IIPM: For a handful of dollars

Von am 7. Juli 2009

The Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM) boasts being India’s best business school and has been saying it cooperates with several renowned schools in Europe and the US for years – which is often false information. But although its unserious business practices are known, some renowned business schools nonetheless cooperate with the controversial Indian school.

„IIPM – Best only in Claims“ was the recent article headline from the Indian career magazine Careers360 that illuminated the strange business practices of the IIPM in detail, including the false information about partner schools.

In contrast, the largest Indian newspapers have been holding back on critiquing the business school for years. With its entire-page ads, the IIPM is ultimately one of their largest advertising customers. Some renowned publications even get carried away with puff pieces sometimes, which the IIPM proudly displays on its website. It isn’t always recognizable whether the presented articles aren’t really just editorially-constructed advertisement texts.

The IIPM has also been praised by Della Bradshaw, editor for MBA topics and the MBA ranking at the Financial Times (FT). In her „The Maverick Management Guru“ article (published in 2006), Bradshaw notably wrote uncritically about the founder “Honorary Dean” Arindam Chaudhuri and his, according to him, largest business school in the world.

It would’ve already been logical to scrutinize the supposed success story. Indian IIPM grads receive their MBA degree, for example, from the International Management Institute (IMI) in Brussels, which is unknown and not accredited in Belgium. www.timi.edu The IIPM still uses its coup cleverly today. “IIPM in Financial Times, UK. Feature of the Week. Must read“ flashes on the website. The link to the three year-old FT articles follow.

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The trick with the partner schools is also old. The Stanford Graduate School of Business significantly distanced itself back in 2007 from the IIPM’s statements that Stanford would offer a certified executive education program with the IIPM. “This claim is false,” wrote Gale Bitter, Associate Dean and Director. “Neither the Stanford Graduate School of Business nor the office of Stanford Executive Education has ties of any kind with the IIPM.”

Before, in december 2006 the Deputy Director at the Stanford Center for Professional Development, Paul Marca, had already written a letter to the Director of Global Strategy at IIPM, Siddharth Nambiar, in which he has complaint about the misleading advertising und has asked him immediately to cease „any and all uses of Stanford`s name and logo“. After Gale Bitter`s statement Siddharth Nambiar complaint to her about the defamation of the good name of the IIPM and referred to some Stanford professors who had taught at IIPM.

And Stanford is hardly an isolated case. The Chicago Booth School of Business recently emerged as a partner as IIPM students were to take part in the Advanced Global Management Program in Chicago. So IIPM announced: „The World´s No.1 Ranked B-School. What makes the program perhaps most unique and distinct from any other similar program in India is the compulsory International Residency Program on Advanced Global Management that the students will undergo at the Graduate School of Business, University Chicago.“

Following demand, Chicago reacted immediately and wrote the IIPM on June 23rd: „We kindly ask that all mention of Chicago GSB being a part of this Advanced Global Management program be immediately removed from all pages of IIPM’s sites.“ „We are really sorry for this,“ answered Chanda Mehra, Senior Manager of the Global Outreach Program at the IIPM.

The document was changed and now „The World´s No.1 Ranked B-School“ practically hangs in an empty space. The following sentence is all that remains: „What makes the program perhaps most unique and distinct from any other similar program in India is the compulsory International Residency Program on Advanced Global Management that the students will undergo.“ Where the participants will take the program however remains a mystery.

But not every business school is anxious about its reputation. The behavior of the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley is noteworthy. In February the Californian school told the Indian magazine Careers360 that Berkeley doesn’t have anything to do with the IIPM and has already heard that the school is known for announcing false connections with top schools.

But then the press department corrected the answer and explained that there is a new customer relationship between the IIPM and the Center for Executive Education. The first program took place in June. And in May Berkeley answered that the IIPM, as a customer, could call itself a „business school ‘participating’ with the Haas School of Business.“

Clearly business schools are looking for cooperation with Indian schools so frantically that they yield their good name, Careers360 commented on the behavior. They put aside their ethical principles and forfeit their professionalism in order to earn a few more dollars.  The document even creates the impression that Berkeley gives credits for the program.

Responding to a query by MBA Channel, Berkeley explained on July 2nd: „The Haas School has asked IIPM to take the Haas/UC Berkeley logo off its web site and marketing materials and to correct its language regarding the certificate of completion and the credits. The Center for Executive Education does not offer credits, only a certificate of completion with respect to the segment of the program that it has taught.“

The Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge is also mentioned as a “partner BSchool.” Clearly it has no qualms about having its logo next to the questionable school. The school offers IIPM participants a five-day executive education program in Cambridge, writes the press office. „IIPM have engaged us to deliver and the first group will commence in July 2009. There are no university qualifications awarded from Cambridge University or Judge Business School. The only certificate is a certificate of attendance which is what we provide to participants on all our programmes.“


Foto Bärbel Schwertfeger, MBA Journal

Über Bärbel Schwertfeger

Bärbel Schwertfeger ist Diplom-Psychologin und seit 1985 als freie Journalistin im Bereich Management, Weiterbildung und Personalentwicklung tätig.