An IIM for eight north-eastern states | The Financial Express

An IIM for eight north-eastern states

Every state in India today has an IIM. The eight north-eastern states, however, only have IIM Shillong. That means it has to function as a business school, but also as a think tank for the entire north-eastern region

An IIM for eight north-eastern states
IIM Shillong is the youngest of the older IIMs.

For most part of the year, the campus of the Indian Institute of Management Shillong is covered in clouds, but that hasn’t clouded its long-term vision of working towards the community it is located in.

Situated at a height of about 1,500 metres above sea level, in the capital of Meghalaya, IIM Shillong is considered part of the acronym BLACKIS (Bangalore, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Calcutta, Kozhikode, Indore and Shillong). “IIM Shillong is the youngest of the older IIMs, so it’s both nimble in decision making and has matured enough as an institution of national importance,” Prof DP Goyal, director, IIM Shillong, told FE, over a video call from the campus.

Catering to eight states

It gets students from across India, like all IIMs do (via the Common Admission Test), but those who graduate have a better knowledge about north-eastern India than most others. “Today, there is an IIM roughly for every state in India, but IIM Shillong caters to eight states,” Prof Goyal said. “That’s why we have huge responsibility towards north-east India; we also have to look at the business development of the north-eastern region and the steps we are taking include training of public officials of different states. For example, we have a satellite centre in Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, where we have been conducting training programmes for public officials of Arunachal Pradesh.”

IIM Shillong will soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) each with governments of Manipur and Mizoram, and ultimately cover all eight states, to support them with training of staff.

Supporting north-eastern youth

In 2007, the year it was itself established, IIM Shillong opened the Centre for Development of North Eastern Region (CeDNER), which organises both short-term and long-term programmes relevant to local community. “Members of the local community who may otherwise have limited opportunities for getting the latest exposure to training for skill development are provided with such opportunities by the CeDNER,” Prof Goyal said. “The aim is to respond to local needs and make facilities of the IIM available for the local talented youth, making them more employable as well as empowering them to start their own business.”

Incubation centre

In 2017, IIM Shillong opened the Incubation and Enterprise Support Centre (IESC), which mentors start-ups, entrepreneurs and small enterprises.

Dr Kalam centre

On July 27, 2015, while delivering a lecture at IIM Shillong, India’s 11th President (from 2002 to 2007) and known as the Missile Man, APJ Abdul Kalam, collapsed and died from an apparent cardiac arrest. Soon after that, the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Centre for Policy Research and Analysis was set up on the campus. One of its aims is to assist with proper understanding of ground realities and provide critical recommendations to the policymakers of the region.

An IIM as a think tank

“At the base we have the CeDNER, over that the incubation centre (IESC), and then the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Centre for Policy Research and Analysis. These centres make us function like a think tank for the entire north-eastern region,” Prof Goyal said.

Students from the north-east

Like any professional institute that focuses on quality as far as student intake is concerned, IIM Shillong doesn’t give any preference to students from the north-east in its major programmes such as the PGP and the PGPEx. But it indirectly empowers them.

“Firstly, we have made the rural/community immersion programme mandatory for all our students, where they work on the ground for 10-15 days on certain projects across north-eastern states. This makes our students better understand the problems of people on the ground, their habits and social norms, and how their business transactions are different from those in other parts of India,” Prof Goyal said. “Secondly, the CeDNER runs programmes for local students, and they come and interact with our students on the campus, leading to ideas getting exchanged.”

Global linkages and placements

While it is working on the ground, Prof Goyal said IIM Shillong is developing global linkages as well. This includes tying up various global business schools for student exchange programmes.

“Our placements have been good, too,” he said. “Even in the aftermath of Covid-19, the average salary offered to our students was Rs 23 lakh per annum (PGP 2020-22 batch), and the highest was more than Rs 55 lakh.”

Why students choose IIM Shillong

He said many students as well as faculty choose IIM Shillong because of its climate. “There are no summers in Shillong, or harsh winters. Right now in August, for example, the temperature is about 20-degree Celsius. It’s called the Scotland of the East,” he said.

Women empowerment

Can students learn from the matrilineal society of Meghalaya, where women, it appears, are more empowered than in other parts of the country?

One of the ways of empowerment is top-quality higher education. Dr Goyal said IIM Shillong has to work towards increasing the percentage of female students on the campus. “We are figuring out the ways to increase it gradually. Last year we had about 40% female students, but this year the percentage has somehow dropped; we are working towards reversing that,” he said.

But IIM Shillong will soon start a special course for women entrepreneurs from north-eastern India. The CeDNER, in association with the National Commission for Women, will organise a 60-hour real-time (online) certificate programme in general management for aspiring women entrepreneurs of the north-eastern region. The master class will commence on the weekends from September 3 to October 16.

“Women entrepreneurs have a lot of potential in this region,” he said. “For example, a woman from Arunachal Pradesh came up with an idea of a kiwi wine. She came here and presented her idea, and now our faculty is preparing a case study on the same.”
Going forward, he said IIM Shillong with work more actively towards promoting the inherent strengths of the north-east, which include tourism and agriculture. “There is a lot of potential, and a lot more can be done.”

Also Read: NEP 2020: Mother tongue or no, schools remain tossed between the language of education

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First published on: 22-08-2022 at 08:40:55 am
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