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6 tips to help you pick a B-school

November 26, 2009 10:55 IST

Selecting a B-school to join, or even deciding which one to apply to, is a Herculean task. What makes it appear so insurmountable is the fact that there are no universally accepted parameters that one can use to measure the 'worth' of one B-school against another. In this article, we hope to leave you with some pointers on what you should be wary of.

1. Pre-selected for GD and PI
This should be your biggest warning sign that there may not be enough people applying to the institute. And with good reason too. Many of the newer and relatively unknown institutes may contact you saying that you've been shortlisted for the Group Discussion (GD)/ Personal Interview (PI) stage. This despite the fact that you may never even have applied to the school. This is a marketing tactic usually employed by schools that find it difficult to 'fill the seats'.

2. "Everyone gets in"
Even if you miss the hint from the previous point, look at the people who get final offers of admission. If in the GD, six out of 10 candidates did not speak at all, and even then all 10 seem to have received offers of admission, it is a certain indicator that you may want to reconsider that B-school.

3. Which branch will you join?
Another signal that the school that you are considering may not be a good choice is when you get the feeling that your 'selection' depends on which branch you are willing to join. If the panel 'encourages' you to 'consider' a certain branch and suggests that admission in that branch is almost a certainty, beware!

4. Donation
For schools that encourage you to 'donate' to the trust that runs it, or to contribute to the 'expansion efforts' of the school by suggesting that such an act of philanthropy will 'brighten your chances' of securing admission, politely decline and withdraw your application.

5. Claims vs Reality
With integrity being the catchword of the day, it is important that the 'guru' walks the talk. Thus, one of the most important things to look at, perhaps, is to see how close to reality the claims of the B-school are. Most exaggerated are claims relating to the infrastructure and placements. A number of schools also make hugely exaggerated claims with regard to the companies that visit them for placement. If you find that most of the companies mentioned in the list have only 'selected' trainees for free, then the B-school's placement record and integrity are both suspect. You probably should not join such a B-school.

It might be a good idea to visit the B-school(s) from where you have received offers of final admission and verify that all the resources that they claim to possess actually exist! After all, the next two years can change your life. If you find any significant variance between what the brochure said and what you see, it's best not to join.

6. Ratings
With the craze to be number one, everyone is scrambling to be rated "the best", or "the most", or "the number one". Most institutes put the "rank" or the "rating" in big bold font, but often do not reveal the parameter on which they received the rating or present this information in fine print. Sometimes, even information about the rating body is not made public. Also, take the time to understand the process that was followed in order to arrive at the result. If it was based merely on the "data received from the institute", the survey is unlikely to be reliable.

7. Board of Directors
Another area that is successfully exploited by a lot of B-schools for 'window dressing' of their brochures is the Board of Directors. Please remember that the constitution of the board has nothing to do with the way a school is administered. A certain school, for example, has some very senior people from some of the top companies of this country on the board. Not a single one of those firms has ever recruited from the school! Very often, you may not even get to meet any of the members of the board. It would be worth checking out the placement record of companies that these board members represent. If you find that they themselves do not recruit from this B-school, then you know what to assume.

Buyer beware!
Do remember that the points shared here are only indicators. Please double- and triple-check all the information before parting with your hard-earned money. It would be helpful to keep in mind that only around half of the (approximately) 2,000 B-schools in the country are recognised, and even from that number, many recognised schools do not manage to place a large majority of their students.

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