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Guidelines for Choosing a B-School in India

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Guidelines for Choosing a B-School in India
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Cool Guidelines for Choosing a B-School in India - August 17th, 2008

Guidelines for Choosing a B-School in India


Prof R.K. Gupta
- Director, Sobhagya consultancy & Marketing services- India
- Professor of Management and Former Senior corporate executive
E-mail: [email address]


Every year more than 1.10 lac students aspire for and take admission in a post graduate program in Management and its variants or like MBA or autonomous Post Graduate diploma in Management/Business administration in India.

It is boom time for MBA and Engineers who have demand in market and is likely to remain so for at least next 5 years.

How ever the quality of pass outs from various university schools and private autonomous colleges is a serious matter of concern.

In fact stage has already reached where any one aspiring to get MBA/PGDM level certification can now get entry in one or other school somewhere in India or even in foreign universities/Institutes.

There are numerous commercial and pedagogical (teaching) models that have emerged. Many B Ėschool claim being center of excellence and charge huge fees. This is true for state aided or controlled, university affiliated or autonomous institutes, alike. On the whole university education in management excepting for a few university own campuses is substandard and avoidable for various reasons.

The students is in quandary as to what to choose and how to choose and what should be fair expenses for getting this PG level Business Management education course degree or diploma and will be it be worth it?

Whereas on one hand employers, students and their parents are concerned about quality of these PG pass outs, on other hand , a plethora of regulatory bodies have miserably failed to improve and maintain quality.

Like any sunrise sector, a large number of industrial houses of past have jumped into Education business as it is easy money, no risk, no credit needed to be given in market and no perceptible ability of customers to compare and value quality.

It is unfortunate that even Employers don't have any idea about this and they blindly support some B schools and pay heavy salaries while leaving out lesser known but well managed institutes that work hard to provide quality education and have good students available for employment. Employers must also do more research and patronize good schools by their own research. It will pay them well for this

The major problem with management education in India is almost foolish rules and laws governing these and interference of state governments in not allowing at least reasonable fees for quality education in name of popular welfare measures and exploitation. It is counter productive.

While a large number of Institutes are busy looting and charging heavy fees showing external get ups, impressive buildings and an inactive and false list of top dignitaries attached to institute board, they in reality have nothing to do with these institutes.

Another major reason for crisis is lack of leadership to these institutes because of outdated and beaten rules of requirements of PhD for Directors and professors whereas, we all know quality of PhD type courses in India which are no better than getting a graduation degree from any c class university. But the well entrenched academicians in charge of UGC, AICTE and other bodies insist on such qualifications to promote their own interests. These types of rules have really hampered practical and meaningful business knowledge to be imparted in institutes.

Despite all the above constraints more than 1200 B-schools are functioning in India and there are many other models available for MBA/PGDM courses as general branch or variants like MBA-F, MBA-Insurance, MBA-IT.MBA- IB and so on.

In the end of this summary I would like to emphasize that involvement of people with hands on experience in corporate sector is very limited in technical education, the states affiliated colleges fees are too absurdly low to give good education and there are several dubious institutes opened to mint money. Most of these institutes are in hands of poor quality Directors and Deans who are theoretical guys and have no or namesake experience in Industry and unproven capability in business management and who have inferior run-of-mill PhD from sub standard universities of India of little relevance to practical technical courses. It is like asking a doctor never having gone on surgery table to teach cardiac surgery in class. What will happen? In my last 10 years of academic association I have seen a very large number of substandard teachers, directors and deans with inferior and irrelevant qualifications and PhDs. Their basic concepts are not clear and they have no administrative abilities and networking. There is fundamental difference in PhD and consultancy experience of professors in USA and that in India.

Models available:

MBA/PGDM education in India:

1. University own departments in campus. Only universities can give degrees like MBA

2 Affiliated colleges of universities in same place or State. Now technical universities have been given this role. But most of them are having poor or no infrastructure at all. With typical bureaucratic and politically appointed people directing the education

3. Autonomous institutes that give Diploma.

They have to be necessarily approved by AICTE as per law and also in interest of students. Students should check if the institute is approved one or affiliated to a reputed university (UGC Recognized and real one). Otherwise their diploma or degree will be no better than trash paper. It also would not be out of place to inform that PGDMs are not at all equivalent to MBA. Only those institutes' PGDM is equivalent as MBA degree who have been declared so by AIU (Association of Indian Universities or Ministry of HRD, department of Higher education)

4. Universities running distance education program and open mode like IGNOU Delhi, Kurukshetra University, and several others Universities in India . Being in distance mode they have to be of 3 years duration instead of 2 years. Distance education In India is generally of low quality.

