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Ministry wants IIMs to accredit B-schools

Also to promote research; other management institutes question credibility of IIMs in both areas

IIM Lucknow

Clearly, it is an idea whose time has not come. The ministry of human resource development (MHRD) wants the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) to accredit other Indian B-schools and promote better management research in the country.

While the IIMs are undecided whether to take up this challenge, other B-schools doubt the capability of the IIMs, given their recalcitrant attitude when it comes to helping their own younger peers.

MHRD says IIMs could not only generate additional revenue through this mechanism, but also reduce the load of the All Indian Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the University Grants Commission (UGC).

“MHRD wants to enhance the quality of B-schools, especially in the area of research, across the country, and has asked the IIMs to accredit other B-schools since AICTE and UGC have a large task at hand,” said Debashis Chatterjee, director, IIM-Kozhikode.

“MHRD was of the view that this could be a good business opportunity for the IIMs, wherein the latter can not only accredit other B-schools, but also enhance institutes’ infrastructure and give them a sense of what they need to do, research being a component,” he added.

The idea was mooted at the recently held World Management Conference in Goa, where MHRD sought the intervention of the IIMs. This will improve India’s overall ranking in the international management journals, according to the ministry.

“At present, the IIMs are spending way too much time and energy on their two-year management programme. If we need to up our global ranking, not only as an institute but also as a country in management education, we need to focus on research, and in the journey take other B-schools along,” said another IIM director, who did not want to be named.

Research has been and is still considered a weak point of Indian B-schools. According to the University of Texas, Dallas, which tracks papers published in journals, India had published just 36 papers between 2009 and 2012 against 276 papers published by Wharton Business School, Philadelphia, and 182 by Harvard Business School, over the same period. This, with a strength of over 3,000 B-schools in India.

Indian B-schools, however, are slowly and steadily coming up the curve as far as publishing research is concerned. The Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore, for instance, had six articles published in journals listed in the Financial Times (FT45); Business Week Top 20 and University of Texas Dallas Top 24.

The institute rewards Rs 12 lakh for A-category publications and Rs 5 lakh for B-category publications to its faculty members. The institute also rewards faculty members for writing cases that are published at Harvard Business Publishing (HBP) and Ivey Publishing (Rs 1 lakh).

“We also measure the impact of our publications using several parameters. To measure the impact of journal articles, we also track how well our articles are cited by other researchers,” says professor Dinesh Kumar, chairperson of research and publications of IIM- Bangalore

It takes about three years to publish one article in a top journal.

In 2011, HBP India, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Harvard Business School Publishing Corp, signed an agreement with IIM-Bangalore to source 24 case studies from the institute every year. HBP publishes management content for academics, students and professionals. IIM-Bangalore is the only institute from India and fourth from Asia that supplies case studies to HBP.

More than 120 institutions from 40 countries used IIM-Bangalore cases that were published in HBP. Many Ivey League Universities such as Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford and Yale used IIM-Bangalore cases in the 2012-13 academic year.

Chennai-based Great Lakes Institute of Management Studies, too, has put in place a reward system for its faculty members. The institute however, declined to divulge the details. “Unfortunately, not in FT 45 or BW 20 though, on an average, 8- 10 papers of various faculty and lecturers get published every year, besides one-two case studies being published,” says Sriram, executive director, Great Lakes Institute of Management. The institute says research output did got up by 40 per cent in the past three-five years.

At Great Lakes, while PhD scholars from other B Schools are guided by some of its faculty to promote research, there is collaborative work between the school’s faculty and researchers from other schools and universities such as Kellogg School, University of Miami, Hong Kong Polytechnic, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand, IIM-Lucknow, IIT-Bombay and IIT-Madras.

In addition, the MHRD has also asked each IIM to identify some focussed areas aligned with some national issues such as water, food security and energy, among other things.

Doubtful of a concerted effort: Harivansh Chaturvedi

Private B-schools are not enthused by MHRD’s suggestion. Their concern is if IIMs cannot help their peers (new IIMs), how would they help other B-schools? “MHRD’s idea is positive, but looking at the record of the IIMs and experience with their younger peers, I doubt there will be a concerted effort. Some of the new IIMs have sought faculty members from other B-schools when older IIMs declined to help them,” said Harivansh Chaturvedi, director, Birla Institute of Management and Technology, Noida.

Question of competency: Pritam Singh

Pritam Singh, director at the International Management Institute, Delhi, said partnering with the IIMs for research would be a good idea but when most IIMs itself were not accredited, they would not have any experience in accrediting others. “What is the competency of IIMs? Of 13 IIMs, not even half are accredited. Whereas, many other B-schools not only have one international accreditation, but have applied for another. It is a myth that IIMs are the best institutions in the country,” said Singh.



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