How do I choose which B-School to go to in India in 2010?

4th May 2010

(The views below are strictly personal and highly subjective. The author is also a student. Please use your own brain while interpreting/believing anything written here. It is just an attempt by the author to give a perspective.)

It is just about the right time I feel I can share my views on this. It is funny that in India we decide which B-Schools to go to after we get our results. Most places abroad, people do thorough research about the school before applying. Of course, that is to do with the application fees in those B-Schools abroad and the competition in the multitude of entrance exams in India. It is also important to note here that in India the degrees given out by institutes like the IIMs, XLRI, SPJIMR,JBIMS etc. is equivalent to the Msc. in Management at most universities abroad in its purest form. Except for ISB there is no other proper so called ‘MBA’ school in India.

How would I choose my B-School if I had multiple calls from ‘premier’ institutes of India?

If you have a call from IIM A, B or C you would obviously not care about other results. One may look at ISB but I would still say one should go for IIM ABC over ISB. At least for now. 3-4 years from now may be my view would change. I think if you have a call from IIM A, B, and C all other factors to decide on a B-School are irrelevant unless you are going abroad or you are extremely keen on ISB.

Between IIM A, B and C I don’t think I know so much as to decide. But given the influence of people around me who have been in these institutes I would personally go for IIM B, A and C in that order. IIM A still has the strongest brand name but I have known from people who have graduated from both IIM A and B the kind of stuff happening in IIM Bangalore. I would choose B but then there is no strong rationale for that. I have heard that people who want relatively less academic rigour should look at IIM C but I am not sure whether that is the correct way to look at things.

The confusion really starts at the next level of B-Schools. So what are the factors that one looks at when deciding which B-School to go to?


Over 95% of the people are guided by this criterion and I do not see anything wrong in it. If you are clear why you are doing an MBA (actually PGDM) in India your decision making process would be easier. If you are looking at placements only then after ABC, L would be the next best logical option. If you have ISB as well then go for it. However, at both places L and ISB keep in mind the huge batch sizes. So if you do not get the best 30-40 jobs at L then I am not sure how different it is to be at L or I or K.

If I had a call from ISB and other institutes in India barring IIM ABC I would blindly go for ISB. There are just way too many other exciting things at ISB for me to even think of comparing. Personally if I had a choice between Lucknow and XLRI, I would choose XLRI-BM. I would not be vying for the top jobs anyway. Smaller batch size, better gender ratio and no reservations would attract me to XLRI-BM. Next in line in terms of placements would be FMS, IIM I/SPJain, IIM K in this order. FMS clearly has a legacy which will benefit the top 30-40 of the batch for sure.IIM K is usually preferred less only because of connectivity that affects their placements. SPJain/IIM I is a tough one but my views are very clear here. Between FMS, SPJain and IIM I, IIM K if I had an option I would look at SPJain- A private institute, based in Mumbai, better faculty profiles, better gender ratio, diversity of batch and no reservations. For the remaining schools other factors would overpower purely placements in terms of deciding which School to go to. I would tend to believe people would prefer JBIMS and MDI over NMIMS, SIBM-Pune, IMT-G. Anyway you can refer to this.

OTHER FACTORS that should govern one’s selection are:

· the location,

· alumni base,

· proximity to industry,

· kind of international tie-ups,

· pedagogy

· exchange programmes,

· gender ratio(it is an important criterion according to me),

· diversity of the batch,

· reservation status,

· student activities,

· Peer learning,

· Research done by the institute

Faculty has not been rated very highly as a criterion by me as it is extremely difficult to know the reality. There is an acute shortage of good faculty everywhere and it is too difficult to gauge the difference in the faculty amongst schools. There is very little correlation currently between quality of education imparted and the kind of companies an institute attracts.

At the end I would emphasise that be very clear why you are doing the MBA. If you are looking at a great experience then the IIMs may not be the best place in India. I would suggest you go abroad or go to ISB Hyderabad. None of the Indian universities can match up to the infrastructure and the possibilities for an overall development of personality that is offered in most of the top universities abroad.

If I was a student today this would be the order I would use while selecting where to go. It is a purely personal opinion and subjective analysis based on tradeoffs keeping in mind what I want from a B-School:

1) IIM Bangalore

2) IIM Ahmedabad

3) ISB Hyderabad

4) IIM Calcutta

5) XLRI Jamshedpur


7) IIM Lucknow

8) IIM Indore

9) FMS Delhi

10) IIM Kozhikode

I would not do MBA from any of the other institutes in the current scheme of things. 3 years from now, it is possible that MDI, IMT-Ghaziabad, NMIMS and SIBM-Pune will take place of some of the institutes in the above list which have the burden of reservations. Also, possible that ISB Hyderabad may occupy the top spot by that time. For me, placement is one of the less important criterions. For me Peer learning, Diversity of batch, Research centre of the institute, pedagogy, whether 80% of the students are on merit in the school, international tie-ups and student activities are very important. The only reason IIM ABC are ranked so high on my list is because they have a brand name strong enough to make up for the loss in some of the other things important to me. And anyway, there is hardly any institute in India (ISB may be getting there) that does justice to what I would want as a student.

- Ankit Doshi

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