Prominently positioned opposite the Taj Residency
, somewhere between Erramanzil Colony and Banjara Hills, is the glass-sheathed "IIPM Tower". You have to hand it to these guys ? the place is slick. Air-conditioning, wi-fi, well-dressed front-office, stilt-supported parking bay ? it has 'em all. And why not? Marketing oneself, the counselors will impress upon you, is the "first rule of management".
With 32 years of experience under its belt, the institute has pretty much got its entire marketing-and-delivering process down pat. The current focus is on replicating and rolling out the same. And since the Hyderabad branch is a little less than 2 years old as we write this in early 2006 ? the first batch is set to graduate in 2006 ? there's relatively little "local flavor" that stands out. It's a small chip off the much larger and older block that's in Delhi.
In an impressive marketing effort, the front-office folks will trot out credentials that are bound to rock you, your parents, or whoever it is that's paying the bill for your degree. An impressive list of faculty, a lengthy placement record, high rankings in the business magazine lists, subjects that are cutting edge, a "free" laptop for every student, a "free" study tour of Europe, a custom entrance exam. And a lot more that your hapless reviewer cannot recall.
The fly in the ointment, if you'll pardon a hapless mix of cliché³¬ is the dog that did not bark. IIPM is not AICTE accredited/approved/whatever. In other words, the degree's sanction comes from a European organization. Not from the Government of India. And this, of course, is not very good news for the prospective student.
The official line is that an AICTE/UGC recognition is a millstone. It prevents you from modifying your courses without bureaucratically-slow official sanction. And this is supposed to be a death sentence in the "fast changing" world of management education. That's a little hard to accept since even fields like IT that are changing a lot faster than management education hesitate to cock a snook at the certifying agencies. If the IIMs can work with the Government, why not IIPM?
IIPM, unfortunately, has recently been at the heart of a storm of web-logs and media articles that have caused pain all around ? to past students, to current students and to the institute itself. So has the media got it all wrong? Is this, as the blurbs claim, a way to "think beyond the IIMs"?
The institute does provide courses, degrees, facilities and training. For a price. The price is not exactly small cheese. It'll run you a little over 5 lakhs, spread over 6 trimesters, to get your degree. Students say the workload is demanding, and generally agree that it's a "fun" place to be.
The faculty includes fulltime teachers and a large list of part-time teachers or "visiting faculty". Some of the full-timers are former students of IIPM. Perhaps this will change as the Hyderabad center strengthens.
The placement record of the Hyderabad branch is hard to verify, mainly because the first batch is yet to graduate.
In the large and increasing group of organizations that offer "second tier" Management degrees, then, where does IIPM rank?
A mantra aspiring students would do well to remember is "Caveat Emptor". Buyer Beware. In an exploding economy where there's a huckster on every street, every washing-line weighed down with dirty laundry promises to be a rainbow. IIPM does provide a degree, but you will need to judge for yourself whether it's worth the investment ? of time and money.