Prof Shekhar Chaudhuri, Former Director, IIM Calcutta, is Honorary Chairman of the Ranking Advisory Committee 2016. In this interview, Prof Chaudhuri elaborated on why rankings are important for different stakeholders. Excerpts:

Why are B-school rankings important for the different stakeholders: the institute, the students and the employers?

Credible B-school rankings can be useful for students, parents and prospective employers for these reasons:

Students : They can choose to study at a school that meets their requirements. Some schools emphasise use of the case method while others may use a combination of different methods; some may rely on traditional methods of teaching-learning whereas others schools may like use a lot of experiential learning in their teaching methodology. Some schools may like to differentiate themselves by offering the students a wide range of exchange programmes. The cost of education is also an important factor that could tilt the balance in favour of a less expensive school.

Institute : They can use rankings to attract the right kind of students and prospective employers; having the right student mix would help them design their academic programmes appropriately; they can develop their overall strategy based on the kind of students they are able to attract.

Employers : They can use rankings to decide which campuses to visit for recruitment; they can develop their talent development and deployment strategies based on the rankings of schools; and they can use rankings as an input for deciding role descriptions and personnel selection for a specific role, compensation strategies, and so on.

Why would you say the rankings are the most rigorous?

The rankings are predominantly based on factual information that is measurable and less on subjective information or judgements.

Do rankings spur B-schools to remedy the deficiencies that the rankings unearth – and bridge the gaps to improve the rankings the following year?

Schools that are student-centred and genuinely interested in their development look at rankings by well-regarded, credible agencies very seriously and do try to respond to deficiencies to the extent possible.

Do recruiters place a lot of emphasis on B-school rankings? How does it influence their recruitment process?

Recruiters are concerned about the quality of personnel they would like to hire are selective about the institutes they would like to visit for recruitment. Credible rankings are an important input in the process of selection of institute campuses.

As a former Director of IIM-C, do you think it’s time to redefine the MBA, the way it is taught and structured?

I think the time has come to reduce classroom content and offer more courses that are co-taught by academics and industry executives. Students must be given a broad education that exposes them to real life problems and issues plaguing the country.

This can only be done by participation in real-life problems, for instance, understanding the reasons for the tragic floods in Chennai or studying the pollution of our rivers and coming up with possible solutions.