The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) are considering awarding the Master’s degree to graduates of the one-year full-time programs, namely the PGPX of IIM Ahmedabad, the EPGP of IIM Bangalore, PGPEX of IIM Calcutta, EPGP of IIM Indore and IPMX of IIM Lucknow.
The IIM Directors are understood to have taken up the issue at a meeting with the Department of Higher Education Secretary R. Subrahmanyam, according to a report in the Indian Express.
While some of the IIMs, including IIM Bangalore, have already decided to award degree certificates to graduates of the 2-year full-time Post-Graduate Program (PGP), they ran against a stumbling block in the case of one year programs in the form of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Act.
The UGC has specified that a Master’s degree in management has to be of two years duration that automatically rules out the award of the degree to the one year program students.
However, what is being missed out is that the one-year programs are aimed at professionals with some years of work experience, who want to move up into the higher echelons of management. They have, for long, been waging a perception battle, more often than not, being mistaken for part-time executive MBA programs, mainly on account of the “executive” tag put by the IIMs to differentiate them from the 2-year full-time programs.
Even the Indian government, under the mistaken impression, had clubbed these programs with the other part-time programs, refusing to grant them exemption from taxes unlike the 2-year programs aimed at fresh graduates.
While the Indian Institute of Management Act 2017, had granted autonomy to the IIMs in several areas, including the power of giving postgraduate degrees instead of diplomas, the UGC rules have led to a conflict.
The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry had issued an order on March 8, 2018, that the IIMs will have to seek the government’s permission for awarding a degree that is “not in accordance with the UGC notification”.
Meanwhile, one of the IIM Directors said after the meeting that they have sensitised the ministry on the matter and expressed the hope that the Ministry will reconsider the matter in favour of the students. The meeting was held on the sidelines of the 6th Pan IIM World Management Conference held at IIM Bangalore from December 13-15.
At the meeting, the IIMs had also urged the ministry to reconsider the entry criteria laid down by the government for the doctoral programme offered by them.
MiMs target fresh graduates with little or no professional experience. Executive MBAs are usually part-time programs for working professionals with classes held in the evening or weekends.
Under the existing rules, a Cumulative Grade Points Average (CGPA) of 8 is needed for direct entry candidates with a four-year degree or B.Tech. The IIMs want this to be revised to 6 CGPA. They also want to be allowed to admit candidates even with a one-year postgraduate diploma as opposed to the two-year diploma prescribed under the rules.
The HRD Ministry, in a communication to all the 20 B-schools, had stated that the IIMs will be allowed to grant admission to students with a four-year bachelor’s degree directly into the PhD program. The duration of the course for such candidates will be four years.
In case of the three-year doctoral program, the Ministry had specified that applicants should either have a Master’s degree or a two-year PG diploma or a professional qualification such as CA/ICWA/CS with B.Com.
Meanwhile, the IIMs themselves are split over the nomenclature of the degree. While IIM Ahmedabad and Lucknow prefer Master in Management (MiM), the others favour Master of Business Administration (MBA). However, MiM is not on the list of approved degrees under Section 22 of University Grants Commission (UGC) Act, 1956. It specifies MBA or Masters in Management Studies (MMS) for the two-year management programs being offered by management education institutions.
Prior to the IIM Act, the IIMs were separate entities registered under the Societies Act. Since societies are not authorised to award degrees, students admitted to their Master’s program were given a Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM). Those pursuing doctoral studies were awarded the title of a ‘Fellow’ at the end of their research.
In the international management education scenario, MBA is awarded for full-time programs of one to two years duration for professionals with at the least three years of work experience. MiMs target fresh graduates with little or no professional experience. Executive MBAs are usually part-time programs for working professionals with classes held in the evening or weekends. These may lack the rigour of full-time MBA programs.