India’s Top 100 Private B-Schools 2021-22

EducationWorld June 2021 | Cover Story

Given good leadership India’s best private B-schools, promoted, constructed and commissioned at great expense, have the potential to re-imagine and conceptualise innovative, organic syllabuses and curriculums to stimulate a massive productivity leap in India Inc and other sectors of the economy, says Dilip Thakore

The best of India’s estimated 6,000 business management schools, aka B-schools, represent a curious social paradox. On the one hand they are widely respected not only in India but around the world. Apart from invariably topping all media surveys domestically, the premier Central government promoted Indian Institutes of Management IIMs) sited in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Bangalore, Lucknow and Indore are routinely ranked among the world’s Top 200 by respected international rating agencies including the London-based QS. Moreover the privately promoted Indian School of Business, Hyderabad is regularly ranked among the Top 20 worldwide by the Financial Times.

Yet Indian industry has little to show for the thousands of alumni of these top-ranked postgrad B-schools who have streamed into India Inc since 1961 when IIM-Calcutta and IIM-Ahmedabad were promoted. The record of Indian industry and the economy measured by workplace productivity, innovative research and revolutionary products and services, compares very poorly with American, Western and Asian countries, especially neigbouring China.

ISB’s Dr. Rajendra Srivastava

                     ISB’s Dr. Rajendra Srivastava (centre): successful stewardship

Various explanations are offered for this paradox. Among them: the syllabuses and curriculums of B-schools tend to focus on US-style free markets, while the Indian economy is government dominated and highly regulated; socialist era licence-permit-quota government regulations prevent graduates from applying education and knowledge acquired in B-schools; managing ubiquitous corruption in government and industry regulatory agencies is not factored into B-school curriculums. Neither are ways and means to manage legacy corporates and conglomerates in which inexperienced sons and daughters succeed first generation entrepreneurs and promoters. The relatively poor competitive record of India Inc when compared with Fortune 500 companies suggests that the education dispensed by India’s best B-schools is not quite in sync with the needs and requirements of industry and the economy.

Nevertheless there’s no reason to believe that the country’s best B-schools are not sentient learning organisations with vast scope for improvement. Given good leadership, India’s top-ranked private B-schools, promoted, constructed and commissioned at great expense, have the potential to re-imagine and conceptualise innovative, organic syllabuses and curriculums to stimulate a massive productivity leap in India Inc and other sectors of the economy.  Moreover with their excellent, globally benchmarked campuses with state-of-the-art infrastructure, digital connectivity and international outreach and students selectivity, they provide their privileged students opportunities to make great breakthroughs in innovative, original research. That’s why India’s best B-schools are national assets that deserve detailed scrutiny and SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analyses that the annual EW B-schools rankings provide institutional managements and postgrad students searching for business management education best suited to their aptitudes and aspirations.

However given the abundant information available in mainstream media about government promoted IIMs which routinely top national rankings surveys and admit a mere 2.5 percent percent of college graduates who write their annual joint Common Admission Test, for several years past your editors have restricted themselves to rating and ranking next-best private B-schools which absorb 98 percent of students who write CAT but don’t make it into the IIMs. They also need information that enables them to choose B-schools that will best fulfil their career progression goals.

To compile the EW India Private B-schools Rankings 2021-22, the Delhi-based Centre for Forecasting & Research (C fore) persuaded 1,117 knowledgeable sample respondents comprising a mix of B-school faculty and industry representatives countrywide to rate the most well-reputed private B-schools under 12 broad parameters and 55 sub-parameters of academic excellence. Research (400), infrastructure (400), industry interface (400) and placements (500) were accorded highest weight. “The ranking was based on objective data collected from B-schools directly, from secondary sources plus a perceptual survey conducted among faculty and industry,” says Premchand Palety, the founder CEO of C fore (estb.2000).

WITH the best among India’s 5,500 private B-schools that have the advantage of being spared interference and gratuitous advice of the government neta-babu brotherhood enabling them to rapidly close the quality education gap that separates them from the IIMs, it’s unsurprising that the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad (ISB, estb. 2001) is ranked India’s #1 private B-school for the third year in succession. Crowd-funded by the biggest names in Indian industry, including Ambani, Godrej, Goenka, Rajat Gupta (McKinsey & Co), ISB is spread over a 260-acre campus in Gachibowli, a suburb of Hyderabad.

Curiously most B-school ranking surveys in mainstream media don’t rank ISB because it is ‘unrecognised’ by the Delhi-based government controlled AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education) on the ground that it offers a 13-month compressed postgrad diploma programme in business management against the standard two-year programme decreed by AICTE. However, there’s little doubt in the collective mind that ISB’s one-year compressed MBA programme is on a par with the top-ranked IIMs’ two-year programme. The editors of the Financial Times, London (professedly the world’s most widely read financial daily) routinely rank ISB among the Top 20 B-schools worldwide.

Evidently, ostracisation by AICTE doesn’t bother Dr. Rajendra Srivastava, an alum of IIT-Kanpur and the universities of Rhode Island and Pittsburgh who acquired rich and varied teaching and admin experience in McCombs Business School (Texas), the Goizueta Business School at Emory University, and Singapore Management University before he was appointed dean of ISB in 2016.

