After making his mark in IMT Ghaziabad as the Director and Group Academic Mentor, Dr. Bibek Banerjee has taken the role of Dean at BRIDGE School of Management. In this interview with Careers360, Dr. Banerjee shares his vision for the institute, challenges faced, programmes and their USPs and their placement process.
Dr. Banerjee shares how the programmes enable the students to be job ready from Day 1. He believes in working in tandem with corporate players to help the students get the requisite exposure. He also shares that analytical abilities like problem structuring, solving and inferencing are focus areas of the programmes offered by BRIDGE School of Management where the students are challenged to develop a capacity to think through problems.
Read the detailed interview below.
Careers360: You have served as the Director of IMT Ghaziabad before joining Bridge School of Management as Dean. What is your vision for BRIDGE School of Management?
Dr. Bibek Banerjee: The academia and industry has lamented about the lack of co-created value. My vision for BRIDGE school is to build that missing bridge, in collaboration with industry partners and the academe. I am excited that here we have the opportunity and the resource base to truly customise learning models that would be relevant to the needs of executives and their employers, for today’s context and most importantly, for the foreseeable future.
There are waves of disruptions, primarily led by technology and automation, in every sector of business that are making speedy transformation an imperative for survival of existing organizations. At the same time, new organizations are coming into prominence riding on tech-enabled innovation that is creating new business models. And almost all these organizations are grappling with issues of inventing and reinventing themselves, often in collaboration and partnership with other players, including those in the academe. My vision is to partner with the corporate sector in solving for some of these core ‘pain-points’, that will add significant value in their quest for transformation.
Careers360: What are the key challenges that you are working on in your new role as Dean of BRIDGE School of Management?
Dr. Bibek Banerjee: The toughest challenge is typical of any new entity: establishing awareness and consideration. We, at BRIDGE, are challenging a lot of existing paradigms. Our curriculum is focussed, our methods blend the modern innovations in MOOCs, Flipped-Classroom and practicums along with the traditional on-ground face-to-face models, and our programme portfolio is a combination of long, medium and short-duration offerings that blend perspectives and skills. Our positioning is on being ‘specialists’ rather than being ‘generalists’. Most of these are relatively new for India bred on the 2-year generalist models of MBA.
The other challenge is in establishing a continuous dialogue and a feedback with industry faculty to keep curriculum current and relevant. We appreciate the time-constraint that subject matter experts from the industry are under. Hence it takes a lot of work to get them to invest time and energy to blend academic rigor with domain application. But despite the challenges we have seen reasonable traction over the last 3 years in empanelling nearly 90 top-notch educators in BRIDGE School of Management.
Careers360: How has the value of management education in India changed in the last 3-5 years? How do you foresee the management education scenario in the coming 2-3 years?
Dr. Bibek Banerjee: A significant proportion of the demand for management education is by and large a function of the macroeconomic condition of the country. Over the last few years, the trajectory of jobs, in keeping with the general condition of the economy, had been sluggish. This has had a dampening effect on the demand for MBA. The explosion of new management institutes few years ago that contributed to part of the euphoria, has also rationalized.
However, according to most experts the outlook of the future of the economy is positive. In fact, India, with its GDP growth estimated to be around 7.5%, is being portrayed as the single bright-spot in an otherwise tough global market. That augurs well for management education. Having said that, it is incumbent upon the academia and industry to work together to make management education more sharply focussed on the actionable, than broadly spread over generics.
Careers360: Given the trend of decreasing applications at top MBA entrance exams, do you think that MBA is losing its sheen? Please share your thoughts on the same.
Dr. Bibek Banerjee: Technology has brought irrevocable changes in the way consumers connect with products and services. Disruptive models are crashing the obsolescence cycle of not just products and services, but entire businesses. On the other hand, the socio-economic fabric of the country is slowly, but steadily, undergoing significant transformation where class definitions are getting re-written. A neo-middle class with a completely different educational legacy is emerging. In the context of these transformative circumstances, there is a debate that a broad and generic MBA education may have hit a bit of a glass ceiling. More focussed but deeper Masters Programmes, such as those in Analytics, Supply Chain, E-Business, Risk Management, et al; and/or sectoral programmes such as those on Family Managed Businesses, Entrepreneurship, etc. are gaining steady acceptance. The aspirational graduates of the country will have more choices going forward: whether to stay the course on general management (MBA) or explore more specialized programmes focussed on domain or sectoral skills and competencies.
Careers360: What is the USP of Bridge School of Management?
Dr. Bibek Banerjee: To begin with, we are strategically positioned close to the industry – both physically as well as intellectually. Our two pilot centers: Cyber City Gurgaon and Noida are embedded among the corporate offices of most large and medium organizations. We will replicate the model in Bengaluru.
