India’s Best B-Schools
India is home to more than 3,000 management institutes. Given this massive number, you, as an MBA aspirant, may have two pertinent questions:
- To which of these b-schools should I apply? and
- If I can get admission into some of these b-schools, which one should I join to study for MBA?
While the two questions are straightforward, the answers depend on a mix of three key evaluation parameters: the aspirant's ability (based on academic proficiency and aptitude), academic and financial backgrounds, and her/his broad career objectives. As the answer may be different for different individuals, MBA aspirants would have to look at the possible set of “good” schools to begin with and then apply their individual conditions onto this set to choose the schools that best fit their requirements. It is important to avoid being influenced by other people's choices as their evaluating parameters (discussed above) may differ.
As we know, this is no easy task, given the multitude of claims by b-schools and, in some cases, their alumni. These claims should not be taken at face value and should be vetted thoroughly before making them the basis for taking a decision. This vetting exercise is equally important in the case of b-schools across categories. You should not blindly accept any b-school's placement claims, including by those placed in the higher rungs.
Amidst all this, it is also important that you understand the key parameters while evaluating b-schools. Once these are understood, one needs to look at b-schools for their performance on these parameters and arrive at a list of good schools after having some understanding about the veracity of the claims made by them. This is a complex process as it calls for a great deal of information about the schools. One would also need some expert understanding about b-schools so that the data available can be used correctly.
To help you make the right choice without going through this complex process and without getting trapped by the false claims made by the b-schools, T.I.M.E. has, for several years now, been releasing its annual list of India's Best B-Schools.
T.I.M.E.'s India's Best B-Schools list is the culmination of months of extensive research and data collection and is monitored by experts who have more than three decades of experience in guiding students on MBA admissions.
How is the list arrived at?
T.I.M.E. uses the strength of its country-wide network of experts who have been mentoring students for the b-school selection process since 1992. T.I.M.E.'s B-School Categorization process is the result of an elaborate multi-step process where due weightage is given to the data available about an institute in the public domain and the opinion of experts at T.I.M.E.. This blend of expert opinion and objective data is what makes this list the most accurate categorization available.
The key parameters used are (a) placement data; (b) cut-off score in entrance exam; (c) location; (d) institute's age, and (e) programme fee. While these parameters constitute the objective aspect of the categorization methodology, the rating given by T.I.M.E. experts to each institute along with the quality of alumni and faculty constitute the subjective aspect.
An elaborate scoring system is devised for each of the objective parameters, which is reviewed and modified by the expert panel. The data related to each institute for each of the above parameters is collected and scrutinized for its authenticity. Finally, scores are assigned to the institutes based on the scoring system according to the authenticated data of the institute. Also, you should note that only the schools offering two-year programmes, with at least one graduate batch, have been considered for this exercise.
The objective parameters used for T.I.M.E.'s India's Best B-School Categorization process are listed below.
The career opportunities that an MBA provides in the short- and the long-term, the speed of growth it offers, the variety of roles it can help one can get into, etc., should be the main reasons for pursuing an MBA. Salaries are only a concomitant factor and should not be the only reason for one to get into an MBA programme. However, as the other parameters can only be visualized and objectively measured long later after one graduates from the MBA programme, salaries at the time of campus placements are used as an indirect measure to gauge the quality of the MBA programme.
The advantage with salary data is that such data are broadly objective – one can lay a finger on them and come to a general understanding about the quality of placements at a b-school. The data becomes especially important as students at b-schools invest not just two valuable years but also a considerable amount of money (in fee). To expect a commensurate return from this high investment – more of time than money – is only natural. The salary data hence reflects the ‘quality' of return.
