Will ‘One State-One-IIM’ agenda dent the brand?

IIM
IIM Rohtak, one of the six new IIMs, enjoys location advantage as it is situated close to Delhi-NCR. But it is a hard grind for those set up in remote areas

It was a pleasant surprise for thousands of CAT aspirants when they realized that the number of seats available for IIM admissions in academic year 2015-16 would be increased substantially thanks to the inclusion of six new Indian Institutes of Management. However, the urgency with which it was announced stunned the academic community. They were doubtful about the capability of IIMs established in the last 5-6 years, to add value to ‘brand IIM’ and the new announcement added to their scepticism.

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The CAT 2014 application lists Post Graduate Programme (PGP) at the six new IIMs proposed to be set up in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Punjab.

At present 13 IIMs are operational in the country including the six new IIMs – IIM Ranchi, IIM Rohtak, IIM Raipur, IIM Kashipur, IIM Trichy, IIM Udaipur. So, how will this expanding capacity of IIMs reflect on management education in India? What are the implications of having more seats in IIMs? How good or bad is HRD ministry’s ‘One State-One-IIM’ agenda?

IIM cohort

Type of IIMs

Number

Locations

Old 

6

Ahmedabad, Kolkata,
Bangalore, Indore, Lucknow, Kozhikode

New  

7

Shillong, Tiruchirappalli,
Rohtak,  Ranchi,
Raipur, Kashipur,
Udaipur

Proposed 

6

Andhra Pradesh,
Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra,
Odisha, Punjab,

IIM-Bangalore

IIM Bangalore enjoys the advantage of being in the midst of India's IT hub

Getting into IIMs gets easier

Undoubtedly, the additional capacity of IIMs makes this premium brand of management education in India more accessible. Given the fact that number of IIM aspirants is getting stabilized in last few years, the chances of getting a seat in these coveted institutions has also gone up significantly.

However, the number of applicants and test-takers reflect a contrasting trend. Sample this: While there were only 11 seats available per 1000 applicants for IIM admission year 2010-12, the increasing number of seats coupled with lowering registration resulted in availability of 17 seats per 1000 applicants for admission year 2014-16.

 

Thanks to the increase in IIM seats due to announcement of 6 new IIMs in 2014 Union budget and their subsequent admission notification through CAT 2014, the level of competition is bound to come down.  Experts believe that this will make entry to IIMs easier.

 

Assuming that all the 6 new IIMs notified in CAT 2014 begin their first batch in 2015 with a minimum strength of 50 students, there will be an addition of about 300 more seats to the existing 3335 seats across all 13 IIMs. Besides this, going by the last 3-4 year’s trend, a minimum of 3-5 % seats get added to the existing capacity of all IIMs. This is expected to add about 150 seats to the existing strength. Thus, about 3700-3800 IIM seats are expected to be available for 2014 CAT applicants.

 

Quality concern

While accessibility gets easier for CAT aspirants, quality of education in the new IIMs has emerged as a core concern. So far none of the IIMs established in the last 4-5 years has been able to function from their permanent campus. This is only one of the major concerns on setting up new IIMs.

Since the new set of IIMs was proposed just six months back and locations for all of them are still in the discussion stage, there is serious concern over their becoming operational within the next six months.

 

Industry tie-ups and market engagement is another area where new IIMs face challenges. “There are many challenges in developing new IIMs. As close industry interaction is a must for budding managers, the institutions established in remote parts of the country will face tough challenges on that front,” says Dr Prafulla Agnihotri, Director, IIM Trichy.  Unlike IIM Trichy, which established a centre in Chennai apparently to facilitate and strengthen its industry ties, he doubts the feasibility of establishing extension centres for all new IIMs in the vicinity of industry hubs.

 

IIMs established in remote locations also struggle to appeal to quality faculty. For example, IIM Kashipur remained without a permanent director for several months apparently due to its remote location. Apart from IIM Trichy, which established a centre in Chennai, and IIM Rohtak, which is close to Delhi-NCR, all other new IIMs, according to experts, have locational disadvantages. It adversely affects their industry relations, which play a key role in learning and pedagogical process of B-Schools.

