Monday, August 27, 2007

Update on IIM Shillong

Just noticed, it's Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management Shillong. RGIIM? As anyone who's attended an IIT or IIM would know the acronym 'RG' is strangely ironic!

Actually more than the name it's the location which will RG this new effort. That's what happened to IIM Kozhikode. In an insightful column published in Mint Premchand Palety notes :

There is no direct flight from Delhi to Kozhikode. The only Indian Airlines flight goes via Mumbai and it takes six hours. After the usual delay, the flight finally landed in Kozhikode...

...From the airport, it is a 45-minute drive to the IIM-K, which is located at Kunnamangalam, a small town famous for a large number of small, green hills. Situated on two hillocks, the institute is a great place for nature lovers... Had the government set up a resort there instead of an IIM, it would have been an instant success.

Based on feedback from students, faculty and a former director Palety concludes:

“Setting an IIM in a place so far away from industry is a mistake. Setting the same campus in Cochin would have been a relatively better idea.”

I'm guessing the next best option for an IIM Shillong is to combine placements with an IIM Calcutta. But what about faculty? Once again it boils down to social objectives over practical ones. But that's the pound of flesh the government takes for its funding.

So where would I recommend setting up new IITs/ IIMs? In the general proximity of large metros. For example: New Bombay or Pune (near Mumbai), Gurgaon, Jaipur or Chandigarh (near Delhi). Even a destination like Goa with great connectivity.

Meanwhile if we can have an RGIIM we can well imagine an RTIIM (Ratan Tata IIM), SMIIM (Sunil Mittal IIM) and so on and so forth. After all who were 'Harvard' and 'Stanford' but wealthy donors?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This is the common practice.

    Jamnalal Bajaj

    Current I m doing mba from Ganpat University which is named after NRI DONOR Ganpatbhai Patel.

  3. I guess the phenomenon is more common than not. Y not gv the NITs a look some day? Most of them are situated in the outskirts of the cities. They say, the environ's more conducive for study *wicked smirk*

  4. oh, give me a break.
    Every tom dick and harry knows that a top-notch institution is set up in the middle of nowhere in the hope that the area sees some development atleast due to the world-class facility it has.
    Take for instance IIM Bangalore. the first option for a campus was in the center of the city, but Prof. NS Ramaswamy insisted it to be on the outskirts in arakere, in the middle of nowhere. Thanks to the IIM, the people in surrounding areas have a GOOD post office, a reasonable road, regular bus facility, and jobs.
    It is a different matter now that the area is a prime IT hub.
    Similarly, Suratkal is a dot in the middle of nowhere. But the National Institute of Technology there is a boon to the people. Due to NITK, the post office is excellent, the SBI there has core banking facility, the place overall has some _culture_, some connection with the mainstream... hindi gets spoken more frequently than Tulu or Kannada. And there are enough workforce of the local NSS chapter to clean up the beaches of the area, our culfest brings out the best of indian rock artistes to this nowhere land, our techfests bring the cream of the tech world to within easy reach of everyone around here, apart from video conferences with the likes of dr devi shetty, sam pitroda, various nobel laureate physicists for free, SPIC-MACAY brings artistes of international repute like sonal mansingh to within easy reach of the locals...
    what the hell are you complaining about? if you are world-class, the industry will come running to you, and your alumni network is a big help there. Like it does and it is in our case.
    -- Wanderlust

  5. Copy-paste of my analysis here -
    Original Link -

    IMHO, IIM - S will take at least 10 years to even reach the level of a Top 10 B-School.
    Reasons -
    1> Faculty - In these dark ages, when even IIM-A is finding it hard to find good faculty, I really find it hard to believe that good talented faculty will be inspired enough to join IIM-S. Moreover, now there are B-Schools all over India, which are offering multiple fold better salary than IIMs and are more pro-active in finding and hiring the best talent than our respected HRD ministry.
    Moreover, IIM-S because of its location, will not be able to attract industry people to give lectures or go via ISB model of teaching by inviting guest faculty.
    So , IIM - S may end up having academicians who posses tons of PhDs from Guru Abracadabra University with zilch practical experience.

