Are IIMs Overrated in
The Indian Institutes of Management(IIMs) are considered a tag of
elites, privileged and exclusive management institutions both by
the government and the public at large in India. However, I do not
understand what is unique in them. They are just the same management
institutions like anywhere in the world. They admit brilliant students
and recruit the best faculty members from within the country. If
all creams enter IIMs and they outplay and overshadow others, what
is surprising thing in it. I have a few observations to offer in
1. How many 'donkeys" (like me) can they claim have been
converted into horses? Brilliant students will remain brilliant
wherever they go. They admit horses and convert them into fast racing
horses. Many of their students now are getting salary packages between
Rs30 to 90 lacs annually, that is good news. Prof. RK Gupta remarks
in one of his articles "placements is the excuse they have
found to create hype and for hiding their weak operation. Most of
IIMs and their alumni have a nexus and are catering to miniscule
capitalist organizations without any contribution to management
theories, systems and Indian society at large".
However, what happens to them after 10-20 years. Brilliant students
from IITs/IIMs are expected to enhance the image and goodwill of
the country in the future. Often they disappeared in the world crowd
of hall of fame and become only commercial-oriented, enjoying luxury
life. There is a need for a re-thinking on their part.
2. How many of their faculty members have conducted innovative
research which are quoted by the researchers world-wide? How many
of them have developed conceptual framework or management theories,
which are, practiced world-wide like theories of Peter Drucker or
Kaplan? How many papers were published in Harvard Business Review
as 1-2 of them were established in collaboration with HBS? How many
of their faculty members may claims to have the honor of being invited
as guest editors by the reputed International Journals? How many
of their faculty members represent in the committees and boards
of world bank, IMF, Association of Commonwealth universities and
other universities of UK, USA. Receiving funding for research projects
from international organizations may not be very difficult if projects
are feasible, well formulated and these institutions have high priorities
for funding such projects for
developing countries. If I submit a research project on
y Reporting", I may get funding in a very short period from
Some people from IIMs often remark that people have misinformation
or disillusion about IIMs because of ignorance or hearsay.
3. How many of their faculty members have presented papers in
top world's conferences? In the last 13 years, I have not come across
any of their accounting and finance faculty who participated in
European Accounting Association or American Accounting Association
conferences which are world's top conferences in accounting. Last
month, in Dublin, where I participated in EAA congress, I happened
to meet a lady Lecturer from one of the colleges of Delhi University
and she felt so proud in participating in EAA congress with a remark
that "she is the only participant from India. She was very
surprised that how come none of the faculty members from IIMs or
ICAI are not in this conference".
4. Undoubtedly, they have quality teachers. However, how many of
them may claim to have been using extensively and effectively the
teaching and training instructions e.g. enhanced (modified) lecture,
questioning and discussions, writing in cases, problem-based learning:
local cases and guided design, group learning- teamwork, group learning-cooperative
learning, drama, technology-visual and computer-based instructions,
technology-based delivery, fieldwork-service learning, and field-work
internship and Satellite broadband medium?
5. Have they contributed anything in schools and other business
colleges in respect of "Advanced Skills Teacher" (AST)
concept which is devised to reward excellent teachers who wished
to remain in the classroom and spend the equivalent of one day or
a week supporting other teachers in developing their skills and
experience through the sharing of best practice ideas and approaches.
6. As a rule, Indian B-schools have continued teaching curricula
that is woefully stereotyped and offers little scope for change.
They are comfortably ensconced in a closed market. But move them
to the global rankings; they figure nowhere in the top 100 global
B-schools in the ranking surveys of Businessweek, Financial Times
and Forbes. Even Chinese B-schools figure among the first 40 in
the top ranking.
7. They use public grants but they have been catering to a niche
market of capitalists and multinational enterprises. How, many or
percentage of their brand or output really join the public sector
or government or social sectors e.g. electricity, water supply,
health, education as everything is mismanaged there and these areas
need really qualified managers.
8. Social contract, organization legitimacy and political economy
cost theories, all require extensive interactions with the society
at large by organizations, which are of public and national importance.
currently focus on their reputation and rank in India, will need
become more action-oriented. They should be focused on what it is
that makes business education more valuable by greatly curbing the
tendency to 'elitism' or even "egotism' (explained by power
distance cultural dimension). Achievement-oriented will labeled
them as the producer of "Indian International Managers"
(IIMs) and not just Indian Institutes of Management.
Dr. PL Joshi Professor of Accounting , University of Bahrain
NOTE: The views expressed in this article are the personal views
of the author and not the views of the institutions to which he
is affiliated and working.