Formerly known as Mudra Institute of Communications Ahmedabad, MICA established by advertising agency Mudra Communications’ founder AG Krishnamurthy, is dedicated to meeting the integrated communication and strategic marketing needs of the industry, the government, and the community at large. Banikanta Mishra, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, in interaction with BW Businessworld, talks about the institute’s focus on the specialist cadre it has been preparing over decades, interdisciplinary research and much more. Excerpts:
What are the benefits of specialised programmes? How have MICA students benefitted from communications management programmes over the years?
Art often creates specialists who know the nuances. A guitarist does not play the harmonium, and a Johny Lever does not act as a villain. Some thought leaders realised in the early 1990s the need for such specialist ‘artists’ in the business world. They designed a unique programme to create superspecialists in marketing communication. It was a creative cocktail of the art of communication and the science of marketing. Sure enough, it caught the attention of the world, and MICA became well-known nationally and even outside for the niche it had carved for itself.
MICA’s PGP programme started with specialisation in Advertising and Brand Management. Over the years, it added new and relevant specialisations after looking at the industry needs and changing scenarios: Digital Communication Management, Media and Entertainment Management, Data Science and Business Analytics, Sales and Customer Relationship Management.
What is the changing thrust of the programme at the institute?
To keep pace with the changing times or rather a step ahead of it, MICA made Digital and Analytics its thrust areas. Digital Transformation Management, including Digital Marketing, and Business Analytics, including Data Analytics for Market Research, became new focal areas at MICA. At the same time, seeing a demand for the nascent field of Sports Management, the Media and Entertainment section decided to make a foray into that.
Our systematic curriculum innovations ensure that students learn deep research and global adaptability and create cutting-edge knowledge to facilitate innovative problem-solving in the industry. While we nurture our students to develop analytical and creative thinking, we also lay equal stress on the 3 Es of learning: experimentation, empathy, and e-learning. We train them to create and face disruptions with confidence and ease.
We have introduced new courses with a thrust on Digital Transformation Management. These include courses such as Global Governance, Change, and Transformation (GCT), which broadly focuses on governance in the wake of the Covid crisis, futuristic leadership, brand compliances, and digital ecosystems. In addition, our Media and Entertainment segment has introduced a few courses focused on OTT platforms, now a significant part of our lives.
With an aim to impart experiential learning, MICA also offers four immersions: Rural Immersion, Urban Immersion (MI IMPACT – MICA’s Impact Management Projects for All Cities Transformation), International Immersion, and the newly-launched Entrepreneurship Immersion. These immersions allow students to work with organisations and provide creative solutions to real-world problems.
What is the scope of interdisciplinary research in management education? How is MICA encouraging research?
MICA has rapidly become a research powerhouse and our faculty regularly publishes papers in top international management journals. MICA encourages its faculty to undertake cutting-edge research and participate in global conferences. It provides its faculty with all the necessary resources and freedom to pursue research even while discharging their teaching and administrative duties. This has led to our faculty research papers being published in ABDC, ABS and FT50-ranked international journals, making MICA one of India’s 20 foremost management institutions for research output.
Last year, MICA instituted a first-of-its-kind annual AG Krishnamurthy Awards in memory of its visionary founder to encourage and reward its faculty for their perseverance and performance in teaching, research and creative activity and service.
In addition, MICA’s unique International Immersion, whereby a group of 14-15 faculty members visit foreign universities, interact with their academicians, and explore joint projects and potential collaborations, also furthers this goal towards more interdisciplinary research at the global level.
MICA’s Centre for Development Management and Communication, Centre for Media and Entertainment Studies, Centre for Research Excellence in Marketing, and Sales and Customer Relationship Management Centre focus on research in various domains, and its Centre for Learning and Innovative Pedagogy gets into pedagogy and research on it; all the centres have global advisory bodies. Journal of Creative Communications, published by Sage, is fully supported by us.
What was the institute’s response to Covid? How did your specialised curriculum lend itself to distance learning?
We realised that the switch to online teaching – though ‘convenient’ at
such difficult times – was putting a lot of stress on a student’s brain and brawn, due to the long hours she had to sit in front of a computer, besides making the instructor tired of shouting inside a virtual classroom.
So, we came up with the 30 + 45 model: every 75-minute session was broken down into a pre-recorded video of 30 minutes that a student can watch at his or her leisure and online teaching of 45 minutes; even when we switched to the hybrid mode, the 30-minute video continued, along with 45 minutes of offline/ classroom teaching that was transmitted to off-campus students who chose to stay home.
NOTE FROM INSTITUTE: (Please note it is not Mudra Institute of Communications now. MICA is no longer an acronym)