Our resource base comprising of a wide variety of professional courses, workshops, simulators, business games and interactive e-libraries is truly world class. We are able to build this as we can leverage our collaborators from the best across the world, like Northwestern University, home to the famous Kellogg School of Business.
Tangible take-away that are relevant, comprehensible and transparent are provided to our students. We usually minimize the abstract and maximize the practical skills and competencies needed to successfully affect the next turning point in their career.
Our faculty comprises of senior leaders from leading organizations who mentor and coach each one of our students. These industry leaders help learners relate real corporate situations and case studies with theory.
Our format of flipped classrooms aided by a blended curricular design of face-to-face and online engagement provides students an opportunity to be personally mentored by their instructors. We deliberately keep our cohort sizes small to enable a deep and focused instructor-student interface.
Furthermore, we offer career services for our students who seek greener opportunities. Our placement team works individually with students to provide opportunities to them. One-on-one coaching, soft-skills and communications workshops are offered.
Careers360: How are the management programs offered at BRIDGE School of Management different from the other 2 year management programmes offered by other B-schools?How do you plan to enrich your 2-year management programme in next 1-2 year?
Dr. Bibek Banerjee: BRIDGE School of Management offers customized programmes for working professionals and young graduates (freshers). Each programme has been designed after continuous industry engagement and feedback. The programmes are tailored for learners to develop business and management skills, which will initiate the development of a practical knowledge of business administration.
Following are highlights of both the programs:
PGPM for Working Professionals: This programme at BRIDGE has been created for middle-level working professionals with minimum 2 years of experience post their graduation. This programme caters to working professionals who have gathered domain knowledge in their respective sectors but need to upgrade their professional, business and management skills (both hard and soft) to take on larger managerial roles within or outside their domains or functions.
PGPM for Freshers: The BRIDGE Post Graduate Programme in Management - Business Immersion (PGPM - BI) makes the freshers job-ready from day-one with its approach. It is a one-year Management programme with two segments: Classroom Training and Business Immersion for aspirants with 0-2 years of work experience.
Business Immersion: The internship exposes the students to the real world of industry and enables them to apply the knowledge they have acquired in the first half of their course. The internship also provides the student an opportunity to decide their area of interest and where exactly they would like to pursue a career. The Classroom Training segment runs through the first six months, with weekly full-day classes.
The Business Immersion segment begins in the seventh month of the programme. The students are placed as interns in organizations, with clear on-the-job responsibilities to ensure they not only learn nuances of business management in classrooms, but also gather experience on the job so that they can be “job ready” from Day 1 in their professional careers.
The 6-month internship programme exposes the students to the real world of industry and enables them to apply the knowledge acquired in the academic sessions. Alongside this day ‘job’, the students continue with their education, which takes place in two ways: the Online Discussion Forums that they participate in through the week (off-work hours), coupled with Weekend Classes in our Gurgaon and Noida campuses.
Analytical abilities like problem structuring, solving and inferencing are key focus areas for all our programmes. So our students are challenged to develop a capacity to think through problems.
Careers360: What are the eligibility and admission criteria of the program?
Dr. Bibek Banerjee: Candidates must fulfill the following criteria:
Hold a Bachelor’s (or equivalent) Degree in any discipline from a recognized University with minimum 50% marks
Have a minimum academic record at the school level: >60% in Class X and Class XII
Work experience should not exceed 2 years for Fresher’s Program and should be more than 2 years for Working Professionals Program
Any of the entrance exam scores among GMAT, CAT, XAT, MAT and NMAT by GMAC scores are used for selection. In case a student does not have these, they may go through a written test (Bridge Aptitude Test – BAT). In addition, the students have to present themselves for an in-person Interview.
Candidates will be evaluated on clarity of thought and purpose, verbal, non-verbal and analytical skills, in addition to communication and social skills.
Careers360: Please mention the fee and intake of the flagship management program.
Dr. Bibek Banerjee: Fees for PGPM for Working Professionals is Rs. 2.75 Lakh and for PGPM for Freshers it is Rs. 3.5 Lakh. The batches follow a cohort-based approach with one batch starting every 3 months for each programme. Merit-based scholarships are also available.
Careers360: What are the qualities that you look for in the candidates or prospective students?
Dr. Bibek Banerjee: We look for bright, young, ambitious graduates who want to get trained professionally in Management for our Freshers Programme. For our Working Professionals Programmes, we look for commitment, perseverance and the drive to succeed.
Stay tuned to bschool.careers360.com for more Dean/Director interviews.
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