What do Gustav Eiffel, Andre Michelin, Marcel Schlumberger and Armand Peugeot have in common? Prior to creating world-class engineering marvels and big businesses, these Frenchmen of note graduated from the prestigious Ecole Centrale Paris, a leading French engineering school.
But when such an honorary legion cast stares from flyers in a spanking new building at the Satyam Campus in Bahadurpally, Hyderabad, something is certainly off kilter. A closer inspection suggests otherwise.
The flyers at the Satyam Campus were festooned to inaugurate Mahindra Ecole Centrale (MEC), a premier engineering institution that the Mahindra Group is starting in collaboration with Ecole Centrale Paris and Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad.
On the drawing board for the last 5 years, the MEC project is the brainchild of Vineet Nayyar, the executive vice chairman of Tech Mahindra, supported wholeheartedly by the visionary Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra. “We want to create an institution which will stand up to other institutions around the world where we will not train just engineers but business-oriented global engineers,” says Nayyar.
Talk to any of the representatives of the three partners and it becomes evident that quality will be of paramount importance in this initiative. It’s a known fact that India needs quality education, with industry experts predicting a shortfall of approximately 2.5 million employable engineers in India by 2020.
“There is analysis-oriented education, not creativity-oriented education. In India, education is often uni-dimensional, we want to offer a buffet,” says Dr. Sanjay Dhonde, who after completing his tenure as Director, IIT Kanpur, will be Founder Director at MEC.
On digging deeper into the institute’s charter, MEC programs will tend to be research-driven with international exchanges thrown in and a range of subjects from social sciences to philosophy dotting the curriculum. “We bring three things: a multidisciplinary approach, closeness to industry and international exposure.
We want to produce global citizens,” says Christopher Cripps, Dean of International Affairs, Ecole Centrale Paris.
The institute aspires to fill the gap in the marketplace for engineers who already come trained in business studies and are readily employable. Research shows that only a quarter of technical graduates and a tenth of other grads are considered employable by the IT/ITES industries.
“Institutions are focusing on research, not the application of research. The need of the hour is global technocrats, not just plain vanilla engineers,” says Prof. Rameshwar Rao, Vice Chancellor, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad.
While the academic program is being finalized, the first batch of 300 students will start from September next year, and eventually, the oncampus strength will encompass 2,500 students.
The institute that took nearly 5 years in the making, given the myriad rules private companies have to follow while entering the education turf, will also foray into other cities once MEC is up and running.
As of now, Team MEC is on course to producing world-class engineers and oozes with confidence. For starters, even before the first batch comes on stream, Nayyar promises a job opportunity at TechM for every grad.
“‘The Institute’ for the industry, that’s what we are creating. Nothing short of that will satisfy us,” says CP Gurnani, Managing Director & CEO, Tech Mahindra.