Management in IITs – Brand Building, than Brand Dilution
“Old order changeth, yielding place to new…”
- Lord Alfred Tennyson
The world has very successfully redefined itself of late. This face of the earth was so far hidden from the realm of humanity. Competition finds itself at the zenith. Buying and selling have left the markets and become the part and parcel of life. A doctor sells himself to retain his patients and attract more. A sportsman sells himself by performing in the National Level to reach the International Hall of Fame. A student sells himself in the interview to get the seat in one of the best known institutions of the world. They call it The Corporate World… where factors like price and quality hold but mere importance vis-à-vis the big name – BRAND.
In this scenario, expansion of horizons becomes the name of the game. The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are not left far behind. The IITs, renowned for producing techies of worldwide fame, have ventured into the domain of management. Technology and Management together – sounds awkward, eh? Not at all! For right from the inception of management, technology has been its counterpart and raison d'être – its very reason for existence. When Frederick Taylor, one of the forbearers of management, laid down the Principles of Scientific Management in 1911, he believed management to be a pure science. Later, the human factor continued to pour in. However, the role of Science and Technology in Management is undoubtedly, inseparable. This is the very reason why courses like Economics and Organizational Behavior, which are not considered as core engineering subjects, are taken as mandatory courses in almost all engineering colleges throughout the world. So if we can go for a couple of managerial subjects, why not go for the entire course?
Today, it is not uncommon to observe massive diversification in all spheres. ITC Wills, after the huge success of its brand of cigarettes Navy Cut and Silk Cut, used the same name for its range of sports apparel and formals as Wills Lifestyle. Kingfisher, known to be one of the best brands worldwide for beer, did well in the Mineral Water and Club Soda industry as well. The list of such examples is endless. The only reason for success of all of these firms is that they had already won the hearts of the masses by one product. Similar is the world of education, where the IITs have proven themselves worldwide by producing masterminds. Organizations throughout the globe have immense faith in IITians. Today, it would not be unusual for a good organization with a global presence to be ignorant about institutes like MDI, FMS or XLRI. Yes, it’s a true fact that globally, IITs are a much bigger brand name than any IIM because of their rich ancestry. IITs are recognized by anybody and everybody. Why not use this brand image to impinge upon the new domain of management? Managers from IIT will be internationally recognized than any other institute because of the same faith that corporations have in IIT. This is brand building!
Finally, it’s a common fallacy that the IITs are the predecessors of Management in Technological institutes that they may or may not succeed. The truth, however, is quite different. One of the pioneers in this field is none other than the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the undoubted worldwide leader in its field. MIT entered the realm of management with the inception of the Sloan School of Management, which today produces one of the best managers in the world. Universities at Purdue and Mississippi have also followed suite. A noted example will be of the Harvard University, a premier name in the B-School world that has opted to go into technical courses. Should the IITs be left behind in the field of management which has a tremendous potential in the corporate world as well as education and research? Never! This is a loss not just to The Institute, but to the Nation in totality.
Only by competing with the world in the rat race that is marked by the survival of the fittest, we can stand as a brand apart like we always have since the birth of the Indian Institutes of Technology. Stagnancy in what we are, on the other hand, will lead only to brand dilution. In fact, a very good upcoming school of thought is that the IITs should venture into the field of law too, which is in fact already taking shape. Foraying into new educational grounds will leave a broader global footprint for the IITs. This, in my view, is the only key for us to lead India into the heaven of freedom that Tagore dreamt of,
“Where the mind is without fear,
And the head is held high…”