Arriving at the Rankings

Setting the right parameters is the first step to come out with meaningful outcomes under any study, says Prashant Kapoor

How does one make the right choice when deciding on a career path? The obvious first step is to enrol into a subject stream where you see some natural alignment and interest. The next is to get into an institution to pursue your interest. In the progression of this logic, there is no one rule to select a B-school to study. While the smart cookies get into the super league institutions, there’s another way: follow the Outlook Money Rankings that will help you identify the best B-school to enrol into. With this aim, we ventured into working on our first B-school rankings, with Finance specialisation.


Our objective is to enable undergraduate students and their parents to make an informed choice. There are roughly over 5,500 B-schools in the country; while there is enough information on those that have existed for years, not much is known about others. An informed guess is that about 90 per cent of student intake happens in B-schools outside the super league set (Read: The Super League on Page 52). For the sake of convenience, let’s call these Tier II (not to be confused with schools in Tier II cities) B-schools.


Without any prejudice, we reached out to nearly 300 institutes and universities that offered an MBA programme in Finance. We devised a questionnaire with over 150 variables to help in arriving at a meaningful mechanics to evaluate these institutions. The data collection process was conducted through the primary research process wherein B-schools furnished the requisite information through a structured questionnaire which was administered online for enhancing the efficiency of operations and assessments as well as for facilitating the convenience for the institutes.

From over 100 institutes that participated, we excluded those that did not share data for fields vital for the evaluation. We also excluded colleges that did not furnish the signed declaration. After this filtration, we were left with 60 entries in all to arrive at the ranking of the top 25 institutes with MBA Finance specialisation.

Evaluation Criteria

Sr. No. Broad Categories/Parameters* Brief Description# Weights
1 Infrastructure and Living Experience
  • Adequate infrastructure facilities for every student
  • Gender Neutrality
2 Industry Interface
  • Corporate participation in the curriculum development and teaching process
  • Participation of international experts
3 Intellectual Capital and Learning Experience
  • Availability of adequate internal intellectual capital/resources for each student
  • Live Consulting Assignments and Research orientation
4 Pedagogy and Teaching Process
  • Focused Content and timely revision
  • International Exchange Programmes for the students and faculty
5 Placements
  • Internship and Final Placement opportunities for every student
  • Returns on Education Investment
Notes: *These are only the broad parameters. The weights of all internal parameters within the broad categories/function were totalled to arrive at the final scores. Thereafter, category weights were applied to arrive at final rankings. #The brief description of the broad parameters is only indicative and not exhaustive.

While the voluntary self declaration of the institutes formed the basis for the assessment, a detailed audit, including physical field visits was carried out for which we engaged an independent research partner. While we would have ideally wanted to visit most of the institutions that participated in the survey, we restricted field visits and audits on a sampling basis for ensuring the accuracy and validity of the information furnished.

Next, we used a scientific and intensive approach to identify key parameters for assessment and assignment of suitable weights (See: Evaluation Criteria). It may be observed that while adequate weights were assigned to parameters like physical infrastructure and industry interface—higher quantum of weights was assigned to parameters like the intellectual value-add, the resultant Returns on Education Investment and the Years to Breakeven on education investment which are the foremost factors of consideration by students and their parents for enrolment into a B-school post graduate programme.

Further, the cost incurred by the students included not just the direct costs charged by the institutes but also the indirect costs like assumed interest cost on fees and other opportunity costs like loss of income during the study period as well. This was to ensure a thorough scientific assessment of the costs in comparison to the incremental returns from the post graduate programme.

Lastly, a percentile based approach was used to arrive at the scores. These scores were further aggregated to arrive at final rankings, against the largely followed approach of assignment of absolute scores for each parameter. This was done with a perspective of ensuring the absence of any arbitrariness and subjectivity in the assessment process.