In a first-of-its kind event, HR stalwarts from top 20 companies descended on IMT Nagpur – a Top 20 B-school – to propel Business schools towards excellence. ‘Alpha’, as this HR conclave was called, saw more than 50 academicians and over 600 B-school students from across the country mull over the theme ‘Course vs. Competency’. Hosted on the 2nd and 3rd of August atIMT Nagpur, the two-day event was widely covered by local as well as national media. The discussants included corporate bigwigs like A. Sreekanth (CHRO-Britannia ), Kalpana B. (Partner-KPMG),Sanjeev Sukumaran ( Head, Talent-Thomas Reuters), Aarif Malik (VP, PR – Madison), Abhay Kapoor ( Chief-HR, Ranbaxy),Deepak Bharara(Director, HR- Lanco Infrastructure), Sonya Banerjee (AVP Marketing- APTECH),   Indrani Mukherjee  ( CEO-Plant Business Studies),SoumyajitGhosh (Head -Wealth Management, Citi financial),T. Chatterjee (VP- Strategic Planning, McCann Erikson) and Vikas Shirodkar (VP-HR, General Motors).

The ceremonial lighting of the lamp by Dr. Subhash Dutta, Director of IMT Nagpur, was followed by presentations on‘Capability Building Process’ by IIM Ranchi and IMT Nagpur. This session served as food for thought for the first panel discussion on ‘Future Market: What does it expect from new management graduates?’

The panelists in the first panel discussion listed out the kinds of challenges that lay ahead for future managers in an increasingly uncertain global economy. Students were urged to be ‘innovative, acquire diverse skill sets like Organisational skills, Hard skills, Soft skills, Green skills &Leadership skills’ not from a job perspective, but an entrepreneurial one. Infact, the message that came through from this discussion was best encapsulated by the observations published by the national daily Hitavada on the 3rd of August, 2012.It said that ‘Industry experts observed that students lack industry exposure and when they enter the corporate world with preset beliefs, their major concern is monetary gain. We must change this and evolve a healthy atmosphere for all of us.’

As a natural progression, the second panel of corporate bigwigs was invited to debate on ‘Courses and Pedagogy: Re-think, Re-design, Re-form’. The panelists agreed that pedagogy & courses taught in colleges have to be industry-relevant.They also believed that to achieve this, industrialists could not shun their responsibilities and leave it all to the faculty of various educational institutions. Practical application of the theory taught in classes is a must in today’s growing competitive world. The panel recommended various innovations to increase industry interface. The session ended on the general belief that ‘students have to be made to understand that their professional life begins the moment they enter B-schools, not when they pass out’.

The third panel discussion explored ‘Corporate Engagement in Management Institutes: Mutual Learning or Mutual Benefits?’

Current trends like ‘Institute Day’, Foundation courses and intra-college job sites were discussed- did they serve the purpose of creating a sustainable group of ethical managers, or were they simply a placement /networking tool? The message that came out of this concluding session was that ‘Super League 2 (top 20) B-schools like IMT Nagpur must take the lead in embedding ethical values into their industry interaction programmes. It cannot be expected of the lesser known B-schools, as there is a lot of pressure on their bottom-line. Prominent B-schools like IMT Nagpur must look at the industrial interface as a soul-searching exercise for their students, as they reach for the best that lies within them.’

The reaction to IMT Nagpur’s Alpha Conclave made it evident that industry views IMT Nagpur not just as a top B-school of the country, but also as a thought leader in management studies.