“ISB has carved a niche of its own in offering world-class education to its students. We have been regularly awarded prestigious rankings from premier national and international media publications and organisations. It’s important to note that by design previous work experience is mandatory for admission into ISB. Differences in industry experience result in different perspectives, contextualised knowledge and unanswered questions that result in classroom discussion and debate, creating a richer learning environment. Our one-year programme is experiential and enabling. Many of our alumni are now CXOs, CFOs, chief marketing officers in Silicon Valley, Chicago, New York, London, Dubai, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the valuable alumni network that we have leveraged not only helps ISB but also in nation-building,” says Srivastava during whose high-performance five-year term as director, which ends in June, this blue-chip B-school has been ranked #1 for three years consecutively in the EW private B-schools rankings.

XLRI, Jamshedpur

                                      XLRI Jamshedpur Campus

This year there’s no change in the seating order at top table. XLRI, Jamshedpur, Management Development Institute, Gurugram (aka Gurgaon) and S.P. Jain Institute of Management Research, Mumbai (SPIJMR) have retained their #2, #3 and #4 ranks of 2020-21. The only change in the Top 5 is that NMIMS, Mumbai ranked #5 last year is co-ranked #4 with SPIJMR. The low-profile Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Ghaziabad retains its #5 rank of last year.

Further down the Top 10 table, there’s considerable change in the seating order. Two B-schools established by the well-reputed Pune-based Symbiosis International University — Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM) and the Symbiosis Centre for Management & Human Resource Development (SCMHRD) — have been promoted by this year’s 1,117 sample respondents. SIBM is ranked #6 (8) and SCMHRD #10 (11). The Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar (XIM) at #6 (6), low-profile T.A. Pai Manage-ment Institute, Manipal (TAPMI) is ranked #7 (7) jointly with ICFAI Business School, Hyderabad (7), followed by the International Management Institute, Delhi #8 (9), K.J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai #9 (10) and SCMHRD #10 (11) to complete the 2021-22 Top 10 table. India’s best private B-schools are widely distributed countrywide.

BEYOND THE TOP 10, a notable private B-school is the newly christened Jagdish Seth School of Management, Bengaluru (JAGSOM, hitherto IFIM, Bengaluru estb. 1995) promoted from #15 in 2018-19 to #12 last year and #11 in 2021-22. “The solid reputation established by IFIM during the past 25 years and our successful rebranding campaign for JAGSOM within communities of aspirational business management students, faculty, international partners and corporate recruiters has enabled us to improve our ranking despite the recent name change of IFIM. JAGSOM — renamed last October in honour of Padma Shri Dr. Jagdish Seth, the renowned Charles H. Kellstadt professor of marketing at the Goizueta Business School of Emory University, USA and currently chairman of our board of governors — was among the first B-schools to complete 100 percent placements for the graduating class of 2021. Over 80 corporate recruiters participated with our graduates averaging an annual package of Rs.10.2 lakh with the highest package of Rs.16 lakh. Moreover the majority of our graduates were inducted into new-age companies,” says Dr. Atish Chattopadyay, an alumnus of Aligarh Muslim
University with a long track record of teaching and admin experience at SPIJMR, Mumbai, MICA, Ahmedabad and as director of the highly-reputed ITM-Ghaziabad where he served as director (2016-18).

JAGSOM’s Atish Chattopadyay

                         JAGSOM’s Atish Chattopadyay: successful rebranding

Beyond the top dozen, several private B-schools have risen in esteem of the discerning public to be ranked in the Top 20. Among them: the well-advertised S. P. Jain School of Global Management ranked #15 (20); the previously unranked Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai debuts at #16; Prin. L.N. Welingkar Institute, Mumbai #18 (22), and N.L. Dalmia Institute of Management Studies and Research, Mumbai jointly ranked #20 with the Jaipuria Institute of Management, Lucknow (25).

A notable feature of the EW private B-schools rankings 2021-22 is that once restricted to metros and large cities, B-schools are sprouting in tier-II and III cities and towns where MSMEs (micro small and medium enterprises) urgently need business management professionals with grounding in theory and awareness of best practices in developed OECD countries.

It’s a socially beneficial development that the EW 2021-22 league table of India’s 92 best B-schools features institutions based in Goa, Mysuru, Gwalior, Dewas, Nasik, Indore, Kanpur and Coimbatore which are emerging business and industry hubs. It’s also good to learn that well-ranked private B-school managements are establishing branded affiliates in small cities and towns. For instance Bschools promoted by the Delhi-based Jaipuria Group in Lucknow, Indore, Ghaziabad and Noida feature in the 2021-22 league table of India’s most admired business schools.

In this connection it should also be borne in mind that B-schools modestly ranked in the national league table are much-prized academies in their host states with large populations. Thus the low-profile Rajagiri Centre for Business Studies, Kochi nationally ranked #12 is the #1 private B-school of Kerala (pop.34 million); IMFR, the B-school of Krea University, Sri City ranked India #13 is top-ranked in Andhra Pradesh (pop.49 million); Amrita Business School, Coimbatore ranked #15 nationally is #1 in Tamil Nadu (pop.78 million) and the
Jaipuria Institute of Management, Lucknow India #25 is #3 in Uttar Pradesh (pop. 215 million). And given that the average enrolment of B-schools is less than 1,000 students, the pressure for admission in all B-schools ranked in the EW India Private Schools Rankings 2021-22 is intense. Therefore contrary to the lament of not a few left-liberal academics that the aggregate number of India’s estimated at 6,000 B-schools is too high, the national interest requires the tribe of (preferably private) B-schools to multiply.

Also read: EW India Higher Education Rankings 2021-22

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