January 19, 2006

IIMs - Mr. Arjun Singh is right

Mr. Arjun Singh, Minister for HRD

Indian Institutes of Management, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bangalore

Indian Institutes of Management, Kozhikode, Lucknow, Indore

The Indian Institutes of Management were established in various parts of the country under Government auspices and all manner of support by the Government, including their funding, to train business managers of India.

These IIMs have done good service over the years by turning out managers who have made a name for themselves in various businesses. Indeed, some of these IIMs have gained some reputation in other parts of the world, although they are far away from being counted amongst the top Institutes in the world whether in teaching or research studies.

NOT ONE of the IIMs of India figures in the rankings of top 100 global management schools of 2005, whereas China boasts of three and even Brazil, Mexico and South Africa figure in the list!!

Some of these IIMs are now thinking of expanding their operations in other countries. In this instance, the HRD Minister, Mr. Arjun Singh is absolutely right in rejecting their proposals in this regard.

His stance is quite logical, nothwithstanding comments of some academicians and industry leaders seeking full autonomy for the Institutes in their decision making.

Mr. Arjun Singh is right on all counts.

First, the Institutes were established with a clear mandate from the Government that envisaged that they will train and nurture the talent within the country and help the country achieve distinction in the field of business management. Although the IIMs have been doing this, they have still to reach very many areas of the country where young boys and girls with talent are unable to get first class training in business management. In the absence of adequate facilities, hundreds of young people are deprived of the opportunity to become the future business managers.

Second, considering the existing and projected growth of the Indian economy, the country will need trained managers in large numbers which the existing IIMs are clearly not in a position to provide without expanding in other parts of the country.

Third, inspite of their tall claims of being centers of excellence, students from India continue to go abroad to get trained in prestigious business management institutues and universities in other parts of the world. Once there, they have plenty of opportunities in the host countries and the talent which rightfully should be helping their own country India, is lost for ever in foreign countries. If the IIMs are indeed providing the high quality training that they claim to provide, , there is no reason why an Indian student should still yearn for a foreign university.

On the other hand, if the IIMs are really providing such a high level of education which is projected in public perception, they should be able to attract students from abroad, even from developed countries, for training here.

In this situation, regardless of the emotional hue and cry for autonomy from all and sundry, it is quite out of place for them to think of spreading their operations in other countries.

The priorities for these IIMs are clear:
  • To improve their standards of training to a level where not only the Indian students stop thinking of going abroad but also where students from the developed world recognise the mettle of these Institutes and seek training by coming to India. They need to get international recognition in the true sense in their own right.
  • To expand their operations in other parts of the country where there are no facilities for training in their sphere of specialisation viz. business management.
It is hoped that despite showing signs of softening, Mr. Arjun Singh will not change his perfectly valid stance and not allow the IIMs to get the benefit from the Government support, supply of land and public funds received by them over the years, by going abroad.

It seems rather strange that the Institutes which are supposed to develop clear strategic thinking of the highest order in their students, themselves have skewed thinking about their own raison detre and responsibilities towards the country.

Let them make optimum use of the infrastructure they have already created within the country and also create new centers within the country rather than squandering resources on creating new infrastructure in foreign lands. They need to focus themselves on fulfilling their obligations towards the Indian society rather than yielding to flights of fancy. It is immaterial that some of them might be generating adequate revenues and creating a corpus with their own earnings, for that cannot be the criterion for allowing them to do what they please in the name of autonomy.


Anonymous said...

Now they are saying that because many countries in SAARC are inviting us, we should go.

What about the various parts of our own country? Do IIMs/ IITs not have any responsibility towards them???

Diminutive-Indian said...

I fully agree with you.

1.IIMs should first of all try to improve themself. No one outside India seems to know IIMs. In this condition how they think ppl would like to join IIM in Singapore or USA.

2.They also put the logic that since US B schools are coming in India they should be allowed there. Now can a sane person compare Wharton or Harvard with IIMs ?

3.IIMs are indulging in nefarious design of demand and supply. They are keeping the supply less to create artificial spike in demand. This lets them command premium in India. If they have so much resources and fund they why don't they increase the intake ? Wharton admits 850 students in a year, how much does one IIM ?

4. What is the need of going abroad ? Does going abroad give them a name or it will relegate them to a third grade B school.

5.IITs are more famous globally than IIMs but have they gone abroad ?

6. IIMs get fund from India govt which is tax payers money and how exactly are they serving tax payers by going abroad ?

7.IIMs seems to be far behind even of our own IITs in designing the new courses needed for Indian economy. IIT Kharagpur has started a course on patent management, has any IIMs ?

8.We all supported IIMs in the tiff with Murli Manohar Joshi cause it was wrong then. But that precedent should not be used to justify the present tiff.

Green said...

This is knowns as silo mentality. All the strategic gurus of IIMs have lived all their life in silos. They think that they will open a branch in Singapore or USA and whole world will flock to get admitted. Oh come on , give me a break !!

Please you honourble thinkers come out of India, not so far, but land at any aiport of Asia and ask anyone do they know IIM ? you will get your answer.

Paro Ghosh said...

Why should the public money be used for getting false glory by going abroad.

The IIMs claim that they would have to lower their standards to get more students! This is ridiculous. They fix the level of entry depending upon the seats they have.

Their problem is that they simply do not have enough seats to meet the full demand.

It would be a pity if the Government backs down from the sensible stand it has taken.

Anonymous said...

Ministry should not succumb to pressure by industry leaders.

Bala said...

Now, IIMB is saying that they cannot take more students in India because of shortage of faculty!!!(Times of India, 21st. Jan.)

What a complete absence of direction!

Well then, they should concentrate on strengthening the faculty structure at home rather than day-dreaming about foreign lands.