Anshika Raman, name changed on request, scored a 98.3 percentile in the Common Admission Test (CAT) 2014, but despite being shortlisted for five new Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), namely Visakhapatnam, Bodh Gaya, Sirmaur, Nagpur and Sambalpur, she refused to appear for the admissions process. “The older IIMs are known for their alumni, a crucial component that is missing in the new IIMs, as is infrastructure and full-time faculty. Even though the new IIMs are being mentored by older IIMs, it does not make them institutes in which I would invest a high fees and two years of study. Eventually, recruiters do not ask you about the faculty members who taught you. They will only want to know which IIM we graduated from,” she says.
Raman also rejected offers from IIM Indore and Kozhikode as “speaking with alumni from these two older institutes, I gathered that many students don’t get to do summer internships there and felt that my chances of landing a summer placement at the institutes being mentored by them were nil.” She now plans to take CAT 2015 and bag a seat in one of the older IIMs – Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta or Lucknow.
A Press Information Bureau release dated June 24, 2015, on the Centre’s approval for setting up new IIMs, had stated that “It is intended that these six new IIMs will commence their first academic session from 2015-16. Each institute will start with an intake of 140 students in the postgraduate programme (PGP) courses. It is expected that the annual intake will increase to reach a level of 560 students each year by the end of seven years.” The batch sizes of the newly set up IIMs are very small as of now. While IIM Bodh Gaya has 30 students its first batch, Sambalpur has 49 students, Amritsar has 50 students, Visakhapatnam 54 students, Nagpur 55 and Sirmaur 22 students.
The IIM brand has failed to convince students to join the new IIMs for a diploma. A cursory glance at the low placement figures last year at some of the relatively newer IIMs (Raipur, Rohtak, Ranchi, Kashipur and Udaipur) when compared to their older counterparts, too, tells its own story.
“Students now talk about short-term and long-term goals, profiles offered post an MBA, peer interaction, student-faculty ratio and so on. The latest IIMs are bound to fall short of expectations on most of these fronts and so students would not (join) them as readily as they would the older IIMs. I have advised a fair number of students to think about their current situation with regard to their jobs, expectations from an MBA and the overall opportunity cost before joining the latest IIMs and most of them have decided to prepare and re-appear for CAT even if it means getting into a decent non-IIM post a year of preparation,” says Shashank Prabhu, a CAT expert, who was also an All India CAT 2011 topper.
Another important issue for management aspirants is that even if they are okay with the lack of infrastructure, full time faculty members and alumni, they cannot ignore the delayed start to the sessions at the new IIMs. While faculty members think that this time gap in starting operations can be bridged easily, students feel that they might lose out on their summer internships.
Dr Ajay Garg, a senior official at IIM Sirmaur, says, “The academic input at our institute is the same as IIM Lucknow. The institute spends a considerable amount of time on campus fests, about 10 days each on summer internships and final placements. However, IIM Sirmaur will not have such events so save on days. With a reduced term break span and a smaller batch size to be placed as summer interns, IIM Sirmaur will make up for the three-month delay in operations, and reduce it to just about a month. By the time the second year starts, we will be at par with the rest of the IIMs.”
Students, however, do not agree. For Raman, “It will not be easy getting good summer placement offers. By the time we start approaching companies for summer placements, they would have already completed the process at other B-schools. So, they might not show interest in us as we will be approaching them late. Moreover, being the first batch from the institute might not work in our favour as most recruiters judge the worth of an institute by the alumni clout of the institute.”
Talking about his experience as a placement committee member, Prabhu, who is an alumni of FMS Delhi, says, “Most of the popular campus recruiters have intern requirements and projects listed around the end of the second quarter and the beginning of the third quarter. So, we need to start contacting them right from May-June to be able to attract good companies on campus. The summer months are important as a lot of companies rely on pre-placement offers and inter-B-school competitions to hire students.”
It’s time they improved their act
New IIMs have started sessions late, have faculty shortage and internship problems
No full-time faculty
Average performance of IIM Ranchi, Rohtak, Trichy, Udaipur and Kashipur in placements
Delay in starting the session
Fear of not getting summer internship offers
Batch size at IIMs
Intakes in new IIMs were initially estimated at 140
1) Sirmaur 22
2) Bodh Gaya 30
3) Sambalpur 49
4) Amritsar 50
5) Vishakapatnam 54
6) Nagpur 55