What if not IIMs?

The IIMs are the epitome of educational standards not only in India but also the world over. The premier institutions produce a fresh crop of students year after year who are battle ready to take up some of the most ambitious jobs available at the corporate. In India, this has resulted in a sheep like following of the “IIM dream” by the students, the parents and the educationists, which may render the students’ incapable of seeing other opportunities. In the field of business education, there are many avenues available to the students, who may want to look beyond IIMs at other CAT accepting colleges in India. The students may also attempt other management examinations for the business schools and consider tests such as IBSAT for ICFAI Business School.

Why not IIMs?

  • Scoring well in CAT alone does not automatically guarantee a seat at an IIM. Since the IIMs in their selection criteria also considers other things such as past academic performance, gender and educational diversity in their prospective student batch, this sometimes means that you may not get a call from a top IIM even after scoring well in the CAT.
  • IIM Ahmadabad, IIM Bangalore and IIM Calcutta have traditionally been and are currently the top management colleges in India. There are other B-schools which rank almost as high while the other IIMs are a little behind when it comes to MBA/PGDM/PGPM college ranking.
  • It can create a difference in students’ packages and placements after their management education has been completed. A lot of business schools today can match the kind of offers their students receive with the prestigious IIMs.

A substitute of IIMs

  • Many private and government run business schools provide an excellent educational experience and make for a great developmental journey both inside and outside the classroom.
  • Management education is dependent more on the practical aspect of developing the students’ knowledge and skills rather than a very theoretical and by the book idea of the studies.
  • The critical differentiator is the right kind of environment for the students to flourish and many business schools apart from the IIMs can provide this through stimulating the intellectual curiosity and provide meaningful challenges.

A business education is made with exposure

  • Summer internships, business projects, case studies, research projects and many more are methods by which the top B schools in India provide their students an opportunity to work upon live business problems.
  • Business schools are required to have powerful ties and liaison with the industry to create the scope of work for the students and facilitate the industry integration of their education flawlessly. Many business schools apart from IIMs excel at this aspect of their education which makes it a meaningful and pragmatic learning experience.
  • At some top business schools such as ICFAI Business School, the students are exposed to various aspects of their campus life such as college events, group discussions, co-curricular activities and much more. This prepares them for the leadership roles and challenges that they might face in the years to come.

Looking at the bigger picture

  • There is no shortage of CAT accepting colleges in India. The Indian business school aspirants have been getting quite disillusioned with the hype that is created around the IIMs, simply because how difficult it is to get admitted in one.
  • The quality of education provided at many B Schools today matches and in certain areas exceeds the IIMs. Some of the business schools further excel in a field of management, such as Human Resource Management, Marketing, General Management and many others where students can shape their careers.
  • The primary reason for the hype around IIM had started because the management education was a costly affair in India and IIMs were known to have discounted fees. This is no longer the case since the IIMs are some of the most expensive business schools available for the students.

It is true that the IIMs are prestigious institutions which have a reputation in the wider world of providing world class education. It is also true that many top Business schools today can effectively match the educational offering that is being provided by the IIMs. Top B schools of India such as ICFAI Business School are quickly bridging the gap in the education provided at their campuses and IIMs. The shift in opinion of industry and students reflects the higher value that is being provided by the non-IIM business schools. With international accreditation and industry acceptance, the students are gaining confidence in going forward without the IIM badge on their shoulders.

How Engineers and Non-Engineers Converge in a B School

The B schools these days are a giant melting pot in which students from all walks of life come together for a truly collaborative learning experience. There is no shortage of CAT accepting colleges in India which levels the playing field and provides equal opportunity for students coming from varied educational backgrounds. The diversity seen in the top B schools in India is reflective of the Indian culture which takes pride in the strength of our diversity. The students bring with them a rich academic experience which helps them builds upon and create unique skill sets. The students also learn the valuable skill of collaboration and appreciating a different point of view than their own.

While the Engineers have traditionally aced the CAT, GMAT, XAT, IBSAT and other prominent admission tests, the number of non-engineers has been on a rise steadily in the past decade. This is owing to the selection criteria where the numeric ability is given equal emphasis and weightage as non-numeric ones such as Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary and Logical Reasoning. There are several other factors that contribute towards the convergence of Engineers and Non-Engineers in a Business School. Some of these are listed below.

