Country Profile: India's Ivy League

High-flying Indian graduates used to have to travel far and wide to gain the best MBAs. Not any more. India is now home to some 2,000 business schools - a field that covers everything from establishments that could give Harvard a run for its money to non-accredited village institutions.

by Emilie Filou
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

Many will tell you that it's not worth looking beyond the top 50 schools, but the vast range illustrates that management is very much flavour of the moment in India.

Widely regarded as the creme de la creme are the six Indian Institutes of Management (IIM), with an 'A, B, C' neatly filling the top three spaces - Ahmedabad (IIM-A), Bangalore (IIM-B) and Calcutta (IIM-C). All have gained international recognition for their academic excellence. The best Indian schools (see below) might be cheap in international terms, but they have some of the toughest admission policies in the world and employers queue up to bag their latest graduates. No wonder then that 350,000 hopefuls take the admission exams every year.

Management education in India dates back to the 1960s. The country has always had a strong educational tradition and an MBA was considered a good qualification for business aspirants. But with the uncontrolled proliferation of management schools, what started as a well-regarded degree is fast becoming a bit of a cop-out for school leavers.

Partly as a result, Indian schools fare poorly on the international stage. They attract few foreign students, despite an expanding network of international alliances and exchange programmes. Another reason is a lack of brand recognition abroad: many students still think that a US or European school will be better appreciated by employers. Indian establishments also lag behind in terms of research: most staff, whose pay is linked to government pay scales in public institutions, are paid to teach rather than research, and the little research that has emerged from India has been slow to establish itself on the world stage.

But things are changing. As the Indian economy takes off, so are its schools and their contributions. Several publications have taken to printing rankings of business schools to weed out the genuine from the fake. Indian establishments have even made appearances in international rankings, although a lack of universal methods and programmes has sometimes made it hard to compare like with like, leading several establishments to withdraw from such lists.

However, many of the 5,000 alumni currently teaching abroad go back regularly to share their international know-how. Many Indian-taught businessmen are now at the helm of the world's most powerful corporations - and, perhaps soon, business schools, too. Harvard Business School, for example, is due to elect a new dean and a likely contestant is Srikant Datar, a 1978 IIM-A graduate. Watch this space.

TOP 15 INDIAN BUSINESS SCHOOLS THE FACTS AND FIGURES Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi (FMS) Fore School of Management, New Delhi Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM-A) Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIM-B) Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIM-C) Indian Institute of Management Indore (IIM-I) Indian Institute of Management Calicut (IIM-K - Khozikode) Indian Institute of Management Lucknow (IIM-L) Indian School of Business, Hyderabad Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai (JBIMS) Management Development Institute, Gurgaon SP Jain Institute of Management & Research, Mumbai Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar Xavier Labour Research Institute, Jamshedpur COST OF A TWO-YEAR MBA IIM-A $9,000, including living expenses CEIBS (China) $27,500, excluding living expenses LBS $73,000, excluding living expenses Harvard $75,000, excluding living expenses

- It is estimated that more than 2,000 business schools exist in India with some 200,000 MBA students

- Some 350,000 applicants take MBA entrance exams every year

- In 2005, an IMM-A graduate was offered a starting salary of $152,000 (EUR127,000) by HSBC

- The one-year MBA is gaining in popularity at the expense of the traditional two-year programme

- IIM-A's new one-year executive MBA, starting in April 2006, will cost Rs1m ($22,000), including living expenses - the same training at INSEAD costs in the region of $100,000

- There are about 5,000 Indian-trained professors working in business schools worldwide

- With an admission rate of 0.16%, IIM-A has the toughest admission policy in the world

- When compared with their Asian rivals - in Singapore, the Philippines or China - Indian business schools have practically no international students

- On average, Indian management academics are paid four to five times less than their OECD counterparts

INDIA'S MANAGEMENT GURUS

You've read their books and attended their classes; they've shaped management paradigms and challenged received wisdoms; they've been your boss and revolutionised how business is done. Meet the gurus from India.

Many of them don't need an introduction, but they all deserve to be acknowledged for their original thinking and achievements.

JAGDISH BHAGWATI - COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

A fierce supporter of free trade, Bhagwati is one of the foremost trade theorists of our time. His most recent book, In Defense of Globalization (OUP, 2004), received worldwide acclaim.

DEBASHIS CHATTERJEE - IIM Lucknow

Author of the best-selling Leading Consciously (Butterworth-Heinemann, 1998), Chatterjee is highly regarded for his work on behavioural sciences and transformational leadership.

SUMANTRA GHOSHAL - LONDON BUSINESS SCHOOL (d. 2004).

Highly influential, Ghoshal was credited with inventing the '525 rule', which says that 25% of a company's sales revenues should accrue from products launched during the last five years.

VIJAY GOVINDARAJAN - TUCK SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, DARTMOUTH.

Considered a world authority on strategy, Govindarajan is a co-founder of the Tuck Center for Global Leadership and of the Global Leadership 2020 executive programme.

RAJAT GUPTA - MCKINSEY & CO

A senior partner worldwide of McKinsey & Co and former managing director, Gupta has helped many companies develop new product/market strategies and reorganise for improved effectiveness and operations capabilities.

RAKESH KHURANA - HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL.

One of Harvard's rising stars, Khurana's work on the deficiencies of the CEO labour market and the emergence of the charismatic CEO succession model has attracted a lot of attention in media and business circles.

NARAYANA MURTHY - INFOSYS

The chairman of Infosys Technologies, Murthy is much admired for combining entrepreneurial success with high standards of corporate governance. He is known for his belief in 'compassionate capitalism' and wealth sharing.

NITIN NOHRIA - HARVARD

A prominent guru in leadership, corporate accountability and organisational change, Nohria co-authored The Differentiated Network: Organizing Multinational Corporations for Value Creation (Jossey Bass Wiley, 1997) with Ghoshal.

CK PRAHALAD - UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

One of the most influential management thinkers in the world, Prahalad's book The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid (Wharton School of Publishing, 2004) challenged traditional views of poverty and how to solve it.

AMARTYA SEN - HARVARD

Economics Nobel Prize winner in 1998 for his work on welfare economics, Sen has distinguished himself with his work on famine, development and the underlying mechanisms of poverty.

... AND YOU SHOULD WATCH OUT FOR

SUBIR RAHA - OIL AND NATURAL GAS CORPORATION

Since taking the helm at Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) - one of India's biggest state-run companies - in 2001, Raha has had to fight hard against old-fashioned bureaucrats. But his appetite for risk and innovation has paid off: in three years, the company has gone from sleeping giant to confident world-class player.

TRILOCHAN SASTRY - IIM BANGALORE

A professor of operations management at IIM-B, alumnus of IIM-A and MIT, and democracy activist, Sastry is distinguished by his work on transparency and corruption among Indian politicians. As the director of the Association for Democratic Reform in India, he has campaigned to obtain information disclosure on criminal convictions.

ANSHU JAIN - DEUTSCHE BANK

"This guy moves markets" seems to be the general consensus about Deutsche's number three. The running joke in Frankfurt is that the bank is actually run by the Indian 'bond junkie'. Jain, who has been head of global markets since 2001, also oversees the bank's operations in South Asia, including India and Pakistan.

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