How many times have you heard a director of a wannabe institute in Mumbai or NCR (national capital region) crying his lungs out as to how strategic it is to have institutes at the right location? We tend to buy this argument as it sounds good, but, as you scrape the surface, you will find that there could be nothing farther from reality.
The advantage of location comes from two factors: It is easier for a company’s top bosses to walk into your institute and it helps during placements for companies who don’t want to take that extra trouble of travel. But here lies the catch. What positions do you think would the company be recruiting if it decides not to invest time in recruitment? When you want to pick up people for important profiles, you don’t mind going that extra mile.
It surprises me that there is so much deliberation on location advantage in the era of globalization. Had that been true, India would not be a shining example of the outsourcing model. An institute’s infrastructure is not limited to just computers, laptops and broadband. These are the bare necessities, which every institute fulfils. Students need to be educated on other important infrastructure of campus, which is knowledge. An IIM—all the IIMs—spends something to the tune of Rs4 crore on its library to get access to databases that most non-IIM institutes have not even heard of.
Let us just stop chest-thumping whenever B-school rankings come out. A better way is to educate the aspirants on the parameters they should select these institutes on. By empowering them with correct information, we will enable them to make the right decision themselves. Though all IIMs have good student exchange programmes, it should not be a benchmark for an institute. The focus should be on the faculty exchange. That actually generates and stores knowledge.