Fellow Programme In Management Where Art Meets Science – IIM Indore
The debate around management – ‘whether it is an art or a science’ has been there since ages. It would be surprising if one does not come across any session dedicated to this topic during their MBA education. But isn’t there a way to look beyond or think differently? While pondering over this question few days ago, I realized that there is no need to look far for an answer.
Fellow Programme in Management (or popularly known as FPM) at IIM Indore overcomes the divide between the art and science debate around management. This course is specially designed so that institutes of national importance such as IIMs can nurture and transform FPM participants into academic researchers who can contribute towards advancement of knowledge and management teaching. IIMs’ (or any B-Schools’) job is not just to prepare managers responsible for running the business world. They have another important role to play i.e. to balance the other end. And this is done through the FPM course – What the future managers should learn (research dimension of FPM) and how should they learn (teaching dimension of FPM) are also accomplished by IIMs and only few people know about it (especially in India).
FPM is a course equivalent to a University Phd, however in my humble opinion, the rigor of FPM is way beyond what one can imagine during a University Phd. It is a full-time residential programme wherein you learn the aspects of management, research methodologies, academic writing and the subject opted for (in depth and breadth).
Unlike other courses offered at B-schools, FPM is not one which begins with an induction programme and concludes with a convocation day. It is a journey. Of course, formally it has entry and exit points and a structure too (which we’ll discuss about later). But, coming back to what I said – FPM is a journey, research is a journey. Reading about current research, literature review, identifying a research question and then madly looking out for its solution – is an addiction (and you’ll fall in love with it sooner or later). Yes, there are periods of imposter syndrome, loneliness, inability to understand where we are heading towards, helplessness (especially when the results do not support your hypotheses 😉 ), but as Albert Einstein rightly said – “If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it”.
Now, let us look at how the course is designed. Looking at the description I gave above, one may consider FPM a never ending journey, but no my dear-Time management is a critical habit which must be inculcated into a researcher/FPM participant starting from day one. And a unique structure for this course at IIM Indore helps overcoming the issue of Time Management. The rigorous course is structured around making participants equipped with research and teaching skills in parallel. At IIM Indore, the first 18 months are dedicated to coursework (including the 3 months where the first year FPM participants organize a conference, CERE). During these 18 months, participants grasp theoretical knowledge around their subject, research methodologies and pursue a few courses with PGP participants. Each participant also gets the opportunity to assist as Professor in their research work (Research Assistance Programme), which I believe has helped me a lot and made me more confident and aware of what am I going to do next.
Soon after the coursework, one has to clear a comprehensive examination and the next 2-2.5 years are devoted to the research and theses work. The other milestones such as theses proposal, theses seminar and finally the thesis defence help in keeping the participant on track during the journey. After the Comprehensive Exam, the participants also get the opportunity to assist a Professor in teaching. Planning for classes, designing the course content, preparing for a 75-minute session wherein one has to teach the best minds of the nation, evaluation etc may sound easy but are challenging.
So, I look FPM as a course full of rigor (bringing it closer to science) and practice followed by learning, practicing, re-learning (bringing it closer to how we define art). Although I am still in my coursework but the past 15 months at IIM Indore have brought me closer to understand life, society and the people around me. It has changed my perspective towards management and social science as fields of study and yes, I am still learning !!!
About the Author:
Swati Ghulyani is a student of FPM 2015 batch, IIM Indore.