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Rankings feedback tools, institutes mustn’t chase after them: IIM Udaipur Director

IIM Udaipur plans to expand its one-year MBA in Digital Enterprise Management into a full-fledged two-year PG programme as part of 'Vision 2030'.

iim udaipur, iim udaipur directorAn exclusive interview with IIM Udaipur's director, Professor Janat Shah

One of the seven Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) set up by the central government during the eleventh five-year plan, IIM Udaipur has entered the second decade of its existence. The institute’s director, Professor Janat Shah, told indianexpress.com in an exclusive interview that “shifting gears is now a top priority as part of Vision 2030”.

Here are excerpts from the interview:

1. In the NIRF 2021 management category, 6 out of the top 18 ranks are held by IITs, and IIM Udaipur ranks in the 18th position. How does a core management institute perceive this?

Answer: More MBA programmes are welcome because they provide students with more options. In the end, it is a marketplace. Healthy competition results if more people offer a wider range of products. Edtech platforms are now offering MBA degrees. As premier institutes, we should be able to answer the students’ questions as to why they should be on campus. Institutes shouldn’t do anything to get the rankings, but they have to keep checking as feedback. The reason why IITs are at the top of the NIRF list is that the ranking focuses on research output in terms of quantity.

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2. IIM Udaipur is the youngest management institute in the world to feature in the Financial Times Rankings 2019 and QS Masters in Management (MIM) 2020. How important is it for young institutes to participate in global rankings?

Answer: IIM Udaipur is the youngest to receive accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), which is required for participation in global rankings. Instead of running after rankings, younger institutes must focus on creating knowledge and not just adopt best practices from foreign universities. Accreditations do not ensure excellence, but they provide an understanding of the basic threshold.

3. How different or difficult was it for a third-generation IIM to deal with Covid-19? Did it have any significant impact on admissions?

Answer: Since CAT scores are not valid after the ongoing academic session, students who are aspiring to pursue a 2-year MBA do not take chances. There is no surety whether they will achieve a similar percentile again or not. Hence, we did not observe any significant impact on PGP admissions. Our flagship one-year MBA degree in Digital Enterprise Management admits students based on GMAT and GRE whose scores are valid for 5 years, and many students decide to either defer their admissions or not apply during that particular year.

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4. IIMs have largely been involved in graduate-level programmes, with the exception of integrated degrees. Is offering an undergraduate degree in management a viable option to meet the growing demands of the management industry?

Answer: Earlier, IIMs could not offer degrees, and hence, undergraduate (UG) programmes never came into existence at the premier management institutes. For the same reason, IIM Indore pioneered an integrated degree. IIM Bangalore’s plan to offer undergraduate degrees in Liberal Arts from 2023 onwards is a step in that very direction. Undergraduate degrees are not a bad idea, and IIMs would do really well. An undergraduate degree at an IIM must provide an alternative to engineering and arts courses. However, I am not in favour of integrated degrees.

5. Why do the majority of CAT aspirants come from an engineering background every year?

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The majority of engineers appear for CAT for a career change. Very few students who are passionate about technology choose to study engineering, and the rest are driven by parental pressure. A lack of options at the undergraduate level is a major reason why some fields are attracting uninterested students. Management education provides them with an option to switch careers without starting from zero.

6. What is IIM Udaipur’s Vision 2030?

Answer: Our journey has been exciting so far, where freedom and autonomy are crucially valued. The vision for the upcoming decade includes the expansion of our one-year MBA in Digital Enterprise Management into a two-year PGP. We currently have 30 per cent female candidates and by 2030, we hope to achieve complete gender parity. Currently, no Indian institute features in the list of top 100 institutes in the UT Dallas Ranking, and the institute’s vision is to break that glass ceiling.

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First published on: 26-01-2022 at 12:06:58 pm
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