Many b-schools resort to statistical (and other kinds of) gimmickry while reporting the salary data. While some schools may not release any placement data, some list only the names of companies that visit the campus for recruitment without revealing other info (like salary and job profiles offered). Some carry historical data of the names of companies to create an impression as if all of them visited the campus for the recent round of placements. While inflating the salary figures is old style gimmickry, adding ‘signing or joining bonuses' or ‘variable pay' into the reported pay packages is becoming commonplace. Most schools do not reveal the percentage, or the number, of students who do not secure jobs. This kind of manipulation is fairly common. As such, one needs to be careful while trying to understand the placements at b-schools.
Unfortunately, there is no standard procedure for reporting placement data that b-schools are required to follow. Any such requirement could have put a stop to making false claims and would have rendered the picture on placements clear.
In 2011, the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA) took the initiative of putting in place a set of reporting standards called the Indian Placement Reporting Standards (IPRS). This laudable initiative has, unfortunately and not surprisingly, found little traction among other b-schools. T.I.M.E. greatly admires the transparency that a reporting standard like IPRS can bring into the system, especially because it mandates that b-schools have their placement report audited by a third party. As one of the very few coaching institutes which gets its results audited by a third party, T.I.M.E. understands the kind of honesty and effort that goes into ensuring the quality of such an audit. We have, hence, as part of the categorization exercise, accorded positive credit to the schools that report their placements in line with the IPRS.
(You can know more about the IPRS at http://www.iimahd.ernet.in/iprs/index.php.)
(ii) Cut-off in Entrance Test
Good quality of students helps strengthen the b-school brand while the b-school's high brand value in turn helps the students get ahead faster in their career. It is only natural for the schools to select the best studentswhile the brightest students would wish to get into only the best b-schools.
It is also important to note that the quality of students directly impacts the quality of learning, especially as the amount of peer learning that happens at a top b-school is quite significant.
In this context, cutoff percentile is, therefore, a strong indicator of the quality of the students at a b-school – the higher the cutoff, the better the quality of the students.
Some b-schools give significant weightage to other important parameters like academics and work experience. However, even at these schools, the entrance test percentile cutoffs are significantly higher than some of the schools which are listed in the categories immediately below them.
The location of a b-school is not a straight-forward parameter to handle. There could be an excellent school in a relatively remote location or vice versa. However, please remember that location plays not a minor role in attracting faculty and industry (for placements) to the campus.
The brand strength of an institute can counter the effect of location to a large extent. A good brand can attract faculty and industry even to a relatively less popular location. This is the primary reason why the new IIMs, despite being in so-called ‘remote' places, have been able to earn the respect of both the academia and the industry within a short span of time. But, as one moves down the categorization list, particularly outside the top 50, the brand strength wanes, and the influence of location looms large.
(iv) Age of the Institute
While the b-school's age may not have much to do with its performance, it is a major contributing factor to the b-school's brand strength or the lack of it. Many b-schools, particularly those with a good pedigree, tend to perform well over time. Top b-schools like IIM Indore, IIM Kozhikode, and IIM Shillong are good examples. However, at the time of their inception, a significant number of students preferred other non-IIM schools over these three schools. Of course, that's not the case anymore. In fact, this also happened in the case of the six New IIMs. A decade after their inception, the New IIMs are giving tough competition to those schools which were preferred by some students over the former.
Fee is not a direct indicator of the quality of a school. You should not rate a school high just because of its fee nor should you trash a school solely because of it. Many top schools (like the ‘Older IIMs') charge a pretty high fee of over ₹20 lakh while a few top schools charge as low as ₹2 lakh. As fee cannot be an independent parameter to evaluate a b-school, it should be used in conjunction with parameters like placement record and brand value of the b-school.
The RoI (Return on Investment) needs to be considered carefully, particularly when the fee level is high. This would mean that unless a student gets a pay package of a certain value, the fee expense doesn't make much financial sense. The RoI becomes a significant factor as one moves down the list of b-schools, particularly in schools beyond the top three categories.
(v) Other Factors
The quality of faculty and the quality of infrastructure are two other vital factors to be considered while evaluating a b-school. Necessary care should be taken while reading into these data points, as some things are not quite as straightforward as they seem.
