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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Non elite colleges winning bschool competions-top bschools losing their mojo?

Recently, while thinking about the results of various Bschool competitions held this year(and where IIMA teams also participated), it struck me that teams from lesser known colleges(other than IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta and Lucknow) are increasingly winning more events, For instance,
  1. ISB and IIM Indore were the only 2 Indian teams(out of 6 global teams) to qualify for the NUS Global case study competition
  2. Teams from these 2 colleges,also won the IIM-A organized finance competition covering 4 domains of corporate banking, derivatives, private equity.  MDI Gurgaon came third, competing against IIMA/C/L/S and JBIMS.
  3. IIFT won the CFA Investment Research Challenge(National round and North round). Even the other zonal finalists were IFMR, IIM Shillong and SJSOM(IIT Bombay).
  4. Winners of events at business festivals at the IIMs, are typically from the lesser known colleges like NMIMS, SP Jain, FMS, IBS
  5. Team from MDI(Gurgaon) won the Airtel Challenge(a marketing case study competition open to select bschools)
The saving grace was that true to their name, IIM Ahmedabad teams won a Spanish bschool marketing case,  Cognizant Challenge and M&M War Room, all premier national/international level strategy case study competitions. An IIM-Calcutta team won the BNP Paribas global level finance simulation game at the Paris Finals earlier this year. And I'm sure IIM Bangalore/Lucknow would also have some accolades to their names.So maybe we can conclude that the big ticket awards would go to the IIMSs?

But these exceptions are fewer each year. A classmate who participates in these events more actively than I do, tells me that this trend is pretty much live and kicking-that the lesser known bschools emerge from nowhere to take away the prizes. Now, the reasons for this could be
  1. Self Selection:-Those who value CV points/money will enter these events, while those who have earned enough from summer internships(like many IIM students) won't.
  2. Need to prove themselves-Because they are 2nd they try harder:-I would say this is a major point.
  3. Not busy/overworked unlike IIMABC/(some extent L):-This is true for participation by first year students, not so for second year students so much, but the fact remains that atleast at IIM-A, one does not get academic leave for taking part in competitions elsewhere.
  4. Biased Judging by organizers/prejudice against IIMs-a leading Bschool(some say the least expensive in India) selected 1/3rd of the 50 finalists from an online simulation game from its college, and the winner was also from that college(based on subjective criteria). Need I say more?
  5. Career Choice of students-these events are biased towards those with a marketing/general management orientation, of which there are fewer in the top 4 bschools-many opt for Consult/Finance roles.
Whatever the reasons be, one should factor that in before concluding that the top bschools are losing their mojo. At the same time, it is also an object lesson not to underrate those from other bschools.

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