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Indian Oil, IIM-A join handsto sharpen petro-MBA focus 

Murali Gopalan  
Mumbai, June 11: Fortune 500 company IndianOil has sought counsel from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A), to impart sharper focus to the petroleum management programmes conducted at its Gurgaon institute near New Delhi. This is expected to pave the way for a long-term relationship between the two titans of industry and academics.

The IndianOil Institute of Petroleum Management (IIPM), founded in 1995, has annual courses in collaboration with the International Centre for Promotion of Enterprises (ICPE). The ICPE, in turn, has a tie-up with the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia.

IOC has now asked the advisory board of IIM-A to take a fresh look at the syllabus of its institute and gauge the non-academic management input in these courses. It has also sought more intensive interaction on management development.

"IIM-A has specific executive development programmes which are largely intended for those desiring a break in order to re-train themselves. We in IOC appreciate the need for such a sabbatical for our own employees and want IIM-A to help us out in this endeavour," sources said.

The IIPM was set up to help managers in the oil industry acquire the necessary skills to cope with a rapidly changing business environment. The institute offers a wide range of learning strategies which include management development programmes and internal consultancy. At present, the courses in the one-year agenda fall under categories like strategy and general management; operations and technology management; information technology; marketing/finance management and human resource management.

Acknowledging the need for change, some of the programmes have been revamped to include workshops on innovative strategies, business skills for HR professionals, quality culture assessment and customer satisfaction management campaign. A website has also been introduced through which a knowledge base has been created and accessed by all divisions.

"These changes have yielded results, but IOC realises that the think-tank within may not be able to understand the significance of some basic MBA inputs. IIM-A is the premier institute in the country which has a reputation at par with the world's best in management education. It only made sense for IOC to seek their counsel," sources say.

The IIPM programme is as strenuous as any MBA course at the IIMs. Participants are shorlisted after a competitive exam and interview. Typically, it involves cramming a normal 24-month stint into 12 which translates into a hectic academic schedule. The programme is open to the oil industry as well as the Indian Army and Navy.

The coming together of IOC and IIM-A will have its own benefits for the IOC-ONGC joint venture in training and consultancy. The combined strengths of the two oil giants will help offer a range of skilled services. For instance, ONGC has various institutes all over the country that work on specialised areas like exploration, geo-data processing, reservoir studies, drilling, engineering & ocean technology, oil & gas production etc.

IOC, in turn, has over a dozen training centres that offer specialised programmes in finance, HRD, business administration and other fields. Apart from the two premier institutes - Haldia Training Management and IIPM - there are many others for different units like refineries, pipelines etc.ONGC has already acknowledged the importance of its institutions and, as per McKinsey's suggestions, has been considering hiving off lucrative operations like drilling. The upstream major also believes that there is enough revenue to be made through each unit by charging independently for services rendered.

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