Wednesday, February 13, 2008

B-Schools and the ranking mania

In India, B-school rankings often get published around September as applications start rolling out at that time. So when Outlook and others came out with their rankings in September I thought of expressing my own take on the same but as usual missed like I miss on so many other occassions. Last week there was news of ISB, Hyderabad appearing at #20 in global rankings and as always blogs, newspapers like ToI, mint and portals all were flooded with this news. So I thought, why should I be left behind in writing about this frenzied B-school rankings(this is why I say I am just another mortal).

First of all I think B-school rankings should not be taken by their face value and instead should be used as a resource for data they provide.

Though many people have started believing that these rankings are all crap but I think they do offer some value though not in terms of the rank they assign to institutes but in terms of information they provide in the process of arriving at the rank. If, you go through the methodology of every ranking you will feel their are factors that help one institute over the other. Magazines are often blamed for being biased in setting up those parameters in order to skew the rankings. But, any ranking will have parameters and any amount of parameters will always be in favour of one or other participating members. So why exactly blame those rankings? Instead students should actually come up with their own rankings based on their own order of preference.

Here is my wish list of parameters that I expect magazines to publish and consider while compiling the rankings.

Growth in salary of alumnus over a period of 0-5-10 years of period.
Average salary, highest salary and information like that is already taken into consideration. But, today anyone with an MBA degree from any institute is walking out with a handsome package of 4-5 lacs/annum. Fairly good students are getting above 8. But, when the wheel will slow down the first to face the heat would be the bottom layer of students who managed a job today because of the surging economy. A B-school's worth in terms of real value addition to its alumni and industry preparedness would surface only in long run.

Career growth of alumnus over similar periods.
Now, if we were to measure only salary growth over the long run then those placed with huge organizations with stronger brand value or better work quality would rank lower than those placed with some of the smaller unpopular companies just because they shell out bigger sums to fill in for their other weakness. Sometime monotonous work is offered along with better pay cheque and there is no growth either. So an individual choosing a high growth career over high salary career should at least stand at par if not more than the other way.

Diversity quotient of the last 3 batches.
More and more is being written about how institutes are trying to have a mix of students in their batch in order to have a more heterogeneous pool of potential managers/leaders as this stimulates diversified thinking. But, having 1 candidate from arts, science and medical each, a few from commerce and rest engineers is not a heterogeneous batch. Only if there could be a diversity quotient to find out how much hetero a batch really is?

Average input score of last 3-5 batches.
Institutes accepting applications based on scores of various entrance tests can also list average scores of their last 3-5 selected batches. This will inform if quality of input students is improving or its the other way. There is a catch here though - with increasing number of candidates year after year, if an institutes invites same number of candidates as it invited the previous year, the percentile of the last invited application would be higher.

Average experience of the last 3 batches.
As experience is increasingly becoming important during the course of Business education and placements. It would be interesting if institutes provide data on no. of experienced candidates, average experience and average salary of experienced candidates before and after. ISB provides this data.

Average experience of the faculty in industry and as faculty.
Now getting over my obsession of the selected candidates. Having huge number of faculty is easy but the tough task lies in having sufficient number of good quality faculty. Quality is always subjective but still basic criteria - qualifications, total teaching experience, total industry experience and research papers published etc. could be a good starting point for assessing
overall faculty quality.

This is another cliche which everyone is using obsessively. But, it can still be judged more rationally. E quotient of a B-school could comprise of star-ups coming out of schools, initiatives from institute etc. E.g. what percentage of the graduating batch opted out of the placement process to start something of their own. Though this may be attributed to students and not institute but institute initiatives like IIM-A's followed by IIM-Indore's similar action contribute a lot.

There can be many more things that one can look into while opting for admissions depending upon personal priorities. Do share if you think of any.

Till now if you stuck with this post then I really admire your patience.

P.S I was missing from the writing scene for nearly 3 weeks now. But, with this post things will start rolling again.

1 comment:

KbHbEjTi said...

I agree with you completely!