Guest AuthorPavan Soni

IIM Bangalore tops research institutes in India. Why?

By | Dr Pavan Soni | IIM-B Innovation Evangelist 

The Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, established in 1973, has come the distance, as far as its flagship Post Graduate Program in Management is concerned. Of the several accolades, the latest ones testifying the institute’s lead in management education is the EduUniversal Ranking of 2013, where IIM Bangalore is ranked #1 in India, with Dean’s Recommendation of 391 percent (London Business School receives 628 percent recommendation).  Also in terms of social science research productivity, IIM Bangalore is ranked as the top Management School by the Stanford research. The latest one is the Financial Times Ranking of global B Schools, where the institute is ranked 47 th for its Doctoral Program and 68th for its PGP program. The Doctoral Program (FPM) raking is in fact best amongst Indian institutes, and is comparable to several B Schools of West. Of course the ranking for the PGP program is influenced by the salaries students draw, which is a factor of job market conditions, however, the Doctoral Program rankings largely aren’t influenced by such vagaries. Being a FPM students here, this ranking delights me as much as puzzles me, as to what justifies this ranking. Here’s my take:
  • Growing awareness of research as a career: Historically, at least in India, the business schools were meant to churn out managerial talent, and engage in consulting assignments with industry. However, people are realizing that the fast-paced professional world offers short lived rewards and long lived tensions, adding to which the purpose often remains unclear till the very end. Think of the pressure a GM is under to become a VP. Not to say that academic world don’t have such demands, but of course the impact and purpose is broader. I see several people in mid career crisis inquiring about the FPM program here at IIM Bangalore. It’s not an accident that applications for the program is increasing steadily.
  • Increased rigor of the program: The coursework for the program is for almost 2 years, where one has to earn 72 credits (one credit corresponds to one hour of teaching per week). As a course is of 3 credits, one is supposed to take 24 courses! Initially this sounds frivolous and burdensome, but as many of us reflect, these courses have indeed offered us a rich cross- disciplinary perspectives, much useful in framing research questions, and performing research. Speaking of self, when I entered into the institute, my view of innovation was very narrow, but thanks to studying subjects such as strategic classics, social psychology, organizational theory, industrial organizations, and network theory, among others, I find myself better positioned to exploit and explore various disciplines. 
  • External and internal connect:  As researchers on creativity often posit, new ideas are born at the intersection of disciplines, the campus is a case in point. Almost all of our students here major in two core disciplines. For instance, I am studying Corporate Strategy and Policy, and Organizational Behavior and Human Resources. This cross- disciplinary approach helps in bridging the research from across domains, and delve into uncharted territories. Further, we have seminar series, where researchers from across the globe come to IIM Bangalore campus and share their research work. A seminar every week isn’t a bad deal, especially when you serendipitously meet people from and outside the campus. The location of the campus, in the vibrant city of Bangalore, adds to the traffic of incoming scholars.
As I see my cohort, and batches junior to me, I am confident that increasingly students are joining IIM B’s FPM program with a very clear purpose, which to me looks like ‘being a scholar for life’. I look forward to adding in my own ways to the research productivity of IIM Bangalore. 
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