One of the sectors that the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted severely is education. With colleges and schools shut owing to prolonged lockdowns, teaching had to move online to cope with the crisis. However, online education is just one of the interesting trends we see when it comes to management education. As Business Today brings to you the 2021 edition of the BT-MDRA Best B-schools ranking, the definitive listing of the country’s best business schools, there are quite a few new trends being witnessed. The most visible one is the accent on deep tech, where the best B-schools are focussing on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to arm their students for the future. As data becomes all-pervasive, being proficient in AI and ML has become imperative for management students of today. Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) Director Rishikesha T. Krishnan tells Vidya S. in the opening essay that there is a fair degree of unanimity among senior executives that the three important changes in the business environment today are the advent of digital technology, the pervasive importance of data, and the growing importance of environment, social and governance (ESG) parameters. And the smarter B-schools are ensuring their curricula reflect these changes. Meanwhile, edtech ventures are emerging as eager participants in the management education space, and blended MBAs—a combination of on-campus and distance/online learning—are also gaining popularity.
Like every year, the 2021 ranking has been prepared in association with our research partner Marketing & Research Development Associates (MDRA), and takes into account every aspect of management education, including the changes brought about by the pandemic. There’s a big takeaway from this year’s ranking: After a neck-and-neck battle for several years, which saw IIM Ahmedabad (IIMA) and IIM Calcutta (IIMC) occupying the top two positions respectively, IIMC has finally toppled IIMA to claim the No.1 position this year. IIM Bangalore finishes third, followed by IIM Lucknow at fourth place, with S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR), Mumbai, coming in at fifth place to complete the top five. While SPJIMR is the only private B-school in the top five, as many as seven of the top 10 in the 2021 rankings are government institutions.
The B-schools ranking apart, we also do a deep dive into the big development on the privatisation front. The sale of ailing national carrier Air India to the Tata group—which is a homecoming for the airline founded by the Tatas—is nothing short of dramatic and must rank as one of the biggest successes for the Narendra Modi government in recent times. Krishna Gopalan takes a close look at what the Rs 18,000-crore acquisition of the storied airline means for the House of Tata.
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