In an ideal world, Dezsö Horváth would have liked his 25-year-long deanship of Canada’s Schulich School of Business, York University to see through a full-fledged MBA program run by the school on Indian soil.
But with the foreign universities entry and regulation bill still languishing with the Indian government, for now Horváth will have to fall back on plan B. Starting September 2013, Schulich will re-launch its two-year AICTE-approved “twinning” MBA program from a 20,000 square feet temporary facility near the Hyderabad airport in collaboration with the GMR Varalakshmi Foundation. The school used to run this same program previously with Mumbai’s SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, which it discontinued after raising its ambition to go it alone in India. Under the twinning arrangement, students will study the first year in India and the second in Canada at Schulich’s original Toronto campus.
But it’s not really the same old wine in a new bottle, Horváth insists. “With SP Jain, Schulich professors were teaching only two courses in the first year. Now all the first year courses will be taught by Schulich professors who will travel to Hyderabad from Canada. Also with the AICTE approval, we can run the courses the way we want,” he says.
About 30 Indian students with an average of four to five years of work experience (three years of minimum work experience are an eligibility criterion) have already been admitted into the ‘Schulich India MBA’. These students will pay about $10,000 lesser on the program than those who study the program entirely at Toronto yet gain access to the Canadian job market after completing the two-year MBA.
But this is not what Horváth originally set out to do. A firm believer in the global nature of contemporary markets, he would have rather run the Schulich India MBA at a full-fledged campus that would have as many foreign students as Indian. “It has not been easy,” he says. “The foreign universities bill has refused to move forward in the Indian federal government, but then again nothing else in business is moving in India either.”
Yet, he says he doesn’t regret investing several years of his energy on setting up a campus in India rather than at Singapore, Dubai or Hong Kong. “Singapore is already overcrowded while Hong Kong is the wrongest place in China to set up a campus in. If it has to be China then I would rather consider Beijing or Shanghai. But China’s population is ageing,” he explains.
India on the other hand, he argues, has a young population that produces at least 3,000 to 4,000 high quality graduates every year, which would be Schulich’s ideal market. “There is no truly global MBA program in India that these graduates can go to,” he says. If all goes as per plan, he wants to introduce Masters degrees in accounting and finance at the Indian campus, programs he argues nobody in India offers yet.
For all the promise of a program delivered by international faculty, at $60,000 (excluding living expenses) it will cost more than twice the price of a degree from the Indian Institutes of Management. Unless every admit into the Schulich India MBA manages to find a job in Canada or the USA, they will find it hard to repay any debt incurred in studying the program using salaries earned in Indian rupees.