Education

In New Directions

As XLRI celebrates its Platinum Jubilee, it is also time to look forward towards the future. What is XLRI working towards as it nears its centenary year? Fr S George, S.J., Director, in a conversation with Sukanya Das

In New Directions
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There is no question about XLRI’s incomparable impact on not just industry in India but nation-building. What do you see as the future of the institute?

As always, our focus remains on offering courses that not only address the needs of the present but are future-forward – ones that foresee the needs of the future and address them.

Towards this end, we have also set up centres in other parts of India that are focused on the future. After the Business Management programme was set up in 2020 in the newly built Jhajjar campus – I was in fact the first Director – the institute decided to explore other avenues of public interest. Subsequently, the Centre for Gender Equality and Inclusive Leadership (CGEIL) was founded in 2021, and in 2022, under Fr Paul Fernandes, S.J., the Delhi campus introduced PGDM - Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Venture creation (IVE) programme with state-of-the-art facilities.

The Centre for Gender Equality and Inclusive Leadership (CGEIL) was founded to shape policy, guide actions, and support individuals, firms, and governments in enabling a more equitable society. CGEIL focusses on empowering livelihoods and employment opportunities on a gender-neutral basis. XLRI’s guiding motto of ‘Excellence with Integrity’ is at work in the Centre’s endeavour to establish itself as a premier body collaborating with partner institutions, governments, and funding agencies to interweave the mindset, approach and habits that shall make realisation of Gender Equality and Inclusive Leadership a lived experience in all facets and arenas of society. The Centre is collaborating with XLRI Alumni in running XL for Women programmes committed to encourage and improve gender equality in the workforce, entrepreneurial participation of women across sectors and segments.

In 2022, venturing into Policy Studies, Fr Paul, S.J., started the XLRI Centre for Policy under the name ‘Centre for Public Policy and Public Affairs’. The Centre for Policy (XLCP) is a hub of cutting-edge ideas on areas as vast as corporate governance, conflict management and mediation, building effective public-private partnerships and public leadership. It brings together scholars and practitioners to engage in dialogue that impacts our world and helps in creating workable solutions to the policy questions of our current times. In seeking to build ideas and leaders for the future, we offer training in public policy through an interdisciplinary lens which will equip you to address the most complex and daunting problems with creative and sustainable solutions. It is one world, our world, and we need to preserve it for generations to come.

Two sectors that seem set on a growth trajectory are healthcare and perhaps, real estate management. So, the second campus will focus on healthcare management and other allied courses. Business Administration and Entrepreneurship. These are year-long courses but we are looking at eventually offering fulltime two-year healthcare management programme adhering to XLRI standards.

Further, with the help of our new campuses at Neral and Amaravati, our vision is to create an impact on Industry and Society with innovative programmes. Jesuits of Jamshedpur and Bombay Provinces will come up with a sustainable plan to make our vision a reality.

Academically, what else is the institute working towards?

International collaborations. Given the glocal realities of today, collaboration is the way forward. On paper, we have 28 universities as collaborators, but not all relationships are as active as desired. Our focus will be both on activating the existing relationships and on developing new ones.

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We will also be generating greater awareness for our existing dual degree programme with Rutgers University, USA. Of course, there are quite a few other outstanding management programmes available to students at this cost. But the real differentiator is that with this programme, students are guaranteed a three-year work visa for the United States of America.

International accreditations are another area of thrust. We already have the prestigious AMBA and AACSB accreditations. The next one in our sights is EQUIS. These are Triple Crown International Accreditation.

XLRI’s legacy in Human Resource Management is well-established. Can you tell us why a student should choose General Business Management at XLRI over other institutes?

Yes. That while our HRM programme is exemplary, our BM programme has among the best in the country as well! HRM is our strength, our legacy. But our BM programme has consistently ranked among the top 5 in the country.

Apart from the fact that we offer top-notch education, several benefits accrue to our BM students because of our HRM legacy. For instance, no recruiter will lose the chance to come to XLRI for HRM. Once they come, they also interview for BM. So, that’s an immediate benefit. The second benefit is even BM students are recruited by HR managers and almost all HR managers at all the top companies are from XLRI.

What are the immediate challenges that the institute is facing?

Our real focus in the immediate future is addressing the National Education Policy and aligning with its requirements. The NEP clearly states that stand-alone Post Graduate Degree in Management will be invalidated after 2035. So, we as a stand-alone PGDM institution affiliated to the AICTE, have to either become part of a university, form a cluster university or become a deemed university. Working towards becoming a deemed university is the most ideal for XLRI. So, our immediate challenge is to meet the requirements of deemed universities, without in any way compromising the quality of education delivered and placement provided.

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What is the way ahead for XLRI in its 75th year?

We have engaged with government, with industry, with society, international institutions as well. We will be looking to increase interaction across stakeholder categories, especially community and the parents. The order of priority now stands at parents, community and government. We are of course already engaged but not at the desired level.

XLRI’s consistency in disseminating management education through a diverse portfolio of educational programmes, as a Category One institute in AICTE classification has also been strengthened by XLRI providing further opportunities to the working professionals by starting BM, HRM and Finance programmes under XOL banner (XLRI-Online Learning) in 2022. We are looking to further develop and expand these.

As we are in the 75th year of existence and celebrating XLRI glorious past and its growth over the years, in the Jubilee Year we plan to launch Business Analytics programme. XLRI is determined to focus on research and publication, venture into innovative methods of imparting knowledge and prepare students for the industry with sound ethical values and integrity.

And of course, the constant XLRI promise – to continue to excel for the greater good!

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