The Radically Different i-Connect ITM PGDM

Project i-Connect and the new “Radically different ITM PGDM Program 2012-14

ITM Ver 2.0 – Reinventing ITM for the next decade!


ITM completed the first 20 years on Oct 8, 2011. Our history has been full of challenges and satisfactions. Looking back, ITM owes its success to several crucial policies adopted since Day 1:

–       Not to sell any seats ever

–       Design the hardest working PGDM of the times – 36 courses + Internship + Capstone Project, involving at least 50% more work load than any other University affiliated MBA or MMS Course

–       Maintain a culture of participation, transparency and equity

–       Merit oriented admissions

–       No hidden charges

When ITM started in 1991 there were hardly 30+ B-Schools in the country. Now the there are over 4000! The great majority adopting the 2-Year AICTE approved autonomous PGDM pioneered by ITM in 1991! It has taken some very hard work to retain a rank among the second tier ie Institutes ranked 20 to 50 in India.

Completion of a landmark like the 20th Foundation day, prompted the founders to think about the next 20 years, and we decided to change ITM completely from top to bottom. But at first, take a look at what we were in 2010:

–       Completing 20 years

–       Most leaders over 60 years of age, specially those who started with ITM in the 90’s

–       Well tested Flagship course, the PGDM accepted by Industry and getting 100% placement through the thick and thin years

–       A much larger organization having grown from 120 students in 1991 to over 6,000 in 2011-12

–       From a single location to over 23 locations

–       From a single discipline of Management to be a full provider with Management, Engineering, Hospitality, Health Sciences, Fashion, Culinary, Financial Markets, Executive Education, and Doctoral Programs

–       A corporate Matrix structure with Functional leaders controlling various programs spread across many locations

–       From being ‘Small and New’ we became ‘Big and Ranked’

–       A natural feeling of comfort had set in.

The situation required a complete change to re-tool ITM and develop future ITM Grads for the challenges of Emerging India and we undertook this task from mid-2010 with a sense of purpose and dedication. What follows is a description of what we did to change ourselves, and get back the ITM Advantage.


We decided to do everything required to renew ITM completely. Some things we did:

–       Redesign all Systems and Processes within ITM

–       Redesign our own Campus ERP to reflect the renovated systems

–       Reduce overall median age of Faculty and Leadership at all locations. This required the retirement of many old hands who built ITM from scratch and hiring many young leaders, who are better able to communicate with the youth of today.

–       Renovate and re-furnish some of our older campuses like Bangalore, Warangal etc

–       Improve service delivery at all locations (This has brought ITM Warangal into the Top 50 in India for the first time in 2011 – MBA Universe rankings)

These efforts consumed us from 2008 onwards and are getting completed by last quarter of 2011-12

Changing the Product

The big remaining task is to change the product offering. We divided our program offerings into 3 categories as below:


Mature and needs change

Change pedagogy as affiliated course cannot be changed too much

Relatively new, industry accepted and does not need a change for next 5 years

AICTE approved PGDM

Recognized by Association of Indian Universities as equivalent to a MBA

Has remained static since 1991



AICTE approved Engineering

Yes, University syllabi need change

We can change old style lecturing to Project-based learning


Allied Health Courses



All allied Health programs of ITM are current and industry relevant




As above. ITM Hospitality programs are rated tops in India




This is a brand new state of the art program

Executive Education

Needs change



Fashion Design & Technology



Started in 2010, this program is highly successful


With this scenario, ITM decided to completely re-write the AICTE approved 2-Year Full time PGDM, and embarked on the ITM i-Connect Program in June 2011.

The approach chosen was unique:

–       Start with a clean slate and re-design all courses from scratch, and

–       Adopt a new Curriculum from academic year 2012-13 at all ITM PGDM locations.

–       Meet 300+ Business Leaders and Corporate HR Managers of leading Indian Companies and ask them what they would like to see in a 2-Year PGDM course

This exercise was undertaken by me with my colleague Prof Jayanti Das, and is still on going. We have consulted the following groups by Dec 2011, and meetings are still being planned:

–       25+ Deans and Directors in the ITM Group

–       7,000+ alumni

–       400+ Visiting Faculty

–       250+ Business leaders (We will keep meeting these people till we cross 300 in this category)


  1. All responses have been typed up and analyzed
  2. Significant views were extracted and cut-paste into different ‘buckets’ such as:
    1. Admissions
    2. Entry level profile of a candidate
    3. What to look for when making a new admission
    4. Pedagogy
    5. Number of courses and how to structure them
    6. Role of Internship
    7. Soft Skills and personality Development
    8. Analytical skills
    9. Presentation skills
    10. Decision making under uncertainity
    11. Coping with Stress
    12. Meeting “Employability” criteria of major employers
    13. Theoretical basis for the re-design
    14. Career choices and aptitude testing
    15. Leadership profiling
    16. Relative weight of Test scores, academic CGPA, Workex GD/PI scores etc
    17. Student engagement from date of admission till date of arrival at the campus
    18. Forming teams, which last through the 2 years in the campus
    19. Role of CFT (Cross Functional Teams)
    20. Role of MFP (Monitored Field Projects)
    21. Intensive review sessions
    22. Etc – the list of themes which emerged during this exercise was quite large!

The resulting document called “MBA Buckets” was put on the web as Google Doc and shared by all stakeholders.

Our brand-new “Radically Different ITM i-Connect PGDM Program” which will be implemented across all our locations from AY 2012-13, is the result of thousands of man-hours contributed into this project, by various members.

Before we give you the details of the i-Connect PGDM, let us see what CEOs and Corporate HR Managers said about many of the critical issues. We are not giving names to preserve confidentiality.

PGDM Demand & Supply

–       When demand outstrips supply we forget to listen to our customers

–       Product quality among Premier Institutes has suffered due to unplanned expansion in Seats and Locations

–       I cannot think of a sweeter spot in the History of India. The opportunity is boundless and only limiting factor is your ambition

–       There is a squeeze at the middle, and B-Schools are forced to migrate either upwards by increasing quality and rigor, or, be a bottom end commodity player

–       In this scenario product differentiation is the key

PGDM Admissions

–       Psyche of the student is to be tested for Attitude at Entry level

–       Reduce weightage for CAT Score

–       CAT Score is a poor predictor of managerial performance

–       Maintain diversity of the incoming student group

–       Place high value on EQ, and SQ

–       Thoroughness, Awareness and Sharpness – we look for these

–       Social sensitivity and Business Knowledge are important

–       Highly focused courses need to base admissions on Psychometric Tests and Aptitude Tests

–       3 criteria – Leadership Potential, Domain Skills, Attitude/Culture

–       Wear multiple lenses to gauge the aptitude of candidates

–       Well groomed, mobile, has positive aptitude, and is curious

–       CAT Score is a Macro filter and is not important thereafter

–       Training of Evaluators for GD and PI is very important

–       GD Groups need to be 6 to 8 and not larger

–       PI is very important and needs objective interviewers, since it is often the last stage at which an admission offer is considered

Student attitudes

–       a lot of here and now in the mindset of young students

–       DNA of the MBA student has to change with right mindset

–       Arrogance and a sense of entitlement is the bane of the high scoring candidate

–       They are prone to ‘convenient’ integrity

–       Not able to connect with reality of business

–       Students from non-metro’s are hard working and intelligent, but need communication skills and a language

–       They rattle what they know due to 15 years of wrote learning.

–       Fixed in their minds about job roles

–       They enter a college with pre-fixed objectives. They need to be stripped of these objectives to make them into leaders

–       Today’s generation is Green, more intellectually honest and does not tolerate fakes

–       Lack of humility and ‘know-all’ attitude are the major drawbacks

–       Assertive, demanding, ambitious, peer-driven, and easily bored

–       Googlised and socially networked

–       Social networking increases Social skills and decreases personal skills

–       Candidates come with date of Mfg, and date of expiry

–       Attitude of PGDM Grads creates artificial barriers that can seriously hamper business

–       Street smart, and stylish, but shallow in knowledge

–       Restless and discontented with focus on a pay packet

–       High performers come with a chip on their shoulders

–       Aspiration and ambition marred some times by arrogance

–       Plagued by insecurity – high competition and narrow thresholds of entry

–       Need to be more grounded, and ego deflated

–       A good job is defined with a salary but not always with the Job profile growth opportunity etc

–       Freshers with MBA have attitudes that do not let them soil their hands on actual work

–       A level head and a pleasant disposition will get you further in your career than any book smarts

How PGDM is changing

–       We do not want to be an IIM, but we want to be different

–       We go to IIMs only due to internal peer pressure of IIM alumni already with us. Actually candidates from 2nd tier B-Schools perform better

