In October of 2012 about 190,000-200,000 students in India took the common admission test (CAT). Performance on this exam is used to determine whether or not they gain admission to a business school. Only about two percent of the test takers achieve the highest scores necessary to be admitted to India's top business programs.
Students that earn these degrees typically get the best paying jobs upon graduation and have the best career prospects as they go forward. Business students at the lower-ranked schools may not get jobs in their chosen fields immediately or at all, though the majority will most likely have large student loans.
Most of the students that take the CAT are seeking undergraduate degrees, but the competition for admission to career-making MBA programs is just as fierce, if not stiffer. In fact, a recent survey showed Indian students have the highest entrance exam scores in the world, and there are many competing for a limited number of positions at the highest ranked programs.
According to the MBA Coaching Center, T.I.M.E. Hyderabad, the top 10 MBA programs in India are:
- Faculty of Management Studies (FMS)
- Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA)
- Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB)
- Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC)
- Indian Institute of Management Indore (IIMI)
- Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode (IIMK)
- Indian Institute of Management Lucknow (IIML)
- Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS)
- Management Development Institute (MDI)
- Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI)
Some say IIM Ahmedabad is the number one business school in India. According to MBA Universe it received over 170,000 applications for the 2012-2014 class, but admitted just 456. This acceptance rate is obviously well below 1%.
Its students can be offered $25,000 jobs upon graduation. (Graduates of the lower-rung business schools might start at just $7,000 annually.) Though to citizens of America or Europe this salary-level may seem like very little for a top business school graduate, it should be noted the average annual per capita income in India is less than $2,000. A person living in India could have a very comfortable lifestyle on $25,000 per year and easily save for the future. These top schools are considered India's Ivy League for business education, with a job placement rate which is generally about 100%. In a global ranking of the best MBA programs two in India were in the top 15: the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) and Indian School of Business.
However, most Indian MBA programs are not well ranked internationally. Nor are their other universities, and reportedly these low rankings are due to a government policy that controls their curriculums. Without the autonomy to update their course content and educational approaches, their universities are unable to keep up with the requirements of modern industry, say some critics such as T V Mohandas Pai.
“At the time of independence, our universities at Mumbai, Chennai, Calcutta, Mysore and Baroda were among the top 200 in the world. Today, they do not fare in any ranking at all. This is the result of bad government policy. Full autonomy, independent board of governors and focus on research are the factors crucial for a good university,” he explained. (Source: Times of India)
India has so many high-performing and very hard-working students they also are traveling abroad for MBA programs in the United States, Europe and Asia. For example, Kumar Mangalam Birla, a billionaire and one of India’s wealthiest citizens has an MBA from the London School of Business. (Manoj Gaur is another billionaire with a UK MBA.) A number of wealth businessmen in India have MBAs from American universities, but not all. For example, RhagavBahl, a media mogul has his from the University of Delhi. Most of the top business executives are male, but there are some women such as ChandaKochhar. She has a Master’s from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai.NeelamDhawan is another woman executive (Hewlett-Packard) and has an MBA from Delhi University.
Executive and distance MBA programs have also cropped up, due to the high demand for graduate business education, and the extreme selectiveness of the top tier schools. Executive programs offer night courses and part-time instruction for those who are already working in full-time positions. Distance MBA programs are for those who may also be working, but can't move to the physical location of a school, due to family commitments or work obligations or financial constraints.
Angie Picardo is a staff writer for NerdWallet. Her mission is to help consumers stay financially savvy and save money with Nerdwallet's best credit cards.