The Financial Times Global MBA Ranking 2017 lists four Indian MBA programmes, all 1 Year Full Time Courses, as having made it to the top 100 MBA courses in the world – these are programmes from ISB and three IIMs. But newspaper headlines in the country are wrongly celebrating the institutes instead with headlines that suggest that these institutes have been ranked as the top B-Schools in the world. The FT Global MBA Ranking is awarded to courses, not B-Schools – they are ranked separately in the FT B-School Rankings. And since in popular imagination, IIMs’ MBA programme is the 2 year PGP course, the takeaway for most people is that the 2 Year PGP courses have been ranked as top MBAs globally.
The Indian Business School (ISB) has stolen a march over the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) capturing the 27th rank. IIM Ahmedabad’s PGPX slipped five spots from the previous year to 29 while IIM Bangalore’s EPGP was placed 49 in the ranking of the best MBA courses in the world.
However, the news reports totally miss out on the fact that it is the 1-Year Full Time MBA programs aimed at candidates with work experience that earned the IIMs a place in the rankings and not their 2-year Post Graduate Programs (PGP) that takes in fresh graduates.
The media relies on the B-Schools to disseminate accurate information about such events, but the IIMs that built up their reputation on the basis of the PGP programs are in no hurry to dispel the impression that their 2 Year course is numero uno, despite the 1-year MBA coming up to international standards.
The world over, the Master of Business Administration (MBA) is considered a post-graduate degree for the business professional who qualifies for the program only after spending the required number of years in a professional capacity.
Fresh graduates with no work experience have the option of going for a Master in Management (MIM) degree. Part-time programs meant for working professionals (executives), invariably have the moniker ‘Executive’.
These programs target those who are already in the workforce but have neither the time nor resources to join a full time program. These programs have considerably lesser weightage than the full time ones when it comes to hiring.
For the same reason, FT brings out three other rankings – a Masters in Management Ranking where the IIMs 2-Year PGP courses qualify, an Executive MBA Ranking where part-time courses are covered, and a B-School ranking that ranks the best B-Schools on cumulative scores awarded in the previous three rankings.
PGP Not an MBA
However, in India, a strange situation is witnessed where the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) tend to push their 2-year Post Graduate Program (PGP) as an MBA.
‘Executive’ Mill Stone
At the same time, the 1-year full time MBA programs that have received accreditation from AMBA (Association of MBA), an internationally recognised body, are given the short shrift with the word ‘Executive’ being added to differentiate them from the PGP programs. It proves to be quite a mill stone around the neck of the “real MBA” graduates with the lack of awareness about its value among the recruiters and ranking agencies due to wrong labelling.
For example, IIM Bangalore (IIMB) calls its 1-year MBA program as Executive Post Graduate Programme (EPGP), IIM Ahmedabad (IIMA) has the Post Graduate Management Programme for Executives (PGPX) and IIM Calcutta, the PGPEX (Post Graduate Programme for Executives). IIM Lucknow, however, clearly specifies the AMBA accreditation for its International Programme in Management for Executives (IPMX) as an MBA program.
It is also to be noted that AMBA does not give accreditation to the institute, but only for the programs. Thus, a full time program for those with work experience will be classified as MBA and those for freshers with no professional experience will be MIM.
Where Things Go Wrong
The IIMs, with the exception of a few, tend to gloss over this fact, highlighting the FT MBA Ranking without specifying the program that has earned the merit. In the same vein, they gloss over specifying which programme has been awarded MBA accreditation by AMBA, UK.
The net result is that the applicants are somehow lulled into believing that the PGP programs are the ‘real MBA’ having been in existence decades before the 1-year programs came on the scene.
Even international ranking agencies like Eduniversal put the IIMs’ 1-year programs in the ‘Executive’ category, divesting them of their due weightage. All this in a situation where the standard of the 1-year program, employment and salaries match international programs.
IIMA’s PGPX, for example, is at number two position in the ‘Weighted salary’ and at number three position in the ‘Career progress rank’ in the FT Global MBA Ranking 2017.
In such a situation, it is no wonder that the media houses also get the story wrong. Headline after headline gave the impression that the institutes have got the honours and the story itself gives no indication of the program that has been ranked.
Apart from IIMA that has slipped to the 29th rank, five spots lower than the previous year, FT lists the 1-year MBA programs of Indian Business School (ISB) at 27, IIMB at 49 while IIMC made its debut in the rankings at 95th spot.
Except for ISB and IIMB, the other institutes have not bothered to clarify that the ranking is for the 1-year program leading to a wrong impression that the 2-year PGP programs are being handed the crown. IIMB had missed specifying that the EPGP has won this ranking last year, but did an excellent job of clarifying each detail in its announcement this year.
ISB, a much younger and nimble business school in the private sector, is able to steal a march over the IIMs with its correctly designated Post Graduate Programme in Management, despite the fact that students of IIMs’ 1 Year MBA courses command better salaries during placements – graduates of IIM A’s PGPX course have averaged salaries around the Rs 29-31 lakh mark as opposed to the Rs 18-20 lakh received by ISB graduates over the past few years.