Post-graduation in management is the most sought-after course for graduate students. MBA from a university or a post-graduate diploma in management (PGDM) are the most popular choices for students to pursue post-graduation in management education. The history of management education in India goes back to as early as 1913 when the first college-level business school was founded in Mumbai called Sydenham College of Commerce. This was followed by Sri Ram College of Commerce in Delhi in the year 1920.
In 1961, IIM Calcutta and IIM Ahmedabad were launched in collaboration and help from MIT and Harvard. India opened up its economy in the year 1992 by introducing new economic policy (NEP). The main objective of the NEP was to privatise few sectors and give more stress to liberalisation and globalization. This created huge economic activity in the private sector which required a large number of trained business managers and executives. This lead to the inception of many management institutes by reputed universities and business schools accredited to regulatory bodies like All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). The skills that students develop in a management institute include accounting and finance skills, marketing skills, other functional area skills like operations and HR, good written and oral communication skills, critical thinking and most importantly ability to work in teams. Also, managers, today need to know information technology operations specific to their domain of work. The curriculum of management education keeps evolving constantly depending on the industry requirements and needs.
Different institutes follow a different pattern of their admission process. Various admission tests like the common admission test (CAT) are conducted. Along with the admission test score, academic performance in graduation, work experience, performance in group discussion and personal interview are some other parameters considered for the admission process. Students consider metrics like pedagogy, faculty members, corporate connect and placements, research, rankings to decide their choice of management institutes for admissions.
Though there are many reputed management institutes in India, the problem for students is they are all concentrated in major cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad etc. The pain points students have to face are: leave their homes and stay in far of places, big cities are expensive, space and resource constraints, grim chances of getting admission to reputed institutes as many students are trying for the same institutes, and expensive fees structure. As an alternate, it is high time students start looking at the campus of prominent B-schools outside their flagship locations. Many management institutes are opening their branches outside of their flagship locations. Today there are 20 IIM campuses across India whereas six campuses are old and rest started 2004 onwards, the latest being IIM Jammu in the year 2016. Likewise, many other reputed institutes are opening new campuses outside of their flagship locations in tier II cities and other promising locations. The reasons for these institutes to come up with new campuses in other locations are many. Firstly, though they get high number of applications, the admissions get limited to the number of seats available if they have only one campus. There are regulatory guidelines on the number of admissions to be offered for each course by universities and AICTE. In most of the cases, these flagship campuses are located in big cities and expanding the facilities in existing locations will be a tough task due to space and other resource constraints. Having campuses in multiple locations will help the institutes to bank on each other’s skills and resources. It also helps in improving student industry interface.
While preparing for admission to management courses, students generally look for prominent institutes in their flagship locations. Instead of looking at only flagship locations, they can consider other locations. Since institutes in other locations follow curriculum, pedagogy, and other academic metrics similar to flagship locations, students need not worry about teaching, assessments and other academic exercises. Corporate connect and placements is a major criteria student will consider while making a choice for admission. General perception is companies will hire only from flagship locations and in other locations it may be tough to attract to good recruiters. But it is not true. If we see from an institute’s perspective, it is important for them to excel in all locations to keep up their popularity and brand image. Hence, they generally work as a team to maintain same kind of performance across different locations. It is very common to see students from others locations being called to flagship locations and vice versa during placement processes. Similarly, companies also find it convenient to hire from locations near to them rather than just looking at flagship locations. If a company is looking for hiring in Bengaluru and say there is a branch of a reputed management institute in Bengaluru but headquartered in Mumbai, companies will prefer to recruit from Bengaluru rather than traveling to Mumbai. This will obviously reduce their recruitment cost.
As discussed earlier, big cities are overcrowded and facing large issues like infrastructure, power, pollution, high cost etc. It is in these cities most of the reputed management institutes and also large companies are located. It is extremely difficult to expand their operations in these locations. Especially, manufacturing units are shifting their base to city outskirts or to smaller locations as there are strict guidelines on carbon emissions in big cities due high pollution. The present government’s key initiatives like smart cities, digital India, bringing rural population into the fold of organised economy will lead to development of tier II cities and other smaller cities. Also companies are expanding their operations to these smaller locations due to availability of resources and cost advantage. It is a win-win situation for management institutes as well as to the corporate sectors. So this is the right time for students to look at locations other than flagship locations and give a serious thought about securing admission into these campuses.
Article contributed by:
Prin. L. N. Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research (WeSchool).