The B-School Ranking Season is here... and confusion galore!!!
If B-Schools claim that they teach the students how to make wise decisions amidst ambiguity and uncertainty, then the learning process certainly starts for the wannbe MBAs when they consider the numerous published B-School Rankings to chose where to apply.
So far in this season, only 3 publications have published their unique - and mutually contradictory - rankings.
However, last year 6-7 publications had ranked the B-Schools on their self-selcted criteria... so one can safely anticipate that more rankings will be getting published in the coming months... In fact, given the craze of media to rank everything, anything goes - more rankings, more critereia, more clarifications in small prints... and more confusion...
... I mean, there is no law which says that, say, Femina, Chandamama, or Janasatta - or for that matter, Banta Singh Santa Singh Foundation for Whatever- cannot rank B-schools, is there?.
What has made the process of ranking slightly tough for the publications this year is the decision by all IIMs not to participate in the ranking (I guess, the same for FMS Delhi, but am not sure)... and XLRI, Jamshedpur is participating on a selective basis.
But, the 3 rankings - by Business World, Outlook and AIMA-Business Standard - published so far are worth looking at:
A. Business Today (June 19, 2005)
A couple of years back, BT had decided that since verifying the information given by the B-Schools is virtually impossible, it is more convenient to evaluate the B-Schools as "Brands". This year too, the ranking is based on "Brand Loyalty + Price Premium", etc.
...er ...pardon this extremely stupid question: when you select a B-school to study in, is it really like buying a soap?)
Their 2-stage methodology is interesting:
Stage 1: How do you shortlist the 30 B-schools to be ranked?
Stage 2: And how do you arrive at the magical rankings?
Interview another 108 current MBAs, 88 young executives and 77 functional heads
Total Sample for survey: 449
(they ranked almost 1000 B-schools in the country!!!)
But Presto! - here are the rankings:
1. IIM, Ahmedabad
2. IIM, Bangalore
3. FMS, Delhi
4. IIM, Calcutta
5. XLRI, Jamshedpur
6. IIM, Lucknow
7. IIFT, Delhi
8. Symbiosis, Pune
9. JBIMS, Mumbai
10. NMIMS, Mumbai
... Which may look OK at a first glance, till you look at the details in the pages that follow. Some startling revelations from this study:
Needless to say, such findings would shake one's faith in reality as one knows it!!
B. Outlook (September 15th, 2005)
This one looked like a more comprehensive and rigorous ranking - what with 6-7 well-defined parameters. Pretty honest also, since the magazine mentions that out of the invitations it sent to 950 B-Schools, only 234 responded. To clarify to the wannabe MBAs, as to why there were so many B-schools who refused to participate in the survey, page 62 clarifies:
"The were all wrong: they didn't have a clue about how B-School rankings are done; many, who sat in their cosy, air-conditioned offices, were criticising it only because their particular institutes had been ranked low in some surveys; then there were those who were shell-shocked by their institute's ranking and opted out of most of surveys."
Notable among these B-Schools, who
(1) had no "clue about how B-School rankings are done", and
(2) "were shell-shocked by their institute's ranking"
were the IIMs, XLRI (and I guess, FMS, Delhi), who refused to participate in the ranking survey
Nevertheless, for some myterious reasons (or not so mysterious either - I mean, how do you justify the validity of your objective B-School Rankings, if they don't feature the IIMs in the top-10), the magazine did rank IIM A/B/C... Based on "secondary data"...
So here goes... Have your pick:
1. IIM, Ahmedabad*
2. IIM, Bangalore*
3. IIM, Calcutta*
4. MDI, Gurgaon
5. SP Jain Instt, Mumbai
6. IIFT, New Delhi
7. NMIMS, Mumbai
8. XIM, Bhubneshwar
9. ICFAI, Hyderabad
10. IMI, Delhi
(* did not participate in the survey - ranking based on "secondary data")
Ok, if MDI did not feature in the top-10 of the earlier BT survey, or if the FMS Delhi or XLRI Jamshedpur does not feature in this list... Well, your luck!... Take your pick!!!
C. AIMA-Business Standard (BS, September 15, 2005)
Ah.... Finally a "politically correct" survey!
This one does not "rank" but "grades" the B-Schools - and publishes them in "alphabetical" order (don't know how many people read the fine print that the following are the Top 10 A+ B-Schools, and are not ranked from 1-to-10
OK, OK!!!... we will ignore the fact that "SP Jain Instt of...." is actually - and technically - "Bharti Vidya Bhavan's SP Jain Instt..."... . Frankly, I did not know this... and therefore will naturally lead the pack of A+s
Just a slight of hand (or pen), one will say... :)
Postscript: Since the issue/dynamics of "Why Rank/ Be Ranked/ Rely on Ranks" has alrady been covered in an earlier posting - The Maya of B-School Salary - I have skipped that...