After IIMs A, B and C, here comes IIT-D

The Department of Management Studies at IIT Delhi is the fourth best management school in India, according to the NIRF Management rankings 2022. Why an IIT is ranked higher than most IIMs and all private business schools

Education analysts also say the DMS is a brilliant institution.
Education analysts also say the DMS is a brilliant institution.

In the National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) ‘India Rankings 2022: Management’, the Department of Management Studies (DMS) at IIT Delhi has been ranked the fourth best management school in India—better than most IIMs, including some legacy ones like IIM Lucknow, IIM Kozhikode and IIM Indore, and better than all private business schools, including XLRI Jamshedpur, NITIE Mumbai and MDI Gurgaon.

Over the years, the DMS has been rising up the ranks.

In 2017, it was ranked the sixth best management school in India. It slipped to eighth in 2018, ninth in 2019 and back to eighth in 2020. In 2021, however, the DMS touched a high of fifth, and fourth this year.

Steps taken for improvement
Prof Seema Sharma, the head of the DMS at IIT Delhi, told FE that when she was given the charge in 2019, then-director V Ramgopal Rao told her that he wants to see IIT-D after IIMs A, B and C (Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Calcutta).“My first priority was to see how the MBA programme can be improved upon,” she said.

She and her team worked on improving gender equality inside the classroom. In the 2015-16 academic year, for example, there were 109 students in the PG batch (88 boys and 21 girls). In the batch rated by the NIRF 2022, there were 246 students (164 boys and 82 girls). So, in about five years, the representation of female students in the classroom increased from 19% to 33%. This was done not by disadvantaging male students, but by subtly sensitising the entire DMS fraternity, and also because more female students have anyway been entering the MBA ecosystem over the years.

“We realised that some of the top corporates expect better gender equality in our programmes, and so we worked on it,” she said. “Then we worked on the curriculum; we introduced the latest and most relevant courses, such as data analytics, business analytics, technology management, and so on.”

The DMS also increased the size of its batch, and worked on improving the infrastructure wherever needed.

A major advantage, Prof Sharma said, is being part of the broader IIT ecosystem. “Because we are part of the IIT Delhi ecosystem, our research component has been strong, but we still worked on it to make it stronger. We also leveraged IIT Delhi’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, which is possibly the best in India,” she said.

All these steps added up to make its MBA programme better than what it was just 3-4 years ago. “The goal is to make our MBA even better, and we will keep improving despite getting the fourth rank in this year’s NIRF,” she said. “Even if somehow we had not been ranked this high, we are happy that we are giving the right kind of training to young minds so that they can lead a better India.”

Student profile at the DMS
Some years ago, the DMS used to accept only those with an engineering background into its MBA. But that has now changed. Prof Sharma said the DMS accepts students via the Common Admission Test (CAT) and their profile is more or less the same who would have gone to any IIM or a top private business school.

An independent education analyst told FE that the MBA programme at the DMS (or for that matter at any IIT) is usually sought-after by engineers because they get to live inside the IIT ecosystem, where the connections they form can be far diverse (than in a standalone management school) and closer to their interest.

Praise from competitors
The DMS at IIT Delhi has also been praised by its competitors. Rajesh Chakrabarti, the director of MDI Gurgaon (a management school that was ranked 13th this year in NIRF), had last year told FE that the DMS is a good school, and deserves all the honour and credit it has been getting. “The advantage management schools at IITs have over standalone business schools is that the former have a much larger pool of faculty in the entire IIT ecosystem, and that possibly elevates their research strength; they possibly derive certain benefits from other IIT departments,” Prof Chakrabarti had said. “We welcome the rise of IITs (in the management education space); we share our learning sets with each other. We will ourselves become stronger when we are in a stronger environment.”

Views of education analysts
Education analysts also say the DMS is a brilliant institution. “While management schools at IITs are part of the IIT set-up, they are pretty much autonomous and run like any other management or business school,” Kamlesh Vyas, partner, Deloitte India, told FE. “But they appear to have a higher research focus than many standalone business schools, and to my sense the academic rigour would also be higher because a little bit of the IIT rub-off effect is there.”

Vyas, however, added that despite the rise of IITs (in management education), we cannot discount the fact that established business schools are at a different level. “These have been around for decades; and their quality of students/faculty, the exposure, the corporate connect, the projects … all these elevate them on to a different level altogether,” Vyas said. “Just one ranking cannot prove if A is better than B or X is better than Y.”Be that as it may, at least this year the DMS at IIT Delhi has made MBA aspirants think beyond A, B and C. It must have made the previous director Prof Rao proud, who on September 9, 2021, had tweeted: “IIT Delhi’s @DMSIITD has the potential to soon become the ‘D’ among the ABCD of #management schools in India. We are working on it. @iitdelhi @DMSIITD.”

India Rankings 2022: Management

Year IIT Delhi’s rank
2022 4th
2021 5th
2020 8th
2019 9th
2018 8th
2017 6th
Source: NIRF

NIRFNote: Top three positions every year have been taken up by IIMs Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Calcutta; in 2019, IIM Bangalore was ranked higher than IIM Ahmedabad

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