To B or not B || BW-Cosmode Ranking
Outlook-CFore Ranking || Business Today Rankings
What Students Say || School Hunting / Placement 2003
To B or not B
A hard look at which B schools are really worth applying to.
by Rashmi Bansal, JAM Editor, IIM Ahmedabad alumnus.
Immersed in preparations for CAT and the slew of entrance exams that follow, many wannabe MBAs don’t spare enough time, energy or common sense short listing which B schools to apply to. On one hand, almost everyone applies to the IIMs even if their chance of getting in is about as likely as an India-Pakistan merger. On the other hand, the desire to keep one’s options open means students often apply to B schools which don’t really make the grade.
Schools, that as an investment in terms of your time and money, do not provide you with a good enough return either in terms of a management education, or placement. So where does one draw the line between the “worth applying to” and the “worth applying to if your aspirations are to become an office-to-office salesman selling credit cards”. Traditionally it’s been hearsay, “where friends are applying” and advice from the MBA coaching class chaps. And now, there are the annual B school rankings, which until a few years ago, were non-existent. Two major B School rankings have been released this September. First off the block was Outlook’s Best B Schools issue which ranked the 50 top schools in the country followed by Businessworld’s which ranked the top 100.
One improvement this year has been that the two parameters most important to students – placement performance and academic facilities/ faculty – have been given maximum weightage by both rankings, which is as sensible as rating a restaurant most heavily on the quality of food. (Seriously, the earlier rankings were like rating a restaurant on the waiters’ uniforms).
|The top B schools in India|
|Outlook Overall Ranking||BW Overall Ranking|
|1. IIM, Ahmedabad||1. IIM, Ahmedabad|
|2. IIM, Bangalore||2. IIM, Bangalore|
|3. IIM, Calcutta||3. IIM, Calcutta|
|4. IIM, Lucknow||4. IIM, Lucknow|
|5. XLRI Jamshedpur||5. NITIE, Mumbai|
|6. NITIE, Mumbai||6. MDI, Gurgaon|
|7. FMS, Delhi||7. XLRI, Jamshedpur|
|8. IIFT New Delhi||8. S P Jain, Mumbai|
|9. S P Jain Mumbai||9. FMS, Delhi|
|10. SoM, IIT Bombay
|10. SoM, IIT Bombay|
|11. IIM, Indore||11. IIM, Kozhikode|
|12. ICFAI B-School, Hyderabad
Institute of Mngmnt Tech., Ghaziabad
|12. ICFAI B-School Hyderabad|
|13. Vinod Gupta SoM, Kharagpur||13. University Bus. School, Chandigarh|
|14. IMI, New Delhi||14. IIT, Delhi (Dept of Mgmt Studies)|
|15. IIT, Delhi (Dept of Management Studies)
Amity Business School, Noida
|15. XIM, Bhubaneshwar|
|16. Welingkar, Mumbai||16. LBS Inst of Mgmt, New Delhi|
|17. IIPM, Delhi||17. IRMA, Anand|
|18. LBS Institute of Management, New Delhi||18. IIFT, New Delhi|
|19. TAPMI, Manipal||19. IMI, New Delhi|
|20. Bharathidasan Inst of Mgmnt, Tiruchirappalli||20. Goa Institute of Management|
|21. University Business School, Chandigarh
Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune
|21. IMT, Ghaziabad|
|22. NIILM, New Delhi||22. TAPMI, Manipal|
|23. Nirma Institute of Mgmt, Ahmedabad||23. IIM, Indore|
|24. K J Somaiya IMSR, Mumbai
ITM, Navi Mumbai
|24. Nirma Inst of Mgmt, Ahmedabad|
|25. School of Comm & Mgmt Studies, Cochin||25. Fore SoM, New Delhi|
|26. Symbiosis Inst of Business Mgmt, Pune|
|27. Regional College of Mgmt, Bhubaneshwar|
|28. IIMM, Pune|
|29. NIILM, New Delhi|
|30. Welingkar, Mumbai|
Analyzing The Ranking
Only the very blessed .001% will someday face the dilemma of choosing between IIMs. So the top 5 rankings are really more of academic interest. What the average student will find useful is the data on the next 25 institutes.
