|Management ver 2.0|
|Saturday, 26 March 2011 00:00|
The good news first. IIM-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), which will celebrate its 50th year with the Prime Minister presiding over its convocation today, has finally made it to the prestigious Financial Times list of Top 100 B-schools—a very sore point, given how its fledgling rival Indian School of Business (ISB) has been there for several years. The 2011 rankings, just out, put IIM-A at number 11, two points ahead of ISB. Probe a bit deeper, to the components that make up the ranking, and things don’t look as rosy. IIM-A is ranked No. 3 on ‘salaries today’ (average alumni salary levels 3 years after graduating)—at $174,440, this is behind Stanford’s $183,260 and Wharton’s $175,153 and miles ahead of ISB’s $132,352. While the IIM-A salaries do appear too good to be true, it confirms what we’ve known for a long time, that never mind its rank on the FT or any other list, IIM-A is the first stop of choice for any Indian recruiter of repute. When it comes to research, IIM-A is hardly there at No. 92 (ISB is No. 81), again something we’ve known for a while—when’s the last time you heard of a management theory by a professor at an Indian B-school, why single out only IIM-A, or of any really exceptional case study that is then cited across the world?
Are we then to conclude that IIM-A is a flop show, making it to the FT list only because of the astronomical salaries its students get, more a result of India’s rapid economic growth and internationalisation than anything else? Not really. IIM-A, indeed all the IIMs, were set up to produce managers to run successful businesses, and judging by India Inc’s success, this has been achieved. There are few high-growth Indian firms, or high-value ones, that don’t have IIM-A alumni on their rolls.
To conclude from this, however, that a business-as-usual scenario works is incorrect. As India develops, and looks for a bigger global role, its managers and management theory have to keep pace. Management theories have to now look at developing management for social entrepreneurship (MFIs are just one narrow part of this brand of business), to learn how to deal with the needs of a green planet, of low-cost models for the bottom of the pyramid, learning how to construct and work with open-source or collaborative business models, the list is a large one. Being No. 55 on PhD ranks (number of doctoral graduates in the previous three years) is not good enough for IIM-A ver 2.0 and being No. 92 on research (faculty publications in top 40 academic/practitioner journals) is unacceptable.