TAPMI Director Vision Series: Target Top 10

T.A. Pai Management Institute, one of India’s leading B-schools, has always focused on creating industry ready leaders who are trained to face the corporate world and its challenges. Director Prof Madhu Veeraraghavan has highlighted several objectives in alignment to his Vision 2022. In conversation with him, we discovered much more about the Vision 2022 and his thoughts on research, education and experiential learning.

In this article, Prof. Madhu shares his roadmap to bring TAPMI to among the top institutes in India and how research helps build a strong faculty base.

How do you plan to achieve your objective of moving TAPMI to the top 10 institutes in India?

As per the Vision 2022 document I outlined and put up on the website for anyone to see talks about three major things. It talks about what we’re going to do in terms of research, academic research. What we will do in terms of strategic hiring and we will do to create a conducive environment for students.

Anything you do must be student centered because you should put them in the center and whatever you do should fit around that student. So, let’s take research for example. TAPMI follows the ABDC which is the Australian Business Dean’s Council which ranks journals in multiple categories. A*, A, B, C. So, for each level at TAPMI, the faculty at TAPMI should publish in these types of journals. So, we are basically dis-incentivizing faculty to publish in the lower end and heavily incentivizing them to publish in the top end. So, A*’s and A. And therefore, that is important. If you look at research just in the last three years and if you just look at where we are, where TAPMI is, we are in the top 20 schools in the country and our numbers, our analysis, we have analyzed every school’s productivity in the last three years, last five years actually, and we find that TAPMI is ranked in the top 6 in the entire country in terms of quality, not quantity, of journals in which we publish. That is an amazing number. Unfortunately, the ranking agencies in the country don’t care about this. It’s about placements, it’s about other parameters. So, research finds some weight, but it finds very little weight and then there is no distinction between quality publications and quantity publications. So, for example, if I publish in Times of India, that’s counted. If I publish in the Journal of Finance which is the most difficult publication to get published in the world, it’s the same. I mean it’s just not right. So, the ranking agencies of the day must get up and start looking at how are we evaluating business schools? I mean it cannot be about placements! Because if that’s what you’re doing, you’re nothing but a recruitment agency! I come to a business school because this is a school which is going to train me as tomorrow’s leader. But I’m not worried about that. I’m saying, no sir, just place me. I came to you because I want to be placed. This entire mindset about placements is what I want to change.

We need to create tomorrow’s leaders. We will create them. We may have the best companies on campus but it’s up to you to get a job. To me what counts is what experiences have you had in the last two years. Is this experience going to put you in good stead? Is it going to help you deal with the ambiguity, uncertainty, challenges of the real world? If I want to be so protective about it, I will place all of you and then you just go do your job! But that’s not what the reality is! We are preparing you to face tomorrow’s challenges! If you can’t face the challenges here, how would you run corporate entity worth billions of dollars? You can’t! So therefore, this protective environment must go away for students and they must be told that no business school is here for placements.

You see all the advertisements you get. We have 100% Placements. Do they say we have the experiential methods? Do they say we have the best labs? Do they say we have the best faculty? No, nobody will say that to you, right? We have 100% Placements. That entire attitude, warped mindset of business schools completely needs to change. I can’t change other schools. Surely, I’ve told TAPMI that this is not the way we are going to do. We’re going to do business very differently. My Vision 2022 document in nauseating detail tells you why we must do high quality research, why we must attract high quality faculty, why we must give highest quality programs, and why we must have a pedagogy which is continuously innovative. So that’s what we are here to do.