AUGUST 4, 2002
 Cover Story
 Personal Finance
 Case Game
 Back of the Book

Nasscom Does Some Brain Racking
Slowdown or not, NASSCOM is still eyeing Indian software revenues of $77 billion by 2008. Just what will make it happen? To get a strategy together, it got some top minds to meet in Hyderabad at the India it and ITEs Strategy Summit 2002. A report on what came of it.

Q&A With Ashraf Dimitri
The CEO of Oasis Technology, a key provider of e-payments software, tries to win over converts to a new system.

More Net Specials
Business Today,  July 21, 2002
The 100 Best B-schools in India
The third survey of India's best manager-incubators finds IIM-Bangalore retaining its position on top of the heap.
IIM-Bangalore: Black-Ts, smily faces, and a grey study; IIM-B is #1 again

These may be trying times for the species-Enron's Andrew Fastow and WorldCom's Scott Sullivan being cases in point-but that hasn't seen a decrease in the number of young aspirants wishing to become Masters of the Universe. The first step to becoming a Master of the Universe is to acquire a MBA (Master of Business Administration degree or diploma, pronounced embeeyae in most parts of the country). After all, the Master of the Universe as we know it, George W Bush, is one.

Go On, Hit Us Hard
IIMB's Global Gambit
List Of 100 Best B-schools In India
Behind ISB's Hype
The Real McCoy

Acquiring a MBA entails enrolling in a business school (B-school). There are B-schools and B-schools, nearly a 1000 and counting as of June 2002. Some are great, others are all right, and still others, downright bad. Recruiters and MBA-wannabes know which schools are right up there, which are passable, and which need to be avoided. Still, it's always good to find ready-to-consumer reassurance. That's what the BT-Cosmode survey of the best B-schools in India is. But first, some caveats. First, four schools that recruiters and students consider great, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai, Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi, and XLRI, Jamshedpur did not participate in the exercise. Nor did Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, which runs, arguably, one of the finest MBA programmes this side of the world. We've tried to capture the state of affairs at IIM-A and ISB despite this.

Second, this listing is of the top 100 schools out of 130-odd that responded to a call for participation. Remember this when you see a school advertising itself as "one of the top 40 schools in the country according to Business Today".

Finally, surveys are usually boring. To do our bit to liven up the next 15 minutes you'll spend on the 100 Best B-schools in India we've created a fictional career counsellor B-school Brinda. The lady may not exist, but her responses are factual, and based on the findings of the survey. Now, we won't keep you from her any longer.

Number of Recruiters
Average Domestic Salary (Rs per annum)
1. Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore
Run more like a super-efficient company than a business school, Bangalore's sights are set on a global future.
2. Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta
Calcutta is for the quant-jocks, says popular perception. An all-round performance assures it the runner-up status.
3. Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow
Discipline, a safe distance from local politics, and a research-orientation have seen Lucknow make great strides forward.
4. National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai
Once a niche school to which engineers went to study operations management, today, NITIE is the among country's best.
5. Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode
The youngest among the IIMs, it survives on rented infrastructure. But innovative teaching methodology sees it through.
6. Management Development Institute, Gurgaon
Seven out of every 10 MDI profs have worked in industry. One-third of the class spends time outside India. It shows.
7. Indian Institute of Management, Indore
Another young IIM, it managed to rake up the highest average salary in what was otherwise a bad year for B-schools.
8. Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management, IIT Bombay
SJM offers a 24-month programme against the 20-month one offered by the IIMs-4 months go into a final project.
9. S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai
Autonomy and being unorthodox pays. SPJ's curricula incorporates Lord Krishna's Gita and Daniel Goleman's Emotional Quotient.
10. Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi
State-of-the-art facilities, great faculty, and an outward orientation make the niche trade-focussed player tick.



Q. Brinda, I've managed to secure admission into IIM-B, C, and L. Your list shows B on top; my friends say C is better; and I've been reading lots about L's great leap forward. Where should I go?
Cornucopia C. Mouli

A. You are lucky to be faced with this problem of plenty. Given the rankings, you should opt for B, C, and L in that order.

