Business Today

India's best B-schools

IIM-Ahmedabad once again retains its top perch, but there are some surprise entrants in the Top 15. What’s happening? As much as the B-school grads, recruiters are hunting for the best bargains. A BT-Nielsen Study.

Print Edition: Sept 23, 2007

It’s not easy being a B-school recruiter these days, especially if you are an Indian company targeting students at the top 10 schools. Consider the range of factors that will work against you: To begin with, the students will decide when—Day Zero, One, or Two—to invite you to the campus for interviews. Even if you are lucky enough to get there on Day Zero, you’ll have the fat cat, global investment banks and consulting firms to compete against.

Then, the newly-minted MBAs will want to know just what is it that you can offer, apart from a job. Needless to say, their salary expectations will be vastly higher than what you think is fair. Finally, after you have stretched your wage bill, resolved issues of internal parity, and spent several months training the young hire, there’s no guarantee that he will stay on with you.

Part of the problem, of course, is that there aren’t enough good B-schools in the country. Sure, at last count there were more than 1,250 of them, but the universe of the really good management institutes is vastly smaller. With the result, there’s intense competition for just a handful of MBAs. What makes the situation today worse is the breakneck pace of growth in the economy.

Almost every company in every industry is expanding, creating new jobs and in new locations. Financial services, retail, telecom, IT and ITES are just some of the industries that are scrambling to recruit young managers. Yet, the intake of students at the top B-schools has only marginally increased over the years.

So, what does the fifth Business Today-Nielsen study of India’s Best B-Schools tell us about the state of affairs at the top management institutes? Before we get into that, a quick word about how BT and Nielsen conduct the survey and why it is different — more importantly, market-focussed — from other B-school surveys in the market. To begin with, the BT-Nielsen study is completely ‘market-focussed’.

That is, we poll all the ‘stakeholders’ of a B-school, comprising MBA wannabes, recruiters, young executives, current MBAs, and functional heads. Therefore, we don’t try to quantify debatable parameters such as the number of academic papers written by the B-school’s faculty or how many books it has in its library.

Instead, Nielsen’s proprietary Winning Brands model considers eight different attributes—reputation, teaching methodology, infrastructure, placement, admission eligibility, faculty, specialist units, and quality of placements—to figure out how loyal the ‘consumers’ of a B-school are and what sort of a price premium they are willing to pay to either join or hire from the B-school.


1. Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad
2. Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore
3. Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta
4. Symbiosis, Pune
5. Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow
6. Indian Institute of Management, Indore
6. JBIMS, Mumbai
8. XLRI, Jamshedpur
9. ICFAIm, Hyderabad
10. NMIMS, Mumbai
The loyalty is demonstrated by the consumer’s preference, while price premium can mean different things to different stakeholders. For example, in the case of MBA wannabes, it’s a measure of their willingness to pay higher fee to get into an institute of their choice.

Coming back to the question, what’s happening to the Top 30 B-schools in the country? Who is losing and who is gaining? And what does it tell us about the underlying shifts in ‘consumer’ behaviour? First, there is absolutely no change in the Top 5.

IIM-Ahmedabad retains its numero uno position once again this year, followed by IIM-Bangalore and Calcutta, Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, and IIM-Lucknow.

However, there are plenty of changes down the rank. IIM-Indore has jumped two places to #6, and Jamnalal Bajaj one to tie with IIM-I at #6. XLRI, or Xavier Labour Relations Institute, has slipped to #8 from #6 last year. But the more surprising bit about this year’s survey is the gain that some of the so-called regional B-schools have made.

Current MBAs & MBA wannabes

ICFAI Hyderabad, for instance, has vaulted four places to #9, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies has shot up seven notches to the #10 position, while the S.P. Jain Institute of Management & Research has moved from #14 to #11. Surprisingly, some of the losers are the Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) at Delhi University, and the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, which drop to 12 (from 8) and 16 (10), respectively.

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