Note: Some prominent institutes eg JBIMS and NMIMS are absent in both rankings. MDI is missing from the Outlook survey, as are XIM-B and Sydenham, among others. Highly advertised institutes like Amity do not figure in the BW rankings.
The Key factors
Overall rankings are fine but what you need to be more concerned about is important stuff like Academic Facilities, Faculty and Placement.
Check out these scores for each institute you plan to apply to at: www.businessworldindia.com & www.cosmoderesearch.org Parameter-wise scores available for top 100 institutes in the BW-Cosmode survey). www.indiabschools.com (Parameter-wise data available for top 50 institutes in the Outlook-CFore survey.)
|Beware of institutes which advertise “we are ranked no 2 on Industry Interface”, ahead of 3 IIMs, in some particular survey. Hogwash.|
Some institutes who other wise score high on the rankings (doing well on vague stuff like Industry Interface and Networking/ Innovation) fall several notches when evaluated on the more important aspects. For example:
ICFAI Hyderabad (ranking by Businessworld)
Overall rank: 12
Ranked by Academic Facilities: 38
Ranked by Placement: 19
According to the Outlook survey, ICFAI fares even worse.
Overall rank: joint no 11
Ranked by Infrastructure & facilities: no 39
Ranked by Placements: no 35 (!)
The lack of consistency between the two surveys is disconcerting, to say the least! My point, however, is that when you take a closer look, the overall rank of ICFAI Hyderabad should not be taken seriously by a prospective student.
Note: One must also note that ICFAI Business School has branches in 16 other cities and the Hyderabad ranking CANNOT be extrapolated to these centers. Students at the Mumbai centre for example, are facing many problems, including lack of infrastructure, faculty and placements (the Mumbai branch which had 60 students just 2 years ago now has 180!)
The Placement Funda
Teaching and infrastructure matter but as a rule of thumb, go for the institute with the better placements. The fact is, without placements, an MBA is no better than an MA or MCom done solely for the sake of getting a degree! Ex. Goa Inst of Mgmt Overall rank (BW): 20; IIM Indore Overall rank (BW): 23 But IIM I is WAY ahead on the placement front.
IIM Indore placement score: 216.25
GIM placement score: 143.21 only
In fact, a common problem faced by second rung institutes in far flung ie non -metro locations displacement. eg if it’s a choice between TAPMI Manipal (BW no 22) vs Sydenham (BW no 62), it would have to be Sydenham (despite its drawbacks in terms of academic facilities) simply because of the much better placements.
What the placement scores mean.
Note: Since BW and Outlook have used different parameters and weightages when calculating placement scores, there are striking differences in the results. Study the two methodologies and reach your own conclusion!
IIM A has scored 272.01 out of 300 under “placements”, topping the table acc to BW’s ranking. To understand what a score of say, 159.21 by Fore School, Delhi means, I looked up the methodology used at www.comoderesearch.org BW has given maximum weightage to figures like the Average domestic salary and % of students placed. Foreign placements are given low weightage.
All the scores have been calculated on a relative basis. So a school might score around 160-170 if it placed a mere 50% of its students, and the average domestic salary was Rs 3 lakhs (half of the Rs 6 lakh plus at IIM A/ B), with no foreign placements.
A school might also score 160-170 if 100% of its students were placed but at a lower average salary, say Rs 2 lakhs p.a. (1/3rd of IIMs).
A large no of students at lesser ranked institutes secure jobs through personal contacts or “pull”. And the B school will conveniently advertise that X or Y company recruits our students, implying that said company comes for campus placements. Many institutes will simply put up a “list of past recruiters” on its website. Whereas what’s important is whether the company visited the campus officially, and in the last 2 years. So if an institute is open and transparent in sharing data of last year’s placements take it as a good sign.
|Overall Rank Score||Placement Rank||B-School||Placement|
|10||5||IIT B SoM||250.32|
|42||19||Asia Pacific||182.87 **|
|32||20||IIT Kgp SoM||178.68|
|14||24||IIT D DMS||176.23|
Questions raised by JAM re: BW – Cosmode survey
1. Sri Sringeri Sharada Institute of Mgmt, Delhi (56) and Dept of Mgmt Studies, University of Kashmir (57) both rank ABOVE Sydenham (62) and Somaiya (59). How should students interpret this result as both Sydenham and Somaiya are among the top few choices of students appearing for CET in Mumbai.
