There are a whopping 3,700 B-schools in India. However, the vast majority are of suspect quality. None the less, given such concentration and numbers of B-schools, the competition for students and faculty is really fierce and qualified faculty is drastically short. It is a sad state of affairs that majority of these B-schools are just there to fill seats and barely manage to hold classes and run courses and mostly act like placement agencies.
What Makes a B-school Ideal
Any product or service has to be measured from the point of view of an end user. What should a B-school graduate be able to deliver and achieve in the organisation she/he joins? At the lowest level the market demands that a B-school graduate should be able to perform the day- to-day function of the industry/corporate she joins. The knowledge that she/he learns at the B-school will make them perform as good field forces with the potential to become senior managers in the organisation as they go along.
Types of B-Schools
B-schools in India roughly fall under three main categories. Tier I, II and III. Tier I B-schools appear regularly among the top 50 or so in most of the prestigious Indian rankings. These include the older IIMs and many of the established private schools like NITIE, SP Jain, NMIMS, Jamna Lal Bajaj, FMS Delhi, IMT, IIFT, XIMJ, XIMB, TAPMI and others.
Tier II schools, if we may increase the bandwidth by including two+ and two-, are at least a few hundred all across India. It is an interesting group of schools in the sense that it may have schools in existence for more than 20 to a few years. Majority of these schools are run by private trusts. Tier II may also include schools run as university departments in public and private universities.
Many of these, with proper governance and vision, are consistently providing good value-add to the students. These schools have the potential to upgrade to Tier I over the next few years, possess reasonably good infrastructure, are generally approved by AICTE and are mostly run by private trusts. A few are also run as departments of universities and IITs.
The Tier II schools can really propel the quality of management education in India and help in producing excellent young managers in comparatively large numbers.
Tier III B-schools play on the aspirations of the students who have been poor in studies, poor in exposure and feel that they have missed the bus already. Most of these students hail from the Tier III and below towns and villages. The role for these students, coming out of Tier III and lower category of B-schools, could be a field role like a senior sales person, an accounts executive or an assistant HR executive for many years to begin with. These schools should gear themselves to prepare the students for these down to earth but in-demand roles. Thousands of SMEs all over India can be the target recruiters for these students. Exception to the above over a period of time can be brought in by the schools where the learning is of better quality, where team building and group learning is encouraged, pedagogy is dynamic and there is continual effort to enrich the teaching resources.
Challenges and Opportunities
The challenge is to convert each one of the Tier II and III schools into a better category school in India and hence bring in more competitive excellence. The biggest problem is that many of these schools remain in silos and the management attitude is one of complacency and false show as of running the best school but not working towards making it one. Quality of teaching and learning has stopped evolving because of this attitudinal inertia. Yet, many of these schools are coming up with newer fashionable MBA streams without giving a thought to academic expertise available.