However, there's little to tell apart the top three. The BT-Cosmode rankings are just a wee-bit biased towards market performance. That's good; it's akin to the stockmarkets being driven by the fundamentals of a company. Still, it means one bad placement could change things.

There isn't much to separate the three schools you've gained admission into. Go with your heart, not your head on this one.

Ma'am, I haven't made it to any of the IIMs, but have been admitted by three new B-schools in and around Delhi, where I live. How do I choose between them?
Second Runger

Look for two things: the quality of placements and the quality of infrastructure. Money can assure the latter, not the former.

Since you live in Delhi, visit the schools. Assure yourself that they aren't one-room evening-class types. Meet with the faculty. You may not find the bright sparks you do on a IIM campus, but look for solidity of qualifications. How many, for instance, have doctorates. These are the kind of parameters that go into the BT-Cosmode Capability Score.

Is there really a huge difference between the top few B-schools and the rest. I've made it to a second-tier school and some friends have advised me to find a job and try to gain admission into an IIM next year. Please advise.
Can Do Better

Your friends are right. Just take a peek at the scores. There is a huge gap between the top three schools (186, 176, and 173) and number 4 (158). Clearly, there is nothing like a MBA from a top-school. However, there is another side to the story. Some companies don't hire from the IIMs. Instead they focus on lesser schools. LG is one such (it hired 22 MBAs this year). As its head of hr Yasho Verma once told me, "We look for a good learning ability in the people we hire. We do not want preconceived mindsets; there are some smaller institutes that I rate very well." So, there.

Market Performance Index (100)
Indian Institute of Management,Bangalore
Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta
Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow
Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode
Shailesh J Mehta School of Management, IIT Bombay
S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai
National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai
Indian Institute of Management, Indore
Management Development Institute, Gurgaon
International Management Institute, New Delhi
The Market performance index factors in placements, quality of placement processes,and industry-linkages.
Internal Capability (100)
Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow
Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta
Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore
Management Development Institute, Gurgaon
National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai
Indian Institute of Management, Indore
Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi
Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneshwar
Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode
S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai
The internal capability index takes into account a school's infrastructure and processes
Average Annual Domestic Salary (Rs)
Indian Institute of Management, Indore
Indian Institute of Management,Bangalore
Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta
Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow
Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi
S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai
National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai
Management Development Institute, Gurgaon
Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode
Shailesh J Mehta School of Management, IIT Bombay
All salaries are average for the year 2001-02. International salaries have been exclude while calculating average
Number of students placed inter-nationally
Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore
Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta
Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow
National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai
Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode
Management Development Institute, Gurgaon
Indian Institute of Management, Indore
Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management, IIT Bombay
S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai
Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi

Ma'am, is an MBA the only sure shot way to get into a consulting firm?
Grey Suit

That used to be the case. In fact, McKinsey's US arm once only hired Baker scholars from Harvard Business School.

Things have changed though, and consulting firms now seek a diverse profile of fresh recruits.

I met with Dr C. Srinivasan, the head of AT Kearney's India arm and he agrees with this assessment. "Increasingly companies like ours are looking at fresh hires with specific knowledge and skills instead of hiring only from the IIMs."

Brinda, How important is the BT-Cosmode Capability Score?
Devoted to Details

Very, but still not as important as the market performance one; no one is going to hire a student from a school on the strength of its library or the number of doctorates on its faculty.

Here's how I'd like to look at it: the BT-Cosmode Market Performance Score is a measure of how good a school is right now (answer: as good as its last placement season). The Capability Score is an indication-and only that-of how capable a school is of producing good MBAs in the future. The composite ranking, then, can best be described as clear and present greatness (with due apologies to Tom Clancy).