2. Among the top 20 institutes by placement, ITM Mumbai is ranked at no 16, just one rank below the prestigious FMS Delhi. Are the avg salaries of the institutes in the same league?
3. MDI Gurgaon has been ranked no 9 in placements, ahead of FMS (15). IIFT also scores above FMS. Could you provide some data to explain this result?
4. Asia Pacific Institute of Mgmt, Delhi has been ranked no 20 by placement, which is higher than SIBM Pune and IMT Ghaziabad, which again are top choices for students.
5. Certain institutes which one knows must be having extremely low placements like University of Kashmir get a placement score of 132.45 while a Mt. Carmel in Bangalore gets 106.7.
6. How important, in your opinion, is full time faculty as far as students are concerned? The feedback students give is that the visiting faculty is more relevant and provides more value add in teaching.
7. Students often secure their own placements through personal contacts or pull. Would such a placement be considered as a campus placement by you?
Md Sayeed Ahmed,
Associate Consultant at Cosmode Research answers
There are two ways of interpreting the scores. The overall ranking gives a holistic picture of the school, its standing among its peers in relation to parameters such as institutional capabilities, programme delivery, placement and networking.
As a holistic school, Sydenham and Somaiya have lost, but if one looks at their placement performance and some other parameters they are among the top rankings. FMS lost on placement salary, they couldn’t give credible data on students’ placement. MDI has gone ahead because of its placement. IIFT has lost because it couldn’t give credible data on placement (salary). Two (2) Visiting Faculty is considered equivalent to One (1) teaching faculty in the ranking of Asst. Professor. A Professor gets the highest weightage. JBIMS volunteered not to participate because they have very few full time faculty. NMIMS indicated that they were not participating in any survey this year. ITM Mumbai has done very well on other parameters of placement. It looks like an upcoming school. The salary is around 3.5 lakhs after validation while the FMS salary is around 4.5 lakhs after moderation.
The same is true for Asia Pacific Institute of Management. Although salary is not higher than SIBM Pune or IMT Ghaziabad, it has done well in other parameters of placement. The placement score for University of Kashmir is true (132.45) after moderating salary from Rs 2,80,000 to 2,00,000 and the placement score for Mount Carmel is true (106.7) after moderating salary from Rs 2,50,000 to 87,000. Campus placement is where recruiters comes on campus. It doesn’t include off campus placement.
Their methodology places more weightage on placements abroad than BW. And they have also included the concept of ROI (ie avg salary/ course fee). But again a school could score around 160-170 if it placed just 50% of the students at a median salary that was 50% of IIM A and ad an ROI of 1 ie amt spent on course is balanced by average starting salary earned.
A placement score of 160 is the MINIMUM you should be looking at in the Outlook rankings. In the case of Businessworld I would make that 170. But keep in mind even that score might mean that 50% of the students did not get a job through campus at all.
|Overall Rank Score||Placement Rank||B-School||Placement|
|9||8||S P Jain||213.36|
|24||20||K J Somaiya||169.62|
|39||21||Symb Int. Bus.||165.16|
|* IIPM has now been dropped from the rankings as it was found to have fudged data|
|Full listing of 50 colleges available on www.indiabschools.com
Note: The much advertised Amity score very low on placements in the above survey.
Use your brains
Rankings are a helpful guide but NOT PERFECT. Do not take them too literally. Some of the results are even comic. Like Sri Singeri Sharada Institute of Management, New Delhi (?) and Dept of Mgmt Studies, University of Kashmir (??) featuring ABOVE Somaiya and Sydenham of Mumbai in the BW ranking. (The mind boggles at WHICH companies came for campus recruitment to Kashmir enabling the university to claim a score of 132.45 under placements).
