Dream factory

94ManagementStudies The believers: Students at Faculty of Management Studies | Aayush Goel

Low fees and student participation keep FMS among the top five business schools in India

  • FMS is probably the only quality management institute in the country with an annual fee as low as rs 20,000.

The Faculty of Management Studies in Delhi is popularly known as “the red building of dreams”, and the list of past dreamers includes Raghav Bahl, who created the TV18 network; R. Mukundan, managing director of Tata Chemicals; and Niren Chaudhary, global president of KFC.

Though it is one of the older business schools in India, with a history of 62 years, FMS has always innovated and maintained its youthful aura. This is, in part, because of the way the institute functions. Unlike many other institutes, almost everything apart from teaching and administration—like placements and internships—is managed by the students. “The best part about being here is that we get firsthand experience of managing things, how to present ourselves in different situations and how to work in a team. Management is not just about theoretical knowledge, it is about handling different situations,” said Sudarshan Rangnathan, a second-year student.

“The sense of ownership among students is very strong,” says Kavita Singh, a professor who teaches organisation behaviour at FMS. “Corporates have seen very high retention of graduates they hire from our institute. One of the reasons our graduates do not frequently change jobs for higher packages is that they do not have the sword of an education loan hanging above their heads.”

FMS is probably the only quality management institute in the country with an annual fee as low as Rs 20,000. The Indian Institute of Management and some private management institutes charge upwards of Rs 15 lakh, burdening students with education loans.

“Not having the loan headache matters as it gives you that much legroom to decide where you want to work,” says Riyaz Ahmed, a second-year student. “The decisions are not purely guided by money.” He says he declined an offer from IIM Calcutta while selecting this institute.

One of the inadequacies of FMS is the small campus, but students say they have learned to manage with whatever is available. “Because of limited resources, we try to bring efficiency in everything we do,” says Aman Bedi, a student. “That is why we call it the place with more dreams per square foot.”

FMS director M.L. Singla attributes the success of the institute to its association with Delhi University. “We also have locational advantage, great alumni network and top-of-the-line faculty,” he says.

The institute has recently introduced “FMS edge” courses, which have been especially designed to give students something more than the regular curriculum. “These are very unique courses and we have witnessed a lot of interest from students,” says Singla. There are modules on innovation, rural marketing and NGO management, and also one on music and management.

“We have observed that a lot of CEOs are interested in music,” says Singla. “There must be something in music that hooks these people. In fact, brand management in music is one of the biggest areas these days.”

Another innovation at FMS is the concept of placement holiday. If a student has entrepreneurial ambitions, he can give the placements a miss. He can try to create a startup for two years and, if unsuccessful, he can come back to the institute and sit for the current round of placements.

“By doing this, we not only reward failures, but also encourage our students to take risks,” says Singh. “There have been instances where students have skipped placements and have done well at their startup, and there have also been people who have come back to us.”

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