The fifth BT-Nielsen survey of India's best B-schools gets bigger and better. For one, we polled a larger number of stakeholders-comprising MBA aspirants, current MBAs, recruiters, young executives, and functional heads-this year compared to the year before.
That is, 592 respondents versus 526 last year. All the respondents were interviewed face-to-face. For another, we added a 12th city, Patna, to our list. The other 11 were: Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Indore, and Coimbatore.
Also, the non-student respondents (recruiters, young executives, and functional heads) were restricted to bigger towns, which excluded Lucknow, Indore, Coimbatore, and Patna. In fact, 39 per cent of the non-student respondents covered were in Mumbai and 22 per cent in Delhi, simply because that's where most of the large BT 500 companies (with revenues in excess of Rs 500 crore) are based.
That may, to some extent, explain why some of the regional B-schools, such as those in Mumbai, have moved up in our rankings this year. That apart, there were no changes to the survey methodology, which continues to employ The Nielsen Company's proprietary Winning Brands model to arrive at a Brand Equity score for each of the 30 B-schools featured in our survey.
The survey was conducted in two phases. In the first phase, we shortlisted the 30 B-schools that were to be ranked by asking MBA aspirants and recruiters to name those they would consider applying to and hiring from, respectively. This list of 30 B-schools was taken to the second phase.
Needless to say, in asking our respondents to name their choice of 30 B-schools, we were really trying to identify the parameters that a student or recruiter considers important in drawing up his or her universe of schools. These parameters were further built into the second phase to understand the drivers of consideration and perception for each B-school on each of these parameters.
MBA aspirants: Students planning to take the Common Admission Test and other MBA entrance tests. A mix of students with graduate or post-graduate degree in professional or general course was ensured.
Recruiters: HR managers of organisations that have been recruiting from B-schools for the past three years. Only those managers with two or three years of work experience were interviewed.
Current MBAs: Students in the final year of their MBA programme.
Young executives: Those with 2-3 years of work experience post-MBA.
Functional heads: Managers with 8-9 years of work experience.
The objective of the second phase of the survey was to rank the 30 shortlisted B-schools using The Nielsen Company's brand equity measurement tool, the Winning Brands model. While in Phase I, only MBA Wannabes and Recruiters were polled to draw up the shortlist of top 30 schools, in Phase II, the other three respondent categories-Current MBAs, Young Executives and Functional Heads-were polled as well.
Associations for each school were obtained on various parameters. These attributes were further classified into eight factors (See Classification of Attributes). The Winning Brands model is focussed on understanding the key drivers of choice. Taking into consideration parameters such as favourite school, recommended school, and the price premium commanded by a brand, the model calculates the Brand Equity Index (BEI) for each of the 30 B-schools. The BEI scores eventually determined the B-school rankings.
The higher the BEI score of a B-school, the more attractive it is to MBA aspirants and recruiters. Based on their scores, the B-schools are categorised as a Monopoly brand (with a score between 4 and 6), Winning Brand (3 and less than 4), Distinct Brand (between 2 and less than 3), and Undifferentiated Brand (between 1 and less than 2).
Once again, IIM-Ahmedabad emerged as the top B-school, although its BEI score has been declining over the years. However, since the scores of the other B-schools in our Top 5 list have been declining as well, IIM-Ahmedabad has been able to retain its monopoly position.