July 25, 2020
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How Twinning Arrangements With Foreign Institutions Are Helping Indian Students Fly

Global exposure helps students develop a broader perspective, confidence and articulation skills and the UGC has realised that

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How Twinning Arrangements With Foreign Institutions Are Helping Indian Students Fly
The Way Forward
International ­exposure boosts students’ confidence
Photograph by Apoorva Salkade
How Twinning Arrangements With Foreign Institutions Are Helping Indian Students Fly

Ashish Galande was one of the first few doctoral students at the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad. Though the university had excellent infrastructure, he felt that many in the faculty did not have enough experience guiding PhD students. But when Deakin University of Australia and ISB entered into a partnership and collaborated on research, teaching and exchange programmes, things changed for the better.

The association with Deakin gave Galande a large cohort of doctoral students—one of the key enablers of ­research is a strong peer group and faculty. He also got access to journals and research resources. There were ­increased opportunities for cross-­disciplinary research as well. “My ­research interests cover two subjects: data-driven solutions that apply ­advancements in computer algorithms and solutions with a societal impact. The collaboration with Deakin has ­given me access to not only experts in business and management, but also to those in computer science. This has helped me solve problems of managerial relevance using cutting-edge methods,” says Galande.

Deakin University.

Deakin has also collaborated on management courses with Symbiosis International University, Pune, and Centurion University, Odisha. Ravneet Pahwa, deputy vice president (global) and CEO, South Asia, Deakin University, says, “Usually students complete 50 per cent of their course at Deakin. They pay the tuition fee to the Indian university when they study here and to Deakin when they are in Australia. Both Australian and Indian governments have a bilateral understanding regarding the educational framework. Besides, Australian degrees are recognised everywhere in the world.”

Pahwa explains that the collaborations are in mutually beneficial areas and immensely help Indian students, who learn the core subjects in the Indian university and then go to the partnering university to study the specialised subjects.

Partnerships of Indian universities with international institutions go a long way in boosting scholars’ self-confidence. Manvi Mehra, a student of bachelor of management studies at Shiv Nadar University (SNU), Noida, went to University of Warwick, London, for the summer school programme. “It was a great learning experience. I had an excellent opportunity to engage with leading economists, entrepreneurs and professors, which helped broaden my horizons,” says Mehra. “There were students from 46 nationalities in the room. The purpose of the visit was to get international exposure. I met a lot of new people who were entrepreneurs, corporate leaders or students like me.”

Photograph by Tribhuvan Tiwari

“Global exposure helps students develop a broader perspective, ­confidence and articulation skills,” says Shekhar Chaudhuri of CBS.

Apart from the University of Warwick (globally ranked among top ten MBA programmes by The Economist in 2018), SNU has also partnered with Peking University HSBC Business School in China. There are also collaboration agreements with Babson College and Deakin University, but the formal student exchanges are yet to begin.

“Currently, our students go for a three-week global immersion programme at University of Warwick. They complete an intensive course and project featuring noted faculty and guest speakers,” says Shubhro Sen, director, school of management and entrepreneurs, SNU. “The programme with Peking University is a semester-long exchange with students from over 30 countries.  The goal is to promote in-depth expertise and cutting-edge knowledge in chosen subjects as well as exposure to global peers.”

“Collaborations with universities abroad help students opt for courses in general management, innovation and entrepreneurship, digital marketing, analytics, organisation culture, globalisation etc,” says Ramakrishnan Raman, director, Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM), Pune. These subjects are much sought after as they boost students’ employability.

When SIBM students take courses ­offered by foreign universities, they ­accept credit transfer from these universities. “We have a mechanism which helps us map the courses and grades to an equal credit in our system. This helps students gain the credits ­required to complete the MBA degree by taking up courses from partner ­institutions across the globe,” explains Raman. “Though SIBM doesn’t have an exchange programme for PhD students yet, we invite examiners from our collaborating universities for PhD thesis defence evaluation. We also have a system in which a doctoral student can opt for a professor teaching in a foreign university as a co-guide for her doctoral programme.”

