IIM-Ahmedabad’s commitment to the Agri-Business sector dates back to its inception, when the Institute accepted managerial issues related to agriculture, food, and other socially significant sectors as part of its thrust areas. In pursuit of this goal, a Special Program in Agriculture was started in 1974. Today the SPA has evolved into the two year Post Graduate Program in Agri-Business Management (PGP-ABM), established to transform dynamic and determined men and women into tomorrow’s leaders and decision makers in the food, rural, developmental, and allied sectors. The PGP-ABM program is a sector-specific program firmly rooted in IIM-A’s management culture and philosophy.
With a powerful blend of faculty, staff, alumni, and corporate partners working together to achieve excellence in business education, the PGP-ABM program has the best there is to offer in terms of exploring the endless possibilities in agri-business. The program equips students with the required conceptual and interpersonal skills, along with a sense of social purpose for managerial decision making and implementation, in the unique context of agri-business. The program widens the students’ vision and instills in them values of professionalism, integrity, ethics, and social commitment.
The program is well known for its academic rigor. The first year imparts the basic fundamentals of communication, finance, marketing, economics and human resources management, the building blocks of managerial aptitude. In order to build a more holistic learning environment, and to promote the spirit of competitiveness, the first year of the program is common with the PGP and FPM programs.
Building on this strong foundation in general management, the second year courses equip students with specialized multifunctional knowledge and skills that are required by the agri-business sector managers for excellence in planning and decision-making. Students choose from courses including Agricultural Finance, Strategic Food Marketing, Public Policy, Agribusiness and Energy Markets, Management of Micro Finance, Carbon Finance and Agribusiness, and more. The Logistics, Supply Chain, and Infrastructure Management in Agribusiness course is highly appreciated by the business world. The course also orients students to the global agribusiness scenario, and has a student exchange program with ESSEC, France.
During the second year students also have the opportunity to pursue Independent Projects under the guidance of a faculty member. The research is geared towards the practice of management within specific organizations or sectors. Moreover, they may also take up independent consulting engagements with public or private sector organizations.
For a better understanding of the corporate environs, students are mandated to undergo a two month summer internship in the agri-business industry at the end of their first year. Summer internships offer recruiters a fresh outside perspective and raw talent. For the student, it means valuable insights into today’s business situations and solving real-life managerial problems.
Unique to the PGP-ABM program is the Rural Immersion Module (RIM). The Rural Immersion Module is developed to sensitize the students to the ground realities in India’s heartland. Through spending time every year at a location in rural India and working to understand, suggesting and implementing solutions to problems faced at the ground level, students gain a valuable appreciation of what they are working to change. Industrial Visits complement this entire process by providing students a glimpse of the numerous functions in varied agricultural sectors.
The program receives key support from the Center for Management of Agriculture (CMA) at IIM-A, comprised of eminent faculty members having practical expertise from various fields, and also invites a number of visiting professors and eminent individuals from other esteemed colleges and the industry. The rigor, academic discipline, and diversity of IIM-A prepare the participants of the program to rise up to the challenge of working in a dynamic industry.
Students are handpicked by faculty members from the top performers in the CAT and GMAT. While the age, experience and academic background may vary, one common characteristic is the zeal to excel in the chosen field of activity. Nearly 120,000 students applied to the program in 2010, of which 37 joined the batch of 2011-13. The program sees students from diverse backgrounds such as commerce, economics, law, healthcare, and others join its ranks every year; there is a good mix of fresh graduates and people with work experience across diverse functional and industry sectors.
Students of the program have fared very well, both on and off campus. PGP-ABM were active members of the team that won the Mahindra War Room 2011, a highly prestigious Business School event, from among 1,250 teams coming from the finest Business Schools in India. Students have also been actively involved in the Forum for Industrial Interaction at IIM-A, and some of the highest rated teams had PGP-ABM students, including the overall best rated team. Students have been actively involved in all of the Student clubs on campus, and have even served as the heads of the Marketing, Economics, Dramatics, Agri-Business clubs amongst others. In all, students are actively engaged in activities on campus, from sports to scholastic competitions and beyond.
These students go on in life, and find managerial positions across the value chain. Many of the program’s alumni head top corporate houses or contribute at key positions in several agri-business conglomerates in India and abroad. Others have made great progress in the social sector through NGOs.
Over the years, our alums have found their way into Olam international, Rabo Bank, Monsanto, Harrison-Malayalam, the Godrej group, ITC, and many other renowned companies in the field of agri-business and also others like the Boston Consulting Group, Frito-Lays, and Nestle, proving their mettle in whatever field they chose.
The PGP-ABM program has its own placement cell, and offers recruiters access to an unparallel bouquet of talent and experience. In order to encourage agri-preneurship among students, a two year placement window facility provides students a chance to take the path less travelled, and still have the safety of the institute’s assistance.
The PGP-ABM was developed to ensure that it meets the highest international standards, and to be of high quality and direct relevance to the real world. Today the PGP-ABM program stands a class apart from its counterparts across the world, and its efforts have not gone unnoticed. In 2011 Eduniversal, a French Rating Agency, declared the PGP-ABM Program to be the No. 1 Program Globally in the Agribusiness / Food Industry Management Category, a matter of great pride for the institute. Yet there is always much to do, and in the future of agri-business in India and across the world, the PGP-ABM program will be leading the way.