Among the various one year MBA programs across the world, one program stands head and shoulders above the rest – the Post-Graduate Programme in Management for Executives (IIMA PGPX) at IIM Ahmedabad. Consider these facts. The class size is small (85 students in the current PGPX classroom), but the class profile is among the most mature, globally.
With an average GMAT score of over 700, an average age of almost 34 years and close to 10 years of experience (3 years internationally) before joining this full-time one year MBA in India, PGPX packs a punch that few others can. In contrast, IMD (known for attracting mature professionals as well) has an average age of 31.
The student mix at PGPX is as eclectic as it can get. Mukul Shastry, the class representative of the current PGPX class and a lawyer by profession, shares his story. He also talks about the mysterious ‘X’ effect that PGPX students seem to gain by virtue of being part of the grilling and fulfilling experience.
After working for 12 years in the industry, in various avatars, namely as a practicing lawyer, as an academician in National Law School and as in-house counsel in Reserve Bank of India, I realized that I was stuck in a monotonous rut. I needed to re-invent myself, both personally and professionally.
In the field of law, I have had achieved the academic and applied knowledge and to make myself competitive and distinct in the globalized world needed a differentiator.
Further, in modern times the fields of law and management have become inextricably intertwined and it is imperative for any business leader to have a legal perspective and for any corporate lawyer to understand managerial viewpoint. This is where PGPX from IIM Ahmedabad has played a crucial role in my career.
PGPX is a tailor-made program for development of general management skills with special emphasis on managing businesses across borders and cultures. This has given me a managerial insight of corporate world and has allowed development of the critical thinking qua business leader which perfectly blends with my present knowledge of academic and applied law.
Almost 300 case studies, the academic rigour, practical approach, business simulation etc. in the PGPX programme have helped me develop a broader understanding of strategic issues facing the business and hone capabilities to implement substantial organizational improvement.
On the career front, PGPX has opened many new career vistas especially in areas which require professionals having both legal and managerial outlook such as Corporate Strategy, Merger & Acquisitions, Legal Compliance, Regulatory Compliance, Risk Management, Project Finance, Corporate Restructuring et al.
The most important aspect of this programme is the platform and network it provides. Not only have I had the opportunity to interact with 85 best brains in the Industry from India and abroad, but also with 800 PGP students who are the best in the country.
Never ever would I have imagined working, competing and collaborating with people having firsthand experience of industry working in corporate as diverse as NASA, Boeing, Goldman Sachs, Citibank, Indian army, Halliburton, Fractal and the like.
Further, the programme has helped me develop a global perspective. The international immersion programme has not just given me the status of alum of Warwick Business School, but it also has helped me understand the British market, industry and governance structure. Likewise many of my colleagues have had the opportunity to understand about other markets such as France, China et al.
The life on campus is vibrant with something or the other happening every day. Other than the routine academic stuff,the cultural competition T-Nite, inter/intra IIMs sports, Chaos (flagship cultural event of IIMA – to be held in Jan 2015), knowledge summit – ConneXions – in which 50+ CEOs/CXOs/Academicians participated, CEO on Campus – Speaker Series, keeps us occupied.
The biggest advantage of the PGPX course is also the alum network of IIMA. IIMA’s alumni are now ruling the roost in corporate India.
As far as PGPX alumni are concerned, we have till now 650 of them in Industry and more than 10% are now entrepreneurs, while the remaining have achieve CEO/CXO/VP level position in various companies in India and abroad.
Further, we have had the advantage of hosting the Alums of 1980, 1990 batch of IIMA (PGP alums). It was a fun time interacting with them and loads to learn from them.
For me the journey is even more interesting as I was elected as the Class Representative of PGPX, which has given me the opportunity to understand about the programme in more detail.
I have had many conversations with the Director and Chairperson of the Programme regarding the changes needed to make it more competitive and rigorous. This also gave me to hone my leadership abilities.
After all, leading 84 best brains in the country who have in excess of 10 years of work experience that too at middle management level of companies in India and abroad is not an easy task. I have had immense learning because of my role as Class Representative.
I guess the programme has very unique individuals. One such is Narayan Singh, whose aim is to join politics and is anactive member of BJP.Contrary to popular belief which says there is no influx of good people into politics, people like Narayan are changing that belief.
It is worth mentioning about G. Ramachandran (Rama as he is popularly called), who is the General Secretary of PGP. Rama, a close friend of mine, also has ambitions to join politics.
So IIMA is not only going to contribute to the corporate India but also to Indian polity. Further, with professionals from various industries and with varied work experience contribute a lot to peer learning.
We also have 3 foreign citizens in the batch who bring completely different perspective to learning. (One Dutch and two US citizens).
It is very heartening to note that how well the PGPs have received us. Let me share some personal experiences. I am shortlisted for McKinsey and for my case interview preparation, my dear PGP friend Anshika Sinha (PGP – 2year student) is helping me despite her own busy schedule.
Likewise, Rama, has helped me on many occasions ensuring that my stay at IIMA is memorable and pleasant. Therefore, any perception of the two programmes staying alienated from one another is not well founded either.
I even got the opportunity to work on drafting the PGP Student Affairs Constitution in the capacity of a lawyer, bringing legal perspectives to the document.
In peroration, my nine months journey into the programme was intellectually challenging, academically rigorous, and a transformational one, which has metamorphosed me from a legal professional to a multifaceted business leader.
Truly, I never believed that I could survive with barely 4 hours of sleep. IIMA-PGPX has given me confidence of working at the peak of my potential. We call it the ‘X’ effect, which gives us the energy to work 24 by 7 without letting the energy drop one bit.