By -Dr. (Mrs.) Vijaya Katti : “Where nations will eventually stand in the economic ladder will depend on their strategic human resource management development”
There is a global recognition that the creative requirements of global developments in the 21st Century and the competitiveness of nations will be dictated by the quality of the human capital stock resident in each country and across different regions. It is the human capital that will create the conditions for technological and economic advancement, and countries with high investments in the institutions and processes that create human capital development will forge ahead in their competitiveness whilst those which fail to invest will remain uncompetitive.
The growth of business education has gone hand-in-hand with numerous innovations in pedagogical models, course content and curricula, the role of research and the relationship with government and industry. India now trains largest number of MBAs with about 75,000 degrees annually.
Businesses in India have started spreading in towns, cities and semi urban areas in search of newer markets. These are seen as future markets for telecommunications, FMCG and retail sector among others. As companies expand their operations, they are not finding enough trained people to fit into different positions.
The emergence of globalisation has added a complex dimension to the management and development of human capital. The global skill sets requires understanding of the global market. These requirements are also constantly changing in response to global improvements.
According to industry estimates only a quarter of all graduates are employable and about 80% of job seekers in employment exchange are without any professional skills. India is suffering from a massive shortage of skilled manpower.
Considering the huge requirement of training in MBA in the area of international business, Ministry of Commerce established Indian Institute of Foreign Trade in 1963. The mandate of the Institute was to act as a think tank for the Ministry by providing inputs in the area of research and training to young graduates in international business.
The Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), is an institute that has carved a niche in teaching international business to aspiring and experienced managers for the last four decades. Rapid strides have been made by the Institute in achieving its mission to strengthen, sustain and professionalise business knowledge through creative research and teaching, and learning by integrating with organizations, institutions and universities both within and beyond national boundaries.
IIFT’s core competency in teaching International business finds its relevance in today’s world owing to the liberalized economic environment and increasingly globalized business activities. The external trade sector has emerged as a mainstay for all countries contributing in a major way to its growth and sustainability in a changed global environment. India is witnessing high growth owing to a vibrant manufacturing and services sectors, and is also experiencing significant export growth, enhanced global presence and competition. The need of the hour for the country is to create a pool of human resources capable of making their mark in the emerging global scenario. It is this capability of developing human resources who can skillfully handle the nuances of business in a globalized world which is the strength of IIFT.
In 2002, IIFT has been awarded the status of a ‘Deemed University”. It is also an Accredited Institution by National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), an autonomous institution of the University Grants Commission (UGC).
The Graduate Studies Division (GSD) of IIFT is the powerhouse behind the conceptualization and execution of its various Master of Business Administration (MBA) programmes. IIFT offers a range of MBA programmes in International Business which have been structured carefully to reflect the dynamics of this ever changing scenario for aspiring global managers, working professionals as well as executives of various organizations.
The comprehensive range of subjects like international business strategy, international marketing research, international trade operations, international finance, currency issues, and WTO issues not only give an edge, but also hones the skills and faculties of the course participants to emerge as global managers.
IIFT has expanded its reach beyond national boundaries, and is currently running an MBA (IB) programme in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, with a vision to help the developing nation build strength in this area.
Realizing its significance, IIFT has taken initiative to include Social Awareness Programme (SAP) as a part of the curriculum for the MBA (IB) Programme. The objective is to expose every student to some of the main issues which society is facing today, so that they develop emotional connectivity to major social issues to carry it with them once they enter the corporate world.
The Research Division at IIFT has always been instrumental in providing policy inputs to the Government on foreign trade, with an emphasis on blending theory with practice, and keeping itself upgraded with quality research studies on the changing dynamics of national and international business. Research activities are indicators of attitude and aptitude of the Institute and the Faculty concerned, leading to knowledge formation for the society and the Institute has always endeavoured to create theoretical as well as empirical analysis.
It has expanded its vision through setting up of several esteemed research centres like the Centre for WTO Studies, Centre for Small and Medium Enterprises Studies (SME Centre) and the Centre for International Trade in Technology (CITT). Overall, the institute has so far brought out over 650 research studies, policy analysis and surveys.
The Ph.D. programme of the Institute covers Doctoral research in a variety of business related areas leading to the award of Ph.D degree. It is targeted at research scholars, members of teaching faculty in universities and institutes of higher learning, professionals from private, public and government sectors.
Through its Management Development Programmes (MDPs) Division, IIFT offers one of the most rewarding experiences to working executives, thereby bringing a broad range of perspectives into management training. The Institute has a well-developed executive training division having the prime objective of providing relevant training to executives at all levels in the corporate, government and public sectors. The Institute provides high caliber training through a variety of Management Development Programmes. The Institute has emerged as the nodal centre for conducting training programmes on WTO related issues which are participated by officials of the Government, State Governments, Developing Country professionals from abroad and Trade and Industry.
Some of the Sponsoring Indian and International Organizations are: UNCTAD/WTO, International Trade Centre, UNDP, UN-ESCAP, UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Colombo Plan Secretariat, Commonwealth Secretariat, ETA Ascon Ltd., India Egypt Joint Working Group, etc., reputed Industries and Industry Associations.
IIFT’s International Collaboration and Capacity Development (ICCD) Division focuses on discovery and expanding horizons which has led it to establish international collaboration with the best in the field. IIFT has successfully formed associations with various prestigious International Associations including IATTO (International Association of Trade Training Organisations), Helsinki, Finland, EFMD (European Foundation for Management Development), which are highly regarded for their competence. IIFT is also taking membership of Network of International Business and Economic Schools (NIBES), which was founded in 1996 and has more than 25 members from Europe, Asia, US, Australia.
With IIFT’s unique ability to provide cutting edge education in international business, a need was felt to expand its operations beyond Delhi, and as a result, a new Centre of IIFT was set up in Kolkata in 2006. The Kolkata Centre is also functioning as an important hub for various research activities including the WTO Centre set up jointly with the Government of West Bengal, enriching the pedagogy at IIFT.
The Institute has a Placement Cell to facilitate common placement of students of the 2-year full time MBA (IB) programme for both Delhi and Kolkata. The Institute has become a preferred destination for recruiters of MBA (IB) students as most of the business activities have acquired global dimensions in today’s environment and its MBA (IB) programme gives additional thrust on the subjects related to international business.
The Institute’s research work is published in the form of study reports, monographs, status papers, etc., for wider dissemination among the business community, government departments and academia through a quarterly journal Foreign Trade Review, and a bi-monthly magazine Focus WTO. It also brings out Occasional Papers, laying major emphasis on providing research based inputs on current issues relating to international trade, finance and marketing.
IIFT faculty members have contributed significantly towards knowledge building in their areas of expertise and the numerous publications in reputed national and international journals testify this. Such research covers WTO issues, trade policy issues, export potential surveys and research studies covering significant trade sectors of Indian industries.
*Professor & Chairperson (Research), Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi