Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad
Category: Enhancing Approaches to Leadership Education Development
Location: Ghaziabad, India
Accreditation Status: Business
I’M The Change: An Initiative on Sustainability and Social Responsibility
Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quote, I’M The Change is a required, experiential learning course that strives to groom socially responsible business leaders and entrepreneurs capable of balancing profit with purpose.
Call to Action
IMT Ghaziabad (IMTG) was the first business school in India to be conceptualized by a successful entrepreneur, the late Mahendra Nath, who wanted to create an institution with the aim of influencing practice and contributing to the development of society.
IMTG believes that innovation, execution, and social responsibility form the three pillars of leadership grooming. The school’s initiative, I’M The Change, is inspired by the vision of the founder and the eternal teaching of Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
The initiative’s course, Sustainability and Social Responsibility, assumes its significance from the fact that business leaders of tomorrow, particularly in the context of a developing country like India, need to appreciate the nuances of a just society, and act justly in their regular day-to-day activities.
The idea is to allow students to observe how people live, especially the underprivileged, and enable them to become contributors. The course resonates well with the observation of Srikant Datar, et al. in their seminal 2010 book, Rethinking the MBA, that “the role, responsibilities, and purpose of business” continue to remain a critical “unmet need” in business education.
The I’M The Change initiative delves into uncharted territory by bringing social responsibility and sustainability to the core of MBA curriculum through a required three-credit-hour course. This course requires students to engage with underserved communities through hands-on execution of social projects that are aligned with sustainable development goals and are executed in partnership with both nongovernment organizations and government agencies.
Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s eternal teaching to “Be the change you want to see in the world,” I’M The Change, launched by IMTG in October 2016, is a required three-credit-hour experiential learning course, Sustainability and Social Responsibility. The course runs for six months in the first year of the two-year Post Graduate Diploma in Management program. It is in alignment with IMTG’s mission of “grooming leadership through innovation, execution, and social responsibility.”
The initiative’s objectives include:
- Experiential appreciation of societal contexts and challenges of people who are unlike oneself.
- Developing understanding of social responsibilities in individual and business contexts.
- Experiencing the joy of contribution.
Elements that make I’M The Change truly different include:
- A full-fledged course¬—not just a volunteering experience—built on the pedagogical philosophy that states, “Doing leads to knowing and impacts being.” Essentially, the execution of social projects helps inculcate values of contribution and seflesseness rather than self-centeredness.
- Execution in partnership with nongovernmental organizations and government agencies.
- Exposure to people unlike oneself and a charge to: identify a specific challenge to be addressed, develop a baseline, propose an implementation plan and implement it, and assess the plan’s initial impact and its sustainability potential.
- Students apply innovation and design-thinking for social problem-solving.
- Interaction with real change-makers via the I’M The Change talk series, an integral part of the course.
- A multidimensional evaluation structure by self, peers, partner, and faculty.
- Social projects that are in alignment with sustainable development goals.
- Alignment with the social development priorities and missions of the government of India.
- Direct involvement with the students’ committee.
To date, the impacts of the I’M The Change initiative are manifold:
- Seventy-four social projects undertaken in the first year, touching an estimated 5,231 lives of underserved people. In the second year, 91 social projects are underway.
- Multifaceted impact in alignment with the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, covering education, skill development, women empowerment, livelihood generation, waste management, environmental sustainability, social entrepreneurship, and more.
- Contribution toward some flagship missions of the government of India, such as Clean India, Skill India, and others.
- The desired learning outcomes largely achieved in the first year, described by many students from the Sustainability and Social Responsibility experience as “once in a life time.”
- Numerous resulting proactively published articles (on Linkedin, InsideIIM, and the like).
- A rating of seven or higher on a 10-point scale by around 70 percent of students when asked how far the course helped them realize societal realities, helped in self-development as a holistic person, and enabled experiencing the joy of contribution. Additionally, more than 70 percent of student groups received a rating of seven or higher on a 10-point scale from partners.
- Media features or mentions in by Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), GreenBiz, and others.
- Accolades received at the July 2017 PRME Global Forum in New York.
- Selection of IMTG as a PRME Champion for the 2018–19 cycle in December after joining PRME as an “Advanced Signatory” in May 2017.
- Earning the Gold Award for “Developing a future-ready curriculum” at the prestigious Indian Management Conclave Awards in 2017.
- Publication of a book featuring 10 select projects titled I'M The Change...Parables from a Developing World.