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The truth about IIM-A and quotas

August 30, 2006 02:13 IST

Is IIM, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) capable of handling the additional quota (27 per cent reservation) of students in a single phase? Ramesh Gupta, a faculty member and senior professor at IIM-A, believes so.

In fact, he has even published a working paper stating that not only is the proposition of increasing the student intake viable, but it can be implemented without employing additional resources.

In a paper titled 'IIMs Expansion Myths, Realities and Policy Choices' published in the Institute's economic and political weekly, Gupta has made concrete suggestions to this effect.

His paper, for instance, notes that in the Fellow Program in Management, currently 22 equivalents of faculty resources are used to teach 10-15 FPM students in the second year alone. Only 6-8 students graduate every year.

To justify efficient use of available faculty resource, the FPM intake should either be increased four-fold (to 60 from present 15), or all streams should be merged and awarded a 'Fellow in Management' with specialisation at the thesis stage.

The first option would increase supply of faculty for hire in future, while the second would immediately release 15 faculty for its PGP expansion. That's not all. Gupta has also suggested a review of the expansion plans for the executive programme called PGPX.

He notes that admitted students are mostly NRIs who are seeking leverage with the PGP brand for better placement abroad after getting the cheapest-possible MBA in the world. Moreover, he writes, it is heavily subsidised at Rs 3 lakh per participant (Rs 2 crore for current batch) just to recover direct cost.

The current faculty crunch in the institute has also been tackled by Gupta by noting that faculty who migrated to centres/groups like health and energy must have the same teaching load as others.

At present, two dorms on new campus are kept for non-regular events (cultural and intellectual). The paper notes that these dorms can house 60 students on regular basis while temporary arrangements can be planned for non-regular events.

Gupta has also slammed the system for offering married accommodation for one-year programme on campuses, particularly when IIMs practice a 'pressure cooker' approach of teaching. He says two students can easily be put in newly-built apartments accommodating additional 100 participants.

Not everyone concurs with his view, though. IIM-A had earlier declared that the 54 per cent expansion required to implement the quota fully and would take at least three to four years.

An IIM-A spokesperson said though the institute wanted to implement the quota, it would take some time as it will be done by maintaining the standards of the institution.

"Else, IIMs would be like any other government academic institution," he added. Following this, rumours flew thick and fast that the institute was setting up a new campus to accommodate additional students.

Reacting specifically to the views expressed in Gupta's paper, IIM-A sources said, "All those who talk do not understand what goes in the making of IIMs. If such a statement comes from an IIM official, it is really surprising since they should know the functioning of the institute.

However, in an academic institution like ours diverse views are always encouraged. Such papers do not need the clearance of the director and thus the views expressed are solely that of the professor and the institute does not endorse it," said the sources.