Managing mindfulness: MBA at IIM Bodh Gaya
The student-driven campus of IIM Bodh Gaya is redefining management from efficiency to effectiveness…
It is a new Indian Institute of Management (IIM) functioning from one of the many building complexes of a state university. But IIM Bodh Gaya is already thinking big. Situated in the proximity of the place where Buddha attained enlightenment, the thinking is backed by an ambitious agenda. In the years to come, the sprawling 200-acre new campus coming up nearby promises to be the focus of the management practices for the future.
Launched in 2015, the IIM Bodh Gaya is accommodated on the Magadh University campus. The fourth batch, with as many as 66 students, is the newest while two batches have already passed out. “The placement for the first two batches was 100 percent,” beams Director Vinita Sahay. The new IIM has succeeded in creating a student-driven campus where the new managers of tomorrow play a significant role in running the institute.
“We are a hundred percent student-driven campus. Other than teaching, everything is managed by our students, including co-curricular activities, placements, seminars, conferences, hostels and even public relations,” says Prof. Sahay, an experienced teacher of marketing management, who has taught in several higher educational institutions in India and abroad. In September, 50 senior corporate leaders from across the country attended a Human Resources Conclave organised by students at the campus.
The students are eager to participate in the building of a new institution, which could contribute to the development of Bihar, where the IIM is located, and the country. “Since our institute is in the starting phase, we can contribute to the building of its future,” says P Chandra Priyan, a final-year Post Graduate Programme (PGP) student, who is specialising in marketing, finance and strategy. “The small campus is an advantage. In big campuses, you tend to get lost in the crowd,” adds Priyan, who joined IIM-Bodh Gaya after obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics (Honours) from Ramjas College, University of Delhi.
The institute, which runs the two-year PGP or MBA programme, plans to introduce a PGP course for working executives and a Fellowship Programme in Management (FPM) or PhD programme in the future.
Mentored by IIM Calcutta, there are currently 106 students on the campus in the first and final years of PGP programme, living in full-fledged hostels on the campus. The only woman student in the current two batches who joined this year lives in a room specially provided in the academic block. “The student has been given the utmost security and protection and a woman staff member of the institute lives with the student,” says the Director. While the IIM received three women students in the first batch, the next two batches didn’t have any woman student. The institute is looking forward to receiving more woman students in the coming years to ensure gender diversity on the campus.
The placement record of the institute has been impressive. This year, the highest salary during the placement for an IIM-Bodh Gaya student was Rs. 24 lakhs with major companies like the Tata group, YES Bank and HDFC participating in campus placements. “We students run the placement committee of the IIM and closely interact with the Director during the entire process,” says final-year PGP student Uday Kiran Babburu, an electronics and communication engineer.
Centre of Mindfulness
The location of the campus in Bodh Gaya is a significant factor for the new IIM. The most important place on the world Buddhist circuit gets more than a million international tourists every year. Well connected by rail, road and air, Bodh Gaya has an international airport, which caters to more international flights than domestic flights. Bodh Gaya is also a major destination on the pilgrimage map for Hinduism with devotees arriving for the ritual on the day of the dead. Nearly half a million pilgrims visited Bodh Gaya for the ritual this year.
“Bodh Gaya is a fulcrum of the earth,” says Prof. Sahay, explaining the town’s history and heritage. “From Harvard Business School to IIMs, the biggest conversation in the corporate world today in management is about mindfulness. The answers to stress management and a work-life balance lie in mindfulness,” adds Prof. Sahay, who has two-and-a-half decades of experience in management education. A Centre for Mindfulness, which is being planned at the IIM-Bodh Gaya, will address the issue to provide the right answers to the corporate world.
“The shift happening today is from efficiency to effectiveness, and we want to be there,” explains the Director, who headed the PhD programme at the IIM Raipur before joining IIM Bodh Gaya as its founding director. The answers from IIM-Bodh Gaya’s new Centre for Mindfulness will be vital in improving the quality of operations and production in the corporate world. Located near Nalanda, known for the Nalanda University, the institute is also aiming to bring back the legacy of the ancient university.
Linking with industry
With Bihar housing a vibrant agro-processing industry because of fertile land, the state has the presence of all the consumer-oriented industrial majors. Another upcoming feature of the industry in the state is renewable energy like solar and wind. “The institute will set up incubation centres on the campus to help students enter these important areas,” says the Director.
The institute currently has an 11-member full-time faculty, which is complemented by a 60-member visiting faculty from IIMs and Indian Institutes of Technology. The core courses in the first year of MBA programme are taught by the core faculty of the institute while experts arrive on the campus in the second year to interact with the students. Part of the Combined Admission Process of the second and third generation IIMs, IIM Bodh Gaya conducts a common personal interview and written assessment for the shortlisted candidates.