Tuesday, September 21, 2010

India's Best Business Schools Ranking Surveys?

I have been closely associated with TAPMI's participation in the India's Best B-Schools Ranking Surveys from June 2009 eversince I rejoined Manipal (my second stint).  Earlier, I was only reading these rankings and reports in Business Papers and Magazines.  It used to be Kabhi Khushi and Kabhi Kabhi Gham.

When I took the responsibility of Chairman-Branding, Promotion, etc Committee of Faculty Members, I did not know where to begin.  By then, in May 2009 the rankings were announced by Business World Magazine and TAPMI did not participate; for reasons best known to any one.  It pained me, particularly after having spent nearly three years in a different B-School in Bangalore and watching about accreditations and rankings!

Of course, to jump in to the fray, we need manpower, time, patience and most importantly, complete information about the Institute's manpower, finances, infrastructure, faculty/ staff / students' achievements, admissions and placements data, research outputs, visitors' on the campus, oh....... where is it available!!

With the support of some administrative staff (most of them are familiar to me) and faculty colleagues, we did submit almost all the following surveys.  Most of the times, some or other data used to be either missing or incomplete.  In order to catch up with the deadlines, against all constraints and hurdles also of course, the teachings/administrative responsibilities.  The results, were mixed and thus putting further pressure on us. The only satisfaction was that we could retrieve from the derailment for about previous three - four years.

Come 2010, we got some realisation, but the constraints of manpower and MIS continued despite best of efforts.  Some are not so keen on rankings while some have wild reservations; but the market does value these rankings, particularly the Admissions-seekers as also the Recruiters.  We can not go on brushing aside about regulators and ranking agencies.  These have a heavy bearings on our visibility and marketability.

Interestingly, as if the existing agencies or magazines are not enough, some more have entered the race.  As it is nobody knows as to how many types and numbers of B-Schools we have in India (reputed or registered).  In the last nine months from January 2010, I have come across nearly 25 agencies seeking information from us for B-School Rankings Surveys but only one agency (Career 360) visited our campus and took physically verified data.  To list all these agencies : (1) The Human Factor (2) The Sunday Indian (3) Careers-360 (4) http://www.pagalguy.com/ (5) http://www.eduniversal.com/; (6) Business World  also for B-School Directory (7) Business Today (8) Competition Success Review  (9) Dun & Bradstreet (10) http://www.mbauniverse.com/;  (11) Business India  (12) The Week (13) All India Management Association's Indian Management  also for B-Schools Directory (14) Outlook India (15) CNBC TV 18  (16) Dalal Street Investment Journal  for B-School Directory (17) DNA Daily News & Analysis (18) Dainik Bhaskar Lakshya (19) AIMS International for Awards (20) Dewang Mehta Business Schools Annual Awards (21) The New Indian Express for South India's Best B-Schools (22) Silicon India B-School Survey (23) http://www.mbapursuit.com/; (24) Zee Business B-School Rankings.

Of course, each one of these magazines have some or other research associates and methodology.  Most of them send a questionnaire to be filled up and submit alongwith documentary evidence including brochures, placement letters, invitation cards for events, etc.  A few follow the perception methods of study.  Their weightages also differ.  The sensitive issue here is these agencies / magazines seeking rather pressurising for release of advertisements in these special issues.  One view is that while inserting advertisements both the parties are favouring each other; but it should not be influencing the ranking process. That is the biggest dilemma.

Rating Agencies have appeared on the Indian scene in 1988 beginning with CRISIL.  Then came ICRA, CARE, FITCH (formerly Duff & Phelps).  Of course, now we have some more like SMERA, CIBIL, and Bric, besides of course foreign players like Standard & Poor, Dun & Bradstreet, Moody's, etc.  There are consulting firms like Ernst & Young, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, etc.  Each of these players can be carrying on their business in their own ways.  The market and investors can not be taken for granted and thanks to reforms, SEBI now regulates all these Credit Rating Agencies.  It appears similar regulatory mechanism is essential to oversee and monitor the above B-School Ranking Surveys.  Else, the gullible student and sincere recruiter can be taken for a ride in the Wonderland of Indian Rankers of B-Schools. 

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