Private Business Management Colleges Vs IIMs – A Race For Top Honors

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The comparison of IIMs to private business placement colleges needs to be carried out dispassionately, keeping in mind four critical evaluation criterias — brand image, infrastructure, placements and alumni links. Presently, IIMs outscore private business management colleges on most, if not all of these key parameters.

This subject seemingly looks like a nothing —how does one even think to compare the mighty IIMs and one room set-ups masquerading as private business management colleges these days? Is one born yesterday? Does one have no clue about the market dynamic? But maybe it merits deeper, a more unbiased thought — maybe there is more to this than meets the eye at first sight.

When we say private management colleges, we are not just talking about the one room set-ups (which definitely falls into this category). The broad horizon of this term includes several old established and widely venerated institutions as well (some ranked above some of the newer IIMs by impartial raters even today). Read the HT Survey:

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The Image Sweepstakes

IIMs are starting to lose a bit of their aura. There too many new ones opening up, and struggling with staffing issues, like most other government institutions, and hence they face quality issues as well. Also, a bit of complacency may well be robbing them of their previously undisputed lead in the cutting edge management thought space. This is reflected in the decrease on the quality and quantity of research papers coming from them.
On the other hand, private business management colleges are coming up the learning curve very fast, and their staffing struggles are less intense. Since they have deeper pockets, making huge payments and having exquisite infrastructure is highly feasible.

There are respectable set-ups which have been around for a while at the end of this spectrum too. True, most private business management colleges will probably struggle to match the reputation / placement capacity of the older, more established IIMs — Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta and Lucknow in the foreseeable future. But they may be able to match and surpass the newer, less established IIMs —Kozhikode, Indore, Shillong, Rohtak, Ranchi, Raipur, Tiruchirapally, Udaipur, Kashipur and the ones the Indian government is planning to set up in the near future.

The Infra Race

With the number of the IIMs on the rise, the uniqueness the brand once held is fast diluting. We have many more IIM alumni in the job market today than a decade back. Like everything else, their demand goes down as their supply increases. Therefore, a corporate house recruiting on campus might even get an IIM pass-out for a much lower salary package today than it would have done earlier. This is not in tune with the starting packages offered at most good private business management colleges (for example: an XLRI Jamshedpur, a SP Jain, Mumbai or a Symbiosis Pune pass out might get as much, if not more, than an IIM Shillong or IIM Ranchi product).

It should be recognized that private business management colleges seem to be increasing numerously these days. Most are treated purely as a low input profitable business. Hence, one needs to carefully pick out the good ones from the chaff ones. One way to achieve this is by relying on the rankings provided by impartial observers.
The growth in number of Private business management colleges, and the setting up of new IIMs has lead to a highly competitive management education space. IIMs are able to rely on the deep pockets of the government for help. Private spending has its limits even as lavish as it may be.

On the basis of availability of infrastructure, it can be said that Private Business Management Colleges outscore the IIMs on most counts. But they fall behind on a few key parameters. MDI Gurgaon for instance, boasted of an air-conditioned hostel more than a decade back — a level of luxury most IIMs won’t even dream to match. However, on the flip side, most private business management colleges will struggle to match the vast Bidhan Chandra Roy Memorial library at IIM Calcutta (among others).
Few Private Business Management colleges can boast of international academic exposure offered by the older, more established IIMs. Most IIMs have well established student exchange programs with prestigious foreign business management colleges across the globe. Thanks to their growing reputations all over the world.

The Alumni Factor

It is widely perceived that the older, more established IIMs can never be over taken by Private business management colleges, but newer IIMs can easily be overtaken. This is due to the strong, well-networked Alumni Networks each of them boasts of across most corporate houses. If you disagree with this, go witness any alumni gathering in any of the metros. You would see 40-plus- years influential head leaders of the corporate world discussing with twenty something’s of recently passed out batches. In fact, this is a major factor contributing to the much praised placement capacity. Private Business Management Colleges will take at least a few decades to match this, if ever.

The Placements Game

In terms of academics and infrastructure, the private business management colleges do not perceive that they fall behind the IIMs. As Arindam Chaudhary’s infamous course at his private business management college, Indian Institute of Planning and Management declares in a somewhat outré way: “What They Don’t Teach You at the IIMs.” However, it is only at the crucial time of placements that the difference gets highlighted. The lowest salary packages offered at most of the older IIMs far exceeds the highest salary packages offered at most private business schools.

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This is not strictly based on merit — it is more because of the aura of superiority that the brand IIM enjoys today, and shall continue to enjoy for some time to come. Subsequent performance within an organization might tend to rule in favor of candidates from the less famous private business management college. This can yield an accumulated reputation gain for the said private business management college over the years. So, I guess it would be safe to conclude that the IIMs have a substantial lead for now, but who knows, this article may need to be rewritten in the not too distant future.


Article by: Anna Sharma, from India


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1 Response

  1. Miky says:

    Lol. Is this an Indian site? I don’t know what IIM is oo

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