India’s Top 100 B-Schools

With the number of Central government-promoted Indian Institutes of Management having multiplied to 20, there is considerable interest within the public to ascertain the extent to which brand rub-off of the pioneer ABC IIMs has boosted the rankings of new IIMs. Therefore government B-schools have been included in this year’s EW league table - Dilip Thakore

Even if reports on the growth and trajectory of the Indian economy are mixed, the country’s B-schools scene is jumping. Although India’s vintage ABC (Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Calcutta) Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), promoted by the Central government and established on sprawling campuses in the 1960s, continue to dominate the annual rating and ranking league tables of almost all media publications, it is pertinent to note that the total number of IIMs has risen to 20. However these latter day IIMs are facing stiff competition from privately promoted B-schools which have mushroomed countrywide. 

This is likely to be apparent to readers who peruse the EducationWorld India B-schools Rankings 2018-19 league table in which IIMs A, B and C occupy pride of place this year. In the previous two years, IIMs were not ranked because they routinely dominated all media rankings of B-schools. However with the number of IIMs having multiplied to 20, there is considerable interest within the public to ascertain the extent to which brand rub-off of the ABC IIMs has boosted the rankings of new IIMs. Not much, as great institutions aren’t built by government decrees, even if they are described as IIMs. The plain truth is that the great majority of the new IIMs haven’t been provided proper premises and are suffering severe faculty shortages. 

Therefore apart from IIM-Lucknow (estb.1984)  which is ranked a commendable #4 with the highest rating among B-schools on the parameter of infrastructure and facilities, and IIM-Indore and IIM-Kozhikode ranked #10 and #11 respectively, the other IIMs are way down this year’s Top 100 B-schools league table, and suffer in comparison with go-getting privately-promoted B-schools such as XLRI — Xavier School of Management, Jamshedpur — the country’s premier private B-school of 2018-19.

Last year’s #1, the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad (ISB) is unranked this year because unlike other B-schools which offer two-year programmes, ISB offers a compressed 13-month MBA programme. According to Premchand Palety, CEO of C fore which conducted the survey, this consideration disqualified ISB from this year’s main league table, although it is ranked #1 in a separate league table for providers of executive education (see p.90).  

The entry of IIMs into the league table, has resulted in a major rejig of last year’s league table. Moreover this year’s sample respondents have given a huge promotion to the government-established Management Development Institute, Gurgaon (MDI, estb. 1973) which was unranked last year. In this year’s league table MDI is ranked #6 followed by the privately-promoted S.P. Jain Institute of Management & Research, Mumbai  at #7 (#3 in 2017-18), Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai at #8 (#4), FMS, Delhi at #9 (unranked) followed by several government-owned institutes (IIM-Indore, IIM-Kozhikode and NITTE, Mumbai).

Consequently, several high performance and respected private B-schools such as the Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad at #12 (5), Sym biosis Institute of Management, Pune at #15 (6), T.A. Pai Management Institute, Manipal at #20 (8) have been obliged to yield rank. Yet it is pertinent to note that since all B-schools admit small batches of 300-500 postgrad students annually, the country’s Top 50 B-schools have no problem filling available seats at the start of their academic year. 

Therefore contrary to popular belief, the euphoria that top brass of B-schools experience when their institutes are highly ranked is not because of expectation of increase in the student admission applications, but because a high ranking in league tables — especially of business magazines and in the education-focused EducationWorld — attracts well-qualified faculty and consultancy and research contracts. With the WUR (World University Rankings) league tables of the London-based higher education institutions ranking agencies QS and Times Higher Education having become authoritative and popular around the world, leaders and faculty of India’s estimated 4,000 B-schools — hitherto complacent in their ivory towers — have woken up to the need to improve their public profiles and proclaim their achievements to domestic and international publics. 

This perhaps explains why despite IIM-A routinely topping the ranking league tables of almost all  media publications, Dr. Errol D’Souza, director of  the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (estb.1961) is pleased about its top billing in the  EWHE Rankings 2018-19. According to D’Souza, an economics postgrad of Mumbai University awarded his Ph D by JNU, Delhi who signed up as professor of economics at IIM-A in 2001, and was promoted to the director’s office earlier this year, the top rank awarded by EW sample respondents is reassurance “that we have made good decisions with regard to pedagogy and admissions and have been implementing these decisions well”. 

D’Souza is especially gratified that IIM-A is top-ranked on the parameter of life and soft skills education (apart from being top-rated for curriculum and pedagogy, and placements) and is also highly rated for research. “High scores on the parameters of life skills and research are most important in my opinion, because a combination of research capability and people and communication skills is the sine qua non of a successful career in industry and business,” says D’Souza. He adds that following the greater autonomy conferred by the new IIM Act 2017, the institute plans to introduce new courses in “areas like data analytics, behavioural sciences, digital marketing and crypto currencies, among others”. 

Although the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIM-B, estb.1973) is ranked second among B-schools in EWHE Rankings 2018-19, Dr. G. Raghuram, an alum of IIT-Madras, IIM-Ahmedabad and Northwestern University, USA and incumbent director of the institute, is not unsatisfied with the top ranking awarded to his alma mater on whose faculty he served for 31 years. Moreover, he draws deep satisfaction from IIM-B’s #1 ranking on the parameters of research, industry interface and internationalism.

“For modern B-schools, these are very important inter-related growth and development parameters. Research has to be related to the needs and requirements of industry to spur national economic growth. This connection also facilitates innovation and social entrepreneurship. The top billing on the parameter of internationalism is also very encouraging and indicative of awareness that under the new IIM Act, we have already initiated the establishment of  new centres to study infrastructure development and management in Japan and innovation in Israel,” says Raghuram.   

With inclusion of the heavily subsidised IIMs into the EW B-schools league table, the vintage privately promoted XLRI, Jamshedpur (estb. 1949) has been pushed down the pecking order. Nevertheless Dr. E. Abraham, dean of XLRI derives considerable satisfaction that this institute is ranked the country’s #1 private B-school and #5 nationally.

“The hallmarks of great B-schools worldwide are innovative pedagogies, evolving curriculums, high-quality faculty, enabling infrastructure and quality of alumni. On all these parameters, XLRI has received scores, almost as high as of the top-tier schools. But I believe the distinguishing feature of the XLRI curriculum is the strong emphasis on ways and means of doing business ethically, honestly and with integrity which is not only good for personal growth and development, but also beneficial to society and the nation,” says Abraham, an MBA postgrad of XLRI awarded his Ph D by Gujarat University, and former director of the Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar who was appointed director of XLRI in 2008.