The Infra Push
Business schools are going green and adding IBM analytics labs, Bloomberg terminals to emerge as more attractive destinations.
Picture this. Multiple screens in a room flashing stock market updates, currency fluctuations and bond yields with people poring over the information. Complex graphs are showing the trends over the day, months and years. Strange as it may sound, the visual is not that of a trading floor in a stock exchange or a brokerage but a finance lab equipped with Bloomberg terminals at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management (LBSIM), a B-school in New Delhi.
Indeed, LBSIM is not an exception. Management institutes across India have recently been ramping up their infrastructure, adding Bloomberg terminals, IBM Analytics labs and green features into their campuses. While the change has been wrought by industry demand, there is also an added incentive of going up the B-school ranks. LBSIM introduced two Bloomberg terminals in its institute two years back and recently upgraded to 12 terminals. The institute also houses an IBM Analytics Lab in its campus at the national capital. "Management education has to be tailored to the need of the hour. Of course, there will a focus on the basics of business and economics but corporates also want you to learn new technologies, develop new skills and adjust to the new environment," says Dr. G.L Sharma, Professor, Finance and Accounting at LBSIM. To survive, B-schools need to adopt new skills and offer a faculty in sync with the changing times, he adds.
An incentive for some B-schools to set up modern finance labs is to give students practical knowledge of how the financial world really works, instead of just passing on theoretical knowledge. "Students dont get to see the practice of finance, so we consciously decided to set up a state-of-the-art finance lab. Whatever courses we teach, we draw out elements from the Bloomberg terminal and get the students to actually use it in their assignments or case studies," says Professor Madhu Veeraraghavan, Director, T.A. Pai Institute of Management (TAPMI) Manipal.
Many institutes, including TAPMI, are also asking their students to get involved in active trading using these terminals to get a feel of the financial markets. As a part of a programme called 'Students Managed Investment Course, TAPMI gives its students `10 lakh for investing in the financial markets. TAPMIs finance lab has 15 Bloomberg terminals and 7 Reuters terminals.
Some B-schools are walking the extra mile to offer the best infrastructure to its students. IIM Tiruchirappalli, along with a modern finance lab, also houses a behavioural lab and a Centre for Management Science and Analytics (CMSA) to complement the classroom learning with practical exposure. Business schools are just trying to keep pace with digital disruption and the new world of analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning and hence increasingly integrating their courses with analytics, according to Jasjeet Singh, Partner, Financial Services Analytics, Advisory at EY. Experts also say that senior industry leaders are trying to stay abreast of the with the new technologies and are keen that the new recruits are familiar with them.
While the cost of setting up Bloomberg terminals and IBM Analytics facilties is quite high, Alok Pandey, Professor and Area Convener - Finance at LBSIM, says that most of their recruiters want students to be well-versed with them. Maintaining Bloomberg terminals costs LBSIM `48 lakh a year, while IBM Analytics labs cost them `15 lakh for three years. "Students learn how data is an integral part of decision making," adds Pandey.
The efforts to offer the best infrastructure to students are starting to bear fruits for some institutes. "Our students are being absorbed by start-ups as well as big corporates for their proficiency in Marketing Intelligence, Financial Analytics, Risk Analytics, HR Analytics, Talent Supply Chain Management, etc," says Pranav Nagpurkar, Deputy Director, Pune Institute of Business Management (PIBM).
According to IBMs website, it has tied up with 64 educational institutes in the country, mostly management schools, for setting up their labs and certificate degree programs. "IBM is empowering university graduates and working IT professionals with knowledge and skills to develop industry capabilities right from the foundation level," says Dilpreet Singh, VP HR & HR Head, IBM India/South Asia. "IBM is also actively engaged with leading academic institutions across India to create deep skills by co-designing, co-delivering and co-branding academic programs, both at the undergraduate/postgraduate and executive level which includes training, certification and curriculum adoption"
Going Green: Another infrastructure trend lately is that Indian business schools are adding green features to their campuses and adopting renewable sources of energy. According to Dr Bala V Balachandran, Founder, Dean & Chairman at Great Lakes Institute of Management, the initiative is mostly an effort to cut the carbon footprint and raise business leaders who are environmentally responsible.
However, according to Dr. R. K. Mishra, Director, Institute of Public Enterprise (IPE), Hyderabad, these projects are also an effort by Indian institutes to be at par with the current practices followed by the leading business schools all over the world. IPE, is Indias first business school with Green Building Certification and is going to get LEED certification soon. It has a captive solar electricity generation plant and a water recycling plant inside the campus. Similarly, IIM Tiruchirappalli has a 2MW solar plant that powers the entire institute.
Dr. Mishra also hopes that the green ratings will help him improve academic ratings too. For instance, international rating AACSB also factors in whether the business school is giving back to the society in any way.
While initial costs of setting up the green structures are high, according to Dr Balachandran, they yield dividends overtime as you save substantially on power and water.
The Great Lakes Institute of Management uses solar energy to power its entire campus and has a LEED Platinum rated green campus and eventually plans to have wind energy also.
Clearly, B-schools are offering the best infrastructure to their students to help them stand out.