Battle 2 : IIM Ahmedabad vs IIM Bangalore – Increase in batch sizes at top B schools in India is justified (FOR)
The Great Indian BSchool Debate – Battle 2
IIM Ahmedabad and IIM Bangalore lock horns in the second battle of The Great Indian B School Debate.Comments have now been enabled for audience attack. 10% weightage will be given to how easily audience can break arguments put forward by either teams
Increase in batch sizes at top B schools in India is justified
FOR the motion: IIM Ahmedabad (Read IIM Bangalore’s argument AGAINST the motion)
The decision to increase in batch size at top business schools of India is indeed well justified and a long awaited one. Two major reasons for the recent expansion are – the Indian growth story and fair implementation of reservation.
India has seen remarkable and continuous growth since the 1991 reforms. As a ripple effect, the Indian industries have been growing an appetite for quality professionals to manage their growing enterprises. Apart from the demand side, the quality of education had also increased in the growth years and India was able to produce increasingly productive and professional students, keen on excellence. Both demand and supply increased substantially in this period. But the instruments of making them meet – the higher educational institutions were not available. So, the government introduced new IIMs (Kozhikode and Indore) and expanded capacity in older IIMs.
The other major reason for expansion is reservation in higher education institutions. The fairness of reservation itself is a controversial issue and would be a debate of its own, but a few pointers as to the level of demographic imbalance in the higher education institutes are important. The population split in different states according to their quotas are given below:
|State||GEN||OBC||SC||ST||OTH / NA|
It can be derived from the above data that India approximately has a maximum of 30% General quota. But the registration data for CAT 2011 shows the vast discrepancy among the classes.
This data proves beyond doubt the necessity of reservation in order to encourage inclusive growth. But a bland implementation of the policy on the business schools would have led to a drop in the quality of output from these institutes and their reputation in the industry. So, the existing capacity was increased to include the new category. In this way, the industry still gets the same caliber, and in near future, such differences in caliber across classes will be normalized.
There certainly are ramifications because of the expansion that have a negative impact such as Faculty Shortage, Inadequate infrastructure, dilution of merit etc. Each of them can be analyzed individually to see that the positives far outweigh the negatives.
The faculty shortage and infrastructure inadequacy are a result of an inept government, as they could have been foreseen and rectified in time. It is a ripple effect of the demand for management professionals by the industry. As management professionals were in heavy demand, many private management institutes were started and attracted the best of faculty away from the top institutes with higher pay. Infrastructure development has also been stagnant in these institutes for a long time. Had the government foreseen it, both problems could have been avoided through gradual infrastructure improvement and capacity increase in training of qualified faculty. Rather, Indian government decided to follow its “Ostrich Policy” and remained dormant till the problem itself flared up. Hence, most of the consequences are a result of shabbiness of the policy-making, rather than the policy in itself.
On a conceptual level, the argument might boil down to “level of elitism” that should be maintained in these business schools – the eternal quality versus quantity debate. The pursuit of elitism works in a vicious loop, as it is a highly relative term that applies to social group of any size. Within any sufficiently large group, elite or otherwise, there is always room for further stratification and elitism appears within it and repeats recursively in a vicious loop. Thus the focus should not be on the pursuit of elitism, but rather the optimum size that allows the maintenance of reasonable standards. The western business schools studied to find evidence of such expansion through the time. Harvard and Columbia business schools, among the best in the world, started with 60 students each, and now have batch sizes of 900 and 700 respectively (Wikipedia) (wikipedia).
Thus, the expansion of the business schools might cause temporary inconveniences, but in the long term, they are necessary for the economic and social welfare of the country. The phase of transition is bitter, mostly because of the policy-makers than the policy itself, but the transition promises to reward more than it limits and is absolutely necessary.
– Ajai U. & Antony Raj Anand (IIM Ahmedabad)
IIM Bangalore’s counterpunch to the opening argument above by IIM Ahmedabad :
The opponents’ arguments are not so logical when one considers
Increase supply to meet demand
There has been an increase in demand which is why the newer IIMs such as IIMK,IIMI and IIMS were established which was a good move since these led to greater geographical diversification and also did not pressurize the existing IIMs on their existing resources. In your argument, gentlemen, you have mixed the issue of establishment of new IIMs and that of seat hikes. We do advocate the establishment of newer IIMs in lieu of increasing seats in older IIMs and clogging up their resources. The topic requires us to discuss whether seat increases in top B-schools as being an issue or not. A look at the placement scenes at various IIMI and IIML shows that when the industry can pick up beginning level analysts from lower tier colleges the increase in seats in the older ones is not justified.
