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BW Businessworld

Top Of The Class

Business schools have always held a competitive edge, and 2021 saw private institutions step up in significant way. An increasing number of private institutions are making their way to the B-school rankings

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The BW Businessworld B-school rankings are a special initiative looking into the performance of management education institutes across the country. These annual rankings represent the best aspects of managerial education, its goals, challenges and opportunities. Most importantly, it allows the education sector and its stakeholders including educators, students and companies, an aerial view of how business education, on the whole, is evolving and how well it is keeping up with the everchanging demands of the industry and even the country.

For any ambitious economy, quality management education is key to unlocking its potential and opportunities. We turn to management education to find future business leaders, managers and administrators. Now more than ever before, it is necessary to assess whether Indian B-school graduates are indeed equipped to manoeuvre their way through an ever-evolving global business landscape. Young B-school graduates need to be aware of this changing landscape to be able to make a difference to the economy as a whole. Whether they join a business, start their own or become educators themselves.

Disruptions Uninterrupted

The education sector in India, and globally, has seen a great many disruptions, from accelerated digitisation to closures of prominent educational institutions. Learning losses, reskilling and upskilling are all taking place simultaneously in the chaos of the Covid-19 pandemic. Schools were veered to online classes. The course correction saw the proliferation of edtech companies.

Industry reports indicate that investments in the education sector in India tripled within the first seven months of the calendar year to  $998 million, bringing it among sectors that saw maximum funding.  B-schools too moved their teaching online.  For a while, it seemed that things would return to a new form of normalcy, with hybrid learning being implemented across the board. However, with the new variant, it has become difficult to predict what learning will look like in the long run.

In as much, education institutes must now be prepared for anything. In a turn of events, this year has been fruitful for many B-schools in the form of placements and internships, with many institutions reporting 100 per cent placement of their students among top companies. Introduction of courses on data science, blockchain technology, strategic innovation and even leadership and certificate programmes too gained popularity in 2021.

Changing Patterns
Business schools have always held a competitive edge, and 2021 saw private institutions step up in a significant way. An increasing number of private institutions are making their way to the B-school rankings. Institutes are investing a higher number of resources into their management programmes. Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management (SJMSOM), IIT Bombay has significantly jumped up in rankings due to its impressive performance this year. But what makes a B-school stand out among the rest?

During these unprecedented times, we look for strong leadership, quality education, investment in tech infrastructure and a forward-thinking approach to curriculum, pedagogy, admission processes and evaluation. It is not just about being better than other B-schools, but about re-examining the relevancy of the courses and the teaching methods in place, and finding the B-schools that are looking to create not just competent managers but also drivers of change.

Students are not just looking for institutions that will give them the skills to thrive in their workplace, develop their skillsets and build on their interests. The starting salary is no longer enough to persuade students to join a certain institution over another. They seek a much more wholesome offer. The industry too has begun taking a more active role in offering internships, cases studies, consultancy opportunities and training programmes to fresh graduates, ensuring that students gain experience before graduating from a course.

Government initiatives, including the new National Education Policy 2020, are gradually being implemented across B-schools through a multidisciplinary approach and holistic development. The lack of peer learning over the past year has shone a light on the importance of soft skills such as teamwork, flexibility, adaptability, communication, conflict management, etc. B-schools are finding innovative ways to teach the necessary skills despite the restrictions.

The BW Businessworld B-school rankings are considered a gold class. B-schools are assessed on the basis of their curricula, placements, research, academic papers published and faculty. We find that while IIM Ahmedabad and IIM Bangalore are at pole position, IIM  Calcutta and IIM Lucknow are not far behind. We also feature interviews with B-school directors and leaders from the education space to help identify changing trends in this space, evolving pedagogies and research developments. The following pages are a treasure trove for academics, students, faculty and even HR  professionals looking to hire their next set of rising stars.