By Gyanendra Kumar Keshri
New Delhi, Oct 31 (IANS): The Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), established by the commerce ministry, is set to foray into the Middle East next year with a one-year post- graduate diploma course in international business, Director K.T. Chacko has said.
"Initially we will have classrooms in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Muscat. Subsequently we also plan to expand in other major cities in the Middle East region. We are targeting the five-million-plus Indian diaspora in the region," the institute director said.
"The institute would start screening process by the end of this year. Classes will begin from first quarter of 2011. The course is meant for mid-level professionals with some 8-10 years of work experience," Chacko told IANS.
"In the screening process, education and work experience will be factored in. This is what we do for executive programmes here also. For executive programmes, candidates are not required to take written tests. We evaluate on the basis of their bio-data."
Chacko said in the Middle East some 60 candidates will be enrolled every year for the executive post-graduate diploma programme in international business. "Students from overseas will also get the opportunity to visit our main campus here."
The campus is located in the southern quarters of the national capital in an area that primarily houses non-government organisations, think tanks, social institutions and some government bodies. It also has a campus in Kolkata and 35 study centres.
Chacko said the programme would help brighten the career prospects of a large number of Indians in the region. "Nationality is not a bar. Anybody who qualifies can apply. But we expect large enrolment from Indian professionals in the Gulf region."
On placements, the director said there was likely to be a significant jump in average starting salaries offered to the alumni as economic growth and corporate earnings rise. The placement season starts in December.
A Harvard-educated economist and 1973-batch officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Chacko said good manufacturing growth and a sharp rise in foreign trade indicate a bright future for management students.
He said one of the institute's students was offered Rs.7.5 million (around $165,000) per annum salary this year. Average salary for this year's pass-out students was Rs.1.15 million.
On domestic expansion plans, Chacko said the institute will start a certificate programme in export management in Chennai in collaboration with the Loyola Institute of Business Administration. The course will start from January next year.