5. Many institutes give one year PG diploma. These are not same as 2 years serious campus based diploma, please remember. It is not academic qualification. Many universities also give such one year diplomas on distance education or in evening campus class modes vocational certificates.

6. Part time 3 years MBA/PGDM program run by recognized institutes and university in evening faculty for working executives.

7. Foreign universities having collaborations in India and those having students exchange program with limited time studies abroad.

8. New private universities like Amity, IFCAI and several others are coming up. A few are however not working very cleanly and are running MBA programs at several places without approval of this model from authorities and Distance education Council of India. Reject them.

But students should note that if the degree or diploma is not recognized and from good Institute/University and is not for 2 years duration, it is merely an additional vocational qualification and not a proper academic qualification as far as Management education is concerned.

What institutes should offer?

Based on my experience as senior corporate sector executive and now consultant and professor I can give following suggestions for students to pick for:

These are my observations and recommendations and have nothing to do with official guidelines of any authorities and I need not concur with other so called experts and authorities. Much needs to be improved in technical education in India, its infrastructure and recognition of technical people in education instead of perpetuating sick and old outdated academic degree based system insisting on poor quality teachers and PhD holders. We should not forget that most of institutes are meant for MBA program and practical skills giving and not fundamental research where such degree holders are more adept. This foolish requirement in my opinion should be done away with governments to attract and invite Industry talent in higher technical education at good salaries.

So let us proceed to see what is needed:

1. Try to go for a 2 year course and not of lesser period and preferably from campus based course and not distance mode. That is second choice and for those who can't stay in cities or are working or have any other family problems.

2. Prefer MBA to PGDM unless it is treated equivalent for certain Institutes (list is available with AIU, New Delhi handbook); some examples are MDI, IMT, IIMs and a few more (May be around 20 in India in all).

3. Avoid unapproved/Unrecognized programs (by UGC/AICTE/AIU) as these are mere additional vocational qualifications and will be treated as such. You won't be eligible for Research/PhD, emigration, and teaching jobs if you wish these later on. Public sector will also not accept you. Most of employer's HRD people should know all this and be vigilant.

4. Don't get impressed by massive and impressive building and facades. These are normally the only thing many institutes have in India . What 100 cares of IIM campus has to do with 150 seated MBA college needs? It is wastage and irrelevant point. Besides it helps to store up black money and surplus money to create assets which will appreciate in future. There is no other purpose. The buildings have to be functional and simple with required comfort.

(Most of students get hypnotized by well decorated front desk office, hi Ėfi equipment visible and 'PhD board' on Director there who may not have sold even a pin in his or her life or may be even from non management subject or an allied subject.)

5. All institutes have to disclose information on their website now-a-days as called 'Mandatory information' by AICTE and one must go through it to see what they have

6. Faculty (my opinion): See if 50% of faculty is there since 3 years at least on regular service. At least 25% faculty is senior people from consultancy /Industry background with at least 15-20 years hand on experience in Industry or Business or Consultancy, and not mere substandard PhDs.

There should be one full time faculty member for every 10-12 student in Institute. This means for a 60 seat B school there should be at least 10 and preferably 12 core full time regular employed faculty members. Enquire about them and their list and see if they have requisite Masters and Technical qualifications in first class, with experience. It should also be available on website. But these lists on website keep changing.

In addition there should be at least 4-6 visiting faculty members for specialized courses. These are other than Guest lectures which are one time event for industry introduction and are given by working executives in industry or government organizations. These are not same. But most Institutes mix up all of them and cheat students by creating a long list of faculty. Even those who are relieved or have left are also shown in list. If such set up is not available reject the institute or demand changes if you are already enrolled there. You can complain to Chairman of AICTE and Vice chancellor of University concerned, if any.

7. The Director need not necessarily be PhD (mostly substandard and irrelevant as seen in India) but instead a capable and well connected proven industry experienced person from industry/consultancy field with a few years' academics experience. Students must demand this. Director should be proven administrator.

8.One computer for each intake seat .That means for 60 seat Institute there must be at least 60 computers with high speed Pentium IV and above microprocessors and high speed broad band connectivity not less than 4 Mbps. There should be a networked laboratory of computer with at least 4 printers. However due to fast changing technology and moist students having their own laptops these requirements are getting less important.