Claims like the number of PhD faculty and visiting faculty should not be taken at face value as some of the persons named may not actually be teaching at those schools.
One may be tempted to consider the lack of infrastructure as a severe handicap. However, it is to be noted that some of the new b-schools, which have a good ‘parent' brand, have been able to overcome the infrastructure handicap and have performed well. The New IIMs (Kashipur, Raipur, Ranchi, Rohtak, Trichy, and Udaipur) and IIFT Kolkata are prime examples.
What the list contains and what it doesn?t
We have considered only two-year MBA/PGDM programmes for categorization. We bring any eligible schools into consideration only after they have completed two years of operation, which would mean that their first batch would have graduated. That is because only then we can assess the school on all the parameters that we consider for our categorization.
Also, the categorization considers only the flagship programme of the schools. For example, for IIM Ranchi, the flagship PGP is considered. While PGP–HR may not be at par with the flagship PGP, it benefits significantly from the rub-off of the flagship programme. These non-flagship programmes should be evaluated in light of such factors; the brand value of the parent brand is a strong factor to be kept in mind.
India's Best B-Schools Categorization
India's Best B-Schools Categorization features seven broad categories.
Top 10 category features world-class institutes, like the IIMs and XLRI, where every student aspires to secure an admission. Many of these institutes are comparable with the best in the world. Indeed, some of them regularly feature in the lists released by international business magazines. These institutes invariably have a 100% placement record. Even the not-so-academically-good students at these institutes manage to get good jobs due to the ‘rub-off' effect of the institute.
AAA+ & AAA categories of institutes make the Top 30. They offer high quality education, faculty, and infrastructure. These institutes have a 100% placement record. A significant number of the top students at these institutes secure placements that are comparable to those offered at the Top 10 institutes.
AA & & A categories of institutes offer high quality education, faculty, and infrastructure facilities. A good number of students at these schools get placements which are much better than the placements of the lower half of the categories above (Top 10, AAA+ and AAA). These institutes are successful in providing high quality placements to their top students, especially those who have effective communication skills.
BBB+, BBB, and BB categories of institutes are well regarded by the industry and are generally successful in placing their students. Some of these schools have been very strong brands earlier and have been pushed down the list only because of the addition of the New and Baby IIMs in the last few years. This shows that most of these schools have held their ground successfully and that students can rely on them to give a boost to their career.
B+ and B categories of schools enjoy a good reputation in the business world. These institutes may not provide too many national-level placement opportunities but are generally successful in providing placements to many of their students with prominent companies – local and national.
Apart from all these, we have also listed b-schools under the ‘Others' category. These institutes may be found to be lacking in one or more of the following: (a) infrastructure; (b) industry interface; (c) faculty; (d) alumni network; (e) curriculum, and (f) placements. However, we believe that these colleges are better than the hordes of others that do not feature on our list. You are hence advised to get thorough information (by visiting the campuses and speaking with past and current students) about these institutes before making any decision.
In short, the above categorization would mean that the top 50 schools – Top 10, AAA+, AAA, AA, and A categories – would be the schools to aspire for.
How will the B-School Categorization help you?
The first question you should address is: ‘To how many b-schools should I apply?'. The answer will depend on a few factors.
The first factor is your budget. With the cost of the application for each institute being in the range of Rs.500 to Rs.3,000, you may not want to look at more than 10–12 institutes. But whatever the number of institutes you wish to apply, it is always a good practice to select institutes across categories to ensure that even if your performance in the entrance tests (like the CAT and the XAT) has been below par, you still can have a good school within your score range.
The second factor is what you are doing currently:
(a) Pursuing final year of graduation: In this case, you may be keen on getting into a management institute but can afford to try again if you do not get into an institute of your choice. So, you may apply rather selectively.
