Business Engagement

Request for Problem

Introduction: The IFIM-NHRDN Study of Industry 4.0 Needs

Industry globally is in the middle of transformation today under the onslaught of modern-day technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things, Analytics, etc., and proliferation of countless connected devices such as mobiles and sensors. Indeed, the Fortune 500 companies are in the middle of a technology driven disruption themselves that seem to impact not just the product or services that they offer, but their own business processes as well.

World Economic Forum’s ‘The Future of Jobs’ report and the study by Dr Srikant Datar (eminent educationist and professor of Harvard Business School), lists out key skills essential to the success for a modern-day professional in a highly ambiguous and uncertain business environment.

To understand the unmet needs of Indian industry, IFIM, in collaboration with NHDRN carried out an CXO study to discover the skill requirements for tomorrow’s managers. This study covered nearly 300 CXOs and came out with ten needs (IFIM-NHRDN Industry 4.0 Needs) on what the CXOs look for in a modern work force.

The findings include:

  • Learning Orientation and Analytical Mindset

  • Integration of Data, Communication and Technology

  • Solution Orientation and Problem Solving

  • Dealing with Change and Uncertainty (Unstructured situation)

  • People and Team Orientation

  • Innovation and Creativity - Entrepreneurial Orientation

  • Social Sensitivity and Cross-Cultural Orientation

  • Managing Self (Self-awareness, self-development including wellness)

  • Business Orientation – Multidisciplinary approach, Globalization.

More details about the study can be accessed at

The study also unfolded the following insights:

  1. Emergence of new-age areas and new-age roles

  2. Emergence of a multi generation workforce – Need for mixing of industry executives with younger MBA participants in the same cohort

  3. Need for continuous learning as against education as start and finishM

    • -Re-skilling of practitioners at various levels
    • -B-schools to focus on modular re-skilling initiatives

  4. Integration of data, technology and communication in business

  5. Need for a workforce with global exposure

  6. Research needs to be integrated as part of curriculum

  7. Emphasis on solution and execution and not just strategy

Introduction to Global Super-Specialisation

A unique opportunity for participants to study the most relevant and contemporary subjects from top business schools in the world. A 10-credit program curated for a multi-generational cohort consisting of 2 Year PGP students and executives for learning by solving real life problems at our partner global schools Darden School of Business (University of Virginia), McCombs School of Business (University of Texas, Austin) and ESCP London to groom ‘T’ shaped professionals for next-gen roles in next-gen industries

The program has the following components:

  1. Masterclass by Faculty from International Partner School:

    • The participants will be introduced to the key topics and the business case for problem framing

  2. Group Work on the Business Case and Blended Learning with Tutorial Support

    • Participants will form small study groups to work on business case studies supported by faculty and blended courseware (online plus tutorial support) related to the topic

  3. Three weeks Coursework plus Project at International Partner School

    • The study groups to present their progress on discovery and experience
    • Participants to attend sessions by faculty at international partner school, supplemented with field visits and interaction with senior practitioners in the USA/London
    • Groups to reflect on practices observed and possible application to their own business case
    • Individual participants in the groups work with their professional mentors to turn learning into action initiatives

  4. Presentation to a Global Panel

    • Each study group to make a presentation to a panel of global experts on their solution to the business case

IFIM is the first B-School in the country to institutionalise this pedagogy of ‘learning by solving’, where an international faculty will mentor groups of participants to solve real life business challenges.

Recognizing that many of today’s business problems have a solution rooted in technology, IFIM has tied up with two global institutions for super-specialisations- Darden School of Business for MarTech. and ESCP London, for FinTech and Digital Transformation areas for best in class exposure.

Request for Problems (RFP)

This Request for Problem (“RFP”) is a mechanism to seek real life business challenges from our industry partners which the participating executive can solve, as part of the study-group. The problems could be from FinTech or MarTech domains.


