Public sector enterprises in India have mostly been monopolies, and the Institute of Public Enterprise (IPE), located in the Osmania University
campus, lives up to the theme by being the only college in India offering an MBA designed for public enterprises. Fresh graduates from a heterogenous mix of backgrounds also come here for the PGDBM programme.
The campus has the curious feel of a laid-back, plentifully endowed bureaucracy attempting the desperate drive for competence that you see only in private firms. It's an unusual mix, the zone of intersection between corporates and the public sector, often with ridiculously contrasting opposites sharing the same space.
As far as infrastructure and resources go, IPE is predictably quite a leviathan. The 36,000-book library has online databases of information from all the 1,500 Indian public sector enterprises, CMIE, EBSCO etc., plus recordings of parliamentry debates. There are mezzanine sitting areas with cane chairs, sofas and tranquil lampshades that are absolutely perfect for a quiet reverie.
More - the campus sprawls across 7 acres, and has basketball, volleyball and badminton courts surrounding the air-conditioned classrooms. The fully-wired building, though, has a pleasantly ancient look, almost like it is rising organically out of the ground, completely in its element in the shady surroundings.
PGDBM students, 240 in all, are a clan on their own. The campus has no hostel, but their day is completely packed till almost 8:30pm with lectures, seminars and extra-curriculars, in some of which IPE students have had a tradition of excelling. Their quizzing craze has led to several national level prizes where students have beaten other leading B-schools in India many times over.
Samati is their quarterly corporate meet where they have events specific to every specialisation over a period of 3 days. And that brings us to some of the unique specialisations IPE offers for its PGDBM program. Currently 7 in number, these include Advances In Management, Banking And Insurance, and Production Management, each of which, the management claims, has a fair share of takers when the placement season comes. Sanskriti is the inter B-School festival that has been revived by IPE after a period of 4 years when it was not held.
Like all budding managers, the IPE kids also believe in Power-Partying. So it's Liquids
that mostly play host. But when the heavy academic schedule gets too demanding for a leisurely trip to the city's pubs, it's the dhaba on top of a nearby hill, lovingly christened Hilltop by IPEites, that wins over all other haunts.
What lends itself most to the buzzing atmosphere is the 50:50 boy girl ratio. And it's all natural, with no help from quotas or ostensibly women-friendly courses on the offer. IPE itself seems to be preferred by the girls.
The MBA (PE) program, on the other hand, has an older, more heavyweight student body that is a confluence of employees from places like the IAS, ONGC, SAIL, the Army, IPCL, BHEL and Andhra Bank. It is usually their lower and middle management personnel, most of whom will go back to their organisations having improved their prospects of advancement, that attend this 3-year part-time program. A small percentage also moves on to the private sector.
Training and Management Development Programs are conducted with a frequency that can best be described as prolific; as can be, the number of publications that come out from the research scholars and faculty here, every year. IPE also, with a delightful feeling of growth unhampered by rigid structure, keeps picking up initiatives regularly so that, at any point of time, it has a wide variation of projects running simultaneously. The Government Of Netherlands sponsored project for solving the problems of farmers by bringing them together with research organisations, and another project to train undergraduate college teachers in workshops costing very little, are two such initiatives.
The large spread of areas where IPE is involved is explained by the fact that IPE started primarily as a research organisation, moved on to consulting, and got into education only a decade back. That makes it the multifaceted organisation that it is today.
At the end of the day, it is an institution that gives off the feel that most of what you see here is only the tip of an iceberg. IPE is a monolith with multiple faces. With its massive matrix of resources and activities, and connections in the top brass of governmental organisations, it's the best (and only) place for someone seeking to make inroads into The Great Indian Public Enterprise.