IIPM: Profit instead of ethics
The case of the questionable Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM) is a lesson about the failures of the media and business schools. It is not only about clarification, responsibility and ethics – it is about profit. The interests of potential MBA students get left by the wayside.
The Indian business school falsely advertised a cooperation with reputable business schools. Due to the lack in official accreditations even in India, IIPM college graduates received their MBA from an also not recognized institution in Belgium.
We had been watching IIPM since 2007. When the Indian magazine Careers360 published a critical report in June, we also dug a bit deeper.
It turns out, that even the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) promoted the questionable school: As part of the program “Passage to India” the DAAD supported a program of IIPM with a German university with 80,000 euros. When a critical media coverage was no longer avoidable, the program was stopped.
In January a full-page ad in the Indian newspaper The Hindu was again promoting the cooperation with the Haas School of Business at the University of Berkeley, Judge Business School at Cambridge University and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.
“Leading to a Global Management Certification in World’s top ranked B-Schools” it said above and below the schools’ logos. The certificate is available for the program Global Opportunities & Threat Analysis (GOTA)
“Cambridge Judge Business School was contracted, as a provider of executive education services, to deliver a 10-week executive education program for IIPM from July – October 2009. There were no university awarded qualifications from Cambridge University or Cambridge Judge Business School.
The only certificate was a certificate of attendance which is what Cambridge Judge Business School provides to participants on all its programs. Following the completion of this contract, the school no longer has a contractual relationship with IIPM and will not be entering into a contract to deliver any further programs for IIPM.
The School formally wrote to IIPM at the start of 2010 to request that IIPM removes with immediate and permanent effect, any reference to the University of Cambridge, Cambridge Judge Business School or Cambridge Executive Education from all forms of marketing communications issued by IIPM, whether internal or external, including their own website and publications, advertising and articles in the media.
Cambridge Judge Business School reiterated in this letter that it did not give IIPM permission for the previous working relationship to be represented as a partnership or for Cambridge Judge Business School to be referred to as a Partner Business School.
The Haas School of Business, however, continues their cooperation with IIPM. Haas states, that the school is in the second year of a three-year contract and delivers a five-day-program per year in marketing and financial analysis.
However, Haas has asked the IIPM to remove the logo of the Center for Executive Education (CEE), which the IIPM also uses on its website for the GOTA program.
“CEE said it does not participate in the GOTA program and has asked IIPM to remove our logo or any mention of CEE from any promotional materials concerning this program,” wrote the school.
Darden School of Business does not share the concerns: „We provide IIPM with a series of week-long Executive Education programs (i.e. a contracted teaching arrangement).
Along with Cambridge (Judge) and UC Berkeley (Haas), we will host their program participants and deliver to them a high-quality mix of general business class sessions. Darden does not have a partnership agreement with IIPM. No course credits at Darden or the University of Virginia are associated with this program.”
The case of IIPM is a lesson for several reasons. First and foremost it is a glaring example of the failure of the Indian media. With the exception of the small magazine Careers360 there has been no other critical coverage by any of the major media outlets.
That is, because IIPM is one of the largest advertisers in the field of business schools. Critical information for the readers is simply less important. Even after Careers360 published the story, – according to the editor – no other media seized on the issue. Although India is rightly proud of its press freedom.
However, in Germany is not much better. Here too, none of the renowned media would have reported on the IIPM. This shows the comparable case of a Swiss business school, which bought the silence of even the most prestigious media with their expensive ads for years.
The case is also an example of the failure of business schools. For a handful of dollars, they cooperate without any scruples, and despite knowing better, with dubious schools. It is not just about the money that the schools earn with their cooperations.
The use of logos and names of reputable schools is almost vital for the IIPM to provide proof of their supposed reputation and gain new students. Anyone who knowingly supports this, is neither ethical nor responsible.