As an institute, XLRI has always been ahead of the curve and as the world stood at the threshold of a new century and a new millennium, the institute was looking forward to carving the future. This transition towards planning and embracing new challenges was ably managed by Fr PD Thomas, S.J. who served as the Director till 2004.
In the year 2002 under the able leadership of Prof AK Pani, XLRI became the first Indian B- School to provide management education using satellite connectivity through its Virtual Interactive Learning (VIL) programme, thus creating opportunities for hundreds and thousands of students across India. Then, in 2004, a 14-month certificate programme in Human Resources Management (satellite-based live classrooms across the country) was launched. With the growing market demand for upskilling of working professionals, in 2005, a 14-month Post Graduate Certificate (PGC) in Financial Management, PGC in Software Management and PGC in Logistics and Supply Chain Management were also launched.Today VIL offers several short and long-term certificate programmes creating opportunities for those who otherwise cannot do a regular programme.
Just as ethics was embedded in XLRI’s DNA, sustainability was another dimension XLRI felt was imperative to introduce to its students in the classroom and in other committee activities. In 2006, XLRI became the first Indian B-School to integrate sustainability into its curriculum by launching a mandatory course on Sustainability. In 2007, XLRI sealed its commitment to a sustainable future by becoming India’s first B-School to sign the UN Global Compact’s Principles for Responsible Management (PRME). Responding to the cause of becoming responsible leaders in management education, the Fr Arrupe Centre for Ecology (FACE) was launched under the initiative of Fr Paul Fernandes, S.J. in 2007. In 2011, the Centre was expanded to include Sustainability and renamed as the Fr Arrupe Centre for Ecology and Sustainability (FACES), making it a multi-disciplinary centre.
Simultaneously with academic growth, XLRI focussed on consistently extending its infrastructure with additional Student Residences, Learning Centres, Lecture Halls, International Centre and parks with beautiful views of the Subarnarekha as well as the Dalma Hills surroundings. The new extended campus was inaugurated on November 17, 2015 by Cyrus Mistry, Chairman, Tata Sons in the presence of XLRI Chairman TV Narendran and Director Fr E Abraham, S.J.
At this time, with IIMs being established in different states of India, Fr E Abraham, S.J., dreamed of seeing a pan-India XLRI presence and dared to propose new XLRI campuses at Delhi-NCR (Haryana), Mumbai (Neral in Maharashtra), and Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh). After intense rounds of negotiations with the Jesuit Provincials of Delhi Province, Mumbai Province and Andhra Province, the Society of Jesus was convinced to support the dream of the Jamshedpur Jesuits to have XLRI in their respective provinces.
XLRI at Delhi-NCR
The Delhi Jesuit Society gifted 10 acres of land to XLRI at Jhajjar and leased out another 10 acres to start its operations. XLRI purchased 30 acres of land from the neighbours and in 2017, the foundation stone for the XLRI campus was laid by Om Prakash Dhankar, Cabinet Minister, Government of Haryana. The Jesuits of Delhi Province, Fr John Ari, S.J. and team coordinated construction works and in 2020, XLRI started Business Management programme in the newly-built Jhajjar campus with Fr S George, S.J. as its first Director.
XLRI at Mumbai Neral
Walter Saldanha, ad guru and co-founder of Chaitra Advertising Private Limited, now Leo Burnett India, founded the Asian Institute of Communication and Research (AICAR) in 2001 at Neral. AICAR had entered into an arrangement with APTECH to manage the institution, but Saldanha, accessing the state of affairs of AICAR approached XLRI Jamshedpur to see if XLRI could fulfil his dream. The Board of Governors of XLRI decided to take over the institute run by APTECH as well as the AICAR Trust. This was formalised in July 2017 and XLRI appointed its trustees on the Board of AICAR, bringing the ailing institute under its total control. XLRI purchased some land and was gifted 6 acres by Chaitra Farms and 47 acres of land at Neral became available for a XLRI Mumbai-Neral Campus.
