CAREER aspirants are lining up to fill up the application forms in various Business Schools, all across the country. Management had been the most preferred option for many a graduate for many reasons, like mouth watering packages, plum postings in the happening cities, globe trotting, checking in at the finest hotels and resorts and many more. All these developments have made the career aspirant and the parent fraternity duo go crazy to join the program. At times they try to hasten up things so fast, that they even forget to make the routine checks thereby doling out a huge sum for a miniscule return. There are various myths doing the rounds while opting for a business school. These myths need to be shattered in the larger interest of the students and their parents who are the sponsors. It is therefore imperative on the part of the stakeholders, notably the parents and students to understand and analyze all the pros and cons of management institute before they finally decide to zero into one of the institutes.
The management mantra therefore is to see the bigger picture, which at times compels the viewer to have a distorted images, owing to the marketing blitzkrieg many of the institutes adopt. It is time to draw a line and explain the institutes to adopt an ethical way of promoting their offering unlike that of consumer products and other plain vanilla services. This article tries to put forth few things that should be kept in mind before on decides to join a full time program.
The Checklist :
The programs offered by various business schools should ideally have the affiliation of regulatory bodies like All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE). There are many institutes mushrooming all across which tries to downplay the affiliation factor by talking about their placements record, thereby explaining the endorsement given by the major employers (read the private sector). This is a myopic explanation as running a business school without the approval from the governing body might have its own flip side like inadequate number of faculties, the capabilities of the faculties, intellectual pool, roles and responsibilities handled by teaching staff, infrastructure related issues, program fee finalization, In most of the concerned business school calls the shot in all these matters, as they are not accountable to anyone. This at times might lead to steep hike in fees year after under the grab of development and excellent placements, a very high faculty turnover as salaries aren't commensurate with position, experience, teacher-student and system-student ration might also be less than the recommended figures. These lacunae have a direct and indirect bearing on the student and his career building.
Most of the Business School tries to harp on placements, in fact make placements their major Unique Selling Proposition. A student should understand that getting a placement from corporate India when the economy is booming is not that difficult. In fact the demand of good manpower outstrips the supply by a huge margin, therefore, placement is a by-product of management program, especially in the current scenario. One should try to understand the track record of placements for the last five years and find out whether there had been a steep growth in terms of the average pay packet, the number of students in the top, medium and bottom range, the types of companies visiting over the years, the number of regular visitors and their types, positions offered by the organizations while joining etc. All these information once procured from the institute should be verified with the college alumnus working in various organizations after passing out in various years.
This is considered to be the backbone of any business school, therefore it is important for an aspirant to spend substantial amount of time in understanding the faculty profile, More than the physical infrastructure, it is the intellectual infrastructure which decide the class of the institute and their talent pool. The number of industry returned professionals and hardcore academicians forming the team of faculties can give you a decent picture of the institute.
The other important aspect, which has to be kept in mind, is faculty attrition, change of organization masthead and how frequently would provide you direct pointers towards the motive of the owner. Too much of chopping and changing, be it the faculties of the organizational head would signify that the business school is purelly run on profit motive, where revenues are of prime importance for the management and students are the secondary subjects. There are business schools, which have witnessed mass exodus of faculties in say one, two or three years of their functioning. One should talk to the past students, ex-faculties who have left and also the present lot of students and faculties to understand the holistic picture before making their decision.
Ranks at the All India Level
Regular surveys conducted by private business publication houses like Business India, Business Today and general publications like India today along with the ranks given by bodies like Directorate of Technical Education, All India Council of Technical Education would make the student understand the standing of the institute not only at the local level, but also at the national level. Institutes might say that they did not participate in the surveys as they were not interested, but in such cases the actual reasons needs to be found out. A good institute would always love to compete and benchmark itself with the best of the institutes wherever they are.
An aspirant should also check the physical infrastructure in the form of classrooms, labs, library, books, journals (national and international, their numbers and sources), and other general aspects, which are also important in providing quality education. The campus whether it's owned, leased or rented can also give important pointers about the motive of the management. Peripherals and accessories like laptop, which is desirable but not essential, should be understood after drawing a parallel with the fees charged.
Age of the institute
There is no substitute to experience and therefore it is important for an aspirant to know the age of the institute. Institutes, which are comparatively new, would try to showcase themselves through cosmetic means whereas the senior pros would harp upon their real achievements. It is therefore important to understand the age and the milestone achieved by the business school in those many years of functioning. The milestones should be measured from a holistic point of view, which would give an indication of the direction of the college.
The fees charged and the increase in fees on a yearly basis along with the increase in benefits every year would provide a clue about the mindset of the management. If the fees are increased substantially on a yearly basis sans the holistic improvement from the students perspective, a student should think many times of joining that institute, in spite of their tall promises. These are the academic institutes, which profess the theory of no profit, whereas their every move has a profit centric approach.
Although these are not thumb rules for doing a performance appraisal of a business school, but they can definitely give you clues about the institute, which might be otherwise difficult for you to infer primarily because the institutes teaching management knows how to manage themselves. You need to be a better manager in managing your needs, or else someone else would fulfill the same, whether you like it or not. Be a smart customer and let you decide what you want.
-by Manishankar Chakraborty
(Management Trainer and Consultant)