The Problem of Fudged Data
All the rankings basically rely on institutes to supply them the information and this is later cross-checked. But you can imagine that some incorrect data does slip through. In the “Fine Print” section, Outlook explains the methodology of its ranking: 769 B schools were contacted, of which 226 responded. 65 schools were subsequently dropped for fudging data.
When contacted, Premchand Palety of CFore, which conducted the Outlook exercise admits,” This is the fourth time I am ranking B schools and I assure you, fudging is a major problem. We are sorry we can’t give you the information (on who was dropped for fudging) as this is too sensitive”.
We sure wish Outlook had enlightened us on who these institutes were and what data was fudged, because the guilty B schools will continue to entice students using this data. A B school Hall of Shame!
Banking and consulting cos such as McKinsey do not visit any campuses other than IIMs, XLRI, Bajaj and FMS. Or they may offer lower salaries and different job profiles from the ones offered at top ranked institutes.
A Question of Priorities
What the student may be looking for in a B school and what a magazine is looking for when ranking an institute are not always the same. eg A lot of emphasis has been given to full time faculty and research output whereas most B school students we spoke to were in fact happy being taught by visiting faculty and evaluated their institute by the quality of its placements.
The Business Today B School rankings
Business Today, in association with A C Nielsen ORG MARG has also come out with a B school ranking. This one is based on the perceptions of HR and functional heads of companies, MBA students and aspirants, as well as young executives. Citing the problems with collecting precise placement and academic data the survey essentially measures Brand Equity. The older, more well known institutes have fared well, while newer schools like IIT SOM and MDI rank lower than in other surveys. Be careful, as past glory may not always translate into current placements.
a. Loyola being ranked # 9
b. Symbiosis being placed above JB and FMS
c. XIM B above IIM K, MDI.
d. Birla Inst. Delhi, Badruka and Osmania (Hyd) and IIPM Mumbai in top 30
e. IIT SOM ranked very low, NITIE is missing.
Conclusion: Whatever the survey do not take at face value!
|Business Today Rankings|
|1. IIM A
2. IIM B
3. IIM C
5. IIM L
6. Symbiosis Pune
|11. IIM Indore
12. SP Jain
13. XIM B
14. IIM K
17. Birla IMT, Delhi
20. IIT SoM
|21. Badruka, Hyd
22. Osmania, Hyd
26. IIPM Mum
28. B K Ahd
|Mystery of the Missing Institutes
Regarding some of the big names such as Bajaj, MDI, NMIMS, Sydenham and XIMB missing from the Outlook survey, this is what Premchand Palety of C Fore had to say: “Of the names you mentioned, Sydenham did participate in the survey. In Outlook Money, their name is featured among top B-schools as far as placements are concerned. But both Sydenham and Jamnalal have only 3 permanent faculty and none of them has contributed to research, a critical parameter for ranking. Apart from placements they have nothing to boast of. Their infrastructure is pathetic. We felt its good to take them out of the rankings and give them time to improve themselves as we did not want to hurt their alumni and current students with poor ranking. Two other directors of institutes you mentioned did call me and explained why they were sure of low rankings and so decided to keep out.
My advice to prospective students would be to not blindly follow rankings and to talk to existing students. I have co-authored a book on the best B schools, published by Penguin. Objective facts of different B-schools are mentioned. A part of data is available on our site www.indiabschools.com too. Students can compare objective facts of different B-schools and arrive at heir own conclusion”.
What Students Say
JAM speaks to students who graduated in 2003 to give their own gyaan on choosing B schools:
A ’03 MDI graduate:
While comparing B schools, the most important factor that several miss out on is whether the school accepts a differential salary. What this means is Levers will have a 7 lakh package for the IIMs and a 3 lakh package for Goa Institute of Management. The only non IIMs that don’t entertain differentials are FMS, XLRI, Bajaj, SP Jain and MDI.
