Management Education in India – Seeking New Directions

Management education started in India immediately after independence. The first Management institute, Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI) was set up in 1949 at Jamshedpur. It was focused mainly on training working professionals. Mr. Jawahar Lal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India had a vision of setting up Technical and Management education institutes in India on the lines of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard Business School (HBS) in United States. The IITs and IIMs were born out of this vision. The first IIT was set up in 1950 at Kharagpur and The first two IIMs were set up in 1962 at Ahmedabad and Kolkata. With the openings of IIMs, full time Management Education started in India.

With the economic liberalization in 1990 under the leadership of Prime Minister Mr. P V Narsimha Rao and simultaneous boom in IT industry with removing of controls led to tremendous increase in demand for Management Professionals. New specializations were also added to cater to new demands.

The number of management institutes went up from mere 87 in 1990 to 774 in 2000 (9 times increase). In the second phase of growth the numbers went up from 774 to nearly 3900 in 2013, a 5 times increase. The number of management seats in these institutes also went up from nearly 100 thousand to nearly 400 thousand over the last 7-8 years.
However this unbridled growth came with its own set of problems. With no regulatory mechanism for quality in place, these institutes are facing numerous problems –
1. No Globalization which means

  • a. No accreditation by any top world organization
    b. Poor research and publications record
    c. Poor rankings
    d. Very little intake of foreign students
    e. Vanilla curriculum
  • 2. Insufficient strength and quality of faculty
    3. Disconnect between Industry and Academia
    4. Poor placement record

India has one of the largest number of B-Schools in the world followed by USA and Philippines. The top tier business schools lack other business schools in terms of ‘Globalization’ which means poor research, no accreditations, low rankings and negligible foreign students intake. The mid tier B-Schools are facing demand crunch. They are struggling to fill their capacity and many B-Schools have closed down in the last 5 years. The lower end B-Schools, which are mostly the management departments of public universities are directionless and contribute little to management education. With no control over quality, majority of these programs have failed to impress industry. Industry experts say that only 25 to 30 % of management graduates are employable.
The question is, where do we go from here ? What needs to be done to improve the situation. There are no easy answers. The regulator, academia and industry needs to sit together and come up with workable solutions. The requirement would be –

– Govt. to become enabler and facilitator instead of regulator
– Focus on global trends & changes
– Develop a world class faculty
– More emphasis on research & publications
– Capacity to be determined by Demand and Supply

The changing work place and impact of technology need to be factored in designing new curriculum.

However the mute question remains, can all the qualities required for a successful corporate career, be taught in class room. I am referring to qualities such as stress handling, managing conflict, inter-personal relationship, etc. In my opinion, if topics such as meditation, yoga, anger management, Buddhism, etc. are included in curriculum, it would help to some extent in imbibing these qualities and ensure a more healthy and successful career.

What do you think ? Please write to me at I would be happy to receive your feedback.