    Will I be ready to join an institute based on the above parameter - No.

    2> Location - I did my engineering from NIT - Calicut ( Kozhikode ) and in my times , IIM- K used to conduct their classes in our buildings and their students resided in our hostel.Well , thats the infrastructure part.As of now I think , IIM- S has got a big enough ground for frolicking of the future students, so no issues on that.
    But yes, IIM - K sufferred a lot and its growth was hampered because of the location constraints.Placement, guest faculty, resources, networking - everything took a beat because of this factor.
    It wil be interesting to see, which route IIM- S takes to bypass the location constraints.Other IIMs were autonomous enough to make their rules themselves, but in the way IIMs are now becoming puppets in the hands of HRD ministry, I see it going either way for IIM-S. For good or for bad.

    Will I be ready to join an institute based on the above parameter - No.

    3> Competition - Last IIM to be instituted was IIM- I in 1996. It took them at least 7 years to break the shackles and establish themselves.Moreover, in 1996, there were not as many B-Schools as there are right now in 2007 and lot of them have really scaled heights and established themselves.So more competition for IIM- S to attract better students.

    Will I be ready to join an institute based on the above parameter - No.

    4> Peer/Classmates - IIMK and IIMI saw an influx of people with lot of experience in their earlier years. Bright freshers, who were good at number crunching were cracking CAT and getting percentiles in 99.xx and cracking the big 3.People with say 4-5 years of experience were cracking percentiles in 96-99 range and going to these B- Schools.
    Now IIM- S may also see people with 4-5 years of experience coming in. It will be a good place for people who have been working for 4-5 years and want to take a break from work and can add an IIM tag in their CV.Also a good place for someone who is newly married and wants to relax for two years and earn a degree too.

    Will I be ready to join an institute based on the above parameter - Yes, because I will learn more from my peers who have industry experience, rather than the freshers.

    Overall conclusion - IIM- S is not worth 2 years of my life, at least in next 5 years.

  6. ha ha.. this is ridiclus. Actually, i m too bored with the government's stupidity to even bother any more.

  7. Rashmi, agreed that locational disadvantage is a major factor..but what about IIT Guwahati..I don't have the figures but I guess that the placements (one among the many parameters) of IIT Guwahati is relatively poorer than that of the old boys of IIT clan..say in terms of the number of MNCs coming for placements..okie it is the newbie in the IIT cabal but still it is an IIT and that's what makes it worth for the industry to make a beeline for it..

  8. "Unlike Stanford University, which gifted Silicon Valley to the world, in India we don’t see any B-school acting as a catalyst in developing industry around it. It has mostly been the other way around"

    You did not italicize this line, so I will add on this. I dont want to use cliches like, "turn the world to urself" or "thing as per the needs" etc. but the fact is that if it has happened before it can be done again(agreed conditions are not same).

    Prickles said very well, even IIMB was not setup inside the city, it was at the outskirts and so it did create what was expected - development in the location it was built instead of cribbing about the help it did not get from the location.

    The major difference in my opinion is not merely the location. When the big three IIMs, there were very few Management institutes at that time so competition was scarce. In fact all the institutes existing from those times are still highly reputed in the industry(though there reputation would have varied from 10-30%). The new IIMs are facing way too much competition from private B-schools as well(ofcourse there are atleast a few of them may be only 10).

    Now the common expectation of the public is if it is an IIM then it should be in top-10, kyun bhaiya , janamsidh adhikaar hai kya. Yes they have the funding and that TAG called IIM but the game begins from there does not end. Now if despite that head start if these institutes loose the race against some of their pears then why blame the location alone just because that is one disadvantage.

    Faculty problem is everywhere, if people from the industry are expected then they have to be paid what the industry pays them. If you want a guy from the industry with 20 years experience you can not pay him a fresher salary. In the industry also smaller companies pay higher salaries in order to make people compromise for the brand and join them.