For Delhi, FMS and MDI will be a class above. FMS has a lot of history backing it. I would rate the placements as very good. A lot of foreign banks go there. But the greatest problem is that the infrastructure is pathetic… Bajaj like. MDI has awesome faculty and infrastructure, if you want to major in marketing, the placements are very good. Levers, Nestle, Marico, Asian Paints, Reckitt, Whirlpool, Samsung, etc were all there. But if someone wants to do Finance, there are no consultancies or MNC banks. Till a larger no of IIT students come to MDI, we won’t get such companies”.
IIFT comes in next but it seems more specialised. They had decent placements last year. IMI had poor placements. The Amitys and the Fores of the world cater to that fraternity who want to do an MBA but don’t believe in written tests, interviews to put it crudely the bade baap ke bete-beti of Delhi. (A Fore guy who’s joined as a management trainee in my organisation drives to work in a Honda City…). Besides I think while choosing a B school, one must look at respect the school will command two years from now (when one graduates) so MDI (because it’s on an upward spiral) and FMS (very stable) are good bets.
Student at IIFT Delhi
IIFT had a placement of 100% with an avg salary of Rs 5.5 lakhs and some foreign placements. The IIFT ranking in BW is surprising (we were ranked no 7 by Cosmode last year) but then you see IIM Indore ranked no 23 which I find hard to believe. The Outlook ranking seemed more credible to me.
LBIMS graduate 2003
I got into Somaiya in Mumbai but chose to go to LBS., Delhi because I wanted to do my MBA in a city other than my hometown. In the past 2 years, LBS has come up in a big way, the hard way. The students really toiled to get companies on campus. We formed teams that visited companies in different cities, hosted an HR meet etc. In 2003, 90% were placed at an avg salary of Rs 2.5 lakhs. Cos that came included Bajaj Allianz, Cafe Coffee Day, Berger Paints.
LBS is one of the schools which few have “heard about” but which fared well in the rankings this year.
2003 NMIMS graduate.
The last time NMIMS participated in a B school ranking, it was placed 27th which I think was unfair. It should be in the top 15. That could be the reason they did not participate this year. NMIMS had pretty decent placements last year with an avg salary of Rs 4.5 lakhs, and almost all students getting placed by the end of the year. I would rank the Mumbai institutes as SP Jain, NITIE, SOM, Bajaj and NMIMS (in that order).
With its new campus and infrastructure, placements at Welingkar have taken a big leap. This year, students are overall happy with the offers, esp. the marketing types.
ITM grad ’03
The highest salary on campus was Rs 13 lakhs by a Pune based consultancy which picked up 1 person. The average salary Rs 2-2.5 lakhs and approx 85% of the students were placed by Feb-March.
Like LBS, ITM too has fared very well in this year’s rankings
A ’03 Chetana graduate says:
The 2nd oldest mgmt institute after JBIMS (21 years old) and with very distinguished alumni, it has not been able to capitalise on its strengths due to very laidback management. Somaiya and Welingkar – institutes started after Chetana – are now well ahead of it.
Campus placements are improving, but there’s still some way to go. Being in Nerul, attracting good visiting faculty is a problem.
The great location (Bandra reclamation) and impressive building floor many prospective students. But, only 1 floor with 4-5 classrooms is used for the MBA course. It is reported that there was only 1 placement during the official placement week. Most students get placed through their own contacts. Many are still looking…..
The placement cell’s credo is reported to be: “First let us get placements and then we’ll see about the rest……”
The deputy director is reported to be very dynamic. The placements exist but % of students placed and salaries are both very low.
A good institute which attracts very good companies but placing a batch of 280 is not easy.
IIMM is a good institute but suffers because of lack of infrastructure currently (it is operating from a rented building). I believe last year there was 95% placement with avg salary being abt Rs 2-2.5 lakhs.
|The X factor
Other things to consider when trying to choose between B-Schools:
– A residential school with a hostel(s) of its own. Half the fun and learning of an MBA is in being independent of home, parents etc. Besides, it makes group work so much easier.
