BusinessLine on Campus (BLoC), a website for B-schoolers and MBA aspirants, was launched in May 2015, with an aim to complement the management studies curriculum and train students for the corporate world. Within one year, twenty-one reputed institutions have already subscribed to it, comprising over 3,200 unique student users, in addition to a few hundred individual subscribers. This is a significant number for a niche web product with a focused user segment.
The website provides B-schoolers with a wide range of opportunities to learn and showcase business talent. “In many ways, BLoC is like a concentrated capsule of many interesting nuggets focused primarily on business schools. I think it’s a marvellous effort. BLoC can be a reference guide, it can be a best practices portal, it can be known for its case study contests,” says Harish Bhat, Group Executive, Tata Sons.
BLoC holds a national-level case study competition every two months, in which top B-schools, such as ISB, IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Ranchi, IIM Indore, MICA, Delhi University, and Great Lakes Institute of Management, and many others, participate. So far around 10 contests on a range of issues, including Make in India, railways profitability and corporate strategy across industries have been organised.
Leather goods manufacturer Hidesign is the industry partner for these contests, and offers gift vouchers worth ₹25,000 to the winning team.
Being a portal reflecting business, the BLoC team has conducted interviews with several industry leaders. Some of the famous names include: Vinita Bali (former MD, Britannia Ltd and Chairperson, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition), Gautam Kumra (Director of McKinsey and Co.), Sandy Gopalan (VP and global leader of Cognizant Business Consulting), Sriram Rajagopal (Vice-President, HR, Cognizant) and Vikram Mehra (Managing Director of Saregama India).
Since the website is academic in nature, Deans and Directors such as Prof Vijay Govindarajan (Dartmouth University’s Tuck Business School), Ranjan Banerjee (SP Jain Institute of Management and Research), MJ Xavier (VIT Business School), Ajit Rangnekar (Indian School of Business) and Ambarish Datta (BSE Institute) have shared their insights on a range of management topics.
“News is put out very well and the structured content allows readers to span various items. BLearn and Columns have nice stories which give wonderful insights,”says Srikanth, a PGPM student at Great Lakes Institute of Management.
With digital media and content advancing every minute, there is always challenge to keep content updated. “The curriculum today gets dated virtually every second, so what is taught in class is largely dated. The challenge is to see how to keep it current. The way BLoC has framed its whole approach is live and in sync with what’s happening today. Whether it is with the case studies or sections on entrepreneurship or on current thoughts, all of these become a huge value-add and in some contexts, they are an education in themselves,” says KV Kamath, BRICS Bank Chief.
BLoC publishes three to five exclusives in the Columns section every day, apart from one-off articles by occasional contributors. It features opinion pieces from industry leaders and sectoral insights from BL’s research bureau and senior journalists. From expert opinion on HR, taxation and leadership to product management, cleantech, branding and marketing, the articles cover a wide range of topics of high relevance to MBA students. With 26 well-curated columns on a gamut of issues, BLoC considers this section its USP and core strength.
With its emerging popularity among students and institutions, top B-schools such as IIM-Ranchi and XIMB, often tie up with BLoC for online media partnership for their events. Exclusive video series created and published by the team, to benefit MBA students, are a key feature. There have been two series so far — A to Z of Stock Markets with Aarati Krishnan, and The Big Picture with Radhika Merwin.
On the social media front, BLoC is quite active. All articles are shared on Facebook and Twitter. While it began with a mere 174 likes, they have now crossed the 1,000 landmark, with a total 1,045 likes. To keep the audience engaged on the micro-blogging site, live Twitter chats have been hosted with R Sivadas, an entrepreneur and alumnus of IIM-A, and Ranjini Manian, Founder-CEO of a cross-cultural services company. BLoC aims to achieve more interaction and participation, thereby bridging the gap between the B-schools, B-schoolers and industry professionals.