Thursday, June 04, 2015 at 3pm

IIM Ahmedabad Seeks to Enhance International Appeal: MBA News

IIM Ahmedabad adjust one-year program admissions process

For the first time in a decade, India’s IIM Ahmedabad has altered the application process for the school’s one-year MBA degree equivalent, the diploma known as the PGPX (Post-Graduate Programme in Management for Executives).

The move, according to the program’s manager, Sajan Joseph, has been made in order to increase its appeal among an international audience and brings its application deadlines in line with current standards elsewhere in the world. It follows a decision last year to join a government scholarship scheme that targets international students looking to study in India.

The admissions process for this one-year program will now run across two rounds, with deadlines in September and November 2015 for the cohort (batch) that begins in April 2016.

Something else that may go even further in enhancing the international appeal of all programs at the school is the government’s intention to remove the technicality that prevents IIM Ahmedabad and the country’s 12 other IIM establishments from awarding degrees. Narendra Modi’s administration is now said to be ready to introduce a bill that will allow the 13 IIMs to grant degrees in lieu of diplomas – a move that would hold particular relevance for IIM Ahmedabad’s two-year MBA degree equivalent, the PGDM.

IIMs and India’s MBA degree debate

The reason for this well-established technicality is that the IIMs have never held the status of a university, a requirement for granting degrees in India, until now. The proposed legislation would alter this viewpoint by declaring the IIMs to be ‘institutes of national importance’.

According to reports, the bill looks set to be brought before parliament in its Monsoon Session (July to September). Yet these developments have caused concern among private business schools outside of the IIM family, who feel that interest in their programs might be affected by the move. Approximately 300 business schools came together last month to discuss legal recourse.

“These management institutions feel that the IIM bill threatens their survival, and leaves them with the long-term challenge of attracting good students or recruiters,” explained Harivansh Chaturvedi, director of the Birla Institute of Management Technology (Bimtech).

Even so, the sheer number of private business schools in India means the quality of its management education can vary quite considerably. Modi’s government has already proposed to expand the current number of IIMs but, at this point, Chaturvedi has reportedly suggested that it would be fairer to simply grant the 50 most reputable PGDM schools the ability to grant an MBA degree and advise those outside this bracket to seek university status.

Should the bill go ahead in its current form, an ability to award an MBA degree in name could go a long way in allowing the IIMs to increase their cachet among an international student audience. Graduates looking for jobs and research positions abroad, meanwhile, would no longer have to rely on certificates detailing the MBA equivalency of the current diploma setup.

There are four business schools in India that feature in the QS Global 200 Business Schools Report 2014/15, of which three are IIMs. IIM Ahmedabad is the highest ranked of these and is listed in the top 10 for Asia-Pacific as a whole, despite dropping six places on its position in 2013/14.

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Tim is a writer with a background in consumer journalism and charity communications. He trained as a journalist in the UK and holds degrees in history (BA) and Latin American studies (MA).

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