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'Management education hasn't come of age in India'

Last updated on: April 6, 2011 12:05 IST

'Management education hasn't come of age in India'


Amit Kapoor

There's a lot of emphasis on job placements, but are B-schools being monitored for quality at all, asks Amit Kapoor

In a century that should be titled 'the Indian century', the world is indeed going through a tectonic shift, especially given the huge demographic dividend that India presents to the world.

The belief that India can be a talent supplier to the world is growing, and it has fuelled significant growth in the business school industry.

The growth was such that we saw an onslaught of various new institutions emerging over the last few years. India, today, has close to 2,500 business schools spread across the country. It is certainly heartening to see that management education has done well in the country. Yet, it still hasn't come of age.

It's fairly obvious that with the advent of business school education, and our fondness for it in general, we would see an emergence of an opportunity related to the ranking of business schools. We have close to two dozen rankings present in the country, which rank b-schools on various parameters, using different methods. This incidentally gives rise to a debate on whether rankings are a true reflection of quality at all.

Image: With strong emphasis on job placements, B-schools are losing out on quality
Photographs: Rediff Archives

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Incidentally, I believe that debate itself is not required, because rankings are important to help differentiate schools as per their criteria. The debate is only on the efficacy of this methodologies and criteria.

This debate could be important at this juncture because it is fundamentally useless and is not required, for the simple reason that it diverts our attention from the larger problem that we have at hand which is the efficacy, quality, impact and contribution of the business school fraternity.

We are all missing a fairly critical point in case we move on to debating the efficacy of the ranking without having a clear understanding about the problems of business school education. We do boast of great institutions, but we do not, at any point in time, try to discover or question the real impact that they have.

What is the real business of business schools, especially the critical stakeholders in the school, that is, students and faculty? The tragedy is that B-schools have got relegated to the role of placement agencies and all students and faculty are partners in the demise of the larger reason for the existence of a B-School: to create entrepreneurs.

The problem does not stop here as the faculty also needs to make contributions to knowledge, consultation, teaching and training. As of today, it seems that B-schools are in the business of chasing easy training opportunities, which are easy to capture, rather than creating knowledge that is meaningful, and is a reflection of our existing context. The real business of B-schools is not to just churn out students, and boast of great rankings, but to create entrepreneurs and knowledge.

The business schools in the country have fared miserably in both these parameters, and are merrily participating in rankings that blissfully move the debate away from the real issue at hand. The real issue is one of impact, which would put our country firmly on the world map as a knowledge capital, and as an entrepreneurial hub that makes the world go around.

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