CRISIL announces grading system for B-School programmes
Moneylife Digital Team 10 January 2011

The ratings agency has evolved an evaluation of management programmes on a host of parameters to enable students make informed choices and the industry to make better recruitments

CRISIL India, the country's premier ratings agency, has introduced a new grading system for Business Schools that will help students make informed choices about the institutes and the courses they wish to pursue. The Mumbai-based agency today released its inaugural report containing a summary of the evaluation of 24 B-School programmes at institutes across the country.

CRISIL says that this is the first step in its plan to extend grading services to the entire education sector. Roopa Kudva, managing director and chief executive officer of CRISIL, said that the increasing number of B-Schools had resulted in many more options for students, making it more difficult for them to make a proper choice. She said this initiative by CRISIL will help students and their parents to make better decisions. It will also provide other stakeholders like recruiters a wealth of information on B-School programmes, to enable them become more focussed in their recruitment efforts. For the institutes themselves, this will be valuable feedback from an independent agency that should spur them to make the necessary changes to improve the quality of their programmes.  

The first report released today contains an evaluation of management programmes at such institutes like Asia-Pacific Institute of Management (New Delhi), Xavier Institute of Management (Bhubaneswar), Assam Institute of Management (Guwahati), PGS Institute of Management (Coimbatore), Sydenham Institute of Management Studies, S P Jain Institute of Management and Research (both in Mumbai) and 18 more.

The evaluation is a holistic process on ten quantitative and qualitative parameters such as management and governance, the faculty, curriculum, student selection and outcome and industry interface. The grading is assigned on an eight-point scale ranging from A*** (triple star), which is the highest level, to B, the lowest, and allotted on a national level and a state level. This will help compare similar institution programmes at an all-India level as well as the state level, catering to the geographical requirements of students and recruiters.

"The grading is not a ranking, but it is an in-depth evaluation of the programme," said Hetal Dalal, head of CRISIL ratings. "The process is rigorous and intense. We spend 2-3 days on the B-School campus where we have extensive interaction with students, faculty members, administration staff, to get an overall view of the programme. The evaluation is dynamic and not static in nature."

The grading also takes into account information of the alumni, like their performance and whether he/she is able to meet the industry standards. "The evaluation is not a mathematical model with a pre-designed numeric model, it is a holistic assessment," Ms Kudva said. CRISIL is in the process of evaluating six more programmes and others will be taken up on a continuous basis. It has started with management programmes and plans to extend the evaluation to engineering and medicine too.
There are several problems that plague the quality of higher education today. While industry has been affected due to the shortcomings, the only source on the quality of education provided by B-Schools was rankings and accreditations, which were not transparent.

The CRISIL announcement was followed by a panel discussion on benchmarking the quality of management education in India. Rashesh Shah, chairman and chief executive officer, Edelweiss Capital, said, "Today, students pursuing MBA are much smarter and broad based. They are evolved in technical skills but they lack in soft skills like interpersonal and social skills."

Rajan Saxena, vice-chancellor, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies that has also been rated in the CRISIL report, was asked about the quality of education in B-Schools and the employability of students. "There is inadequate and imperfect information. The quality front of the education is missed out and is confused with infrastructure and glossy advertising," Mr Saxena said.

CRISIL is hopeful that several institutes will come forward voluntarily to seek evaluation and gradation. "Seeing the response so far, we are sure that more institutes will come forward to get their programmes evaluated and that they will be ready to share the report with their stakeholders," Ms Kudva said.

1 decade ago
can the rating agencies be trusted to give unbiased ratings ? Afterall they are the ones who gave A grade ratings to the banks just months before they collapsed in wall street.
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