COVID 19 played a disruptor – renovation as well as campus optimisation initiated by Fr PD Thomas, S.J., Fr Jerome Cutinha, S.J. and Fr Donald D’ Silva, S.J., had to postpone.
With the direction of Board of Governors, Jamshedpur and Bombay Jesuits provinces will chalk out a strategic plan for XLRI’s campus at Neral.
XLRI at Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh
The vision of Fr E Abraham, S.J. was to have an XLRI presence in Southern India as well. With the help of Fr KS Casimir, S.J., XLRI formally requested the State Government for the necessary support. Without any hesitation, the Hon’ble Chief Minister, N Chandrababu Naidu allotted 50 acres of land to XLRI in the designated State Capital City, Amaravati. This new campus is being planned in Inavolu village, Thullur Mandal.
Commenting on this, Hon’ble CM had said, “XLRI Jamshedpur has thoughtfully designed world-class infrastructure facilities and has become one of the most reputed national B-Schools. XLRI practices what it preaches. It observes value orientation in every sphere of life. I am happy to learn that XLRI has completed 70 glorious years of educating global business leaders, and for 70 years the institution has diligently focused on training future business leaders who can help shape the destiny of India with integrity, competence, and commitment. It is a matter of happy coincidence that XLRI is entering into its Platinum Jubilee Celebration year in 2023.”
With the pandemic delaying the start of the XLRI Delhi-NCR campus and the Neral Mumbai campus, the Amaravati project is on hold for the time being.
Excellence at XLRI
XLRI has always stood for excellence. The quality education delivered as well as its overall impact resulted in XLRI receiving accreditation from the Association of MBAs (AMBA) in 2015 and re-accreditation in 2020. In 2016, XLRI received the most prestigious accreditation, the AACSB, with re-accreditation in 2021 and NBA in 2022.
In 2019, the XLRI Council for Entrep-reneurship Excellence and Development (XCEED) and the Centre for Peace and Justice were formed. XCEED supports the development of early-stage startup companies led by XLRI students, alumni, and faculty members. The incubator offers a comprehensive set of resources and services designed to assist entrepreneurs realise their ideas into successful businesses. XLRI understands that starting a company is a difficult and uncertain journey and that is why, as an institution, it strives to create a supportive and collaborative environment that fosters innovation and growth. Entrepreneurs have access to experienced mentors with a wealth of knowledge and expertise in various industries. These mentors provide guidance, feedback and advice that will help startups navigate the early stages of business development.
On the other hand, inspired by the Jesuit spirit of Magis, the Centre for Peace and Justice promotes peace and harmony amongst fellow human beings, without discrimination of any kind as enshrined in various International Conventions and Covenants and the Constitution of India. The Centre collaborates with state and non-state stakeholders with similar objectives and values to set up and support academic programmes, advocacy, research centres and training for the advancement of education and knowledge in the field of peace studies, justice, conflict resolution and communal harmony, thereby aiming to achieve the greater common good.
The way ahead
With a view to promoting academic programmes with foreign collaboration, in 2022, XLRI flagged off a Double Master’s Program - PGDM in Logistics & Supply Chain Management from XLRI, Jamshedpur & MS in Supply Chain Analytics from Rutgers Business School.
As a Category One AICTE institute, XLRI’s consistency in disseminating management education through its diverse portfolio of educational programmes is well regarded. As such, industry also has expectations from the institute and thus, in 2022, XLRI launched BM, HRM and Finance programmes under the XOL banner (XLRI-Online Learning) in 2022 for working professionals.
Today, as the institute celebrates 75 years of existence, with its glorious past and its aspirational future, XLRI is set to commemorate its Jubilee Year by launching a cutting-edge Business Analytics programme. XLRI is determined to focus on research and publication, venture into innovative methods of imparting knowledge and prepare students for industry with sound ethical values and integrity.