A great learning experience

he well-structured courses of Great Lakes Institute of Management afford students the opportunity to interact with the best brains in the world, listen to and learn from them.

Just about two-years-old and the Great Lakes Institute of Management is making corporates and educationists sit up and take note.

Started in Chennai by Prof Bala V Balachandran, the ace accounting professor of Kellogg School of Business, in 2004 this institute hopes to provide world-class management education at an affordable cost. The Institute stands apart for its well qualified faculty, a well structured one-year MBA and compulsory Mandarin.

An MBA degree at Great Lakes offers its students a one-year programme that sets it apart from the over-crowded two-year MBA programme offered by other institutes in the country.

Great Lakes’ one-year non-residential post graduate programme in management has a curriculum on par with the very best B-schools in the world. This automatically reduces the cost of attending the school for an extra one year.

In addition, the faculty is drawn from some of the World’s best B-schools. As for academics there are certain features that are specific only to the Great Lakes programmes. Unlike most other B-schools in the country that offer academic and theoretical specialisations such as Marketing, systems, operation etc, Great Lakes goes a step further and has introduced what is called Industry specialisations. The curriculum has ‘Horizontals’ and ‘Verticals’. Students pick up electives from the Horizontals, which are similar to the specialisations offered in other schools.

The institute insists that all the students learn Mandarin in a year’s time. The management believes that the future manager must be aware and ready with Asia specific knowledge.

The institution has close ties with the Stuart School of Business, Illinois Institute of Technology; Yale School of Management, Yale University and Nanyang Technological University. The Academic standards of the institute are laid down and governed by the Academic Advisory Council.

Apart from the one year PGPM course Great Lakes also offers an Executive MBA for working executives.

Full time MBA

This eight-term programme encompasses a set of core courses in Strategy, Marketing, Finance & Accounting, Entrepreneurial Economics, Organisation Behavior, Operations and Quantitative Decisions. It is designed to meet the emerging trend for acquiring management skills among the students irrespective of the undergraduate specialisation and therefore the programme is structured to cater to a wide variety of undergraduate degrees. Students without appropriate business coursework or substantial relevant business experience will be required to complete additional coursework in quantitative methods, economics and business psychology. The proposed programme focuses on Marketing, Finance and Control, Production, Systems and Information Technology and Entrepreneurial Management including Family Business. These specialisations are offered in the form of streams- each stream consisting of a set of courses, which the students have to choose starting fifth term.

Substantial part of the course will be devoted for case studies, field sessions, seminars, technical writing and projects besides textbook materials. There are 16 core courses all offered during the first four terms. There are 16 elective courses all offered during the fifth to eighth terms. A non-credit language course of recent business needs will be required from all students on a pass/no pass basis. One elective from each elective stream will be offered during each term depending on the availability of faculty.

Each term is five weeks of classes and one week of exam and break. All requirements are provided to the students by the end of term four. Each course will be of 20 to 22-classroom hours and 10 hours non-classroom work. First term will be preceded by three weeks of introductory lectures, soft skills orientation, a language course and a camp.

Elective courses will be updated as the programme progresses depending on the faculty availability, student needs and current trends. The exams are offered right at the end of the term. A student will have to earn about 120 credits with each course assigned three credits based on the course duration, the level of the difficulty, etc. Students will have opportunity to specialise in Finance and Control, Entrepreneurial Economics in their second half of the programme. They will play a central role in the system, with their evaluation and feedback being used to help the faculty redesign and fine-tune their courses.

The Course

The two-year course is divided into six trimesters of four months each. Each trimester starts with a 2-week residency in which at least 5 courses of 15 hours each will be taught.

These will be followed by assignments based on what was taught. The total number of hours a student goes through is 450 hours and are expected to put in seven to eight hours every week during the off campus periods.

The schools currently operate from a three-storied centrally air-conditioned premise with the standard infrastructural facilities. At the fist sight it does not give a look of business school. The entire building is wi-fi enabled with all the students owning a laptop for their course. The government of Tamil Nadu has assured the management for land space for the construction of a world-class business school in Chennai.

The EMBA students have a well-built e-learning module which serves as a off campus tool. The LMS supports the collaborative learning community, offering multiple modes of learning-from self-paced coursework (Web-based seminars and classes, downloadable, CD-ROM and video content) to scheduled classes to group learning (online forums and chats).

For details contact, Bueno Vista Beach Resorts on East Coast road, Kapleshwar Nagar, Neelankarai, Chennai.