  • Comprehensive curriculum: The curriculum of leading Business schools in India is a business driven which requires the students to undergo a variety of academic courses for overall development of the students. This enables the students to capitalize on not only their individual strengths, but also on the learning they acquire from their surroundings and other students. Because the academics include various elements such as project work, group assignments, and presentations and so on, the students must explore the strengths of their groupmates and learn from them. This enables them to appreciate their differences and they look forward to work with people who come from a different background, hardwiring the diversity in their DNA.

 

  • International educational standards: The enamor and pull of Engineering is an Indian educational trend and this accounts for many students pursuing Engineering degrees under pressure from society/parents and group think. The international educational standards, however encourage the students to pursue courses that are of their choice and this is catching up fast in India as well. When the Indian engineering students join B schools, they feel a natural pull to pursue other fields and become deeply interested in other subjects. This brings them closer to their batchmates coming from other backgrounds. Some of them go on to form friendship that lasts a lifetime.

 

  • Creativity and Innovation: Top MBA/PGDM/PGPM programs place a lot of emphasis on the creativity and innovation since these skills become necessary once the students join the industry. Creativity helps them find answers to atypical questions and enables them to look at problems from a different viewpoint. Diversity of thought is an essential part of a group being able to think creative solutions and students soon realize that they need to create diversity in their circles. This includes not only gender and cultural diversity, but also diversity in educational backgrounds. They try to get to know and nurture their batch mates who have graduated from a different stream.

 

  • Social events and fests: The social events and fests provide an excellent opportunity for students to mingle and appreciate each other. This holds true for students who have graduated from Engineering and Non-engineering colleges. The students bring with them the past experiences and talents that become useful in social events such as a fest. This also involves the students from various departments of the B school to work together and make it a success. The students get a fair chance to form bonds and create social ties with others. These events are a necessary part of the B school experience and develop the people management skills of the students, including working with people from different background and school of thought.

 

  • Complimentary skills: Numeracy and data interpretation are very important skills and students from Engineering background usually excel at these. This helps them to excel in certain subjects at the B school as well. The other subjects however require different skills such as linguistics or reasoning. The Engineering students usually need to work upon them to excel and deal with subjects beyond STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). This may include subjects such as Accountancy, Economics and Business Communication. They may rely upon their non-engineering batch mates to help them come up with the learning curve quickly while providing support to them in the numeric skill based subjects.

 

  • Shared accommodation: The shared accommodation provided at some of the top business schools in India, puts the students in close physical proximity with each other by shared room or adjacent rooms. The room selection is usually done at random and gives the students a fresh slate to form friendships with their neighbors or roommates regardless of educational background. This helps in tearing down any preconceived notions that the students may have regarding each other and acts as a social melting pot. Some schools take it a bit ahead and divide the students in houses which encourage interactivity through close social contact. It is often seen that that the engineers and non-engineers get along very well after they start seeing each other as fellow human beings and establish mutual trust and respect.

 

  • Friendly competition: As the students often take up projects and enter several competitions that are organized, they have a chance to work with other students to get better themselves. The competitions create platforms to see other students as worthy adversaries and remove any notions of grandiose that they may have about themselves. They understand that other students come with their own strengths and shortcomings and this helps them gauge themselves in comparison to other students helping them see clearly where they stand.

 

  • Interactive classes: The faculty members play a vital role in top management colleges in India and work tirelessly to bridge the skill and knowledge gaps that both Engineering and Non-engineering students have. As the students start building up their academic performance, the faculty members recognize publicly the efforts that they are making in the right direction. This encourages students to open up more and interact with their batch mates through facilitated discussion and gives them a lot of shared experiences to talk about.

 

It is true that the number of non-engineers is still lesser than engineers in many Business Schools these days; however this gap is bridging up fast. In the coming days as the number of engineers and non-engineers balances up, the collaboration between them would help create greater value for the students undergoing the B School experience.

