The numbers that the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) throws up for postgraduate institutes of management show a worrying trend - the number of institutions have been steadily declining. The total number of these institutions is 3,038 for 2019/20, which is 557 less than the 3,587 schools in 2014/15. What could be the reasons behind the drop?
Those who were willing to speak to Business Today on this, including senior faculty members of schools that are doing well, requested anonymity. Call it an Anna Karenina syndrome of sorts - much like happy schools seem alike, failing schools seem alike too in the nature of woes that are hurting them.
From late-1990s till about 2010 was a period that saw business schools of all manner mushrooming across the country. But after that, a decline started. The reasons are linked to an inability to attract quality faculty, bright students, major recruiters to campuses and to then sustain their interest. In other words, there was little by way of differentiation that many of the B-schools could offer. One faculty member of a B-school says a school in Delhi had invested Rs 5-10 crore on infrastructure, but the inability to sustain led it to renting out portions of its facilities for holding marriage functions or cultural events.
A similar trend was visible last year as well. Business Today gathered that there were roughly 400,000 management seats available in India (Post-graduate Diploma in Management, or PGDM, and Masters in Business Administration, or MBA) across over 3,000 institutes, all of which had been approved by the AICTE. If unapproved institutes are included, the number could be around 4,000 institutes. Of those approved, only 55-60 per cent seats were getting filled. Sadly, the problem continues. However, the good news is that the story is not the same across schools and a lot depends on the leadership and the school management's commitment, which is why, despite challenges, some will still find a place in the sun.
Lesser known schools need to do more, feels Hasit Joshipura, Senior Vice President, Electrical & Automation and Member, Executive Committee, L&T, and who is also on the boards of some leading business schools. "Lesser known schools need to bring in differentiation through focus on niche areas of specialisation because today top schools are offering multiple formats - two-year and one-year programmes and even e-MBA - and more students will gravitate towards these."