(b) Completed graduation in the last academic session, not pursuing any higher studies, and not working either: In this case, you should try get into a reasonably good institute. So, the number of institutes that you apply will be higher than in the case of the first category.
(c) Completed graduation and currently working: You can be selective unless you have been working for more than 4–5 years in which case, you may not want to lose further time in getting into a management institute.
The third factor in deciding the number of institutes to which you should apply is your performance in the entrance exams. Depending on your performance, you may want to hedge your risk by applying to more institutes – particularly, to institutes across categories.
Once you decide the number of institutes you wish to apply, let us look at how you will go about deciding the types of such institutes. Here, the cardinal principle is to safeguard your interests and reduce your risk; so, you should apply to institutes in at least three different categories.
Lastly, it is always a good idea to apply to as many b-schools as possible, based on one's budget, to maximise your chances of making it to a good b-school as there is no certainty about the criteria that a b-school may follow to shortlist candidates (for its GWPI programme) and to admit (for the MBA programme).
Key Points to Note
The presence of a b-school in a particular category is determined by a combination of factors. You may find a school, listed in a lower category, doing better on a particular parameter. However, when all the factors are considered together, the schools listed in the higher category are better overall than the schools listed in the category below.
Within a category, the schools are listed only alphabetically, i.e., ‘in-category' ranking has not been done. Assigning individual rank to schools is not objectively possible and is also not totally fair to the b-schools. We arrive at category sizes keeping in mind that the schools in a particular category should broadly be equal. You would observe that the grouping categories do not have uniformity about the number of b-schools per category. This was done to ensure brand homogeneity across parameters (like placement and cutoff) within a category. Also, if you wish to choose between schools within a category, we advise you to find more information about the specific schools.
Best Wishes from all of us at T.I.M.E.!
- Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), University of Delhi
- Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA)
- Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB)
- Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC)
- Indian Institute of Management Indore (IIMI)
- Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode (IIMK)
- Indian Institute of Management Lucknow (IIML)
- Indian Institute of Management Mumbai (IIMM) (formerly NITIE)
- S. P. Jain Institute of Management & Research (SPJIMR), Mumbai
- XLRI Xavier School of Management (XLRI), Jamshedpur
- Department of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD)
- Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), New Delhi and Kolkata
- Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS), Mumbai
- Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurugram
- Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS), Mumbai
- Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management Shillong (RGIIM)
- Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management (SJSOM), IIT Bombay (IITB)
- Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM), Pune
- Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai
- XLRI Xavier School of Management, Delhi–NCR
- Department of Industrial and Management Engineering (IME), Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT-K)
- Department of Management Studies (DOMS), Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) Bengaluru
- Department of Management Studies (DOMS), Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM)
- Department of Management Studies (DOMS), Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IITR)
- Indian Institute of Management Raipur (IIM-Rai)
- Indian Institute of Management Rohtak (IIM-Roh)
- Indian Institute of Management Trichy (IIMT)
- Indian Institute of Management Udaipur (IIMU)
- Symbiosis Centre for Management and Human Resource Development (SCMHRD), Pune