    You create an institute around the industry and then industry comes around the institute and u keep running round round.

    Ok hills might not be the best place to setup the institute but then we have more plain rurals than hilly rurals , isnt it??

  9. Getting good faculty no doubt would be an issue. Shillong Im sorry is now known to most of us only after IIM has deemed to grace it! And every insti of top calibre is setup in some out of bounds area...nothing much u can do abou that. Nice one Rohit.

  10. On the other hand, shillong isn't all that remote as most people think. It's just about 2-2.5 hours by road from Guwahati (around 100 km). And Guwahati is as well connected as any major city in India. And as per your argument of setting up IIMs only in/near cities like Mumbai and Delhi, let me tell you that it can sometimes take more time and MUCH more energy/magajmaari to get from Mumbai Airport to some place in Navi Mumbai than to get from Guwahati to Shillong, courtesy the crazy Mumbai traffic.

  11. IIMs definitely need to be set near a metro- else they would suffer the sameissues as troubling IIMK /IIM I /(RG)IIM!!!

    but a point to ponder- why not near Chennai- it has many manufacturing giants and IT companies -

    Why do we have to think of Delhi and Bombay that already have scores of MBA institutes (some of them in top 20 ranks) unlike Chennai

  12. if you keep saying these places are "remote" and dont establish anything of value there, they will STAY remote.
    And the North-East has suffered enough neglect. IIM-Shillong is a great step, after IIT-Guwahati and NIT-Silchar and Sikkim-Manipal Institute.
    Guwahati and Mumbai are the same distance from Delhi. Why, then, the skewed development of the former? It's urban ill-informed snobs like you who silently back this skewing.

  13. If the govt had decided to setup the IIT's and IIM's only in major cities i don't think IIT Kgp and IIT G will ever have come into existence. Its totally absurd for a educated person to say that institutes like IIT's and IIM's should only be in large cities. IIMK is doing pretty well and the students are getting jobs which pay and provide positions much better than the MDI's, SpJains and the like, inspite of its REMOTE location.

    Also consider that atleast 10-20k students taking th CAT this year will do anything to get an IIM tag even if it means studying in Shillong, before coming up with smart ass remarks like this!

  14. as an individual who has spent more of his life in hinterland, i can assure you that industry and career are not necessarily the only things of priority.

    Knowledge and nature go together well. It doesnt need proxinity with city. That will develop later.

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. Prickles is very much correct when says that If the remote areas continued to be ignored they would never get a chance to revamp their infrastructure. The very well reputed IIM's tag is a golden chance for shillong to improve its current situation. How many of us knew that a place called Kozhikode exists before IIMs went there?? It was IIMs tag which brought into the lime-light.
    And as far as getting a good faculty is concerned, i guess providing better facilities wrt accomodation and commuting should act as a catalyst for faculties from other IIMs to come and teach there.
    we should never forget that IIMs n IITs are worldly recognised brands and no stone should be left unturned to develop it, if a new IIM starts breathing. We should always welcome that..

  17. Rashmi, is running a similar report, I wonder if they've snitched your articles...

    What surprises me is the timing of these pieces, they came up almost a week into your new iit/iim expansion episode.

    In my eyes, on a macro-level I could associate you with two words, "Nation-Building".

  18. i dont know why are people arguing about iims. is north east outside india. if yes then i must say devide kasmir , south and at that time i hope india will b at your door step buddies.speaking about airport how can it b build in a hil station, its possibille by us firms. for the past 3 years i have been asking myself why is india a developing country inspite of large natural resource. and i think i near by the annswer ie people of our country know how to criticise each other state n in in the develope country they dont do that. so i request the non north eastern to start working as a single roof of the country. other wise i think india will become a place of critising by foreigner.come 2 shillon once see the place then talk about it buddy. ther r houses whic r not less compared to the us livimg style

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