Professor G Shainesh explains how IIM Bangalore made its debut in the Financial Times Global MBA Ranking, standing 68th among the 153 participating universities.
Who: Professor G Shainesh, Chairperson, Executive Post Graduate Programme (EPGP), IIM Bangalore
What: Took the first opportunity to participate in the Financial Times (FT) 2014 Global MBA Ranking, in which IIMB stood 68th among the 153 participating institutions
When: September 2013
Why: Participating in international rankings helps to benchmark an institution with its global peers and identify opportunities for continuous improvement. The rankings create visibility among potential student and faculty applicants as well as recruiters.
Where: Indian Institute of Management Bangalore
How: By participating in the FT Global MBA Ranking after meeting the eligibility criteria of graduating three batches of IIMB’s EPGP, a one year full-time residential programme for students with prior work experience.
The Financial Times (FT) 2014 Global MBA Ranking evaluates the world’s best full-time MBA programmes for students with prior work experience. Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business and London Business School, stood first, second and third in this year’s ranking. No surprises there—they are well-known top performers.
In a first, however, IIM Bangalore (IIMB) joined the small club of Indian institutions to have made the list, comprised of IIM Ahmedabad (IIMA) and Indian School of Business, Hyderabad .
This year, IIMA and ISB could not hold onto their previous years positions. They slipped to the 30th and 36th position on the list respectively. All eyes however are on the new entrant—IIMB, all the more so because the institution participated in the ranking at the first opportunity. Participating institutions had to have full-time MBA programmes running for four years—IIMB’s Executive Post Graduate Programme (EPGP) started in 2010 and three batches had just about graduated before September 2013, the cut-off date for participating in the FT 2014 Global MBA Ranking. Being placed 68th among the 153 participating schools in its maiden outing is a laudable achievement.
What are the key challenges for Indian B-schools to make it to the FT Global MBA Ranking?
A significant 40% of the weightage for a B-School’s ranking depends on the average alumni salary three years after graduation and average increase in alumni salary from before the MBA to three years after graduation. Common belief is that Indian B-schools score low on this criterion because of comparatively lower salaries in India vis-à-vis those in developed nations. More recently, the weakening of the rupee has had a corresponding adverse impact on the purchasing power parity exchange rate used for this calculation.
Research is an area with tremendous scope for improvement. IIMB has the best record of research publications compared to other Indian B-schools, with a FT Research Ranking marginally ahead of IIMA. Still, Professor Shainesh, Chairperson, Executive Post Graduate Programme, IIM Bangalore, acknowledges, “We have a lot of catching up to do with the leading global research universities.”
Indian B-schools also score low on student and faculty diversity. Very few international students study in B-schools here. To some extent, this isn’t surprising. Given the paucity of quality educational institutions in India, so far the focus of institutions, even those at the top, has been to recruit meritorious Indians. Only recently has growing globalisation brought the benefits of diversity on educational campuses into the limelight.
The FT Global MBA Ranking 2014 is based on data collected from the participating B-schools as well as a survey of alumni who graduated from the school in 2010. Alumni are asked questions to evaluate their career progression and achievement of personal and professional goals as a result of the programme.
Here’s a look at the criteria and how IIMB fared:
WEIGHTED SALARY: Average alumni salary three years after graduation, in US$ purchasing power parity equivalent, with adjustment for variations between sectors (profit/not-for-profit) counts for as much as 20% of the B-school’s score. IIMB’s weighted salary was US$ 125,249 vis-à-vis Harvard’s US$ 178,300 and IIMA’s US$ 157,459.
SALARY INCREASE: Another 20% of the score depends on the average difference in alumni salary before the MBA and three years post graduation. Both the absolute salary increase and the percentage increase relative to the pre-MBA salary are factored into this score.
VALUE FOR MONEY: A complex figure comprising 3% of the score, it is calculated using salary today, course length, fees and other costs, including lost income during the MBA.
CAREER PROGRESS: To what extent are alumni now occupying more senior positions in bigger companies, vis-à-vis their positions before the programme? This makes up 3% of the score. Notably IIMB fared better than even Harvard in terms of its career progression rank. It stood third while Harvard was placed fourth. Why’s that?
Professor Shainesh says—“IIMB’s ranking is based on the performance of the first batch of our EPGP program, in which the minimum work experience was 7 years. The average experience of our first batch was over 10 years. The average experience levels of IIMB’ subsequent batches have been higher than the experience levels of our peers in India and abroad, by at least 2-3 years. Possibly being relatively senior to start with has helped students to get more mileage out of the programme and perform appreciably well post graduation. Credit is also due to the programme design and delivery, which aims at empowering the next generation of leaders.”
Aims achieved: Alumni are asked to what extent they have fulfilled their stated goals for doing a MBA. Their responses make up 3% of the score.
