Of IPM at IIM Indore, Excellence and the International Development Sector
The first batch of IIM’s Indore’s ambitious Integrated Program in Management students have been introduced to the industry this year, and everyone is waiting to find out how well they fair. This interview with a recent graduate tries to answer some questions.
Kapil Kanungo is the star student of the IPM 2011-16 batch – a gold medalist of the IPM 2016 batch and awardee of the IIM Indore scholarship for outstanding academic performance. Apart from regular academics, he has completed 2 levels each in Chartered Accountancy and Company Secretary courses, achieving an All India Rank in the latter. The Government of France awarded him with the coveted Charpak Scholarship during his term at EMLYON Business School. An active member of the student politics, he also served as an elected member to the students’ activities council for 2 years.
As a part of the first placement process for the IPM batch, how was your experience and do you think you were able to get your desired placement?
Kapil: It was good that IPM placements were integrated with the PGP placements, so we had better opportunities and far better preparations. Having said that, we had our own fair share of struggles with trying to prove our mettle to the recruiters. Despite that, the batch did a great job, I remember being the first person to be placed in the corporate and investment banking division of JP Morgan. At least for me, placements from the campus couldn’t have been better.
What do you think are the advantages IPM students have, as they get to be on an IIM campus for 5 long years instead of just 2?
Kapil: IPM for me is all about holistic development. Managers today can’t just be experts of one domain. The world around us is changing as fast as we can imagine. Some industry might be facing a disruptive change while we are having this conversation. As an IPM student there are so many subjects that you learn, it becomes easier to apply them in various contexts. I remember when I was doing my internship with an NGO – Design for Change, I realised how I could use financial modelling, which is from the economic analysis field, to build a financial model for an NGO. I was able to successfully do that in 6 weeks.
Another important thing would be communication and personality. Managers constantly need to be engaged with various people and it is here that the people management skills come in handy. We have courses like public speaking, presentation skills, performing arts etc. and group work that help us become more confident and deal with different kinds of people.
What do you currently work on?
Kapil: At Dalberg we want to solve the world’s most challenging problems in international development. Most problems in the development sector unstructured, so we do a lot of high-level strategy in order to come up with important insights for our clients, which range from national governments, multilateral organizations, foundations and NGOs to corporates. Personally, I have recently completed a project on suicide prevention with special focus on youth and emergency helplines. It was interesting to learn what countries all over the world are doing, and it was a great feeling know that I am contributing to a something that will help young people!
Isn’t International Development a field for social or public policy workers instead of managers?
Kapil: There is a strong misconception that international development is only for NGO-type workers or policy wonks in government. I believe there is tremendous opportunity to incorporate best practices from multiple fields, in order to develop the best solutions to major problems. I think it’s this reason that I love Dalberg’s emphasis on diversity. We have people who are former lawyers, economists, investment bankers, corporate bankers – which goes on to say that we combine both public and private sector.
On a personal note, why I love this place is because our office environment is brilliant! We have people from Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, ISB, IITs and IIMs. I don’t think any other office can boast of this. I have interned at MGNREGA so I can say that I have always been interested in this sector.
So what are your plans for the future?
Kapil: I see myself here for a long time ahead, I believe we are doing wonderful work – there are a lot of positive changes we bring. A lot of the problems we work on have never been addressed and the insights we come up with are pretty cutting edge.
Another thing I want to take up is teaching in a couple of years’ time. I believe it is very important to give back to the society and I am very seriously looking at taking some of my learnings from the projects to classrooms and developing management cases around them.
What do you think is the future prospect for IPM students?
Kapil: I think that the IPM batches have a very bright future ahead, not only in the terms of jobs they get but also in their entrepreneurship abilities. Some people just won a huge amount of funding at I5 Summit!
As a part of IPM we get to meet so many people and develop so many skills, and these are what will shape our performance in the industry. I would like to tell my juniors to have as much fun as possible while they are at IIM Indore, it is a great place to live in and we are the privileged few who get to stay here for 5 long years.
When you are in a business there are no domain specific problems, like an HR problem or a marketing problem, right? There might be some day where your workers are on a strike, buyers are not buying your product and your machines are breaking down! It is an HR, a marketing and an operations problem all together – and that is how it works in real life! The interdisciplinary approach helps us look at problems from all the different angles and that I believe is the USP of the IPM course.
I hope this provided you with insights into the progress of IPM course. We will keep you updated with more such content!