Opportunities to weaker sections
Giving an opportunity to weaker sections in the society is indeed a noble thought and while we think that it is the primary education in the country should be revamped to ensure that weaker sections in the society get equal opportunities such that there is no need for reservations in higher education, the move to increase the seats in the premier B-schools was perhaps in hindsight not a bad move only so far as availability of capacity was concerned. The first wave of seat increases was absorbed by the IIMs by pushing their resources to the limit. But it did affect the quality of teaching and faculty time commitments. Any further increase is an absolute no. We have demonstrated enough examples to suggest how that will not do any good to anyone.
Social justice – the real reason?
While our opposition harps on the need of social justice in a land of inequity such as India, the real reason for the seat increase may not be to guarantee greater opportunity to weaker sections but to garner sufficient funds to make up for the losses per head incurred in the E-PGP programme. The IIMs pursue an E-PGP programme to have a more holistic programme profile and price it lower than the expenditure so as to attract experienced students (refer our Battle arguments)
The Higher education conundrum
If the number of people registering for CAT shows such gaping disparities – a fact that is corroborated by study of GER (gross enrollment ratio) by the UGC  it begs the question as to why we have reached such a state. The answer to this is that the primary education system is this country has failed to ensure equal opportunities. How will an increase in opportunities to weaker sections at the higher level be able to guarantee equality when the disparity is so skewed at lower levels?
Shortages due to inept government
If the inept government foresaw faculty and infrastructure shortages, they had no business recommending seat hikes. Truth is that even without seat hikes the premier institutes in the country are hard pressed on resources. If inefficiency in govt planning is the norm then there are all the more reasons to keep the status quo rather than aggravating the situation by recommending seat hikes.
Faculty preference for private institutions
Despite the not so attractive salaries in the IIMs these institutes still boast of the best professors in the country  .These individuals prefer joining the IIMs because of its greater visibility and also their desire to remain associated with a top B-school after their researches in renowned institutes in the US. But the lure of money as pointed out by the opposing team has forced many professors to look for greener pastures monetarily. If indeed this is the observed trend, one should think twice before going in for a seat hike as an exodus of teachers would adversely impact the student-teacher ratio.
Comparison with top B-schools
Top B-schools around the world such as Harvard and Columbia boast of higher number of students because these top B-schools are part of a larger university systems and hence in terms of land area (359 acres in Harvard  & 300 acres in Columbia), endowments and infrastructure facilities they are way ahead of any Indian B-school hence affording them the capacity to expand. Despite the ability to expand, schools such as MIT Sloan still resist this temptation and maintain a healthy student to teacher ratio of 7:1
The repercussions are not temporary but permanent
IIMK has had to stagger its placements over several months due to the absence of infrastructure to accommodate all visiting companies all at once should arrive together. IIMB and XLRI do not have any space for swimming pools within their campuses. Besides, the more permanent inconveniences caused by increased batch sizes such as the less than 100% placement in certain B-schools (refer to Battle argument) clearly suggest that the effect is seat increases aren’t temporary. Drop in quality of teaching and student participation along with the unintended consequences of free-riding permanently alter the strong educational culture which these institutions have taken years to build up.
Should social welfare always drive B-school admissions
While “social welfare” may be an indirect benefit coming out of the establishment of govt B-schools, that clearly should not be not the purpose. All top B-schools in the world are based on a model of competition where the quality of teaching, students and research determines their rankings and reputation which in turn attract students. Pushing for an NGO-like social benefit model for the development of the top -schools is bound to affect their competitiveness more so when the actual reason for the proposed seat hikes may be something other than that of guaranteeing social equality .
Also the govt can enforce their will of ensuring social equity only on govt run campuses of the IIMs and FMS. What about top B-schools in the private domain? (XLRI, MDI and NITIE ). The social welfare argument falls flat on its face.
(Please note that the arguments put forward above cannot be ascribed as the participants’ individual opinions. All arguments put forward are only for the purpose of this debate competition.)
Participant Profiles (IIM Ahmedabad)
Antony Anand Raj : A PGP2 from IIMA and a fresher out of GCT-Coimbatore, Antony was born and brought up in Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. He has won many intercollegiate Best Manager, Debates and Quiz contests. He interned with Reliance Industries Limited in Supply Chain vertical.
Ajai .U : A CSE graduate from CEG, Anna University Ajai has 21 months’ work experience in EMC as a software professional winning awards like Best Individual Performer and Best Team . Ajai interned at Google in Direct sales on Travel industry
Works Cited (IIM A’s opening argument)
Pandit, A. (2011, October 18). pagalguy. Retrieved August 2, 2012, from http://www.pagalguy.com: http://www.pagalguy.com/news/more-engineers-more-women-fewer-freshers-appear-cat-2011-a-17942
wikipedia. (n.d.). wikipedia. Retrieved August 2, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbia_Business_School
wikipedia. (n.d.). wikipedia. Retrieved August 2, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org: Status of reservations in India
Wikipedia. (n.d.). Wikipedia. Retrieved August 2, 2012, from www.wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvard_Business_School