In Tandem

University of Warwick is collaborating with SNU .

Exposure to businesses, educational institutions and policy-making bodies provides students an opportunity to compare and contrast various aspects of business environments and operations that facilitate innovative thinking. Shekhar Chaudhuri, director and chair professor in strategic management, Calcutta Business School (CBS), explains, “Global exposure helps in developing confidence, the ability to articulate ideas to different audiences and a broader perspective. Thus, it helps them get placements in international organisations or Indian companies with business operations abroad.”

In 2019, all students of Calcutta Business School went to Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM). CBS bore all expenses for the international study tours to Taylor’s University, Malaysia, and UKM—students did not pay anything for their travel, stay or tuition. With Tokyo International University, CBS has a long-term MoU for student-exchange programmes. “As part of these programmes, students of both institutions will get an opportunity to pursue a part of their studies at partner institutions,” says Chaudhuri.

Symbiosis Institute of International Business (SIIB), Pune, encourages its students to apply for exchange and global-immersion programmes at top schools abroad, where the study involves a mixture of knowledge-based learning through classroom sessions and skills-based learning through projects. SIIB has strategic partnerships with Berlin School of Economics and Law; Flensburg University of Applied Sciences; Dauphine University, Paris; Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Portugal; Leeds Beckett University, UK; and Leibniz University, Hannover.

“Students get to choose courses from a diverse portfolio as per their specialisation and interest in order to amass more knowledge in their field of choice,” says Asmita Chitnis, director of Symbiosis Institute of International Business (SIIB). This includes all fields of management such as operations, finance, marketing, human resource management, energy, environment, and agri-business; and also allows students to super-specialise in their chosen fields.”

The government has introduced a proposal to allow highly ­reputed ­foreign ­universities set up campuses in India.

Some of the programmes SIIB’s ­international collaborations offer pertain to strategic management, inter­national business and consulting, advanced controlling, supply chain controlling, international marketing management, supply chain management, international trade and financial markets, ­information technology, digital marketing management and ­applied computer science.  

The government has introduced a proposal to allow foreign universities set up campuses in India. The Higher Education Commission of India Bill states that the new Higher Education Commission can permit “highly reputed foreign universities” set up campuses here. According to the UGC Regulations, 2016, Indian universities and colleges with the highest grade of accreditation and those conforming to other eligibility conditions laid down in the regulations can apply online to the UGC to start twinning ­arrangements with foreign educa­tional institutions.

One such partnership is between Indian School of Business and Finance (ISBF), Delhi, University of London (UoL), and London School of Economics (LSE). For all programmes, all academic input, except the teaching, comes from LSE. Academicians at LSE design the programmes, formulate the syllabi and author all the study materials. They set and grade the final examinations of students in these programmes, applying the same academic standards as used internally at LSE, ensuring parity of academic content and assessment. UoL awards the degrees and diplomas. ISBF carries out the student-facing roles—it teaches the programmes, conducts formative assessments and ­facilitates extra-curricular activities for students.

James Abdey, associate academic ­director, UoL Programmes, LSE, says, “As part of our robust relationship, leading LSE academics visit ISBF regularly. There is emphasis on the transfer and exchange of knowledge and academic best practices, which may, for example, take the form of training ISBF’s faculty members, special lectures to ISBF students and co-conducting initiatives such as annual teachers’ symposiums around the country. ”

The courses include undergraduate (honours) programmes in business and management, and economics and management. The former is a pure management programme and the latter is inter-disciplinary. There are other programmes in related disciplines such as accounting, finance and economics. At the postgraduate level, ISBF offers a one-year diploma in management.

The courses offered through the exchange programmes add value to students’ existing knowledge base and improve their marketability as a professional in the global scenario as well. They provide students an opportunity to gain a global perspective and ­insights on diverse market trends. This knowledge helps them manage risks more effectively as well as establish and nurture international connections, which are useful in expanding businesses at a global level.

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