The Indian Institute of Management Bangalore has long lived in the shadow of its sister institute in Ahmedabad, which has been hailed globally as the best graduate business school in India.
However, in recent times, the IIMB has stepped up its game. It has reinvigorated its faculty with 40 recruits from around the world, and is the second school in India to be accredited by the European Quality Improvement System, an international accreditation body. Now it is starting to expand in emerging markets.
Its flagship two-year post-graduate programme, often viewed in India as the equivalent of an MBA in the US and Europe, is one of the top choices among undergraduate students considering going to business school in India.
“The quality of our teaching is among the best,” says Trilochan Sastry, the dean. “Every year, more than 250,000 students apply for our MBA course. We can only take 375 – students want to be part of our ecosystem.”
One advantage the IIMB has over its Indian rivals is its location. It is based in the country’s entrepreneurial heart, also known as the Silicon Valley of India, where many of the most successful software and IT outsourcing companies were founded.
“The vibrancy of Bangalore, the science, technology and entrepreneurship capital of India, defines our landscape and our institutional energy,” says Pankaj Chandra, director of the IIMB. “Not a week goes by without top executives speaking on campus. We have forged rich research links that are enduring and intellectually stimulating.”
Having people such as Kris Gopalakrishnan, chief executive of Infosys Technology, the Bangalore-based IT company, on the board of the IIMB is certainly a big draw for India’s brightest students.
It also provides graduate education for experienced professionals. This contrasts with many Indian business schools that focus on recruiting students just out of college.
As part of its special relationship with the country’s IT companies, the IIMB has designed a two-year executive course for people working in the software and outsourcing industry (the students attend the software enterprise management course only on Fridays).
The IIMB also offers an intensive one-year course for managers with at least seven years’ experience that helps develop mature students’ leadership skills.
Where the school seems to lag behind its sister institute in Ahmedabad is in its process of internationalisation. Although it has a number of exchange programmes with US institutions, including Cornell University, the University of Chicago and University of California, Los Angeles, it has no concrete plan to compete with western institutions, as is the case with the IIMA.
“There is a limit to the number of collaborations we can make in the US and Europe,” says Prof Sastry. “However, we plan to boost ties with emerging-market schools in the future.”