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B-schools jostle over rankings
Pradipta Mukherjee
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December 05, 2007

In a country with over 1,500 business schools (B-schools), the decision of which B-schools to apply often depends on the published B-school rankings and becomes a factor of elimination. B-school rankings are generally published every September -- just before the placement seasons begins.


Lack of uniform parameters while ranking them is what irks B-schools the most. It leads to confusion, they say. For instance, at last count, there were at least seven different rankings in print.


These rankings primarily cater to four sets of people: aspiring B-school students, current B-school students, B-schools themselves and the corporates who recruit from them.


A good ranking is expected to give a B-school the credibility to attract better companies. But is it so? Faculty, directors of management schools, and students are divided in the opinion about the rankings.


"Although students and corporates read B-school ratings, their authenticity is usually not the only source students or corporates would depend on while selecting an institute," opines Soma Sur, faculty at Army Institute of Management Kolkata (AIMK), an institute which has been rated among the top 40 B-schools by most rating magazines or agencies this year.


According to Sur, for aspiring management students, what matters most while selecting a management institute are placement reports and word of mouth from seniors.


As for corporates, many of them, like Tata Consultancy Services [Get Quote], conduct their own in-house research before deciding on which B-schools to recruit from and which ones to avoid.


"Moreover, an institute, which was rated 40 in one year, is suddenly 15th the next year, leaves readers completely confused as to what the institute did in one year to move up 25 places," Sur points out.


K T Chacko, Director of IIFT, says B-school ratings could be of significance to new-age management institutes, but does not make much of a difference to the old, established ones, since corporates have already learnt about the latter's reputation. IIFT Delhi has been ranked among the top 15 B-schools by most ranking agencies or magazines.


"For corporates, what matters is the quality of the students in terms of competence and intelligence. For students, what matters is in how much time they are able to get a job that would help them recover the tuition fee they spent on studying management in an institute," Chacko says, adding: "As the ratings were not of much help to us, we were once evaluating the possibility of not participating in the poll, but then decided against it because a lot of students read rankings, after all."


With so many B-schools involved, it may not be feasible for the ranking agency to check up each and every piece of information. The result is false information making its way into the process.


However, the positive consequence from these rankings is perhaps that B-schools try to improve on the parameters they are ranked on.

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