9. The library must have at least 6000 to 8000 copies with at least 3000 or more titles. The institute should subscribe to at least 10 international and 50 national journals. These are different from magazines and periodicals and news papers.

The library should be computerized with computer based queries for books and optical reader for issuing books.

10. The faculty should be paid at least AICTE scales and there should be 25% faculty in Professor Grade and senior people. Remember, even these scales set by UGC and AICTE are very poor and if institutes don't pay even these scales, you are sure to get reject and useless material in teaching faculty. This is crucial and students and their parents should insist on this and demand quality well paid faculty. Assistant professor's pay scale starts from Rs 12000 basic and for Professor from Rs 16400 basic and total amount almost more than doubles. It is too less for talented people to join this profession. But even this is not paid. You will get garbage in return for sure. More details are available on AICTE website and with any University office. You can't get a top surgeon of kidney for Rs 5000 fee for operation. Students should get together and pay extra money but insist on senior and good faculty team.

11. Every week there is at least 2 guest lectures from Industry/business guys or persons of eminence.

12. Most of placement lists are fraudulent and cooked up. Have a close look at it. The quality of companies and also see how many companies have returned for third time to the Institute. What minimum package was offered? (Carry home and not cost- to- company).Although this is not job of institutes to get placements, normally they do get companies if they are good and students' quality is good. Institute must be able to get you at least Rs 15000 PM carry home and at least 70% students should be got placed. Remember marriage is not a placement or self employed is not placement.

13. All class rooms and library and computer rooms should be air conditioned and there should be at least 2 water coolers and a small canteen to sit 30-40 students (60 seats).

14. Institute should have at least 2 acre land of their own and must have hostels for at least 25-40% of total student strength with common room, games and color TV and coolers. Also computers with internet in common room at least. A warden should be there.

15 See if Institute introduces at least one new course every year in syllabus or not?

16. Who takes examination, and standard of evaluation? Most Institutes give 40% marks as internals and exams are taken by same teacher who teaches. This definitely makes program quality go down. Regular assessment, presentations and project works are must for a B-school.

17. Fees: An important issue:

In India fees are charged from Rs 5000/ P.A to Rs 10 lacs for MBA/PGDM whole program ( 2 years). It depends on its structure and financial sources.

While leaving out all university system colleges as they are of course monitored by government, I guess a fee of Rs 70,000 per year is adequate and sufficient to meet above standards in any private self financed Institute for MBA/PGDBM program.

The older ones can go for expansion or already have gone and generally have 120-150 seats but they still have very less faculty, the key resource on which money is saved. Even universities employ fresh inexperienced teachers on Rs 8000/10,000 contract which is shameful conduct and playing with career of students. It is also exploitation of teaching profession. Fees above this level as mentioned by me are unfair and should be rejected.

Unless there is ground to justify more, like giving text books, laptop and foreign faculty visits etc. In India education system is being exploited by businessmen although education is basically non profit venture. Students and their parents should demand reasonable fees and reject high fee charging colleges. It is unfortunate that while AICTE and UGC insist on quality, State governments and Universities fix as low as Rs 30,000 to 40,000 fees for unaided private affiliated institutes which can't provide good quality in this amount. They know it very well. But carry ion like this. This is very bad conduct of authorities harming these programs. The fees must be in range of Rs 70,000 to 80,000 per year without frills, depending on various factors. Any thing lesser or more than this is unjustified.

18. For those institutes that are 5 years old, there should be separate placement cell headed by a separate full time highly experienced and senior faculty member or placement advisor/consultant.

19. Does institute or University campus has strong networked Alumni association with an office?

There are several other issues but these are not relevant at this time to be discussed with prospective students.

If the students see above points they can make a good choice. It would pay them to visit websites of AICTE, AIMA; UGC etc which will give them more insight .List of unapproved institutes are also shown on ACICTE website. Students should also know their rights and demand improvements and good experienced faculty from industry and business.

Unless you are already working and experienced, avoid distance education and part time diplomas and degrees. Go for campus based full time course in a good institute.

Prof R.K. Gupta
- Director, Sobhagya consultancy & Marketing services- India
- Professor of Management and Former Senior corporate executive
E-mail: [email address]

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Re: Guidelines for Choosing a B-School in India
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Re: Guidelines for Choosing a B-School in India - May 14th, 2009

Check for guidelines & all B-school information at
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