The London-based Association of MBAs (AMBA) now has 189 b-schools globally, including four in India. These are MDI Gurgaon, the first Indian school it accredited — in 2005, reaccredited in 2010; SP Jain Institute of Management & Research; IIM Kozhikode; and IIM Lucknow. Sharon Bamford, chief executive, AMBA, talks about accrediting b-schools in India and more. Excerpts
When you accredit business schools in India, is there anything unusual or striking that you see?
In an accredited school, everything has to be of a global standard. We don’t make any allowances. Everything should be documented. There are schools here with a very global mindset but they don’t have an international advisory board which tests their curriculum. This is something we help them in. We facilitate that. We introduce them to others.
What does an AMBA accreditation mean? What do you look for in an institute?
Some of the key criteria are:
* Students must have work experience of at least three years. Work experience is very important to us. So, the schools are accredited for executive courses. We call the other courses (which are open to fresh graduates) MBM (master’s in business management).
* We also see the number of taught hours — 500. We don’t accredit completely correspondence courses.
* Fifty per cent of the faculty should have a PhD.
* We check the school’s links with its alumni and the industry.
We bring an expert for peer review who is from the same region, one from the area (for example, from Asia Pacific for a school in India) and one from outside (say, France) to evaluate the paperwork for accreditation.
We meet students, alumni, faculty, industry contacts and board members. We check for compliance. We check the number of students applying and their CVs.
We also help develop the school. The dean (AMBA representative) will be in a facilitative and consultative role. The accreditation process is not about pass or fail.
It’s qualitative. Our organisation was started by students. So, the students can be assured that a (member) school has been rigorously audited, is financially secure, everything mentioned on its website is true and they are signing out to a commitment that is global.
Do you have any plan vis-a-vis students?
We launched a global ambassador programme recently. It includes two Indian students, among others. We have created a global platform for alumni from our accredited schools. It’s a virtual as well as a physical network. The idea is continuous professional development. In August this year, there will be a one-day MBA refresher in Delhi open to AMBA alumni.