on 03 November, 2016

How to select a B-School

There are a truckload of B-schools in India, only a handful of which are somewhat comparable to the Harvards and the Whartons of the world (that too, by our ever so flawed Indian standards of comparison). Although there are numerous claims and counter-claims in terms of ‘Rankings’ of these B-schools, the truth is that there is No official list. All these rankings are terribly subjective, and more often than not terribly fraudulent. Let’s face it, IIPM is NOT the 5th best B-school in India.


While the weightage given by magazines/newspapers/websites to various factors certainly differs, the parameters taken into consideration while choosing a B-school remain broadly the same.

  1. Industry interface
  2. Pedagogy and Strength of course
  3. Alumni Strength
  4. Specialization
  5. Placements
  6. Infrastructure
  7. Fee Structure and Return of Investment(ROI)
  8. Location


Industry Interface:

The quality of companies visiting the campus, the quality of guest lecturers and projects the B-school is involved with gives a rough idea of the kind of rapport the institute has built for itself in the industry. The better the industry interface, better the reputation of the institute, and certainly better the packages once you graduate from it.


Pedagogy and Strength of course:

The way that some institutes have designed their courses is what differentiates them from any other random institutes in the country. For example, the MBA program in IIM-A covers a huge number of case studies, with active participation just like at Harvard.

The faculty, both permanent and visiting, makes a huge difference to the reputation of an institute. Experienced, knowledgeable, and quick-witted faculty members ensure that not just the course, but the pedagogy through which the course is administered plays a major role in the development of a successful future manager.


Alumni Strength:

The clearest indicator of the standing of an institute is where its alumni reach a few years after passing out of it. Since an MBA is often the final formal education of a man (or woman), the position he (or she) occupies in the corporate world gives ample evidence of the standing of the B-school he (or she) is from. This goodwill further translates into better placements for the B-school. The general trend is that the older the institute, the more distinguished its alumni.



The choice of a B-school heavily depends on the specialization a student is interested in. The names of certain B-schools have become almost synonymous with the specializations they, well, specialize in. For example, XLRI and TISS are well known for human resources, IIFT for foreign trade, MICA for advertising, IRMA for rural management, NITIE for industrial management and operations, and IIM-A for just about everything.



If you ask yourself ‘Why do I want to do an MBA?’ and the answer is ‘To earn big bucks’ (and this is nothing to be ashamed of), then the placements of the institute is probably the primary criterion for you. ‘Placements’ is a broad concept, which includes the companies that visit the campus, the number of students they take, the packages they offer (highest, average and lowest), as well as the number of international placements offered. Yet despite being a significant factor (probably the most significant), it depends on the interplay of several other factors, and should not necessarily be viewed in isolation.



This is perhaps one of the most underrated (and least bothered about) aspects of B-schools in India, and that is probably the reason why Indian B-schools –with a couple of glaring exceptions- aren’t ever able to compete on a global scale. It is almost commonplace to completely disregard the state of the hostels, the facilities available at the institute, existence of a campus, etc while choosing a B-school in India. Although this is something that cannot be helped, since most colleges are still surviving purely on their reputation and history, infrastructure is also a factor which should be paid attention to by students who believe that future managers who’ll be earning 25lakhs a year deserve at least a half-decent room to live in.


Fee Structure and Return on Investment:

Now, students who may have financial constraints do baulk at the tuition fee charged by certain institutes, but when you consider the Return on Investment (ROI), it doesn’t look all too bad more often than not. Of course, there are some B-schools that are pretty rubbish in spite of their unbelievably high fees, but then one needs to research a bit to separate the diamonds from the dirt. When highly rated institutes are concerned, most banks are more than glad to provide loans at reasonable rates, so that’s not something to worry about.



In case of new schools, location may play a rather important role. An HR manager would probably prefer visiting an institute which is located in a metro or an industry-connected area rather than an institute located in the middle of nowhere. Of course, this factor becomes almost redundant as the reputation of the institute builds up, but that doesn’t happen overnight.

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MBA / Management