Vivekananda Institute for Leadership Development

An Initiative of Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement

Creating development managers

A look at the Master’s in Development Management (MDM) course offered by V-LEAD and how it is impacting lives.

Born in Sunga, a village in Bagalkot district of Karnataka, Mallamma Budihal saw the rough side of rural life and poverty during her upbringing. Her determination to take up a course in social work to make a meaningful contribution to the lives of poor people in rural areas brought her to the portals of Vivekananda Institute of Leadership Development (V-LEAD) in Mysuru, which offers Master’s in Development Management (MDM), a two-year, four-semester programme.

Armed with MDM, a post-graduate degree given by the University of Mysore, Mallamma is now a senior programme manager at Deshpande Foundation’s Fellowship Programme on Social Entrepreneurship at Bagalkot. Imparting entrepreneurial skills, training in marketing, proposal submission, fund raising etc., Mallamma not only has the satisfaction of pursuing a job, where her passion lay, but is also earning a handsome salary.

She is among the 72 candidates who have passed out of V-LEAD with a post-graduate management degree in the development sector since 2005. An initiative of the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM), V-LEAD began offering a post-graduate degree in non-profit management 10 years ago to meet the critical need for quality manpower in the development sector. The nomenclature of the course has now been changed to MDM.

Founder Chairman of SVYM R. Balasubramaniam said MDM, which is recognised by the University of Mysore, was started to provide professional training to the workforce in the social and development sector. “When there is a professional course in engineering, medicine etc, shouldn’t there be one in the social and development sector also”, he said.

The need for competent managers in this sector has become more pronounced now with the Union Government making it mandatory for companies with at least Rs. 5 crore net profit or Rs. 1,000 crore turnover or Rs. 500 crore net worth to spend 2 per cent of their annual net profit on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) starting FY 2015. The MDM course, whose slogan is “combining commitment with competence”, seeks to ensure that the workforce in the social and development sector also possesses specialised skills.

“For most companies, CSR is no more than writing a cheque. They think their HR (Human Resource) department can take care of CSR activity, which should be considered as a paradigm of development and taken up accordingly,” he said before adding that the MDM offered by V-LEAD was the only course of its kind in the country to be recognised by a University.

The course has an intake capacity of 40 students every year. “This year, we are hoping to attract more students because of the Government’s decision to make it mandatory for companies to spend 2 per cent of their net profit on CSR activities,” said T.N. Ravi Shankar, Assistant Director of SVYM’s Viveka Scholar Programme.

Students pursuing the programme can hope to secure jobs in not only NGOs, but also the corporate sector, which will have to come up with CSR programmes.

The course is designed to prepare students to be ready for a career in the development sector and to nurture professionals who can “hit the road running” from day one, says VILD. “If you are someone with concern for the society and have the ability to utilise a blend of pragmatism and idealism to address social issues, you are fit to work in the development sector. So, go ahead and build a career in the development sector and make a difference to the world that you live in,” says the programme brochure.

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