THE world is going through a tectonic shift in a century that should be categorised as the Indian century because of the huge demographic dividend that India would present to the world.

This understanding that India would be a talent supplier to the world is growing and has fuelled significant growth of the business school education industry.

The growth was such that we saw the onslaught of new institutions in the last few years. India today has close to 2,500 business schools spread across the length and breadth of the country. It is certainly heartening to see that management education has done well in the country. Yet, it still hasn’t come of age.

It’s fairly obvious that with the advent of business school education, and our fondness for it in general, we would see an emergence of an opportunity related to ranking of business schools. We have close to two dozen rankings present in the country, which rank B-Schools based on various parameters, using different methodologies. This incidentally gave rise to a debate as to whether rankings are a true reflection of quality of business schools.

Incidentally I believe that the debate itself is not required because rankings are important as they help in fundamentally differentiating the schools as per criteria used by various rankings. We can all debate on the efficacy of the methodologies and the criteria used by various rankings.

This debate could be important though at this juncture it is fundamentally useless and not required, for the simple reason that it diverts our attention from  that larger problem that we have at hand, that is, the efficacy, the quality, the impact and contribution of the business school fraternity.

We are all missing a fairly critical point in case we move on to debating the efficacy of the ranking without having a clear understanding about the problems of business school education. We in this country do boast of great institutions but do not at any point in time try to discover or question as to the real impact the great institutions are having.

What is the real business of business schools, especially the critical stakeholders in the school, that is, students and faculty? The tragedy is that B-Schools have got relegated to the role of placement agencies and all students and faculty are partners in the demise of the larger reason for the existence of a B-School – to create entrepreneurs.

The problem does not stop here as faculty also need to make contributions to knowledge, consulting, teaching and training. As of today it seems that B-Schools are in the business of chasing training opportunities that are easy to capture rather than creating knowledge that is meaningful and a reflection of our existing context. The real business of B-Schools is not to just churn out students, boast of great rankings but create entrepreneurs and knowledge. The business schools in the country have fared miserably in both these parameters and are merrily participating in rankings that blissfully move the debate away from the real issue at hand and that is of impact that would really put our country firmly on a map as a knowledge capital of the world and an entrepreneurial hub that makes the world go around.

The Article was published in Careers 360 on March 25, 2011.

© 2024 Institute for Competitiveness, India


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