With the advent of technological advancement, the implication of Fintech on financial services industries has touched a new pinnacle, particularly in Asia, where the size of the market is twice as large as that of the global average (McKinsey, 2019). One of the biggest disruptors in the financial industry over the last decade or so has been Fintech. While FinTech has revolutionised sectors such as personal finance and banking, there are still a few places where its potential has not been utilised. The major area where the application of Fintech has been considered as instrumental are: payment processing, block chain technology, alternative financing, (AI)-powered investment services that leverage machine learning (ML) algorithms to generate automatic investment strategies tailored to user portfolios, and internet of things (IoT) to name a few.


In the last decade marketing processes have undergone a generational change, and have impacted online and offline retail, customer experience management, sales and distribution, service management and failure, product launches, last mile connectivity, bottom-of-the-pyramid markets, to name a few.

What is in it for the Partnering Organisation?

  • Re-skilling / New Skilling of executives with Professional Certification

  • Possible Solution to an Internal Business Challenge

  • Relevance and currency of their functional skill inventory

  • Encouragement and retention of top talent by providing a rich learning experience in a top global institution.

What will be the cost of the Program for the Executive Sponsored by the Partnering Organisation?

  • The chosen executives will not be charged for the academic delivery certification, they will only need to bear the travel and stay expenses overseas.

Request-for-Problem Template

In the initial phase, sponsoring organisations can get in touch with us with the following information.

  • Potential Area of Challenge:

  • Name of executive/s attending the Masterclass:

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Data Handling: Data from your organisation shall be used under supervision of your corporate executive who is part of this programme and with the supervising faculty. Data will be handled in compliance with IFIM’s Information Security policies.

  • Travel and visa: The expenses for travel, visa, and stay of your executive to our partner institutions for the international immersion part shall be borne by your organisation.

  • Duration: The entire programme is modular spread over December/January 2019 till June 2020. Your executive shall be part of the complete duration of the programme including three weeks in London/Virginia.

  • Format:The programme starts with the Masterclass by an internationally reputed academician of two days duration. This will be followed by online instructions related to the knowledge areas and 3-weeks immersion at the partnering institution.

How to join?

Organisations desirous of joining this programme can write to:

Fintech Area:Prof. Parameshwar H. S at

Martech Area:Prof Rajesh Kumar at

About IFIM Business School

Established in 1995, IFIM Business School, Bangalore is currently amongst the first six Business Schools in India to have been awarded the AACSB accreditation. IFIM is also accredited by National Board of Accreditation (NBA), and South Asian Quality Assurance System (SAQS), and is ISO 9001:2008 certified. Various programmes at IFIM include (1) Two-year full-time residential Post Graduate Diploma in Management with options to do Major in Marketing, Finance, Digital Business, Analytics, HRM and International Business (2) PGDM (Data Science), (3) PGDM for Working Professionals. Actively engaged in research and consulting, IFIM hosts several Centres of Excellence such as AIM-Parasuraman Centre of Service Excellence and Centre for Consulting in Digital Leadership. IFIM has an elite set of international academic partners including leading institutes such as ESCP-London, Darden Business School (University of Virginia) and McCombs Business School (University of Texas at Austin).

IFIM Business School’s mission is to groom holistic, socially responsible, continuously employable professionals; It positions itself for “Beyond Tomorrow” by:

  1. Grooming ‘T’ shaped professionals aligned to the needs of industry 4.0, through its unique Be-Spoke Curriculum

  2. Best-in-class faculty; A blend of PhD trained and experienced practice-oriented professionals

  3. Global connect through partnerships with top global business schools offering courses in new-age areas

  4. Award winning Practice Driven Initiatives: Research Incubation, Social Immersion, Personality Enhancement Program, Long duration Industry Internship and Corporate Mentoring

About ESCP London

Founded in 1819, ESCP Europe has produced generations of leaders and entrepreneurs. With its six urban campuses in Berlin, London, Madrid, Paris, Turin and Warsaw, ESCP Europe's truly European identity allows it to offer a unique multicultural education style in the field of business and a global view in International Management issues. Each year, ESCP Europe welcomes over 6,000 students and 5,000 executives from more than 120 different countries, providing them with a comprehensive offer of Management courses and specialised programmes (Bachelor, Master, Executive MBA, PhD and Executive Education). ESCP Europe is included among just 1% of business schools in the world that possess the Triple Crown Accreditation (AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS). – Follow us on Twitter @ESCPeurop. ESCP Europe Master in Management programme has been ranked 4th worldwide by Financial Times (

