By Vinay Umarji
The Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow, has a New Year resolution — and this is to attend more international conferences and make presentations.
These conferences, the institute says, will facilitate its hunt for attracting foreign faculty with global experience.
The big boys, IIM-Ahmedabad and IIM-Bangalore, are advertising in international publications, The Economist and the Financial Times, for vacant faculty posts. A recent advertisement has been for the post of director at both the institutes, as their respective directors retire early this year.
“We, currently, have only foreign PhDs but no faculty. We have started attending international conferences on the lookout for strong foreign faculty,” says Devi Singh, director of IIM-Lucknow. The institute has seen people from Latin America applying for faculty posts.
Though the IIMs have always desired to hire foreign faculty or faculty with global experience, it is only recently that these premier B-schools have begun making concerted efforts and marketing themselves internationally.
While some IIMs say they have gradually seen an increase in applications from faculty based out of India, others have increased their advertising budget in international publications to attract these. For an IIM, induction of foreign faculty will enable it to strengthen and enhance research visibility in international forums.
“Earlier, the crisis was of market realities, wherein the IIMs could not match international salaries. But things are changing. We should be able to attract more faculty from within the country and outside,” Debashis Chatterjee, director, IIM-Kozhikode, had said earlier.
A gloomy economic scenario in the West could also be a reason amaking Indian B-schools hard-sell themselves.
“The discriminating factor in B-schools has been research since ages. Western countries were quick to recognise it early and work on it. In India, however, the faculty crunch was so bad that teaching became the only focus. But the situation is changing and the focus is getting back on research,” added Singh.
IIM Calcutta has hired around 20 faculty members in the last two years, and several of them have come from international universities. It has 95 faculty members.
At IIM-B, as part of its two-pronged approach to attracting foreign faculty, its board of governors recently approved setting up of three laboratories, in the area of behavioural science, finance and big data analytics.
"The labs, to be set up at roughly Rs 1 crore each, will offer infrastructure, hardware and software to support research of global level and thereby attract foreign faculty," say Devanath Tirupati, dean - academics at IIM-B.
Second, the premier B-school has increased its advertising budget. “With the increase in advertising budget, we now advertise a little bit more in international publications like The Economist and Financial Times. It attracts foreign faculty in two ways, namely people of Indian origin who want to return to India and faculty based out of other countries. People from institutes outside have shown interest to work with us, especially from countries like Australia, the US and Europe," Tirupati adds.
Also, contrary to popular belief that Indian B-schools might not be able to match global compensation package standards, compensation packages have never been an issue if we are able to provide good academic and research opportunities, says Singh.