Transitioning from their roots in technological education, the IITs have entered the realm of management studies with equal determination. As the IITs reshape the curriculum and nurture future business leaders, we gain valuable insights from Prof L Boeing Singh, Head, School of Business, IIT Guwahati, allowing us to explore the world of IITs as management institutions.
How are IITs advancing the field of management education in the country?
Engineers are known as problem solvers, possessing the ability to strategically and analytically examine complex issues from all angles. The qualitative and quantitative skill sets possessed by the engineers could be attributed to their academic background.
The technical skills allow them to easily understand the product design and build, enabling them to speak with customers, consult clients, and lead teams in a business environment. The technical background helps the engineers to relate to other employees who work on product engineering or research and development.
IITs are leveraging this strength by promoting management education such that the engineer can become the bridge between the technical experts and corporate leadership who make business decisions.
The ability to understand both the technical and business sides of the equation has a great impact on making decisions towards creating invaluable assets for a corporation in a highly competitive marketplace.
Can you highlight any unique features of IITs’ management programmes that distinguish them from other business schools in India, especially IIMs?
IITs has been able to establish a techno-entrepreneurial ecosystem as part of the multi-disciplinary education. The management programmes of IITs are able to draw strength from innovation, technology and intense entrepreneurial activities that sprout from the traditional departments and unique schools of the IITs.
In which specific areas of management would you say IITs excel in?
IITs have been able to excel in almost all areas of management and it would be wrong to specify that IITs are able to excel in a specific area of management as the management department and other associated schools and departments do touch upon all the domains of management.
Though some may say IITs can do well in areas of information management and operation management, the opportunities being presented by the unique ecosystem of IITs provide a fertile ground for all the areas of management to flourish even in IITs.
What is the unique selling point (USP) of IITs? What innovative teaching methods or approaches do IITs employ to enhance the learning experience for students?
The USP of IITs is well established that they are the pinnacle of technical education. The exposure of the fraternity of IITs to research and development and industry interaction enables them to embed real-world experiences in classroom teaching and provides the opportunity to work on them in a classroom environment, with the flexibility to work with a cross-disciplinary team.
How do IITs ensure a diverse and inclusive learning environment for its students?
IITs have the flexibility to tailor the curriculum to the ever-changing needs of the industry. IITs offer freedom to the students to opt for several specialised courses during the course of the study from different departments and schools to expand their knowledge and gain expertise not limited to their core subjects but to various interdisciplinary courses/streams.
In your view, do students actively choose IITs over IIMs, and if so, why?
Though IITs have come a long way in establishing themselves in the field of management education also, however, students would still choose management programmes in well-established IIMs. The main reason could be attributed to the brand value attached to the MBA from well-established IIMs.