About the University of Virginia, Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Economist ranks UVA Darden number 1 in Education Experience in USA (

Executive Education

IFIM's Management Development Program

IFIM offers both open and customised Management Development Program of varying duration. These programs address contemporary issues/ challenges faced by industry professionals across domains. A significant number of participants are found to be moving from a functional role to general management roles. A few of the popular MDPs are as follows:

  • General Management and Leadership Skills
  • Customer Experience Management
  • Service Process Quality and Productivity
  • Data Driven Decision Making
  • Derivatives and Risk Management
  • Security Analysis and Investment Management

Participants to this program receive IFIM MDP alumni status.


Given the school’s focus on employability in a VUCA world and its locational advantages as well as technological focus, the school has chosen to position itself as a teaching focussed international business school that aims to nurture students for needs of the industry ‘Beyond Tomorrow’.

In this regard, a highlight of our effort post AACSB accreditation was the launch of a new curriculum, aligned to the needs of Industry 4.0. The institute is mandated to validate its curriculum architecture every 3 years. This exercise was conducted in 2015 to impact the curriculum for the students enrolled in the academic year beginning 2016.

Inspired by the World Economic Forum report on ‘Future of Jobs’ that identified ten skill areas, IFIM Business School conducted a Pan India study in collaboration with the National Human Resources Development Network (NHRDN), to identify what are the India specific industry needs in the age of Industry 4.0.

The exploration began with the following research questions:

  • What are the India specific unmet needs that the B-schools must address today?
  • What is the response of India Inc. and academia to the new set of skills identified by WEF?

A questionnaire-based PAN India survey was administered over 292 corporate executives, and 3 round table conferences were held at Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore that saw a participation of 43 practicing executives and including 18 CXOs.

The study revealed the following ten India specific Industry 4.0 needs:

  • Learning Orientation and Analytical Mindset
  • Integration of Data, Communication and Technology
  • Solution Orientation and Problem Solving
  • Dealing with Change and Uncertainty
  • People and Team Orientation
  • Innovation and Creativity - Entrepreneurial Orientation
  • Social Sensitivity and Cross-cultural Orientation
  • Managing Self (Self-awareness, Self-development including Wellness)
  • Business Orientation - Multidisciplinary Approach
  • Globalization

The study also brought about the following insights:

  • Multi generation workforce - Mixing of industry executives with younger MBA participants.
  • Need for continuous learning as against education as start and finish.
    • Re-skilling of practitioners at various levels.
    • B-schools to focus on modular re-skilling initiatives.
  • Curriculum need to be individualized for learning style, pace and career stage.
  • Integration of data, technology and communication in business.
  • Research needs to be integrated as part of curriculum.
  • Wellness and fitness emerge as critical components of managing self.
    • B schools need to introduce programs which can equip students towards wellness and fitness.
  • Solution as reflected in service mindset and execution assumes more significance than strategy.

To ensure that students graduating from all the courses offered by IFIM Business School succeeded in Industry 4.0, the Curriculum was revamped to include a larger number of credits for ‘Practice Courses’. The Practice Courses along with the Core Courses, a large variety of Majors, Minors and Super Specializations were designed to ensure that students were transformed into T-Shaped Professionals who could thrive in Industry 4.0. The structure of the Curriculum is given in the below image.

The Practice Courses at IFIM is an important pedagogical intervention and are accorded great priority. Almost one third of the total credits in the entire PGDM program is assigned to practice courses. The Practice Courses are ‘Hands – On’ and serve to ensure that students get ready for Industry 4.0. Through the Core and Practice Courses, Students are equipped to have a ‘breadth’ in their knowledge and skills. And through the Majors, Minors and Super Specialization Courses (Indian Tracks & International Tracks), they achieve a depth of knowledge and skills in a specific area pertaining to Industry 4.0. The below image showcases how the Curriculum shapes the development of the T-Shaped Professional.

The Grooming of T-Shaped Professionals is one of the main missions of IFIM Business School and this commitment is seen across the entire portfolio of programs.

