Battle 5 – IIM Calcutta v/s XLRI Jamshedpur – There should be 1/3rd reservation for women in Business Schools in India (AGAINST)

The Great Indian BSchool Debate – Battle 5

IIM C and XLRI resume their legendary rivalry in the final battle of The Great Indian B School Debate. Comments will be enabled at 13:00:00 IST after the CounterPunch is uploaded

(Read here for Battle 1IIM Lucknow vs FMS Delhi)

(Read here for Battle 2IIM Ahmedabad vs IIM Bangalore)

(Read here for Battle 3IIM Indore vs IIM Kozhikode)

(Read here for Battle 4 : JBIMS Mumbai vs MDI Gurgaon)

Please note that the arguments put forward below cannot be ascribed as the participants’ individual opinions. All arguments put forward are only for the purpose of this debate competition.

There should be 1/3rd reservation for women in Business Schools in India

AGAINST the motion: XLRI Jamshedpur                                       (Read IIM C’s argument FOR the motion)

Our arguments lie against the motion and we will be looking at this topic from two fronts-the impact on B-Schools due to reservation for women and need for women to have reservations.

If there is one attribute that distinguishes the premier B schools all over the world from the rest is the quality of students admitted. The main reason for this is the extremely rigorous selection criteria followed in the academic institutions. Selecting the right type of students is more than half the job done in the processes of grooming them to be exceptional managers and leaders as the institutes only have to facilitate a conducive atmosphere for learning. Hence any measure on the institute’s part to tamper with the rigour of their selection procedure would adversely impact the quality of their finished products. Since world over the potential of free market economy has been realised this would eventually lead to the private businesses partaking the lion’s share in the world’s economic growth, B schools which churn out managers who would drive the private sector machines need to have the required aptitude and attitude to drive the modern world economy.

Diversity in classrooms has been shown to positively influence the learning but in the process of forcefully increasing the gender diversity the B schools in India will ultimately end up selecting people from the same background among the fairer sex, e.g. Engineers and essentially destroying the diversity that was intended in the first place. The top notch B schools in the world like Harvard, Stanford, Wharton etc have more than 33% female students but it’s a natural outcome of their selection criteria solely based on merit.

These B schools have resisted the temptation to provide any reservation to females as they believe any effort to tamper with the admission criteria would sound the death knell for these institutes which have consistently topped the global rankings.

The companies that come to the premier B schools for recruitment mainly focuses on the attitude of the candidates during the selection processes in the hope that the aptitude wise filtering has already been done by the B schools themselves during admission, hence any dilution in the quality of students admitted would make the companies sceptical and they would increasingly resort to measures that may be partisan to protect their interests. The corporate houses are a very critical stake holders for the B schools as they not only provide astronomical salaries to the graduates and boost the brand value of these institutions but also through case studies, consulting tie ups with faculty and providing the students an opportunity to intern and do live projects with them increase the core competence of these institutes. Hence any move on the part of the B schools that such a vital stakeholder perceives as antithetical to its interests would prove to be an existential threat to the institutes.

If we draw parallels and generalize there are certain professions like human surgery, defence forces etc where no form of reservations can be entertained as the benefits accruing to the marginalized sections of the society from reservations are paltry when compared to the negative effects on the economy and society due to the dilution of the quality of the inputs. The table below shows that presently there is only 50% merit being considered in many premier Indian B schools and another 33% for women would kill merit based selection process entirely.

The second argument for reserving seats for women in B schools is that in general it would lead to their empowerment. Let’s examine the merit of this argument in detail.

Reservation in India is a form of affirmative action designed to improve the well-being of backward and under-represented communities, according to Wikipedia. The logic of the constitution framers in providing reservation to some sections of the society was they were marginalised for generations and needed a social support system in the form of affirmative action to bring them to the forefront of society and polity. Hence the recipient of reservation should benefit from the favourable climate created for him or her.

SC and SC Converts to Buddhism 13.0%
STs 7.0%
Vimukta Jati 3.0%
Nomadic Tribes (NTI) 2.5%
Nomadic Tribes (NT2) 3.5%
Nomadic Tribes (NT3) 2.0%
OBC 19.0%
Total 50.0%

Source: http://examcrazy.com/Education-System/India/Indian-Education-Reservation-Quota-System.asp           

This brings us to the inherent question whether reservation for women enables them to claim the benefits? In today’s society some of the social evils perpetrated against women that eventually lead to their disempowerment are female foeticide, child marriage, sexual abuse etc. In all these cases women irrespective of their caste and creed are discriminated against pre empting them from claiming any social benefits. However providing reservation in premier B-Schools to women wouldn’t per se empower them as they are forcefully prevented (by their own family mostly) from playing a greater role in the society. Strict law enforcement, creating awareness among the population and providing social support systems to women showing the courage to break free from the shackles are better ways to empower women than providing reservation.

