Come February 2013, the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, might launch its executive education programmes in Mauritius. The B-school has already established partnerships to deliver executive education programmes in Pakistan, Oman, Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates. It is looking at destinations beyond these.
Ditto with the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIM-B), which will soon deliver executive education programmes in Ghana, and the S P Jain School of Global Management, which will shortly be setting up a full-fledged campus in Australia to offer various programmes to students.
The growing interest of international companies in the Indian market and a large number of Indian companies going global have created a new market for Indian B-schools.
This, even as dozens of international B-schools, including Harvard Business School (HBS), Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, University of Chicago, Tuck School of Business, INSEAD, Oxford University's Said Business School and Duke University, have begun catering to the executive education needs of Indian companies.
"Economic activity is getting distributed. So, if international B-schools are looking at India not only as an executive education destination but also as a means to understand the emerging markets, Indian institutes are also looking at international destinations to increase their footprint, thereby understanding these markets," says Deepak Chandra, deputy dean, ISB.
ISB, says Chandra, is looking at developing countries as well as developed countries to expand its footprint.
Chandra says in developing markets ISB will take the same value proposition as in emerging markets. In developed markets, it can be delivered with some fine-tuning according to local needs. "We try and ensure that students go back with relevant content," adds Chandra.
Indian B-schools offer both open enrolment and customised executive education programmes to international clients. These B-schools, however, refused to divulge their price point, saying the programmes are priced competitively.
"We are not under pricing pressure. In fact, we had around 12-18 per cent increase in fees from the previous financial year. MDPs were focused on the needs of the industry. The trend we see is that of increased demand for customised programmes, and from an international audience to understand India through programmes of IIM-B," Shyamal Roy, chairperson, executive education, IIM-B, had recently told Business Standard.
A recent report by UK-based research organisation, Observatory on Borderless Higher Education (OBHE), said non-traditional education providers like India, Malaysia and Iran are also building a presence abroad to offer different forms of education to students and executives. It had said 'South-South' institutions are an emerging pattern, with developing countries setting up campuses in other developing countries. India is the leader in this, with 17 campuses.
So, while an executive education programme not only provides a B-school with an avenue of additional income, it is a safer way to test international waters and penetrate these markets. Besides, going global with executive education programmes not only provides exposure to own faculty members but also allows world-class faculty members to run some of the programmes.
"We have a large number of global managers coming to IIM-B and we have schools globally which bring managers for executive education to us. We do a lot of programmes for Indian companies, as well as global ones," says Pankaj Chandra, director, IIM-B.
"The market these days wants very context-specific inputs and you need to carry with yourself a very strong local understanding. For that, you need partners who could be individuals or local B-schools," adds Chandra.
IIM-B has conducted programmes in the US, Europe and West Asia in the past and continues to expand its footprint. Come January, IIM-B would be doing programmes for the entire Ministry of Agricultural in Ghana. The school is writing a case study on the same. Chandra says this is how IIM-B understands the local context, bringing it to the classroom.
Experts expect this trend of Indian B-schools hitting international shores to offer education programmes to continue.
Narayanan Ramaswamy, partner and head of education practice at KPMG says institutes from India have set base in those nations, especially developing countries, where there are India-specific interests. "Companies in such countries are interested in knowing more about Indian culture and the way of doing business in the country. Hence, it makes sense for institutes to offer executive education programmes there," he said.
He said since several Indians are known for their educational achievements and research across the globe, there is a sense of respect towards Indian institutes globally. He said though executive education by Indian players abroad was growing at a fast pace, other areas of education will also be catered to by these institutes.
With India increasingly becoming a contested market, a large number of institutes globally will keep looking at it. By the same logic, Indian institutes, say industry players, will have to carve their own space and expand beyond domestic shores.