Ma'am, I've read reports that some blue-chip companies have decided to give the IIMs a go-by since they can't hope to be Day O or Day 1 companies there. I am a second year student at a school that has traditionally figured outside the top 10 in BT-Cosmode rankings. Does this mean I should start celebrating?
Should I Pop the Bubbly

Yes it does. I recently spoke to Santrupt Misra who heads the HR function at the AV Birla Group and here is what he had to say. "Instead of going for the second quartile of students at the IIMs, it is better to get the cream of the second rung institutes."

He isn't alone. Keep celebrating, but keep an eye on those grades too. I know some IIM pass outs who work for Indian Airlines (no offence meant to the airline), and I know some second-rung B-school pass outs working for transnational investment banks.

I've heard horror stories of MBAs from the second rung schools not finding jobs this year. I've just been admitted into one such school. Tell me this isn't true?
Hoping Against Hope

I'm going to have to disappoint you. It's worse than anything you could have imagined.

There simply are no takers for these MBAs this year. Sanjiv Bikchandani of job-site has this to say (and he knows his job market): "There are lots of MBA resumes floating around, especially if you look beyond the top 20 schools. The only sector actively hiring is it-enabled services, and even they do not prefer mbas because they know that a call centre job is just a stop-gap arrangement for someone with that qualification."

There's nothing to suggest that things will not change by the time you graduate. Keep hoping.

Brinda, I've just taken a peek at the BT-Cosmode rankings. The differences between some schools is marginal. For instance, less than one percentage point separates IIM K from MDI Gurgaon. Is the survey sensitive enough to capture such differences? Or should I just assume that MDI and IIM K are on par?
Detail Devil

No survey can be accurate enough to capture these differences. And it isn't just mdiand IIM K we are speaking about. If you look at the rankings closely you'll find that several schools have scored between 120 and 140 points. The difference between adjacent ranks in some of these cases is less than 1 percentage point. From a mathematical and logical perspective it doesn't make sense to give them all the same rank.

Pritam Singh
Director, IIM Lucknow
What does IIML stand for?" asks Pritam Singh, the school's Director. The answer, one might think, is obvious. "Wrong," he declares. "Back in Lucknow, we call it the International Institute of Management Lucknow, and there is nothing local about it." IIML may not yet be as 'global' as IIMB or IIMA, but Singh does have something to boast about. On the BT-Cosmode survey, the institution he has been leading for the last four years, is number one on the Internal Capability Index. If you've read the methodology, you would know that this index looks at things like the school's faculty, its admission and course delivery processes, infrastructure (including buildings and library), and networking and innovations. To Singh's credit, IIML has more than doubled its faculty count to 66 in the last five years. Revenue from consulting work in the last three years has jumped from Rs 7 lakh to Rs 1.78 crore. The school's operating budget in that time has soared from about Rs 5 crore to Rs 28 crore-a big reason why each of its 240 students has an internet connection in the dorm room and the faculty at home too. Singh's next big dream: a joint venture B-school in Mauritius or Thailand.

Here's why: Look at the school ranked 19, P.R. Welingkar Institute of Management. Now the difference between this and the school ranked 20, in terms of score is less than a percentage point. But the differences between the schools ranked 21 and 20, 22,and 21, 23 and 22, and so on till 37 and 36, are also less than one percentage point. However, it would be a travesty to give all these schools the same rank. The school ranked 19 has a score of 130.68. The school ranked 37 has a score of 121.1. The difference between these is significant, whichever way you look at it.

Here's where your intelligence has a role to play. If the difference between two schools is marginal, treat them the same, but use your discretion.

Indeed, if you look at the survey closely you will realise that a one percentage point differential separates adjacent ranks from 19, right down to 100. Should we take that to mean these two schools are comparable?

Brinda, do I really need a MBA to make it in life?

That's an existentialist question. If you want to be a potter, no. Otherwise, yes. In a more serious vein, whether you need a MBA or not depends on what you want to do with your life. Still, if you want to be part of the corporate mainstream and rise up the ladder, you will, sooner than latter, feel the need for a MBA.

There will always be the exceptions who make it to the Director's Corridor or the corner room without a MBA, but for the vast majority of us who make up the bell of the eponymous curve, there is nothing quite like a MBA. Get with it.