All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the country’s technical education regulator, has posted a list of 332 unapproved institutions on its website (http://www.aicte-india.org). In the year 2007, the number of unapproved institutions stood at 104. The list of unapproved institutions has grown three-fold in the past five years. Some estimates place the total number of B-Schools (Business Schools) in the country at close to 2,500. Large numbers of these institutions are nothing more than degree shops and placement shops. They might even be on AICTE’s unapproved list.
If you can’t make it in the top 100 or the top 200 B-Schools, then there is no point in trying to get into “any” other B-School. You have to do a quality check on the institution before you join. You can also try to find if the institution is approved by AICTE. Unfortunately we don’t have a comprehensive system of ranking the business schools in the country and that is why many B-School aspirants get cheated.
Selling the B-School dream
Many young students tend to be of the opinion that once they make it into a B-School (Business School), they are on the easy road to success. If they can’t get into a top ranking B-School, they will desperately try to enter an institution with doubtful credentials. These students forget the fact that the sole reason for the existence of B-Schools is to create entrepreneurs, but barring a few top institutions a vast majority of India’s B-Schools are today functioning as placement agencies. And despite the high fees that they charge, more often than not, these B-Schools fail to provide good employment opportunities to their MBAs.
In any city or town we can easily come across MBAs from smaller institutions who are under-achieving and failing to find the right kind of employment. When you take into account the number of students who sit down for competitive exams like CAT, MAT or XAT, you find that the number of MBA aspirants in the country is more than 400,000. In comparison, the top 100 B-Schools can take in only about 10,000 students. While choosing a B-School you have to take a close look at the following factors:
Image of the institution
A B-School is as much about image, as it is about the quality of teaching. If the image is not good, you will not be able to impress the recruiting managers of top companies even though you are holding a B-School degree/diploma. Generally the older institutions in the country have a better reputation as compared to those that have sprouted up recently.
In post-graduate programmes offered by government funded universities you have to pay as little as Rs. 20,000. However, the fees being charged by majority of the B-Schools is exorbitant. The premier institutions can charge anywhere between Rs. 5 lakh to Rs 15 lakh. Even new institutions, whose credentials are not clear, manage to charge upwards of Rs 5 to 7 lakh for a two-year-course. There is no point in taking a huge loan for getting a degree/diploma from an unknown B-School. It might be better idea to join a B-School attached to a university, where the costs are reasonable.
Degree or diploma
It may come as a surprise, but in case of a B-School there is little difference between a degree and diploma. Even the top most B-School in the country, the IIM, offers only a diploma. In case of B-Schools it is the reputation of the institution that matters most. The recruiting companies look for the intrinsic worth of the institution; they don’t differentiate between degree and diploma.
A vast majority of students want to get into B-Schools because they think that once they get the MBA, their job prospects will become better. The B-Schools typically boast of 100 per cent placements. However, the tall claims about the placement and the salary figures are not true in most cases. You have to make lot of inquiries to find out the institution’s real placement record. You can talk to some of the senior students and you can also go to online blogs for finding the ground reality.
Quality of infrastructure
The B-School that will make you eligible for working in the world’s top companies should at least have a good quality infrastructure. You should personally visit the campus to find out how good the building is, what kind of equipments and facilities are available in the classrooms and labs, the status of the library and other supporting infrastructure. A person investigation is always the best option, but if you can’t afford to personally visit the campus, you can ask some relative or friend to make a visit on your behalf.
Quality of faculty
The institution should have a good balance between the full time and part time faculty. You can learn about the quality of faculty by making Internet search on the faculty members whose names you know. You can also speak to the senior students, who in most cases will provide you with a realistic picture.
Programmes being offered by the institution
You have to take into account the curriculum that is being taught. The choice of curriculum must depend on the needs of the industry that you wish to join. The B-Schools offer either “General Management Programme” or “Specialised Management Programme,” or both. In case you go in for a General Management Programme, you will have the flexibility of joining companies in almost any sector. The IIMs and other top institutions offer General Management Programmes only. However, nowadays some B-Schools have started offering Specialised Management Programmes, which prepare students for gaining employment in any particular sector.