May 26, 2006

Killer Silence - The latest addition to the Strategy toolkit

Today Man has inched closer to implementing quotas as the means to the upliftment of those belonging to 'Other Backward Classes' (OBC). With the BJP also supporting the move and infact going one step forward to suggest implementation in minority institutions also, my worst fears have been confirmed. Caste politics looks set to win.

Since I'm a Management student and my friend circle includes many management students a lot of talk doing the rounds deals with what imapct will quotas have on the IIMs. The Big 3 IIMs were having plans of going global. WIth the quotas system coming into place, the only way to maintain an equal number of meritious students will be to increase seats. If they do not do so, there will be an erosion of their intellectual capital. Not to suggest that the reserved guys are bad, but that the balance will suddenly shift from current levels. If they increase seats, it puts a huge strain on their infrastructure as they are already bursting at the seams (read this). This seriously hampers their global (or any) expansion plans.

At the same time, private management colleges have been quite. The strategic silence has a lot to do with them significantly becoming big players in the cluttered field of management education dominated by the Big 3 IIMs. So where does that leave us? The 6 IIMs, JBIMS, IIFT, FMS, NITIE look set to take a hit. Others like XIMB (Oriya quota), NMIMS (Gujarati quota) will get their share of the action but how much stands to be debated. The biggest gainers on the face of it look to be MDI, XLRI and SPJIMR. Of the three, MDI with its aggressive growth in the past few years and even aggressive plans for the future seems all set to power its way ahead. It strategically launched the post graduate HR programme two years ago. It has an international MBA programme starting this year. It has links with major BSchools across the world and has very strong European linkages in France (ESCP-EAP, EDHEC, Aix en Province), Germany (Wuppertal, EBS, HHL), Denmark (CBS, Aarhius), Italy (Bocconi), Poland (WSE), Austria(Vienna University), Belgium (Solvay) etc., Lately it has been catering to niches like Energy Management, Public Policy, Armed foces, etc. SPJ has on the other hand been developing strong niches in Entreprenuership, family business, etc. I do not know of their growth plans but I'm pretty sure they are planning big. XLRI have already set up centres in Dubai and Singapore. They have also come up with Satellite programmes. Other players like the IMT Group, the Symbiosis Group, IMI, Somaiya and the others in the Xavier fold will also look to grow in prominence.

Maybe all this is wishful thinking. The IIMs have earlier played masterstrokes at nullifying competition, notably in BSchool rankings, by refusing to be part of them thus making it an IIM versus non-IIM competition. What do they have up their sleeve this time? Are any aces left? Its a wait and watch game.

PS: In no way am I happy that reservations will been enforced. This post is not and should not be seen as sadistic.

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