Trimester System in B-Schools

I would like to discuss about the trimester system in Business Schools. Trimester system is adopted by many first rung business schools as a structure that enables fast paced learning of more number of subjects in a period of two years. I have found many second and third rung business schools have adopting the same probably without much success.

The success here is defined as “Placing 100% students with continuously increasing median and average salaries in portfolio of companies that will ensure more number of employers every year and enhancing the quality and spread of companies across several industries in a decreasing window in terms of days in the final trimester.” Ideally this must be benchmarked not necessarily with best of the B-Schools across the globe or in India, probably one should start with a prudent goal of doing better than all the business schools in the state or region.

One agrees that there are several other factors that must be available to reach the above placement goal. The author finds it so disturbing that many are trying to drive a Mercedes Benz in a cow track. Or you call it a cat trying to ape a tiger. This triggered the posting about the suitability of a trimester system in a culture where the UG education has focused on rote learning, drab teaching in schools without much application and analytical insights. Instead blaming the system, one should look at “appropriateness” of a system.

Inherently the trimester system assumes that students have an intense fire burning in their bellies, a high aptitude for learning of about seven courses in a trimester and a doggedness to work late hours to complete class assignments, case analysis and problem solving. Does a major fraction of B School aspirants have these traits in a region where there has not been a good exposure and conducive environment? In my opinion this turns to be a roller coaster and when the students come out of each trimester and is it ensured that they have really assimilated what was taught in the classrooms?

The faculty might burn the midnight oil, teach a course in a variety of ways and test the students with several evaluation tools. We give so much that many, though they understand the importance of speed, knowledge, standing out of the crowd, peer pressure can they measure up? Not only our school and undergraduate education system have to be looked at but also the genes and the social values in our system play major roles , which needs to have a pince nez look before we design our course structure in B-Schools. We all brag about appropriate technology for a society or company. Why not we look at appropriate academic structure for the B-Schools in this time period? Once we graduate we can definitely look at adopting a trimester system. Let there be Light!!!

Prof. S Raghupathy,


Thiagarajar School of Management, Madurai.