In the case of marginalised communities it’s the historical bias which acts as a deterrent thereby making reservation a powerful tool for their advancement. Modern educated women are no longer second class citizens. They can fend for themselves and possess the intellect to do so. Women today have proven that they can excel in all fields be it academics, sports and in professions which requires extremely high skill and dexterity. Hence won’t it be an insult to women folk in general to have reservation when they have the potential to display exemplary performance.

Hence providing reservation to women neither empowers them nor aids the learning in classrooms. We would like to end with an analogy, in a 100 m race all the participants should be given an equal opportunity – training, kits, diet etc- reservation can be provided here. However, to compete and reducing the distance to be run for some participants would make it a mockery of a race.

– Bimal and Madhumita

Counterpunch

IIM Calcutta’s counterpunch to XLRI’s opening arguments

We read the points that XLRI gave and here goes our counterpunch:

“If there is one attribute that distinguishes the premier B schools all over the world from the rest is the quality of students admitted. The main reason for this is the extremely rigorous selection criteria followed in the academic institutions. Selecting the right type of students is more than half the job done in the processes of grooming them to be exceptional managers and leaders as the institutes only have to facilitate a conducive atmosphere for learning. ”

The basic assumption seems to be that if one clears the CAT/XAT with excellent mathematical and English language skills, the latter of which will have to be displayed during the interview/group discussion process, one is already half a manager. If Indira Noooyi, Azim Premji and Ratan Tata write the CAT today, the results will be very interesting. Also the statement belittles the effort put in by the staff and professors into designing the course and the support given by the alums. It is also a common observation that some students fail courses, so the process cannot be as foolproof as it seems.

“ Since world over the potential of free market economy has been realised this would eventually lead to the private businesses partaking the lion’s share in the world’s economic growth, B schools which churn out managers who would drive the private sector machines need to have the required aptitude and attitude to drive the modern world economy.”

“The companies that come to the premier B schools for recruitment mainly focuses on the attitude of the candidates during the selection processes in the hope that the aptitude wise filtering has already been done by the B schools themselves during admission, hence any dilution in the quality of students admitted would make the companies sceptical and they would increasingly resort to measures that may be partisan to protect their interests.”

Please read what I wrote about what Yashwant Mahadik and Ram Kumar said about what the corporate sector wants.

“The top notch B schools in the world like Harvard, Stanford, Wharton etc have more than 33% female students but it’s a natural outcome of their selection criteria solely based on merit.”

Please read about what I wrote about positive discrimination.

“”These B schools have resisted the temptation to provide any reservation to females as they believe any effort to tamper with the admission criteria would sound the death knell for these ”

Please quote an IIM representative objecting to reservation.

‎”In the process of forcefully increasing the gender diversity the B schools in India will ultimately end up selecting people from the same background among the fairer sex”

In IIM Calcutta alone, there are about 400 engineers out of a batch of 460. Engineers form 88.86% of the batch in IIM Bangalore.[1]. Also, as I mentioned earlier, girls are few in number in engineering colleges when compared to men. If you need proof, ask an IITian. There are plenty of women who crack the CAT and come from other backgrounds. We do not see enough of them in our b-schools.

“SC and SC Converts to Buddhism 13.0%
STs 7.0%
Vimukta Jati 3.0%
Nomadic Tribes (NTI) 2.5%”

The debate is not about community. It is about women. If, in spite of the current reservation system, we are seeing few women in IIMs and other top b-schools, then the system simply needs to be changed. This is where positive discrimination comes into play.

“ Modern educated women are no longer second class citizens. They can fend for themselves and possess the intellect to do so. Women today have proven that they can excel in all fields be it academics, sports and in professions which requires extremely high skill and dexterity. Hence won’t it be an insult to women folk in general to have reservation when they have the potential to display exemplary performance.”

There is  a strong glass ceiling at the work place that hinders the progress of women. Women represent just 10% of corporate boards.[3] [4]

“ in a 100 m race all the participants should be given an equal opportunity – training, kits, diet etc- reservation can be provided here. However, to compete and reducing the distance to be run for some participants would make it a mockery of a race.”

The rate was never equal. Please read what we wrote about the expectations of society from women and also our old school textbooks that explicitly showed women doing household work and men returning from work in the evening to enjoy tea/coffee and television.

 

 

Participant Profiles (XLRI Jamshedpur)

Bimal Viswam: I am an Electrical & Electronics Engineer from College of Engineering, Trivandrum. I have worked for four years with ITC LTD and I am pursuing PGDHRM at XLRI, Jamshedpur.