A day at a B-school

B-schools have always been synonymous with the continuous development of the managerial and leadership qualities in the youth. Therefore, the rise of business schools in the past few decades has given the students a powerful career path to aspire for. The best MBA/PGDM/PGPM programs in India take this into account and aspire for a world class education. This involves augmenting some of the most useful and effective learning techniques, a robust curriculum that is constantly evolved with best industry practices, and experienced faculty members who can use technology to enhance the learning experience. While all this is very exciting for any student, surviving at a b-school takes more than just passion and dreams. A big part of it is having the self-discipline to ensure that you are always on top of the curriculum and your studies, and keep up with the demands of the course. The other big part is in understanding the expectations of the course and preparing yourself for a different kind of life with some unique demands. Let us look at some aspects of what a day at a b-school entails and help you envision a future at one of them.

The facilities and accommodation

While the accommodation and other facilities are not the most important of the b-school experience, it is one of the first things that most people notice about their prospective campus. The campus keeps playing an important part in the life of the students, who form close bonds of friendship during the MBA/PGDM/PGPM program. The usual staples of a campus would include hostels, classrooms, administration buildings, libraries and auditoriums. As time has evolved most b-schools also have included a high-tech computer lab, which helps the students in their research work. Some great campuses have a Case Development Center (CDC) which makes the b-school stand apart from its competition. The campuses also include facilities such as swimming pools, gymnasiums, basketball courts, grounds for cricket and football, table tennis, badminton, to name a few.

Over the time spent in a b-school, the students usually develop their academic as well as co-curricular activities which prepare them for life to come. It becomes an important part of the memories that stand out about their Alma mater. A typical day includes the students making use of the facilities for their academic work followed by them spending time in activities such as playing a sport, researching things or simply chilling out with their friends at one of many hangouts including the hostel itself.

Social life at the campus

Just because the students are going through a revolutionary academic experience, does not by any means equate to compromising your social life. As the students leave their previous lives and enter this new phase, they learn to foster new relationships and social ties. The curriculum gives them ample opportunities to take out time from their schedule to devote at group projects, forums, groups and enhance their people skills.
Many newer teaching methodologies also leverage the social skills of the students and assign projects that need them to interact and collaborate with other students. As you find a like-minded person, you would be inclined to spend more and more time with them during a day. A good example of the b-school helping you in developing your co-curricular activities are through clubs and common interest groups. Clubs can be focused around areas such as money management, financial markets, drawing, photography and theater. The club membership allows the students to pursue interests that they desire apart from studies.

Course curriculum

Although the course curriculum forms the major building block of any learning experience, it is especially true for someone going through the top b schools in India. The coursework is intellectually challenging and constantly requires you to push the boundaries of your comfort zone to take more and more academic work in the form of class projects and assignments. In the typical format of “learning by doing” the students going through MBA/PGDM/PGPM have their fair share of workload that they would need to fit into their routines.
Since there are many students who join the course from the science background, subjects such as accountancy are new and require them to learn things from scratch. A lot of hours of the day of a student at a b school are dedicated to learning about the general principles of management as well as understanding nuances of their specialized field. The students also need to keep themselves updated regarding the new happenings and changes in the world of business which requires some time.

Events and happenings

The events and happenings, although not taking place every day, can become an integral part of your b-school experience. The events can range from an informal fresher party thrown together by the previous batch of students to various formal competitions organized between b-school students. The common events organized at a b-school may include freshers’ party, farewell party, summer internship, placement days, annual day, fests, competitions, sports day and seminars.

All these events take a fair share of time and the days preceding the events may require the participation of the students in not the event but also organizing the same. These events prepare the students for the real-world challenges in organizing and motivating people that the student must face once they enter the corporate world. It enhances the leadership skills of the students and helps them foster powerful industry contacts that can serve them well in the future.

As you may have understood by now, the b-school experience is not really a cakewalk and it is also true that not everyone who embarks on this journey goes on to completing it. The people who make it to the end of the line though, have promising careers and prospects that would make many people envious. The best MBA/PGDM/PGPM programs in India provide the students an opportunity to invent themselves and shape their futures through their own hands all the while giving an opportunity to have a lot of joy and memories in the process.