Building Blocks: Learning Ecosystem for Industry 4.0

  • In this fast-evolving world, traditional approaches to the learning ecosystem are becoming outdated. Institutions have entered a new era of the digital age where there is abundance of information, access to free open network environments, and an increased emphasis on creating personalized learning environments. With the changing digital environment in thecomplex VUCA world, the need of the hour is to revisit the relevance of each of the components that contribute to creating a learning experience. There is a need to reconsider the elements of the learning ecosystem. Institutions of higher learning need to comprehend the challenges and formulate a suitable response.
  • In this context, IFIM Business School, a pioneer in initiating innovation in management education, on the occasion of its silver jubilee celebrations, organized an international conclave in association with European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) from 18th to 19th Feb, 2020 at Bangalore, India to facilitate deliberations on challenges faced by institutions providing management education in India.
  • Dr Debashis Chatterjee, Director, IIM Kozhikode delivered the inaugural address while the valedictory address was delivered by Dr Anil D Sahasrabudhe, Chairman, AICTE. The conclave was attended by eminent academic leaders and subject matter experts. The conclave had plenary talks followed by panel discussions on each of the three thematic areas: Leader 4.0 in Industry 4.0, Role of technology in shaping the learning ecosystem and Liberal Framework of Professional Education.

Role of Technology in shaping the learning Ecosystem

  • In his plenary talk, Mr Krishna Kumar, Founder, Simplilearn highlighted how technology is shaping the learning ecosystem. He said that the role of technology is a driver of change in continuous innovation. New firms, new roles and technology are leading to exponential, disruptive and interconnected models. The impact on the labor market is high due to technology. The current model that high skills receive high compensation and low skills receive low compensation may still continue to exist and the middle segment may collapse. The middle-level roles in management are facing the most challenges by technology.
  • In the following panel discussion, panellists Mr Amit Agnihotri, Founder, (Moderator), Prof S. Sadagopan, Director, IIIT Bangalore, Mr. Sanjay Padode, Chairman, IFIM Business School, Dr Dakshinamurthy V Kolluru, President, INSOFE, Dr Nand Gopal Chattopopadhyay, Chief Technical Officer, NDLI, and Mr. Benjamin Stévénin, CEO, RimaOne deliberated on a multitude of issues relating to technology and education. The essence of this discussion is captured below:
    • Business schools cannot afford to ignore technology and social networking. Students need to focus on technology, understanding the emotional path and develop essential skills like complex problem solving, managing uncertainty, and continuously relearning.
    • Faculty must also pay a vital role and focus on continuous learning. Today there is an increasing need for complex problem solving and managing uncertainty. Thus, faculty needs to be upgraded accordingly.
    • While technology will be at the forefront of learning ecosystems, yet faculty will remain at the centre of the learning ecosystem. The ecosystem can be classified into knowledge creation professions, training companies, and enablers of learning. The significance of natural intelligence in focusing on how to deliver teaching shall be the sole purpose of the faculty. Learning takes place from multiple sources such as the teacher, homework, peers, real life situations and from life. Irrespective of the technological upgradation, teachers will continue to be at the forefront of the learning ecosystem in the future as they have continued to do so in the past.
    • While there is a fear of losing jobs because of the technology that has been created, yet new jobs will emerge. Some jobs are automated. The onus of what has to be taught and how it has to be taught will remain with humans and not AI. Continuous employability will demand continuous learning. Human beings would evolve and adapt in the long run to such changes.
    • Technology has great use for resource sharing and even for personalized learning and AI will have its significance in digital libraries. The 3Is of learning are Interactive, Integrated, and Individualized learning in the digital age. Better engagement, better learning and better retention would be the outcome of the 3Is of learning.
    • The implication for educators would be that increasingly tablets would replace textbooks, bots and robots would assume the role of teaching assistants. Faculty would have to focus on curating knowledge and facilitating greater self-learning and participation. Digital technology will make learning more egalitarian through better affordability.
  • Later in the evening, in a virtual address, Prof. Jagdish Sheth, Charles H Kellstadt Professor of Marketing at the Roberto C Guizueta Business School, Emory University stressed on the role of teaching and teachers in a VUCA world.