. However, the institute now plans to begin only with short term courses. "That was how IIM Ahmedabad was (originally) launched, with MDPs. For now, when we launch the campus, work for which will only start in the next academic year, we will offer short term courses only," IIM Ahmedabad Director Dr Samir Barua told PaGaLGuY.

What the b-schools say

What is in it for the b-schools to move to Hyderabad? This is what stakeholders told PaGaLGuY.

Dr Krishna Tanuku, Executive Director of the Wadhwani Centre for Entrepreneurship Development at ISB Hyderabad, who has worked abroad for decades and now resides in Hyderabad says, "The contemporary management and engineering education requires a widely accessible professional environment in terms of other high quality educational and research institutions and industry. In that way, Hyderabad works."

Dr. Tanuku adds that Hyderabad has a cosmopolitan environment and that attracts students and faculty. "Not to forget the physical infrastructure which is of a good quality. The air and train accessibility is good and since there is support from the government at every step it becomes easy to set up campus here," Dr Tanaku concludes.

The government support is a critical factor that works for XLRI School of Business and Human Resources too. Fr E Abraham SJ, Director of XLRI says that Hyderabad is an ideal city to set up campus because the government backing is very strong.

The Director of NMIMS, Prof. Rajan Saxena, while appreciating the government support further states that the standard of faculty applying to the upcoming b-schools in Hyderabad is fantastic. "Besides the huge pool of students for b-schools and corporates to absorb them, Hyderabad has also pleasantly surprised us with the kind of faculty who are applying. A lot of migration has happened from Andhra Pradesh in the past, which made its students leave the state to pursue better under-grad or post-grad education. These people have studied well, seen the world and are now looking for opportunities closer to their hometown. We have already recruited six such permanent faculty members." Source: Pagalguy.com 22/10/10

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