New Director Sets Global Agenda For MDI

New Delhi: | Updated: Sep 30 2003, 05:30am hrs
Dr Pritam Singh, who has just taken over as the new director at Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon, has a clear agenda before him: to create the second curve in the institutes growth graph. His first tenure (1995-98) saw MDIs revenues grow from Rs 3.5 crore to Rs 12 crore. Since then, the institute has been seeing a period of consolidation and development under Dr Devi Singh, the outgoing director.

Now, feels Dr Pritam Singh, the time is ripe for a change of image for MDI from being merely a premier B-school, to one with a global presence. His mantra for its success: Focus on action-oriented management education and building leaders for the world in what he calls a reversal of the process of colonisation.

Pritam Singh
And Dr Singh, who has been credited with achieving a turnaround at IIM-Lucknow, is already setting things in motion: there are plans to set up branches of MDI outside India, beginning with Malaysia, a special focus on research and faculty upgradation, developing MDI as a world class training centre for practising managers through focussed MDPs, a global MBA from July 2004 and a new PGP in HR management.

We need to undertake a major branding exercise and help give MDI an international edge. We need to align our dream with the world and look at ourselves as being more than mere educationists to being institution builders and producers of global leaders, he says.

Br Singh has a pet thesis: By 2025 there will be a drastic shift in world population. With the West saddled with an aged population, India will have the advantage of having 65 per cent of its population in the working age group. Therefore, it could well provide the lead in supplying global manpower needs. The question, therefore, is: do we groom them for clerical jobs or to be leaders The important thing is to think in a global context and train to become a global hub for leaders at all levels, he says giving the example of Ranbaxy that is an excellent example of an Indian MNC due to its progressive and global mindset.

And most of his strategies will be focussed on achieving this by making management education more action focussed, and less thought centric. In the case of management development programmes (MDPs) also, which generate almost Rs 7 crore for MDI in comparison to the IIMs where they account for around Rs 5 crore, he feels a better identification of business issues is needed before building more focused MDP programmes. They also need to shift focus to top level executives instead of looking at mid-level managers alone.

Faculty upgradation is another major focus area for Dr Singh.Research is a big agenda, the spirit of inquiry needs to be kept alive, he says. He plans to tighten up processes, increase faculty and shift focus to research and constant study through faculty exchange programmes.

New courses will include a 15-month global MBA from July 2004, a 15-month Executive Weekend MBA targeted at working executives in surrounding cities of Jaipur, Chandigarh, Ghaziabad among others and a post-graduate programme in HR management, in collaboration with the National HRD Network.

It is critical for HR to function as a strategic partner, but unfortunately HR is seen as a last option. Our programme will have 30 students, each of whom will work for two days a week with a company on a stipend and each will have an HR professional as a mentor. Such an arrangement will help reduce training costs and help integrate an ivory tower mentality with the ground realities of the battlefield, he explains.