MDI Gurgaon, for instance, is planning to set up a campus in Doha for which it is in advanced talks with the government authorities in Qatar and the Indian embassy. The institute plans to offer executive education and short-term programmes from the campus to begin with, before offering a three-year post-graduate diploma in management programme eventually. This will be the institute's first campus abroad.
Joining MDI are the Institute of Clinical Research India and Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, which have chosen Singapore as the location for their first international campus.
Most institutes, especially the IIMs, confirm they have received offers to start offshore campuses from a number of countries including the US, UK and France. They add, though, that there is a clear preference for Dubai and Singapore.
"The Middle East nations, especially Doha and Dubai, offer the maximum potential to a reputed institute which wants to set up base in a foreign country. Not only is the procedure to establish a foreign campus straightforward, the countries have a large pool of professionals who would benefit immensely from customised executive education programmes," said Sujit K Basu, director, MDI.
Typically, institutes prefer to offer executive education and short-term programmes at their international campuses, which are lapped up at commercial hubs like Dubai and Singapore - home to a vast pool of executives from across the world.
Even the hiring faculty for the same hasn't posed a problem since the institutes prefer to train a small number of their own faculty members who then spend a few months at the foreign campus depending on the duration of the programme.
Further, institutes who have already set up a campus in both Singapore and Dubai say the process of coordinating with government officials is relatively smooth when compared to other countries.
IMT Ghaziabad too established its first foreign campus in Dubai in September 2006 and received a license from the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research to offer higher educational degrees. In fact, such is the positive feedback from Dubai and Singapore that those institutes who have already set up a campus in Singapore have decided to go for a second campus in Dubai.
One of the early birds, Xaviers Labour Relations Institute Jamshedpur had established its first campus in Dubai in 2001 where it began offering an executive education programme in collaboration with the Al Abbas Institute of Technology.
The institute followed it up with a campus in Singapore in early 2006 in alliance with Image International.
Similarly, SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, which currently runs its Global MBA and executive MBA programmes in Dubai from the Dubai Academic city, has set up a new campus in Singapore. Both the campuses are an extension of SPJIMR, Mumbai campus and selected professors regularly fly to Dubai and Singapore to teach the courses.
However, the benefits from having an offshore campus in the preferred Middle East and Singapore have not deterred other institutes from looking at other locations. ICRI is planning to set up campuses in the UK and US apart from Singapore. Ahmedabad-based Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India - which has already opened shop in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam - is in the process of establishing more centres in Myanmar and Kazakhstan.
EDI will run programmes on entrepreurship development at the grassroots level for which the Indian government has pledged a sum of $14 million.