Placement success: Alumni ratings of the effectiveness of the school’s careers service in supporting student recruitment constitute 2% of the score. Having instituted major changes in its career development service processes and in the resources allocated to the function, IIMB hopes to improve upon its 98th rank. According to Professor Shainesh, “Handling the needs of experienced students of the EPGP programme is a completely different ballgame compared to placing students who are fresh out of college or with a couple of years of work experience. The experience of working closely over extended periods with our corporate partners to identify the right fit for each student has been a steep learning curve. IIMB’s alumni network has supported many of our initiatives through regular interactions, mentoring, career guidance and helping students prepare for interviews.”
EMPLOYED AT THREE MONTHS: What percentage of the most recent graduating class had found employment or accepted a job offer within three months of completing the programme? This is compared with the percentage of the class for which the school provides employment data, and makes up 2% of the score.
Alumni recommend: Alumni are asked to list three B-schools from which they would recruit MBA graduates. Their response constitutes 2% of the score.
GENDER DIVERSITY: Carries a weight of 2% and is based on the percentage of female faculty and female students. Additionally, the percentage of female members on the school’s advisory board makes up 1% of the score. Schools with a 50:50 (male/female) composition receive the highest possible score. IIMB scored low—11% and 6% for female students and board members respectively versus topper Harvard’s 41% and 50%. It performed better for female faculty, recording a decent 20% against Harvard’s 23%. Professor Shainesh attributes this performance to the growing numbers of female faculty members in the last six years or so. What about female students? “The percentage of female students has not grown in recent years. We are conscious about the need to improve gender diversity. Our EPGP cohorts’ relatively higher experience levels work as a deterrent for female applicants aspiring for a one year, full-time residential programme. We have to inspire a larger applicant pool of female candidates to improve the female student ratio. One potential option is to explicitly include diversity as a criterion for short-listing candidates,” he says.
INTERNATIONAL DIVERSITY: Faculty diversity by citizenship and by the percentage whose citizenship differs from their country of employment constitutes 4% of the score. Diversity among current MBA students, by citizenship and by the percentage whose citizenship differs from the country in which they study, also makes up 4% of the score. Another 2% is awarded for the percentage of the board whose citizenship differs from the country in which the school is based. With no international students on campus, IIMB scored low in this aspect. Nevertheless, Professor Shainesh affirms the institution’s keen interest and desire to recruit international students. “We participated in the Financial Times ranking at the first opportunity for this very reason—the ranking creates the first level of awareness about EPGP among foreign students. Most applicants for a one year full-time residential programme in India will know about IIMB’s EPGP. The biggest challenge in recruiting international students is to effectively reach out to foreign applicants and market our programme so that they will include IIMB’s EPGP in their consideration set,” he says.
International mobility: A healthy 6% of the score represents whether alumni worked in different countries pre-MBA, on graduation and three years after graduation.
International course experience: Did the most recent graduating MBA class complete exchanges, research projects, study tours and company internships in countries other than where the B-school is based? This makes up 3% of the score. IIMB’s students gain the experience of working with a global peer group through international immersions, global internships and exchange programmes with its ~80 partner B-schools around the world.
LANGUAGES: One point is awarded for the number of extra languages required on completion of the MBA.
FACULTY WITH DOCTORATES: The percentage of full-time faculty with a doctoral degree constitutes 5% of the score. Here, IIMB’s cent per cent was ahead of Harvard’s 91%.
FT DOCTORAL RANK: Another 5% of the score depends on the number of doctoral graduates from the B-school during the past three years. Bonus points are awarded if these graduates took up faculty positions at one of the top 50 full-time MBA schools as per the previous years listing. IIMB fared medium on this score (47th) and was ahead of IIMA (63rd).
FT RESEARCH RANK: Worth 10% of the score, the FT Research Rank considers the number of articles published by each school’s current full-time faculty members in 45 selected academic and practitioner journals in the previous three years or so. Both the absolute number of publications and the number weighted relative to the faculty’s size are factored into the score. Standing in the 93rd position, IIMB fared slightly better than IIMA (ranked 97th) but worse off than ISB (ranked 65th). Professor Shainesh believes that IIMB has started to see the outcomes of initiatives implemented over the last decade to strengthen research and publications—such as recruiting research-oriented faculty, increasing funding for research, setting up six research centres and launching research initiatives on contemporary themes that cut across academic areas and disciplines. But he agrees a lot more needs to be done to catch up with the best global research universities.
Making the cut
Indian educational institutions must shed their fears of not measuring up to their global counterparts. IIMB has performed exceedingly well on its debut, more so considering that its EPGP, one year full-time residential programme, is barely four years old. Professor Shainesh is all for participating in prestigious global rankings. He says, “Participating in international rankings is a one of the best ways to benchmark an institution with its global peers and identify opportunities for continuous improvement. Also, these rankings create visibility among potential student and faculty applicants as well as recruiters.”
Armed with deep insights into its performance vis-à-vis global institutions, IIMB is sure to better its standing in the future.