About Dr. Gautam Sinha: Dr. Gautam Sinha is the founding Director of IIM Kashipur. He has an extensive experience of over 3 decades in academia and industry. He has a decade long experience with Vinod Gupta School of Management (VGSOM) where he was Professor of Operations, Supply Chain Management and Manufacturing Strategy. In addition, he has spent 25 years in the steel and engineering industry with SAIL.
Context: In line with our series of interviews and articles on B-School rankings in the country, here is what Dr. Gautam Sinha, Director - IIM Kashipur has to say.
Career2NextOrbit: Looking from an Academic lens, why are B-School Ranking surveys important?
Dr. Sinha: Excellence is both nebulous and a moving target. Ranking helps with the following
- It helps with your relative position vis-a-vis best-in-class.
- It provides the gaps to be addressed and an action bias.
- It helps to direct our efforts by providing specific metrics and benchmarks
It thus makes the task a lot easier by breaking the problem into smaller tasks.
Career2NextOrbit: Given that there are too many B-School surveys being conducted these days, what are the few essential parameters you would advise Ranking Agencies to keep in mind-given the importance of these parameters in the correct evaluation?
Dr. Sinha: There are a few important evaluation criterias that should act as a guiding factor for any ranking agency. I would classify them into input and output constituents.
Education has four input constituents: faculty, students, infrastructure & processes;
i) Faculty input can be judged by qualification, experience & outcomes.
ii) Student input is generally judged by their performance in entrance and diversity.
iii) Infrastructure- in terms of availability of facilities for a balanced environment in and beyond classroom
iv) Processes- their coverage, rigidity & standard; can be also judged by accreditation; which measure all the above.
Three outcomes: student value addition through the education process, research & publications and industry outreach through MDP & consulting.
1. Value-addition to students can be judged by:
a) What the employers are willing to pay- a surrogate measure and over-valued in rankings
b) Their performance in competitions.
c) Contemporary syllabus & pedagogy
2. Research & publication through different indices like Scopus/ ABDC ranked journals etc
3. Outreach by monetizing the consulting & MDPs,
Any ranking should cover the above inputs, processes and output.
Career2NextOrbit: What role does Leadership & Governance play in a B-School? Can it be looked upon as a leading indicator of how the B-School is going to perform in coming times?
Dr. Sinha: Leadership provides the action towards the vision, maintains the sanctity of the processes, maintains input quality, and nurtures the environment that produces desired outcomes. Governance is an essential part of leadership depending upon what metrics are chosen for measuring the above. Again, international accreditation like AACSB and EQUIS measures the governance process.
Career2NextOrbit: What are your views about the current state of Industry-Academia collaboration in Indian B-Schools? What three steps would you prescribe for a way forward? Do you find that present-day Ranking Agencies cover this well?
Dr. Sinha: Industry-Academia interaction is a pet theme that has been discussed to death with very little on the ground. They have to come together and appreciate the symbiotic relationship and that it cannot be sporadic and transactional.
A few suggestions:
- They should meet more often.
- They should invest more time & resources.
- They should find new ways to collaborate.
- They should ensure that it is a win-win.
There is a need for current rankings to cover this adequately.
Career2NextOrbit: Being a member of NHRDN B-School ranking Advisory Committee since its inception, what are few differentiating factors of this ranking?
Dr. Sinha: It is driven by top HRD professionals and educationists; there are no commercial under-currents, hence no motivation to bend the rules.
Career2NextOrbit: Do you consider that NHRDN B-School ranking captures the present day realities of a B-School?
Dr. Sinha: I would need to revisit the criteria to comment on this but I can attest to the data-driven, fact-based collection and analysis that drives this ranking.
Career2NextOrbit: With many entrance exams for coming years having started or about to start, what are the few pointers you would advise aspirants to keep in mind while going through Rankings to help them make a correct decision?
Dr. Sinha: My views on the choice of institute remain the same:
- Look for quality of faculty at the Institute for general courses and specifically for your area of interest;
- Contemporary curriculum and rigor of education;
- Quality of life in and beyond classroom;
- Outcomes such as student performance in competitions and job-market