– A dynamic director like the CEO of a company. A good director can often turn things around or at least improve things for the better esp. regarding getting cos for placement; eg Y K Bhushan (ex NMIMS) taking over at ICFAI Mumbai is being seen as a positive thing. The converse is also true – a bad director can totally screw up an institute.
– Location Most MBAs have a heavy course load leaving little time to party or run home on weekends! So do not bring location into the equation, quality of institute is what matters.
|Good News, and Bad News
IIMs are increasing their intake. eg. IIMA’s average batch size has gone up from 180 to 260 odd. This trend could lead to a ripple effect wherein recruiters take in more students from IIMs hence less from the institutes lower ranked. However, unless both the US and Indian economy grows fast enough it will be hard to manage expectations. Some will have to settle for lower paying jobs at less glamorous companies. However these graduates may be dissatisfied and hence prone to jumping ship as soon as they get better offers. So companies may prefer to got to a lower ranked institute where their offers are more coveted and an MBA recruited more likely to stick on. Therefore the market for MBAs from lesser ranked institutes will still flourish, as long as these MBAs are willing to work at a more reasonable cost and retain more manageable expectations.
For schools like NITIE, IITB-SOM, IIT D (DMS) and VGSoM IIT KGP, only engineers may apply, that too those with a FIRST CLASS throughout (a tall order). The placement offers are very good but more in engineering consulting and supply chain management, not FMCG/ investment banking.
|Recruiters’ preferred B-Schools (BW-Cosmode ranking)
Besides the usual suspects, IIFT Delhi, SIBM Pune and LBS are other schools which come in Recruiters’ Top 15. ICFAI Business School, UBS, Chandigarh, IIT Delhi and XIM B which are among the Top 15 in the Overall Ranking do not figure among Recruiter’s Top 15.
School Hunting / Placements 2003
In principle, one should strive for the best B schools. But each of us has to be realistic. If you think you have it in you and didn’t try hard enough, sure. Give CAT one more shot. Suppose you settle for one of the lower ranked schools, I would evaluate such a school by its placement record. Period. And I would not rely on websites or magazines (including JAM!) but actually visit the campus (even if it is in another city) and speak to 10-15 current students. Persist a bit, you will get the real picture and genuine advice.
There has been a sea change in the level of opportunity over the last decade. When I passed out in 1993, McKinsey picking up 4 students at Rs 6 lakhs salary at IIM-A was big news. The avg salary could not have been more than Rs 2.5-3 lakhs and there were no foreign placements. Today, these figures will evoke laughter. The economy now supports several tiers of B schools catering to different sets of recruiters. Less glamorous companies offering less glamorous salaries will visit many of the campuses which rank between 15-30 in the surveys. Their offers are very good, for 22 -24 year olds with no prior experience. The trick lies is in scaling down your expectations. Just because the IIMs average salaries of Rs 6 lakhs plus and your institute has a figure 1/3rd that, what you’re getting seems to pales in comparison. But you know what? Even the guy with Rs 6.2 lakhs in IIM A is probably unhappy because he didn’t get one of the 36 coveted dollar placements of 2003!
However, do not ABANDON expectation. If an MBA school is merely leading you into a call center job (that IS the case at many!) it is a GIANT waste of time money. Because the call center job can be had even without the MBA. Lastly, there seems to be a growing breed of students who do an MBA because they just need to do SOME post grad degree. It’s chic for grooms to demand “MBA girls”, like they once asked for MAs! I guess these students are the real reason why MBA institutes are sprouting at every street corner! (no exaggeration: one has just sprung up on the 3rd floor of the Apna Bazaar in my locality). The key thing is “know thyself and thy institute”. Happy B school hunting!
(Institutes ranked in decreasing order of median salary offered). All of these claim to have 100% placements.
|Domestic Salary Offered (Lakhs per annum)|
|S P Jain||6.43||5.99||12.9||3.47|
|SoM, IIT B||5.82||5.96||14||2.84|
|IIT Delhi DMS||5.31||4.5||9.2||3|
|Symb Int Bus||2.7||4.5||6.8||1.2|