–       Branded B-Schools do not always give good candidates

–       HR is becoming more operational

–       HR has to marry Business at the Apex level

–       B-Schools must improve the EQ and SQ of their students

–       Main focus should be to equip students with different skill sets, and develop a positive attitude

–       It is 2nd Tier B-School Candidates that become high-flyers

–       B-Schools spread knowledge too thin and produce all-in-ones

–       Increasing uniformity of Metro City skylines is also prompting many B-Schools to be look-alikes

–       B-Schools want to deliver context-free education in their class rooms and then send the students out to learn context

–       The MBA has become a commodity and MBA Schools are like placement agencies

–       Branded Colleges have an edge

–       An MBA is like a journey, milestones differ with time

–       Objective of a B-School should be to stay current through its collaborations and industry interventions

–       MBA is actually putting a structure to what we have inside

–       Require Specialization to be chosen on entry

–       Requires students to form Cross-functional Teams on entry

–       Often require faculty to work in teams

–       Big component is experiential learning

–       Industry does not understand what the curriculum does, nor does the Curriculum understand what the Industry does


–       Leadership should be discovered at entry level

–       Build emotional resilience

–       Respect comes from knowledge, not theoretical, but problem solving on the job

–       Choosing the next generation of leaders is the top concern of CEO’s

–       First thing to look for in a young leader is the desire to succeed

–       ‘Undying ambition’ can kill a company

–       A pure generalist cannot be a leader in today’s world. Some expert level domain knowledge is assumed, with a good understanding of the drivers of the business

–       Ability to recover from a failure

–       Setbacks are common in every life, and the ability to learn from them is critical

–       When young leaders develop intellectual arrogance, they lose the capacity to lead

–       Humility is critical

–       A manager becomes a leader by developing his soft skills and the ability to form and lead teams

–       Leader is inclusive and focuses on all stake holders

–       Leaders keep a higher purpose in mind

–       Leaders see what is good, quickly grasp the essence, create context for learning, communicate effectively, exercise power to bring together people and encourage development

–       B-Schools must build leaders

Skill Sets

–       It is time to evolve right skills and competencies needed by Corporates

–       Social skills are important

–       Analytical skills are needed early

–       Making sense from data is more important than arranging and presenting data

–       MBA student cannot be pardoned fro lack of presentation skills

–       For promotion or a new job, interpersonal skills set you apart

–       In a volatile economy, Employers want people who takes decisions under stress

–       Good listening skills are an indicator of High EQ

–       Skills and competencies are essential for high performers. Self starters get more space for development

–       Thinking and reasoning skills are very important

–       ‘Knowing’ skills are to be supplemented with ‘Doing’ and ‘Being’ skills

–       Companies hire for skills and fire for behavior

–       B-Schools polish students, rather than create managers

–       Be practical

–       Feet on ground and head in the clouds

–       Ability to push back

–       Relocate and be mobile

–       The art of polite conversation is an important managerial tool

–       Time Management skills

–       Career Management skills need to be taught

–       Professional adaption comes through an intensive monitored field project – Action Learning

–       Critical thinking and hindsight to analyse failure is important

–       Ability to question, the problem, convention, habits, tradition etc

–       Institute gives knowledge, which requires skills to be deployed, and these skills can be learnt only during an internship, which has to be long enough for some learning to take place

–       An Exam is only a memory skill

–       Train for skills more than knowledge

–       Organisations look to how diligent you are rather than how intelligent you are

–       More tolerant of diversity and change

–       Build up your adversity quotient


PGDM Curriculum

–       We speak only about PGDM curriculum, which can be changed, and not about MBA curriculum (University affiliated) which is not changed easily

–       Application of theory to business – through Case study and internship projects

–       How organizations work, and how Management takes decisions is missing in the MBA curricula

–       Curriculum should include public speaking and Business Etiquette

–       Critical analytical thinking, decision making under imperfect information, etc are important parts now missing

–       Text books get updated only once in 5 years, while curriculum needs upgrading every 2 years

–       Curriculum must create stakes in EQ, Man Management, and People relations

–       Team building and team work should an integral part of the curriculum design

–       Course on Systems Thinking is needed

–       Western style MBA is for the MNC, what India needs is a PGDM for the aggressive SME company

–       Applied learning is fundamental to Business, but the application goes out of the window and learning goes on

–       More learning happens outside the class room

–       Curriculum needs to be adapted to current needs of Employers

–       Systems thinking, problem solving, use of innovation, rural market dynamics, globalization – these are essential inputs

