How MDI has become a preferred study destination for exchange students

Professor Godinho explains how their institute has attracted exchange students with a plethora of offerings and strategic innovations

Close coordination with overseas varsities paves the way for successful student exchange. Professor J N Godinho explains how factors such as comprehensive exchange agreements, credit transfer and synchronized schedules have contributed in bringing exchange students to study at Management Development Institute Gurgaon.

The 5WH in brief

Who: Professor J N Godinho, Chairperson, Post Graduate Programme in International Management (PGP-IM) & International Relations, Management Development Institute, Gurgaon

What: Managing MDI’s partnerships with B-schools across the world, and keeping up the momentum of activity in the area of student and faculty exchange.

When: The process of building linkages with overseas B-schools began more than a decade ago.

Why: Because overseas students (and faculty) can help build a global environment on campus, which is much needed as economic networks gain eminence over geographic boundaries. Such reciprocal agreements help to groom managers with an international perspective. They also provide learning opportunities for foreign counterparts.  

Where: Management Development Institute, Gurgaon

How: By entering into student-friendly agreements with universities with compatible schedules.

Long before “overseas tie-ups” became a catchword for higher education institutions vying to stand out in the crowd, Management Development Institute (MDI) Gurgaon had started to enter into reciprocal agreements with overseas universities to benefit from an exchange of ideas and methods. “Now that the world has shrunk to a global village, international relations assume a bigger role for any higher education institution. It is highly desirable to have contacts with overseas varsities and an exchange of students and faculty,” says Professor J N Godinho, Chairperson, International Relations, Management Development Institute.

[image_library_tag 894/7894, title="image-1" alt="image-1" width="452" height="312" border="0" ,default]Professor J N Godinho, Chairperson, Post Graduate Programme in International Management (PGP-IM)

Whereas international faculty can expose students to different styles of teaching and can conduct joint research with faculty, sharing a classroom with and implementing projects jointly with overseas students gives students their first lessons in how to work with people from different cultures—“an invaluable skill for those aspiring for global corporate careers,” adds Professor Godinho.

Negotiate the barriers

Over the last decade, MDI has entered into 56 MoUs with overseas varsities. No small number that, but the challenge is how to manage these agreements for the most benefit. Student and faculty exchange and joint research are the major aims. But – it takes considerable coordination for these agreements to actually materialise into foreign students and faculty on campus.

Get it right

What methods has MDI adopted to steer forward these agreements? Here’s a look:

MULTIPLE PARTNERSHIPS: The Institute has partnerships with leading B-Schools in several regions of the world. One of the criteria for engaging in a partnership is that the particular B-School is among the front rankers in its country and has quality as well as an extensive international agenda for its activities. The international partnerships encompass a gamut of interests such as joint research, executive education, development of academic material, collaborative work on projects of international scope, faculty exchange and student exchange.

COMPREHENSIVE AGREEMENTS: MDI’s agreements with overseas varsities provide for student as well as faculty exchange. While the institution looks on these two objectives separately, to a certain extent, faculty from overseas institutions who have positive experiences at MDI do recommend it to their students looking for a place to study in India. “No faculty will market the partner institution as such. But yes, it does help to have had overseas faculty from universities from where you are expecting students,” says the professor. Also, MDI’s own students who travel overseas on student exchange programmes act as ambassadors of the institution.

STUDENT EXCHANGE PROGRAMME: Promotes a greater understanding of multi-faceted international issues, increases the competencies of students in an increasingly interdependent globalised world, enriches students’ academic experience and widens their career horizons. An exposure to global and multi-cultural environment of working is much needed by transnational companies and Indian corporate houses.

Students with academic and/or professional interest in other parts of the world, who are willing to understand the global context of business can apply for the student exchange programme and depending upon the nature of tie-ups, a student can spend one or two terms in these foreign institutions in lieu of his/her study term(s) at MDI for no extra tuition fees. MDI has a dual degree programme with ESCP Europe, EDHEC Business School, IAE Aix-en-Provence, France and HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management, Leipzig, Germany.

CREDIT TRANSFER: Indian varsities must put in place a credit system in line with global universities to successfully attract exchange students. After all, the credits students earn here are counted towards their final result. “It helps to study the credit system of overseas partners and align your own way of working to it,” shares the professor with an eye on building global ties. “We enter into collaboration agreements with schools that accept grade transfers.”

COORDINATE SCHEDULES: Most of MDI’s exchange students come from reputed European business schools such as ESCP Europe, Paris; Solvay Business School, Brussels; and the Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen. Professor Godinho explains the rationale behind this flow—“MDI’s term schedules match those of European schools. In contrast, American universities follow slightly different schedules, which have acted as a dampener for exchange students from US so far. However, we are seeing early signs that growing business ties between India and the US may encourage more students from US to spend a term in India, even if it means losing some time due to mismatching term schedules.”

INTRODUCE INNOVATIONS: In 2013, MDI conducted the International Summer University (ISU 2013). Students from partner institutions overseas and in India could choose from eight courses of international relevance offered by overseas faculty.

Students completing the first year of their MBA in MDI’s partner institutions could register for ISU-2013. Home institutions selected the participating students.

The courses taken by the students at the International Summer University were given due recognition as electives with the grade transfer from MDI ensuring the necessary work-load balance.

See them grow

MDI’s thriving international exchange programme accounts for one out of every five students enrolled in its post graduate programme in management and human resource management, getting an opportunity to study abroad for a full term. In turn, students from the overseas partner institutions study for one term or more in the MDI campus.

Of 700 odd students on the MDI campus, at any point in time, around 45 are exchange students from overseas—which translates into a healthy 6% of the student population.

Through these students, Indian students can gain valuable insights into management practices that are better developed overseas—such as knowledge about retailing from French students because organised retail is very well developed in that country, and hence elucidated on at length in management education. Overseas students can gain a better understanding about management subjects that are exclusive to India, such as marketing in rural markets and how to go about doing business in India. “Their plan to enter into such fields is why some students are motivated to opt for the exchange programme,” says Professor Godinho.


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