Madhumita Bhattacharya : I am a Computer Science Engineer from NIT, Surat. I have worked for 20 months with Avaya Telecom, Pune, currently pursuing PGDHRM at XLRI Jamshedpur

Read everything about XLRI Jamshedpur here

Team InsideIIM

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Comments

9 comments

Adarsh Nair

If Bill Gates took a M.tech Entrance he might fail too but that does not discount the fact that in today’s scenario a bare minimum level of Cognitive ability is needed. Giving loans to all High School dropouts for an entrepreneurial venture won’t guarantee another technology revolution. The examples of Indira Nooyi and Dhiru Bhai Ambani can be quoted to inspire people who need confidence but these exceptions cannot be taken to be a Proof-of-Concept. Another point is that assuming a rock given to a master craftsman can be turned into a jewel defies logic. The professors, the infrastructure, the books which most B-school grads spend their time memorizing can only give them a partial picture of the life that is to come. An assumption that getting the highest marks in “organizational behavior” will make you a team worker is flawed. B-School and the professors are tools that have to utilize to the maximum for anyone to benefit from it. You need a diamond in the rough to begin with.
Adarsh

Madhumita

We completely agree with you Adarsh. Thanks for supporting our point of view regarding 1/3 reservation for women.

Sachin Gupta

1. Going by your logic that Ivy league female MBA grads came through purely on merit implies that an average Indian b-school should also have a similar distribution (i.e 2:1). However, when we witness abysmally low representation in our classrooms it means either Indian women are not "so" meritorious on a an average or that our women face tougher hurdles in their race to the top. Sanity prevailing, we'd accept that given our historical bias the latter should be a more reasonable guess. Hence, in order to correct the past wrongdoings, women must be given a head-start into the race i.e positive-discrimination. Life is not as short as a 100m race, its a marathon and only time shall judge how well our decisions fared.
2. Countering your second argument on education and empowerment having no correlation. Seriously? We should probably re-consider RTE then!
Look at the impact Kalpana Chawla, Kiran Bedi etc have had on an entire generation. Now understand more highly educated women each year would translate into 100s of such role models for the next generation. This will have two reinforcing effects – Women more resilient in fending off challenges themselves and also the society shall get rid of long impending stigma around the burden of raising a girl-child. Eventually, less societal bias.
3. Free Markets : Free markets are only successful in a market place where all buyers and sellers have limited (&equal) bargaining power else it leads to collusion and predatory practices. Now, do we really think men and women in India (at large) have an equal footing when they sit in front of that computer taking the exam?

Team XLRI

Team XLRI:

1. The reason we see poor female representation in our classrooms is the historical bias prevailing in our society against women. Now in the context of the present topic of debate the question is " Does reserving 1/3rd of seats in B schools help in diluting or eliminating this bias". The answer is no because a women who has been at the receiving end of such bias will not be in a position to receive the benefits of such reservation at the post graduate level because she needs to cross many hurdles before reaching such a stage. Hence wont it be a better option to provide benefits to such women in the earlier stages of their education like primary , secondary , higher secondary etc , here we will not dilute the quality of our B schools and also will empower these women to compete with their male counter parts at an equal footing.

2. We never said that education doesn't empower women , our argument was that reservation for women in premier B schools doesn't lead to female empowerment because of the reasons stated in our argument. Secondly women like kalpana chawla and kiran bedi have fought against the gender bias in the society without any benefits like reservation and that is the reason they are considered role models. While we agree with your view that more highly educated women would translate into more role models , this would only be possible if those women have the potential to receive such top class education, and she would be looked up to by other women when she is seen competing neck to neck with men. Take the example of barkha dutt who is one of the most respected journalists in India and a role model to many women because she is one of the best in her profession, if she didn't have the capability that she presently has but still she gets through because of reservation would she still be a role model.

3. Men and women appearing for a B school admission test have an equal footing as far the capability of both the groups are concerned however women in general are disadvantaged due to the social bias, nevertheless the women who still appear for the exam have either overcome the bias or have never faced it due to their societal and family circumstances.So why reserve seats in B schools for such women.

Madhumita

As far as we are aware of the rules, the comments section is for the audience giving in their views and not for IIM-C coming up with further questions. CounterPunch was supposed to be the last place where you give in your counter. Please correct me if I am wrong.
However, since the question has come up, the response is, the B-Schools that we have quoted do not have official reservations for females. For further clarification, kindly check in their websites or their official selection process guidelines. The question here was on "1/3 reservation for women in B-Schools" and our response is pretty clear on that aspect.
Thank You
Madhumita

@InsideIIM

Yes. Madhumita is right. There is no concept of counter to a counterpunch. No team is expected to respond to a counterpunch as per the rules.

However, you are free to comment and respond to comments in this section.