- Vinod Gupta School of Management (VGSOM), Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IIT-KGP)
- BITS School of Management (BITSoM), Mumbai
- Department of Business Economics (DBE), South Campus, University of Delhi
- Department of Commerce, Delhi School of Economics (DSE), University of Delhi
- Department of Financial Studies (DFS), South Campus, University of Delhi
- Indian Institute of Management Kashipur (IIM-Ka)
- Indian Institute of Management Nagpur (IIMN)
- Indian Institute of Management Ranchi (IIM-Ran)
- Indian Institute of Management Sambalpur (IIMS)
- Indian Institute of Management Visakhapatnam (IIMV)
- Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Ghaziabad
- Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA)
- International Management Institute (IMI), New Delhi
- MICA Ahmedabad
- Sydenham Institute of Management Studies and Research and Entrepreneurship Education (SIMSREE), Mumbai
- Xavier Institute of Management (XIM-B), Bhubaneswar
- Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Kharagpur (IIT-KGP)
- Faculty of Management Studies, Banaras Hindu University (FMS BHU)
- FORE School of Management, New Delhi
- Goa Institute of Management (GIM), Sanquelim (Goa)
- Great Lakes Institute of Management (GLIM), Chennai (PGDM Two-Year Programme)
- Indian Institute of Management Amritsar (IIM-Am)
- Indian Institute of Management Bodh Gaya (IIM-BG)
- Indian Institute of Management Jammu (IIMJ)
- Indian Institute of Management Sirmaur (IIM-S)
- Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management (LBSIM), Delhi
- NMIMS Bengaluru
- Prin. L. N. Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research (We School), Mumbai
- SDA Bocconi Asia Center, Mumbai
- T. A. Pai Management Institute (TAPMI), Manipal
- University Business School (UBS), Panjab University, Chandigarh
- School of Management & Entrepreneurship, IIT Jodhpur
- Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS), Pilani
- FOSTIIMA B-School, New Delhi
- Great Lakes Institute of Management (GLIM), Gurugram (PGDM Two–Year Programme)
- K. J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research (SIMSR), Mumbai
- National Institute of Banking and Management (NIBM), Pune
- National Institute of Technology Tiruchirappalli (NITT)
- National Insurance Academy (NIA), Pune
- Nirma University Institute of Management (NIRMA), Ahmedabad
- NMIMS Hyderabad
- NMIMS Navi Mumbai
- Sri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), MBA–GBO, Delhi
- Symbiosis Institute of Business Management Bengaluru (SIBM–B)
- Symbiosis Institute of Digital and Telecom Management (SIDTM), Pune
- Symbiosis Institute of Operations Management (SIOM), Nasik
- Bharathidasan Institute of Management (BIM), Trichy
- Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH), Greater Noida
- Department of Business Management, Osmania University (OU), Hyderabad
- DOMS, IIT Dhanbad (formerly Indian School of Mines)
- IFMR Graduate School of Business, KREA University, Chennai
- Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management (IISWBM), Kolkata
- IMT Hyderabad
- IMI Kolkata
- Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA), Chennai
- MANAGE, Hyderabad (only for those interested in Agri-Business/ Rural Management)
- National Institute of Technology Calicut (NITC)
- NMIMS Indore
- SIES College of Management Studies (SIESCOMS), Mumbai
- We School (Welingkar), Bengaluru
- Xavier Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship (XIME), Bengaluru
- Amrita School of Business (ASB), Coimbatore
- Christ University Institute of Management (CUIM), Bengaluru
- Delhi School of Management (Delhi Technological University), Delhi
- Department of Commerce and Management Studies, University of Pune (PUMBA), Pune
- DOMS, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad
- Hyderabad Central University (HCU), Hyderabad
- ICFAI Business School (IBS), Hyderabad
- IES Management College and Research Centre, Mumbai
- IMI Bhubaneswar
- IMT Nagpur
- Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM), Bhopal
- Jagdish Sheth School of Management, Bengaluru
- MDI, Murshidabad
- MET's Institute of Management, Mumbai
- NL Dalmia Institute of Management Studies & Research (NLDIMSR), Mumbai
- School of Petroleum Management, Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University (PDPU), Gandhinagar
- SDM Institute for Management Development (SDM-IMD), Mysuru
