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How to rate a B-school?

K. RAMACHANDRAN

The recent Convergence 2005 highlighted the need for a structured and universal framework within which ratings of a B-school should be conducted.

The Institute of Finance and International Management, a leading B-school in Bangalore, organised a platform where the best minds from the corporate, media and the academic world converged to voice their opinions on the current B-school rating system.

Convergence 2005, an interactive platform for various stakeholders, was a forum for stalwarts representing industry, academia and media to voice their opinion on B-School rating systems of the day and their discrepancies. The seminar sought to exchange views for attempting to arrive at a resolution for a uniform and universal rating system for B-schools in India.

The key panelists who were present at the meet comprised Balaveera Reddy, Vice-Chancellor, VTU, Belgaum; N.R. Shetty, Southern Region Chief, AICTE;

Former Vice-Chancellor, Bangalore University, M.R. Rao,

Dean, Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, S. Sadagopan, IIIT-Bangalore, Alam Srinivas, Business Editor, Outlook, S.P. Parashar, Director, IIM Indore, Krishna Kumar, Director IIM Kozhikode among others.

Assessment system

According to Prof. R.K. Vijaysarathy, Director-IFIM, the findings could help in shaping a new and approved system for rating in the country. He says each publication has its own criteria for rating B-schools. At present, rating various B-schools varies from one publication to another. This quite often creates confusion and doubts among B-school aspirants, students already enrolled in an institution and the school managements themselves, as well as corporate recruiters. Therefore, the need for a structured and universal framework within which ratings should be conducted. Convergence 2005 addressed this need gap and attempted to galvanise the insights of various experts from all fields — academia, corporate, and media — spurring them on to discuss enhanced and apt methodologies for B-school rankings.

The panel discussion covered topics such as `The role of the media in promoting quality B-School education', `B-school ranking and its impact on employers and head hunters' and `Aspects of specialised faculty, curriculum, knowledge sets and special programmes that could augment the excellence of various B-Schools'.

Key findings

Dr. Parasher says "Every rating agency should adhere to the 5 x 3 matrix, where 5 stands for education, training, research, consulting and governance, and 3 stands for input, process and output. A combination of all these factors should be taken into consideration while judging a B-school."

The 5 x 3 matrix

The three matrices are as follows:

Input: The effort and emphasis each B-school lays

Process: The methodology and systems adopted

Output: The subsequent results achieved by the school

The Five Matrices are:

Education: This seeks to address the question namely, what kind of students are being taken into a B-School (based on their previous education, work experience). Ranking a B-school, which only admits students with work experience against a B-school which admits only freshers may not be a fair deal

Training: The level of education imparted in terms of role-plays, case studies, and guest lectures that students are exposed to during the two-year programme.

Research: The opportunities offered by institutions to faculty members to conduct the right kind of research. This is a very important factor as quality of education imparted is a function of the research that the faculty members are privy to.

Consulting: An index for rating faculty members is the consulting opportunities that an institution offers. Consulting can provide very rich experience, which eventually gets filtered down to the students. Consulting also paves the way for the faculty and the institution to forge a relationship with the corporates which aid placements.

Governance: The quality of Board members has a great impact on the quality of a B-School. Board members form an important determinant of the educational institution's vision, ethos and mission.

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