The B-schools' assessments measure the quality of knowledge creation, dissemination and application in these schools
The rank of a B-school is the aggregate of the weighted scores of nine competencies validated by a team of analysts and NHRDN representatives
Methodology and Differentiators: In a first-of-its-kind endeavour, National HRD Network joins hands with People Matters to gauge and rank B-schools in the country. It is the only ranking to have involved more than 30 senior corporate members in its design and execution.
Sixteen years ago, Business Today magazine and independent research agency Cosmode jointly carried out the first B-school ranking. Since then, there has been a plethora of rankings and surveys, leading to cynicism and confusion among the B-schools and the aspirants. Unfortunately, most of the present day rankings are based on information taken at face value from the institutes rather than authenticating and validating the data provided. The stakes have risen as most of the aspirants do an MBA to jump start their careers and hence choosing the right B-school for the right discipline has become critical.
The National HRD Network (NHRDN), in its capacity as the apex body for leading human resources practitioners partnered People Matters to enquire about the true picture of the current B-schools so that aspirants could take an informed decision. NHRDN has 13,000 full-time members who account for a great percentage of total hiring in the country.
The NHRDN-People Matters B-school rankings are an evaluation of the academic environment and the industry reputation of the leading B-schools in the country. The 40 schools ranked in the exercise were assessed on nine competencies that measure the quality of knowledge creation, knowledge application and knowledge dissemination in these institutions.
NHRDN constituted an advisory committee for the initiative and appointed its National President S.Y. Siddiqui as the chairman. The process of evaluation included data collection through a survey questionnaire, validation through personal visits and interactions with the faculty and students. The questionnaire was created based on consultative inputs from industry stalwarts and leading academicians of the country.
This is the only ranking of its kind that involves more than 30 senior corporate members in its design and execution. In addition to soliciting guidance on the critical assessment competencies, a series of brainstorming sessions were conducted with them to assign weightages to the nine critical competencies.
After consultations with industry leaders and academicians, the nine competencies were weighted based on order of their relevance. For developing the methodology and conducting the survey, NHRDN employed the experiential learning and research company, Cinque Education as the research partner.
The nine competencies on which the schools were ranked are as follows:
Intellectual capital: Intellectual capital is the most important parameter for measuring a B-school as it aims to understand the quality of the academic approach. Faculty’s academic pedigree and skill building efforts, research output, renewal of knowledge and frequency of updates were assessed while measuring intellectual capital.
Academic excellence: Institutes were graded on how they transformed their knowledge capital into practice. Factors like new electives, pedagogy richness (including case studies, management simulation games and experiential learning activities), industry interface and involvement of students in live projects were all taken into consideration.
Students’ profile in terms of their quality and diversity: Student quality determines the type of managers they become, while the diversity of their profile will directly impact the quality of learning. The profile of a student includes details like educational background, gender, previous corporate experience as well as nationality. Besides this, cut-off percentiles and diverse selection processes are other factors that were assessed. Since B-schools are primarily in the business of grooming leaders, efforts were made to identify how much weightage was given to psychological testing for leadership potential.
Corporate connectedness: Corporate connectedness helps an institution understand current industry trends and developments which they can then incorporate in their teaching to prepare industry-ready professionals. The parameters evaluated were the centres of excellence, level of participants, research on executive education and management development programme, number of faculty on various boards of organisations, corporate bodies and government committees.
Placements: Students have started closely monitoring salary and compensation figures of B-schools after the slowdown. The research focused primarily on salary figures, sectoral diversity, quality of summer internships and profile of companies visiting the campus.
International accreditations and linkages: Owing to the opening up of global talent markets, most companies and students want quality in their management programmes against global benchmarks. International accreditation is a global stamp of quality for an institute and it facilitates tie-ups with schools in different parts of the world. The research focused on accreditations and collaborations for faculty and student exchange programmes in addition to the frequency and quality of international visitors to the institutes.
Infrastructure: The hard and soft infrastructure of an institute is closely looked at by most recruiters and prospective students. The rankings factored in the residential nature of the programme and the richness of the library & other knowledge sources.
Campus life: The transformation of a student into a manager and a future leader depends on off-class activities and experiences as well. Campus life captures the number of student-driven committees, their activities, the performance of students in various competitions and social activities undertaken. The study also explored the existence of an entrepreneurship cell and the number of students associated with it.
Institute leadership and governance: Leadership of an institution decides the road map and strategic vision, while governance decides the empowerment and transparency in the school. This aspect was covered through formal and informal interviews with various stakeholders.
Shortlisting of B-schools
The starting point of shortlisting was the reference of college listings from various present day rankings. The rankings from the last five years were considered for this exercise. All the schools included in the survey are the ones that offer courses affiliated to the University Grants Commission or the All India Council for Technical Education. The advisory committee was keen to focus primarily on lead B-schools and so decided to limit the number of colleges ranked to 40 for the first year. Also, only those colleges where at least three batches have graduated were considered for these rankings. Newer B-schools like the Indian Institutes of Management in Kashipur and Ranchi have been assessed under the emerging B-schools of excellence category for their academic excellence and intellectual capital.
The research process started with a questionnaire that a B-school was asked to fill, after which a research analyst and an NHRDN representative visited the campus for extensive interactions with the directors, deans, faculty and students. These interactions were aimed to eliminate the errors introduced by cognitive and perception biases. The process involved three main researchers and 30 industry representatives who visited various colleges to authenticate the data. The advisory committee was unanimous in its decision that B-schools must be looked at from a much broader perspective of various stages of knowledge – its creation, distribution and application. The survey will be a one-stop shop for parents, aspirants and HR managers to find out the best B-school in the country.