Lo­cal Turf, Global Reach

Why more and more busi­ness schools are striv­ing for global ac­cred­i­ta­tion


Why more and more B-schools are striv­ing for global ac­cred­i­ta­tion

There are only about 20-odd in­ter­na­tional stu­dents in the top ten B-Schools in In­dia. Not sur­pris­ingly, In­dian B-Schools are pulling out all stops to se­cure global recog­ni­tion for their brands. And that comes in the form of ac­quir­ing global ac­cred­i­ta­tion.

In the uni­verse of busi­ness man­age­ment, ac­cred­i­ta­tions from only three or­gan­i­sa­tions re­ally count – the As­so­ci­a­tion to Ad­vance Col­le­giate Schools of Busi­ness ( AACSB), the As­so­ci­a­tion of MBAs ( AMBA), and the Euro­pean Foun­da­tion for Man­age­ment De­vel­op­ment Qual­ity Im­prove­ment Sys­tem ( EQUIS EFMD).

The In­dian In­sti­tute of Man­age­ment, Kolkata, is the only one that has se­cured the ‘triple crown’. All the other top-ranked B-Schools in In­dia are try­ing too, but have only man­aged one or two of the three ac­cred­i­ta­tions.

Ask the Founder and Dean of the Great Lakes In­sti­tute of Man­age­ment, Chen­nai, Dr. Bala V. Balachan­dran, why there are hardly any foreign stu­dents in In­dia’s top busi­ness schools and pat comes the re­ply - “Are IIMs glob­ally re­spected in­sti­tu­tions?” The oc­to­ge­nar­ian Pro­fes­sor Emer­i­tus at the Kel­logg School of Busi­ness Man­age­ment, Illi­nois, does have a point.

The All In­dia Coun­cil for Tech­ni­cal Ed­u­ca­tion ( AICTE)’ s data sug­gests that though there are about 3,644 ap­proved busi­ness schools in In­dia, hardly any of them fig­ure in global rank­ings. No won­der, they’re not able to at­tract stu­dents from other coun­tries.

How do the ac­cred­i­ta­tions help? “Ac­cred­i­ta­tions are an ob­jec­tive method to get feed­back. They help you look at your per­for­mance in the in­ter­na­tional per­spec­tive. We get to know what is needed for recog­ni­tion in the global land­scape,” says Pro­fes­sor Chan­dra P. Shri­mali, the Act­ing Direc­tor of the Man­age­ment De­vel­op­ment In­sti­tute, Gu­ru­gram. MDI has AMBA ac­cred­i­ta­tion and is work­ing to­wards the other two.

The Dean, New Ini­tia­tives, and Ex­ter­nal Re­la­tions at IIM Cal­cutta, Pro­fes­sor Ut­tam K. Sarkar, con­curs. “In the past five to six years, we have been ag­gres­sive about im­prov­ing our pres­ence and brand­ing in the in­ter­na­tional arena...one way has been through se­cur­ing ac­cred­i­ta­tions”.

Un­like do­mes­tic sys­tems of ac­cred­i­ta­tion that are in­put driven – In­dian stan­dard­i­s­a­tion pro­cesses

"Ac­cred­i­ta­tions help you look at your per­for­mance in the in­ter­na­tional per­spec­tive. We get to know what is needed,” says Prof Chan­dra P. Shri­mali, Act­ing Direc­tor, MDI, Gu­ru­gram

rely heav­ily on in­fra­struc­ture, fa­cil­i­ties, and fac­ulty strength – global ac­cred­i­ta­tions are out­put ori­ented. That is, B-Schools are judged on per­for­mance and their abil­ity to achieve their own pre-de­ter­mined goals. Though in­fra­struc­ture and fa­cil­i­ties do have a role to play, global ac­cred­i­ta­tions do not use these as the sole cri­te­ria.

The race for global ac­cred­i­ta­tions is a win-win sit­u­a­tion, ac­cord­ing to the Mem­ber Sec­re­tary of the Lal Ba­hadur Shas­tri In­sti­tute of Man­age­ment’s aca­demic ad­vi­sory body, Pro­fes­sor Alok Pandey. “To get these ac­cred­i­ta­tions, B-Schools be­come out­put ori­ented and be­gin look­ing at what to gen­er­ate,” he says.

The Direc­tor of the T. A. Pai Man­age­ment In­sti­tute ( TAPMI), Ma­ni­pal, Madhu Veer­aragha­van, says global di­ver­sity on cam­pus is an es­sen­tial part of man­age­ment stud­ies. And to at­tract stu­dents from other na­tions, the ac­cred­i­ta­tion is a must-have. “Global rank­ing is not that easy to get. You need to have out­stand­ing aca­demic re­search and many busi­ness schools in In­dia don’t pri­ori­tise qual­ity aca­demic re­search,” he says. TAPMI has the AACSB ac­cred­i­ta­tion.

The pa­ram­e­ters for global ac­cred­i­ta­tion in­clude but are not re­stricted to, place­ments, over­all stu­dent per­for­mances, alumni, di­ver­sity in stu­dent in­take, re­search achieve­ments of fac­ulty mem­bers and so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity.

As a re­sult, al­most all the B-Schools in In­dia are work­ing to­wards im­prove­ments in these ar­eas. That, how­ever, hasn’t helped them beat the di­ver­sity chal­lenge. Dr Balachan­dran says it is a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion. “We are a sub-con­ti­nent in our­selves. Un­like a B-School in Bel­gium, for in­stance where even 80 per cent of the stu­dent body may come from Western Europe, in In­dia, this will not take place,” he says.

The In­dian ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor’s col­lec­tive fail­ure in sell­ing it­self in global aca­demics is a known fact, and the econ­omy does not of­fer lu­cra­tive prospects for those for­eign­ers who would want to stay on in In­dia after study­ing here.

Terming this a vi­cious cy­cle, Part­ner at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu In­dia, Anindya Mal­lick, sums up the sit­u­a­tion say­ing: “Recog­ni­tion from in­dus­try may come when cor­po­rates come for place­ments to our cam­puses, but the youth will come only when we have the global rank­ings. And the glob­ing rank­ings de­pend on how much di­ver­sity there is on the cam­pus”. ~

The In­dian ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor’s fail­ure in sell­ing it­self in global aca­demics is a fact. The econ­omy also does not of­fer lu­cra­tive prospects for for­eign­ers who would want to stay on in In­dia

IIM Cal­cutta: The school has the high­est num­ber of global ac­cred­i­ta­tions among the top in­sti­tutes

T. A. Pai Man­age­ment In­sti­tute, Ma­ni­pal, has the AACSB ac­cred­i­ta­tion. Its Direc­tor, Madhu Veer­aragha­van, says global di­ver­sity is an es­sen­tial part of man­age­ment stud­ies

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