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New IIMs: The reach widens

The new IIMs are attracting many students who had given up hope of studying in India’s top management institutes reports Vimal Chander Joshi

education Updated: Dec 29, 2010 09:19 IST
Vimal Chander Joshi

Ankush Jain, a computer engineering graduate, couldn't make it to any of the seven IIMs last year, but a high CAT (common admission test) score of 99.94 percentile secured him admission in a top private B-school in Gurgaon.

Then an admission announcement for IIM Rohtak appeared in national dailies at the eleventh hour after admissions at old seven IIMs had already taken place.

Much to his delight, Jain was offered admission and his dream of being an IIM student was realised. So did the dreams of 163 students who joined the fledgling IIMs – located in Rohtak, Ranchi and Raipur last year. Another IIM in Trichy will be added in 2011, taking the total number of seats in all the eleven IIMs to 2650.

Most of the students who joined the new IIMs had turned down offers from good private B-schools, like Jain, to become a part of the IIM culture.

It is now being debated whether the new IIMs will be able to live up to the expectations of students and the industry. The students we spoke to were quite optimistic. “Getting into a new IIM gave us added responsibility. Setting up placement cells, introducing the institution to the industry in the first year is a great task to perform. I want to be an entrepreneur, so I think that being in the first batch gives me that opportunity to hone my entrepreneurial skills,” says Jain.

These new IIMs are being mentored by the older IIMs which are responsible for providing the faculty to their “younger cousins”. But the premier faculty can’t help much when these students go to apply for internships. “We faced problems convincing the industry for summer placements. Many of the corporate executives don”t even know that this institute is also an IIM. Then we tell them this was also established by the HRD ministry” informs Jain.

Corporate obscurity doesn’t deter the students from apply in large numbers. IIM Rohtak invited candidates with 95 percentile, yet the average percentile of the current crop is 98.5. In the case of IIM Ranchi also, the average percentile of the existing batch is more than 99. Not only students, faculty members are also scurrying to join the elite club of IIMs.

At IIM Raipur, around 500 PhD holders applied for just 11 vacancies, says Dr BS Sahay, director, who quit the top slot at a popular B-school in the private sector to head an IIM.

A similar overwhelmingly high response was seen at other places too. “Among hundreds of applications received for 10 places, I have shortlisted 80, and a large number of them are PhD holders from IIT, some are from IIMs and a few are teaching at reputable B-schools in the US,”says Dr P Rameshan, director, IIM Rohtak.

But why are these professors willing to forego the fat pay packages earned in dollars in order to teach at IIMs? “Academicians aren’t drawn purely by money.

A teacher is like a classical singer who looks for the right audience. Teaching gives a satisfaction which is intoxicating. I also shifted from industry to academics (without bothering about money). Earlier, I used to teach part-time during weekends. When I realised that I was enjoying teaching so much, I quit the job after spending 10 years and became a full time faculty member and later I did my PhD too,” says Prafulla Agnihotri, director, IIM Trichy, the newest of the management institutes, to be followed by one IIM in Kashipur and the other in Udaipur.

No prizes then for guessing as to what it is that makes students and teachers rush to jump on the IIM brandwagon. “We don’t see competition from private B-schools because with an increase in seats, the IIMs can attract a larger number of students which is a cause of worry for many private sector B-schools.

When a candidate can get admission in an IIM, why would he choose a private B-school? But yes, I think IIMs can face competition from these B-schools if they don’t live up to their brand equity,” adds Dr Rameshan.

Meanwhile, students somehow manage in the small makeshift campuses which are big enough to accommodate classrooms, administrative blocks as well as hostels.

IIM Raipur, albeit, is accommodated in a non-residential campus. “ The students are now staying at a place which is around 10-15 km from the campus. Faculty (once hired) will also stay there (and not on the campus),” says Dr Sahay.

What’s new

IIM Ranchi
Currently operating from Suchana Bhavan in Ranchi
Number of students: 45
Mentored by: IIM Calcutta
Fees: R6lakh for two years
Plus: Mentored by IIM Calcutta which is ranked above other mentors such as IIM Indore and IIM Lucknow
Minus: Being in Ranchi, arranging industry exposure can be difficult

IIM Rohtak
Currently operating from: Maharishi Dayanand University campus
Number of students: 48
Mentored by: IIM Lucknow (Noida campus)
Fees: R6lakh for two years
Plus: Located strategically, only 70 km from Delhi
Minus: Current batch has 100% engineering graduates, thus limiting the scope of peer learning

IIM Raipur
Currently operating from: An engineering college in Sejbahar
Number of students: 72
Mentored by: IIM Indore
Fees: R6lakh for two years
Plus: Number of non-engineering students is 7%, which is good as per IIM standards
Minus: Existing campus has no accommodation for the students who have to travel for more than 10 km every day to reach the classes

IIM Trichy
To operate from: NIT Trichy
Number of students: Nil (will start operations from 2011-12)
Mentored by: IIM Bangalore
Fees: R6lakh for two years
Plus: Surrounded by commercial cities of Coimbatore, Bangalore, Chennai and Madurai
Minus: Yet to find one