With close to 4,000 B-schools, management education system in India produces the largest number of MBAS globally. However, a very small proportion of those are from outside India.
Among the 267 B-schools evaluated for Business Today-MDRA B-school Ranking 2016, the number of international students has declined from 381 in academic year 2013/14 (AY '14) to 307 in AY '16 in flagship MBA programmes. This is despite a marginal rise in total admissions in these institutions - 36,879 to 39,358. Thus only 1.03 per cent of students were from outside India in AY'14, which has further declined to 0.78 per cent in AY'16.
The situation is worse if we consider the top 10 B-schools in the country. The number of international students has fallen from 48 to 33 during the same period while the student intake has risen from 3,314 to 3,419. Surprisingly, India's pride and top-ranked IIM-A does not have a single student from outside India in the flagship PGDM programme during this three-year period.
The scenario is radically different if we look at any top-ranked institute globally. A random look at global top B-schools suggests that over onethird of students are international students.
This is despite India's favourable position in terms of RoI (Return on Investment) for management education. It has one of the lowest costs of MBA education. Then, why this conundrum? Some of the reasons are:
FOCUS: India's top B-schools attract huge number of competitive students from within India. This results in very high applications-to-selections ratio and, hence, top Indian B-schools show complacency in attracting foreign students. On the contrary, the world's top B-schools have a strong and clearly stated focus on getting international students to bring fresh perspectives, unique experiences and vital diversity.
GLOBAL RANKINGS AND VISIBILITY: Despite largest number of B-schools in India, they hardly find place in reputed global rankings. No Indian B-school could find a place in latest rankings by Bloomberg BusinessWeek and Forbes. Financial Times ranked only three Indian B-schools (IIM-A, ISB and IIM-B) among world's top 100, while only IIM-A could figure in The Economist's top 100.
INTERNATIONAL ACCREDITATION: Reputed international accreditations give global recognition, status and exposure among others. Only 12 B-schools in India have received accreditations from AACSB, AMBA or EQUIS.
ADMISSION TEST: GMAT is a globally accepted universal admission test for coveted MBA programmes. However, out of 267 B-schools in our study, only 69 institutes accept GMAT scores. As someone has rightly said, B-schools are not a place only for education and skill development, but also for networking. The next aim of Indian B-schools should be to establish themselves as truly global institutions.
Abhishek Agrawal is Executive Director, MDRA