What’s in a name? Everything, if you were to ask the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) that find themselves split over the nomenclature of the degree meant for their graduate students.
IIM-Ahmedabad and IIM-Lucknow, The Indian Express has learnt, favour calling the degree Master in Management or MIM, while others prefer the more common nomenclature MBA, which stands for Master of Business Administration.
The debate came up at a meeting of all 20 IIM directors last month, which was called to take a final call on whether the 20 business schools should grant a postgraduate diploma in management (PGDM) or award a degree to the batch graduating this month. As first reported by this newspaper on February 11, IIM-Lucknow had even approached the HRD Ministry for a clarification on the matter. According to sources, all institutes, except IIM-Indore, are now more or less in favour of maintaining status quo this year.
“Yes, this question (of what should the IIM degree be called) came up at the meeting. But this will require more discussion and debate. To protect the brand equity of the IIMs, all 20 institutes will have to agree on one nomenclature, whether that’s MBA or MIM,” said one of the institute directors, who attended the meeting in the Capital, but did not wish to be identified.
On the difference between an MIM and MBA, another director told The Indian Express, “Students enrolled in an MIM programme usually do not have full-fledged or years of experience as opposed to MBA students who have a few years of professional experience under their belt.”
The MIM nomenclature is popular in Europe with well-known schools such as the London Business School, HEC Paris, ESCP Europe, Duke Fuqua and Bucconi offering MIM as their flagship degrees.
However, according to government sources, IIMs will have to consider a bunch of factors before settling on a name for their postgraduate degree. For starters, MIM is doesn’t figure on the list of approved degrees under Section 22 of University Grants Commission Act, 1956.
According to the UGC list, MBA and Masters in Management Studies or MMS are the only two names that are approved for two-year management programmes being offered by higher education institutions in the country. It’s not clear if the Ministry will intervene in this matter and advise the B-Schools to stick to the list of approved degree nomenclature.
The IIM Act was passed by Parliament on December 20, 2017. The law makes each of the 20 IIMs an ‘Institution of National Importance’, like the IITs, NITs and AIIMS. In other words, it empowers them to grant degrees to students.
Earlier, all IIMs were separate bodies registered under the Societies Act. Since societies are not authorised to award degrees, students admitted to their Master’s programme are given a PGDM. Similarly, those pursuing doctoral studies are awarded the title of a ‘Fellow’ at the end of their research.
Although the PG diploma and ‘Fellow’ title are recognised by the Association of Indian Universities and the HRD Ministry as being equivalent to an MBA and a Ph.D degree respectively, the equivalence is not universally accepted, especially for the Fellow programme, which prompted the government to conceive the Act.