Establishment of IIMs 

Decade

No. of (New) IIMs

Population (as on
1st year of the decade)

No. of States (as on
1st year of decade)

1960s

2 (IIMA,C)

43,92,35,000

16 + 3 UTs

1970s

1 (IIMB)

54,81,60,000

-Do-

1980s

1 (IIML)

68,33,29,000

-Do-

1990s

2 (IIM Indore & Kozhikode)

84,63,87,888

-Do-

2007

1 (IIM Shillong)

102,87,37,436

25 + 7 UTs

2009

4 (IIM Ranchi, IIM Raipur, IIM Rohtak, IIM Trichy)

1,166,079,217

-Do-

2011

2 (IIM Udaipur & IIM Kashipur)

121,01,93,422

28 + 7 UTs

How much is it worth?

As the management education is beset of its own set of challenges like shrinking demand, faculty shortage, poor placements, educators suggest that new IIMs might not be the right solution. 

They say creating new IIMs is a mirage and will not solve the problems that management education in India faces. One is faculty shortage. Experts advocate research facilitation in top B-Schools to cope with this problem. “We need good quality faculty members. We have more than adequate number of IIMs and private business schools in the country. It is time to let business education flourish in the private sector and government intervention should be in the form of developing good quality faculty members through support for research. This is more economical too than investing in IIMs, which too are facing the crunch of good quality faculty members,” says Dr RC Natarajan, Director TAPMI. Dr Rajan Saxena, VC, NMIMS agrees and suggests government assistance for all the Doctoral/Fellowship Programmes instead of investing on creation of new IIMs.

However, most of the new IIMs differ on this. They cite increasing industry needs and proportionate growth in seats with increasing population. “With three times growth in population, and slightly less than twice the number of states, the number of IIMs grew from 2 in the 1960s to 13 as of now. Today there are proportionately many younger people in India. Further, the level of industrialization in India today demands many more skilled, trained manpower than ever before. With the growing aspirations of people, growth in opportunities, and the felt need to properly manage the corporate and non-corporate sectors, the growth in the number of IIMs is justified,” says Dr Gautam Sinha, the Director of IIM Kashipur.

Seats per 1000 applicants in IIMs

Admission Year

Seats available per 1000 candidates

Total number of CAT applicants

Total number of seats at IIM

2010-12

11

241000

2650

2011-13

13.5

204000

2750

2012-14

14.4

205000

2946

2013-15

15.0

214000

3220

2014-16

17.1

195000

3335

2015-16*

19.3

196000

3785*

* Numbers based on past years’ trends on increment of seats in existing
IIMs and experts’ inputs on expected seats with 6 new IIMs

Are new IIMs diluting ‘Brand IIM’?

The government might claim that new IIMs are given all assistance to help them align with established IIMs. But the fact remains that new IIMs will need to take giant leaps to reach that level. Academicians still rue the lack of capability of newly operational IIMs on various counts and question the government policy of ‘diluting’ the premier brand of management education.

 

Experts caution that government should take selective approach to management education. “The last six IIMs are already having difficulties in terms of faculty, curriculum, placements and leadership. By expanding IIMs and opening them in every state, government will only contribute to a further decline in the quality of these institutions,” says Dr Saxena of NMIMS. He advocates strengthening of existing infrastructure in management education in private and public sector.

Dr Janat Shah, Director, IIM Udaipur, believes that creating new IIMs under ‘brand IIM’ is a good idea. “It will help expand quality base in management education. While there are many challenges that a new IIM faces, there are advantages also. New IIMs do not carry any past baggage and they can experiment with new ideas without any risk factor. This is good for innovative learning practices to evolve in Indian management education," he says. "It will also help knowledge creation, research and healthy competition among the top B-Schools,” Dr Shah added.

 

Way ahead

New IIMs also claim that it is only a matter of time and they will soon be able to match old IIMs.  “We find that the grant is sufficient to meet both capital and revenue expenditure requirements of the new IIMs. Being a Society with an active Board of Governors, it gives IIMs the flexibility to keep pace with changes,” says Dr Gautam Sinha./

But despite the challenges that new IIMs face today, they have been able to leverage the brand image for their academic advantages and placement exercises. With the increasing and excessive pool of IIMs, they, however, may stand to lose their premium position.

 

Will the new set of IIMs pass the litmus test? 

 

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