The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill plans to open an office in India, following in the footsteps of Harvard Business School andUniversity of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, as it seeks to increase its engagement with Asia’s third largest economy.
The North Carolina university’s Kenan-Flagler Business School will open an office in India within six months, said James Dean, dean of the 92-year-old business school.
“The emerging economies are vital for us; and when we talk of this, we mean India, China and Brazil,” Dean said during a recent visit to Delhi.
“We will open our India office in one of the big cities of India,” he said, hinting that the office could be in Mumbai or New Delhi. The office will increase the university’s interaction with local companies, help it conduct research, carry out case studies and facilitate faculty and student exchanges. The university does not plan a campus in India immediately.
“At least 10% of our classrooms in the US are filled by Indians; hence, we understand the country and its growing stature,” Dean said in a telephone interview.
Kenan-Flagler admits 300 students every year. The institute has devised an elective on India and its economy as part of its on-campus full-time MBA course. “For the last few years, nearly 50-60 students including some Indians are coming here for exposure trips. They interact with business houses for few weeks. We want to expand this engagement for sure,” Dean said.
Some students also come to India on student exchange programmes with institutes such as the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and the Management Development Institute, Gurgaon, for a term that typically stretches for around three months.
Some weeks earlier, Wharton announced it would open an India office in 2012 and engage in executive education, a revenue churner for business schools worldwide. These programmes target professionals and are delivered as either part-time or full-time courses.
Harvard opened its India Research Center (IRC) five years earlier in Mumbai, from where it drives its executive education agenda as well as its research and case study programmes. The Harvard Business Review, the management magazine it publishes, has tied up with the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, to promote its case studies.
Bharat Gulia, senior manager at consulting firm Ernst and Young, said such moves by leading foreign business schools are only logical as India’s economy continues to grow even in the face of a global economic slowdown. “The practical question is where is the opportunity to grow? Professors need consulting and students need exposure. Here, India is a great place,” he said.