‘We want to create new knowledge’: Dean, Mahindra University’s School of Management

MBA School: Mahindra University’s B-school launched in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic but there are big plans for it.

‘We want to create new knowledge’: Dean, Mahindra University’s School of Management Ramakrishna Velamuri, dean, School of Management, Mahindra University
Pritha Roy Choudhury | Nov 23, 2021 - 7:09 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: Mahindra University’s School of Management came up in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2021. Ramakrishna Velamuri, dean, School of Management spoke to Careers360 about how the school plans to shape students for industry, international partnerships and plans to “gradually build a high-quality institute”.

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Q. What do you look for in an aspiring candidate seeking admission to Mahindra University?

A. First of all, we are looking for people who have a good academic background. In our case, we looked at their academic performance in Classes 10, 11 and 12. But we are also looking for people who have an interest outside of academics. It can be anything, like music or cooking; they can be a chef; they can be into athletics or other sports like badminton, cricket, volleyball, basketball or anything. Or someone who has an interest in writing. We are looking for a well-rounded individual.

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Q. How did you select the candidates this year, your first batch?

A. This year, because of the delay in all the results and a lot of uncertainty, the state boards were confused about conducting the exams and finally, they cancelled them. We decided to go with the results of Classes 10, 11 and 12. Based on these results we arranged interviews with all the applicants. Every single applicant was interviewed by a panel of interviewers which included the Vice-Chancellor of the university, myself as the dean, a senior professor of marketing and in about 70 percent of the interviews we also had the dean of the school of engineering. Every single candidate
was interviewed.

Q. In the long run how do you intend to go about with the admission process, entrance exam ?

A. We are in the process of defining that, and we will in the future accept a couple of standardized tests like SAT, there is also another test that we are considering. We have not made a final decision yet. It is called the Pearson Vue test and we may also develop our entrance test. These are the decisions that we have to still take but we will use a combination of their academic performance until Class 12. One thing we are determined to continue for the next few years is interviewing all applicants personally.

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Q. How many applications did you get for the BBA programme? What other programmes are on offer?

A. We are a new school and also keeping in mind that this year has been very peculiar because many parents and students had to witness sudden lockdown, majority of the students are from Telangana. But we also have students from the north, south, east and west
of the country.

We are offering three bachelor degree programmes, BA in Economics and Finance, BBA in Computational Business Analytics, then we have BBA in Digital Technology. For the first two, we insist that the student should have studied mathematics till plus two.

Q. Do you plan to start a postgraduate programme?

A. We are thinking of launching a master programme immediately. We will announce that very soon. Regarding the entrance exam for the MBA programme, we are still deciding. We are yet to figure out the type of MBA programme we are to launch and who will be our global partner. For our bachelor’s degree programme, we partnered with Cornell University’s SC Johnson School of Business, USA. We will probably have an international partner for MBA as well.

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Q. Are you looking to draw students from abroad?

A. We would like to very soon do information events for different countries and offer them the possibilities of studying in India.

Q. Is the curriculum at par with that offered in the international schools?

A. We are confident that our curricula are on par with the best in India and internationally. We have had very detailed discussions spanning six months with the Cornell faculty team of five experienced professors before finalizing our curricula. The curricula were then closely scrutinized by our Industry Advisory Board comprising six members.

Finally, we are entering into partnerships with leading companies for each of our three programmes. For our BBA in Digital Technologies, we have partnered with the BORN Group, one of the most successful digital services companies in the world. We will soon be announcing partnerships for our other two programmes as well.

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Q. How have you planned for the placements?

A. For placements we have an advisory board of six members. We are taking notes from the industry advisory board members to make sure that our curriculum is very strongly aligned with the industry. We are emphasizing the industry partner because we want to make sure that during the three years, the students are working on live projects. They will also have a six-to-eight-week internship at the end of the second year. All these will make it easier for a student to get a job.

Q. Where have you recruited all your faculty from?

A. The idea we have is to gradually build a very high-quality institute. Our goal was to have the first batch of 90 students only in the first year. We have exceeded that and now we have 105 students. Our focus is on having a high-quality batch and then providing them with a very high-quality learning experience. We have been very careful in recruiting faculty. We currently have 12 full-time faculty members, selected from 200 applicants. The students should be job-ready or they should go to very high-quality education in the best university in the world.

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Q. Do you plan to start some online programmes?

A. As a university we can commence online programmes only after completing five years and approval from the various statutory bodies concerned. So we will await that. We are currently offering a hybrid teaching model, for those students who would like to wait a little longer before coming to campus for classes.

Q. Where do you see the School of Management ten years from now?

A. As far as our degree programmes are concerned, we would like to be among the top five undergraduate and top ten graduate business programmes in the country. We would like our PhD programme to prepare excellent teachers and scholars. We would like our executive education programmes to provide cutting edge knowledge on emerging topics so that managers can stay up to date with the latest developments. Finally, we would like to be known for our contributions to the creation of new knowledge, not just to the dissemination of existing knowledge.

We have had very detailed discussions spanning six months with the Cornell faculty team of five experienced professors before finalizing our curricula

We have been very careful in recruiting faculty. We currently have 12 full-time faculty members, selected from 200 applicants

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