Management students in the state capital are eager to cash in on the burgeoning retail trade segment and the prospect of global players entering the country following the Centre's nod to foreign direct investment (FDI) in the sector.
"We want to specialise on retail trade and pursue a career in the segment. Just because the state government is opposed to FDI in the segment does not mean that we cannot have the course. Students should not be affected by the politics of FDI," said Vikas, a first-year student of state-owned Lalit Narayan Mishra Institute of Economic Development and Social Change.
Though the institute has introduced a new course on international business in management studies, it does not have retail trade in the curriculum. "The management courses we offer do not have any chapter related to retail trade. We will introduce such subjects only when players like Walmart enter Bihar," said Kameshwar Mishra, the director of the institute.
A.K. Nayak, the director of Indian Institute of Business Management, Patna, another government-affiliated institute, said: "The number of seats is limited in our institute. Many students are keen to study retail marketing, but we don't offer it. The subject is a part of marketing management."
The students have another view to share. "The retail segment has a huge potential. It can generate employment for around 5-6 million people across the country. We have been requesting our director to revise the syllabus and add retail to it. We want employment," said Chandan, a second-year MBA student of Lalit Narayan Mishra Institute of Economic Development and Social Change.
Puja, a second-year marketing management student of IIBM, said: "Bihar is in the developing phase. Income and lifestyle of consumers are changing and this will have an effect on their buying pattern. I will suggest my juniors to pursue retail management."
The private institutes in the state capital have recorded a noticeable increase in the number of students opting for retail management courses.
"We offer both bachelor and diploma courses in retail. The courses are designed in a manner that the emphasis is on the practical application of theories and case studies," said Neha, a consultant with Cimage, a private institute. "Last session, the number of students was 24. This time, it has shot up to 40," she added.
Toni Sharma, an associate professor of National Institute of Fashion Technology, said: "If the state government allows FDI, it will generate a lot of opportunity for fashion management students. The course deals with the study of retail and export." The institute has recorded an increase, though slight, in the number of students ' from 28 last year to 32 in 2012.