–       Learning happens when peers discuss issues backed with data

–       There is need for Emerging market B-Schools to teach globalization from their own perspective

–       Strong academic engagement with business practice

–       Global immersion, semester abroad etc are useful

–       B-School success is where learning ends and organization begins

–        Collaboration with Industry is the real success story

–       MBA is a degree that over-promises and under-delivers

–       MBA is seen as a high-speed elevator, not a step ladder

–       Develop Eastern Philosophy which is truly our competitive edge

–       MBA should be branded

–       Should include a course on culture

–       Number of courses to be reduced – teach them in depth

–       A course on Business History is needed

–       The core MBA curriculum is no longer suited to meet the needs of Employers

–       Recruiters are demanding MBAs who are Team Builders, Better Communicators and Creative Thinkers

–       2 Company projects needed beyond internships

–       Choose specialization on day 1, and take electives for your chosen career

–       Markets are crowded with output of a very typical syllabus

–       Impart all round understanding of different disciplines

–        The Core MBA curriculum, while still being valuable is no longer able to meet the needs of today’s employers

–       Eliminate cookie-cutter concentrations and enable students to take a repertoire of courses to match their career choices

–       Minimum 12 and maximum 24 courses in a 2-year period, supplemented with long internships and projects

–       Incorporate experiential learning

One liners

–       Be an all-round Manager

–       Be hands-on

–       Ready to work from Day 1

–       Practice self-reflection

–       Create your own project

–       Faculty needs to know more than the book

–       MBA is like an ATM?

–       B-Schools polish students

–       Value system, Behaviour and Attitude standout as long term career builders

–       Hire for skills and fire for behavior. Some times promote for behavior

–       Not building a career, but building a life

–       Develop EQ, Understanding and Sophistication

–       Know practical applications of theories learnt

–       Subscription comes from the Heart and Compliance from the Mind

–       People join Organisations and leave Bosses

–       Invest in proximity

–       Practice Evidence based management

–       The Value of a job is linked to the glamour quotient

–       Recruit to Select

–       Adopt, Mentor and Select

–       Enjoy your work

–       Long term focus is missing

–       Entire Business of Education is the Business of Branding

–       Branding is the key differentiator for visibility

–       Students have to be producers of knowledge as well

–       When employers seek caliber, they look for the capacity to grow continuously

–       Working shifts can never be understood unless tried


–       Have to be longer than 2 months

–       2-month Summer interns are a joke

–       Need at least 2 internships of 2 months each

–       Long Internship + 2 company projects

–       Field immersion is the key

–       Field projects need to be monitored

–       Faculty need internships as well

–       Reflective journal made during Field Project are very important

–       Field projects need to be monitored and assessed by both the company and faculty

–       Institutes should offer Cross Functional Teams to Companies

–       Do not seek internships, seek real projects that cross functional teams can execute over a longer time frame

–       Adaption, critical thinking and hindsight are needed during an internship

–       Previous work experience is of no great value – many CEOs say this

We have had hundreds more responses in our “MBA Buckets”, too many to reproduce here.










The Radically Different i-Connect ITM PGDM

Based on these responses and intensive discussions among the 3 vital groups, viz Admissions Team, Teaching Faculty and Placement Team, the ‘Radically Different ITM i-Connect” program evolved. We will touch upon the various elements of this program

Stage I – Admissions

  1. All applicants will take 2 on-line tests
    1. Leadership profiling
    2. Career aptitude
    3. The results of these test scores are integrated into the Applicants credentials
    4. CAT, GMAT, XAT, CMAT, MAT etc Test scores are normalized
    5. Test scores have very little weight in deciding Call Letters. ITM will view high scores in Psychometric test and Aptitude Test as a better filter than a high test score (So do not worry if you scored less in CAT)
    6. The actual break up of the different parameters that go into an overall score for each applicant is published on our website
    7. Purely subjective evaluation like a PI has reduced weightage
    8. Experience beyond 2 years does not get added weight
    9. Through a web based real time evaluation system, applicants called for GD/PI will get a decision same day
    10. The process should be over in most cases by mid-April, with EMD accepted and Admission letters issued for all seats.