- Symbiosis Center for Information Technology (SCIT), Pune
- Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies (SIMS), Pune
- UBS, Karjat (Mumbai)
- Army Institute of Management (AIM), Kolkata
- Bharati Vidyapeeth University, Institute of Management and Research, Delhi
- Chetna's R. K. Institute of Management Studies & Research, Mumbai
- Department of Management Studies (DOMS), Anna University Chennai
- Fortune Institute of International Business (FIIB), New Delhi
- IBS Mumbai
- Indus Business Academy (IBA), Bengaluru
- Institute of Public Enterprise (IPE), Hyderabad
- ISME Bengaluru
- Jagan Institute of Management Studies (JIMS), New Delhi
- Lala Lajpatrai Institute of Management, Mumbai
- MIT World Peace University's Faculty of Management, Pune
- New Delhi Institute of Management (NDIM), New Delhi
- St Joseph's College of Business Administration, Bengaluru
- Symbiosis School of Banking and Finance (SSBF), Pune
- Vivekanand Education Society's Institute of Management Studies & Research, Mumbai
- Xavier Institute of Management & Research (XIMR), Mumbai
- Xavier Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship (XIME), Kochi
- Xavier Institute of Social Service (XISS), Ranchi
- XIME Chennai
- Acharya Institute of Management Studies (AIMS), Bengaluru
- Amity Business School, Noida
- B. K. School of Business Management, Ahmedabad
- Balaji Institute of Modern Management (BIMM), Pune
- Bharati Vidyapeeth's Institute of Management Studies and Research, Mumbai
- Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan's Usha and Lakshmi Mittal Institute of Management, Delhi
- Globsyn Business School, Kolkata
- IBS Gurugram
- IBS Jaipur
- IBS Pune
- IILM Institute for Business and Management, Gurugram
- Institute of Management Development and Research (IMDR), Pune
- Institute of Technology & Management (ITM), Navi Mumbai
- Jaipuria Institute of Management, Jaipur
- Jaipuria Institute of Management, Lucknow
- Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies (KIAMS), Harihar
- Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology (MNNIT), Prayagraj
- National Institute of Technology (NIT), Durgapur
- National Institute of Technology (NIT), Suratkal
- National Institute of Technology (NIT), Warangal
- Pondicherry Central University (PCU), Puducherry
- PSG Institute of Management, Coimbatore
- Rajagiri Centre for Business Studies, Kochi
- Ramiah Institute of Management, Bengaluru
- Rizvi Institute of Management Studies & Research, Mumbai
- School of Communication & Management Studies (SCMS), Kochi
- School of Management (SMS), Cochin University of Science & Technology, Kochi
- SIBM Hyderabad
- Siva Sivani Institute of Management (SSIM), Hyderabad
- SSN School of Management & Computer Applications, Chennai
- St Francis Institute of Management and Research (SFIMR), Mumbai
- Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research (SICSR), Pune
- Symbiosis Institute of Health Sciences (SIHS), Pune
- Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communication (SIMC), Pune
- Thakur Institute of Management Studies & Research, Mumbai
- University of Petroleum & Energy Studies (UPES), Dehradun
- University School of Management Studies - Indraprastha University, Delhi
- Vignana Jyothi Institute of Management (VJIM), Hyderabad
- Vishwavishvani Institute of Systems & Management, Hyderabad
- VIT Business School, Vellore
- Asia-Pacific Institute of Management, Delhi
- Badruka College – Post Graduate Center (OU-affiliated MBA), Hyderabad
- Birla Global University, Bhubaneshwar (formerly BIMTECH Bhubaneshwar)
- Birla Institute of Technology (BIT), Mesra, Ranchi
- Christ Institute of Management, Ghaziabad
- Christ Institute of Management, Pune
- Dhruva College of Management, Hyderabad
- Gitam School of International Business, Visakhapatnam
- IBS Ahmedabad
- IBS Dehradun
- IBS Hyderabad off campus at Bengaluru
- IBS Kolkata
- IIEBM's Indus Business School, Pune
- IILM Institute for Higher Education, Delhi
- IIRM Hyderabad
- Indian Institute of Finance, New Delhi
- Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management, Gwalior
- Indira Institute of Management, Pune
- Lovely Professional University, Punjab
- Master School of Management, Meerut
- Myra School of Business, Mysuru
- R. A. Podar Institute of Management, Jaipur
- Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences, Pune
- Vanguard Business School, Bengaluru