In response to the question - do rankings matter? - which some of you have raised, my answer is "not really." Whether you join the college ranked no 1 or 4 usually doesn't.
Last year after Businesworld, Business Today AND Outlook had published their B school rankings, JAM had done a post-mortem and also provided a "B School Report Card"
At the time I clearly specified our approach:
Whether a B school RANKS a notch higher or lower than another isn't as important as whether it falls in a generally accepted CATEGORY as regards quality of education and placements.
The JAM B school Report Card therefore graded 50 odd b schools on the following scale:
A + Absolutely excellent
A Highly recommended
B + Strong B school brands
B Good choices
C + Above average
C Just about OK
? Questionable value
For example, I placed IIM A, B, C, XLRI, L and ISB in A + category. Only a handful of people have the luxury of choosing between these schools - they all pretty much give you the same kind of halo.
In grade 'A' I placed FMS, MDI, Bajaj, SP Jain, IIM K, IIM I as well as MICA and IRMA. And so on.
Now this is more "useful" but makes a less sensational story than LSR being named the "no 1 college in India" while poor St Stephens comes in 6th.
The other issue is "top 5" colleges in every city is not much of a help to anyone. At least top 15 colleges per city would give students who don't score insanely high marks an idea of which colleges they should be considering.
That's exactly what we did when arriving at a JAM rating for Engineering colleges in Maharashtra
If this appears to be "tom-tomming" JAM, so be it. Lucky for me, instead of just cribbing, I have the opportunity to 'set things right' through a magazine which influences students.
Not that I claim to be infallible. We always advise students to reach decisions based on advice from peers, seniors and personal visits to campuses if in doubt!