Thursday, May 26, 2011

Do IITs, IIMs add value ?

When it is said that the IITs, IIMs owe their eminence entirely to students, not to faculty, it is implied that they do not add value. True or false?

Well, an IIMB director answered this effectively a few years ago when some in the corporate world had made similar statements. He made an offer: he would make public the admissions list the moment it was finalised. Corporates could come and recruit anybody on the list right away. If the IIMs did not add value, neither the students nor the corporates should have a problem doing this. There were no takers. The companies' bluff had been called.

There is another way of responding to the contention that faculty do not contribute. The IITs and the IIMs admit a small fraction of applicants. An IIM would call for interview around 1000 students. Anybody familiar with the admissions process would know that there is very little difference in terms of the CAT score between a student ranked 800 and a student ranked 2500 in CAT. The former may make it to an IIM; the latter is left out and goes to some other B-School. If the difference in student quality, that is, the input is negligible, how come there is such a huge difference in output or outcome? How is it that the IIM student is hugely sought after while the non-IIM student is not? Ditto for the IITs. QED.


Anonymous said...

True. However IITs and IIMs have a long way to go. I am of the opinion that comments from Jairam Ramesh are not entirely out of place. These professors are not interested in MBA teaching which gets covered in their salary. Instead they wanna teach executive programs where they get 5,000+ bucks per 75min session. They also prefer routine admin activities. Why? Why not teach or research? Power and FUNDs are parked in admin jobs. Is it still difficult to connect dots?

Just google for “voice of iim cic cvc” and you will reach landmine of documentary evidences related to shenanigans of IIM Ahmedabad faculty. It seems that there are very potent outstanding issues related not only to research output but those related to fundamental traits of ethics and morals that people expect from best of academic institutes. There also appear to be allegations of hard corruption at IIMs.

IITs and IIMs are not run of the mill institutes. They are elite academic institutes of excellence. And as such people put them on higher pedestal. And expect more. Thanks.

funcfactree said...

Mr. Mohan, why not discuss the contribution of the faculty in terms of research (not teaching ability) of IITs and IIMs? Perhaps the contribution to research is not big enough (IITs being modelled on MITs could've done more - either as a pure science institution ala princeton/harvard or as a innovation incubator ala stanford/berkeley - google/yahoo et al). And if the contribution is decent, then we ought to know as most of us are not in the know.

secondly, nobody's saying IITs/IIMs aren't the best in the country...its just that the comparison is with the world where it can still do better if the disadvantages of lack of autonomy (financial most of all) are overcome.

and a fine model of future institutions perhaps can be tifr/iisc where the industry first created an institution....not saying its the only one or will work for sure...

perhaps you can take this issue in your blog, and give an objective look to it (maybe a case study for you to ponder about)

Anonymous said...

"very little difference in terms of the CAT score between a student ranked 800 and a student ranked 2500 in CAT."

Intelligence has fat tails. The difference might be low in terms of marks but the intelligence gap might be substantial.

"If the difference in student quality, that is, the input is negligible, how come there is such a huge difference in output or outcome?"

Because higher ranked students spend times with other higher ranked students and improve themselves and/or compete more than at the other institute.

As Anon said, yes, IIT/IIM are the best in the country by quite a bit, but going by international standards I hope they can do more.

blackadder said...

>>How is it that the IIM student is hugely sought after while the non-IIM student is not

Define sought after please. The only students who are truly sought after are perhaps 100 from each of the 3 top IIMs. We also know that the bulk of summer placements have little to no correlation with CGPAs or academic performance. Some of the most brain dead colleagues of my batch landed plum investment banking jobs so I fail to see the 'value add' that the IIMs brought in apart from acting as an employment exchange.

SR said...

Dear Sir, I don't think by 'IIMs' Mr. Ramesh meant IIMs A, B and C only. Please understand that there are 11 other IIMs. And the difference in quality in terms of faculty and placements, among other parameters, between ABC and the others, is substantial.

Anonymous said...

The biggest difference I see between IIT/IIM facults & top schools in US is the passion of the professors who teach. I feel in India a majority of the faculty is there at these institutes not out of positive choice. This goes back to Jayram Ramesh & the politicians like him what are they doing to motivate teachers to give in their best? Indians are amazing at doing research. US has shown it to us by laping up our bright guys and showcasing their talents to the world.

wnwek said...

Mr. Ram Mohan,

Let me begin by saying I disagree with Mr. Jairam Ramesh's comment. I believe the faculty at IIM has added a lot of value to my profile.

I also agree with your interpretation of Mr. Ramesh's comment - he does seem to imply that the faculty does not add any value to the students at IIMs.

But your argument is fallacious - you have proved that the IITs and the IIMs add value to students, and not the faculty. Somewhere, in your argument you seemed to have made the assumption that the IITs and IIMs are equal to the faculty. You have said, students post-IIT, IIM are more desirable to the corporate world rather than before - and hence the faculty has added value to students.

But, that is the crux of the Mr. Ramesh's comment - Is an IIT or an IIM = its faculty? My feeling is that there is a general sense or school of thought that it is not.

The entities that seem hellbent on taking away the autonomy of faculty and administrators at IIMs, would also have the stated objective of improving the IIMs. Would these entities be taking such steps to cramp the functioning of the faculty if they thought that the faculty = IIT/IIMs? I would think not. This seems to be the origin of the comment.

A suggestion: One way one can keep the hellhounds at bay, is to show to the world how the faculty at IIMs can do better than the students they teach. I am not sure how that can be achieved - maybe have a model system of governance, or hold a summit and then submit whitepapers on the functioning of various institutions of the country - which would add value to these institutions, etc.

I would say, it's time for the faculty to get their hands dirty, climb down from their ivory towers and apply some of their management expertise, rather than just teach them.


P.S.: My argument is coloured by my experience at IIM, and I may be completely wrong.

Anonymous said...

I do not think it proves that faculty adds value. Supposing we replace all IIM faculty with faculty from some universities, IIM students will still maintain edge over non IIM graduates in terms of placement salary.

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