B-Schools Use Mandarin Mantra for Global Success

Hindustan Times (New Delhi, India), April 13, 2014 | Go to article overview

B-Schools Use Mandarin Mantra for Global Success


Mumbai, April 13 -- Indian management students have devised a unique strategy to take on their Chinese counterparts when the two face off on the global stage. The B-school students are learning Mandarin, the official language of China, with several private MBA colleges and even some of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) offering the language as part of their curriculum.

While IIM Calcutta, Bangalore and Shillong offer Mandarin as an elective in their post-graduate diploma courses, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, has made the language a compulsory subject in all eight terms of its post-graduate course. At Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS) in Mumbai, students are required to learn either Mandarin or Spanish as a foreign language.

"China is a growing market and will soon become the most dominant global economy. For management students, knowing English and Mandarin means they can communicate with half the world's population," said Bala V Balachandran, founder of the Great Lakes Institute of Management. "Knowledge of Mandarin puts students at a great advantage." The institute included Mandarin in its flagship programme in 2008, but made it a compulsory subject last year.

According to officials at the institute, the decision to introduce Mandarin in the curriculum was triggered by investment bank Goldman Sachs' BRICs report, which forecasts that China along with Brazil, India and Russia will dominate the world economy by 2050. China is already the second biggest economy in the world, having bypassed Japan, and is on its way to replace the US as the biggest economy.

Professors at NMIMS feel it is essential for students to be familiar with trends and practices in international markets.

"Knowledge of a foreign language prepares them for assignments in the international arena in their career. Along with foreign languages, subjects like Multi National Management, Strategic Alliances & Inter national Marketing are included to facilitate exposure to global issues," an NMIMS spokesperson said.

At IIM Bangalore, spoken Mandarin was introduced for the batch of 2011-2013 for second-year students. The scores of the course are added to the Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of the students at the end of the year. In fact, the course has gained popularity, with 45 out of 381 students in the batch opting for it.

IIM Calcutta has also seen its student base for foreign languages doubling from 40-45 last year to 80-85 for the 2012-2014 batch, out of which a majority of students chose Mandarin.

"China's economy is rapidly rising and learning the language will not only benefit students, in terms of jobs, but also give them global exposure. …

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