Term Zero – Pre-joining engagement

Applicants who have received admission offers will also receive hard and soft copies of required reading, including on-line materials, such as introduction to  Management Courses. This period Mid-April to Mid-June is Term Zero. These materials are for the student to keep even he or she does not eventually join ITM

Term I

This is a 7-month term starting in June 2012 and ending in December 2012. This is a very intensive period, with just 1-day breaks for Ganesh, Dusserah, Diwali and Christmas, during which 8 courses will be covered. Students make choice of specializations on day 1 of this term, and form cross-functional teams that stay together for the duration of the program. Team Members are from different concentrations and will be working together for assignments, Case Studies, and Internship projects.

Term II

This is the 6-Month long internship term. Features:

–       January 2013 to June 2013

–       4 weeks in Company followed by 1 week in the college

–       6 periods like this complete 6 months

–       Intensive engagement

–       Fortnightly Faculty visits and feedback at the work-place

–       Minimum 2 real projects

–       Cross Functional Teams are given to Companies

–       The Internship oversight is shared by the work place supervisor and nominated Faculty twice in a month.

–       Joint feedback is a part of the student’s transcript

–       Both the student and the company get a chance to know each other well

–       Progressive companies may rotate the students with projects in different departments, and even attach different mentors at different times and get a 360-degree feedback on the internee.

–       This initiative is the critical element that connects the Institute to Industry – this is the i-Connect that drives ITM PGDM and your future!

Term III, and IV – 6 to 8 Specialization courses

These terms run from July to mid-August, and September to December 2013. Placement preparation, acquiring domain knowledge, mock interviews, personality development, etc are important activities during these terms.

Term V – Capstone Project

This term runs from January 2014 to April 2014. Students bring together their academics, Industry experience and their enterprise together to produce the Final Project. A good grade in this is essential for graduation.

The total number of courses works out as below:

Term Zero                              2  (4 Half-courses)

Term I                                                8  Courses

Term II                                   6 (Practicum is counted as 4 courses, and 5 sessions                                                      of 1 week each as 2 courses)

Term III                                  4 Courses

Term IV                                  4 Courses

Term V                                   2 (Capstone Project counts as 2 courses)

Total Courses                         26 Courses






How is i-Connect different from the earlier PGDM design?

                                                            Old PGDM                   New i-Connect PGDM

Terms                                                 6 Trimesters              5 different Terms

No of Courses                                                36                               26

No of contact hours                           1296                           1080

Internship                                          2 Months                    6 Months

Projects                                              1                                  3

Faculty supervision of Internship   Nil                               Continuous

Intensive Workshops                        Nil                               5

Capstone Project                               Yes                              Yes

Specialization                                     2nd Year                      From 1st Year first day

Teams                                                 From same batch      Cross-Functional team

                                                            Of specialization        across Mktg, Finance

                                                                                                and HR


Placement activity

This begins in September and gets usually completed by January. ITM is known for untiring efforts to place the students and has record of 100% placement during tough times as well. Every Location has dedicated Placement Officers, backed up by Corporate Placement Leaders in the Head Office coordinating all information and bringing companies to interview on campus

ITM is a multi-disciplinary Institution

ITM has grown into a large multi-disciplinary, medium size, high quality educational organization with many campuses.


Business School



Allied Health


Engg College

Exec Ed

































Raipur from 2012






ITM Offers a choice of Specializations and locations, perhaps 2nd only to IIMs across India. The following is listing of AICTE approved Capacity


Estd in Year

PGDM General Marketing, Finance & HR

PGDM Interna-tional Business


PGDM Retail & Marketing




SCM & Logistics


Navi Mumbai




(Semester in Europe)




(120 more applied for)














(Semester in Singapore)







Nagpur (under process)




2 more universities in the offing

ITM has received a LOI in Gujarat for the first Vocational University in India, and also has secured another LOI in Rajasthan for a University


Detailed calendar of activities, Term start and end dates etc is available in the “Radically Different i-Connect ITM PGDM” brochure.

Come to ITM and build a Life!

If you have applied to ITM, you have the right qualifications and mindset. You will succeed regardless of where you do your PGDM! We wish that you do that with ITM and join the ranks of our star Alumni many of whom are CEOs.

God bless!


Dr. P.V.Ramana

Chairman, and Founder of the ITM Group


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2 Responses to The Radically Different i-Connect ITM PGDM

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  2. Mukesh Rane says:

    This is one of the most well-researched and well-written article I have ever come across. Thank you for sharing the detailed information about i-Connect ITM PGDM programs admission and terms. I am saving this article for future reference.

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