24 January, 2021

Scenes From Up And Down The Stairs

We present our annual B-school rankings in a challenging year. Elsewhere, we focus on family businesses, MBA maestros and Bollywood.

On Their Way
Students of XIM, Bhubaneswar between classes
Photograph by Sanjib Mukherjee
Scenes From Up And Down The Stairs
Business schools in India are at a crossroads. On the one hand, there is a growing demand for more B-schools to accommodate more and more students dreaming of a cove­ted MBA degree. On the other is a fading MBA gleam, with the industry gradu­ally folding its hands on recruiting neophyte managers. While mur­­murs about this were doing the rounds, last year industry body Ass­­ocham bit the bullet and said only seven per cent MBAs were employable. Today, the statistical ratio may be worse, as more schools churn out mint-fresh MBAs. In this scenario, leading B-schools like the IIMs are reinventing themselves to stay relevant and bring out graduates that matter to the industry. A bill for aut­o­n­omy of the IIMs has already been pas­sed by the Lok Sabha. This will give it more teeth, apart from more freedom to cho­ose its curriculum and match  steps with the industry’s needs. Many of the other top B-schools will follow a similar line. But the ones lower down the line will need to do serious thinking of how to stay relevant and survive this deepening freeze. The ones who do not improve will fall behind and their students will be hard-pre­­ssed to get jobs. Others will just have to close down. As it is, many B-schools down the line find it difficult to fill their seats despite making lucrative offers to prospective students. That is because students have become aware of what the ind­ustry needs and what a B-school has to offer. The government and its technical education authorities may also step in to shut schools which are not providing meaningful education. In this kind of a scenario, Outlook’s ann­ual ranking of India’s Best Business Schools assumes special significance, as it brings to the fore the B-schools that still matter and stand out in a densely cro­wded B-school ecosystem. Like last year, the older IIMs have once again occupied the pole positions and figured in the Top 10. What is heartening though is that some of the non-IIMs have also cla­wed up from their old positions into the top 10. Down the line, the results are more or less predictable, with quite a few new names making the mark and many older B-schools improving their positions. Women have always had a special position in Indian business, with recent decades rife with examples of new women entrepreneurs who are excelling in their fields. But are all of these success stories happy ones? Our lead feature profiles a number of resourceful ladies who have found themselves thrust into entrepreneurship because of dire circumstances and have excelled. Most of them have, through sheer fortitude, overcome ext­reme adverse situations. In the age of start-ups, we present a feature on how MBAs are increasingly striking it on their own and founding successful start-ups. We also look into the growing trend of business and management degrees tailored to help run family businesses. In the last one year,...


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