Sunday, December 04, 2005

B Schools are great. They fool the country's greatest minds

Priyank Bhardwaj was very happy when he received a call from Symbiosis (SCMHRD) in the month of Feb 05 and was told to deposit one lakh ten thousand rupees immediately. Prodigious as the sum was, completing management degree from a reputed college had been his dream and he was fascinated with the sheer opportunity at hand. He had worked for three years & saved for this day, and happily went on to deposited the money. But little did he know that was destined for some thing very big; for in the month of April he received an admission call from IIM Ahmedabad. His joy knew no bounds; he was going to study in the most sought after business school of Asia Pacific. He immediately wrote to SCHMRD about his selection in IIMA and the desire to withdraw his candidature from SCHMRD. SCHMRD paid him a mere ten thousand in the name of refund against the one lakh ten thousand that he had deposited. The important thing to note here is that the academic session of SCHMRD was to start only in the month of June.

This is not the story of only Priyank. Hundreds of students like Priyank every year get caught in the same act, carefully planned by a few management institutes to take advantage of the hapless students. The modus operandi of various institutes such as Symbiosis, is to finalize their admission procedure well before February end or the beginning of March. By finalizing the admission early, these institutes leave the students no other option but to deposit the hefty fees (to the tune of one lakh) in March itself. Since the results of various top B- schools (the IIMs, XLRI) are not out by this time, students generally don’t take a chance and deposit the fee in these institutes without delay. To make the plan foolproof, these institutes take an undertaking from the students that if they withdraw the admission, the amount deposited by them will be forfeited. By the time the results of the Top B schools are out, hundreds of students would have already deposited the fee for these institutes. If some students get admission in a college of their dream, like the IIMs and wish to withdraw their admission, they get a meager sum compared to what they had deposited. The institute themselves lose out on nothing, as the seats vacated by students who move out are immediately filled by others in the wait list. But the plight of the students who leave does not stop here. Now they have to arrange the fees for admission to these top B schools. Note here that academic session in all B schools starts around the month of July. Where is the logic of demanding admission fees so early then? To a rational mind, this seems to be a well knit plan by these institutes to exploit the precarious situation. Assuming that on an average, 50 people withdraw their admission, the institute pockets about half a crore rupees every year at the expense of these students. Belonging to a responsible society, should we allow this malpractice to continue?

I am going to bring a lawsuit against these institutes for carrying out such mal practices and seek your cooperation to forward this mail to all the students who wish to take admission in such management institutions. I also request those students who had deposited money with above-mentioned institutes in last four years or so to contact us. We will try our best to ensure that justice is meted out.



This mail gains added relevance as the time is about to come when the same cycle of tomfoolery is about to repeat with the new admissions commencing in a short while.



Thanks
With Regards
Nilesh Gupta ( Ex India Air Force Officer)

37 comments:

amit said...

gud show Nilesh.... its the time to stand and get counted against the fradulent approaches of these B Schools

AKS said...

Hi ! Nilesh

This is not just true of SCMHRD - Many insti with great repute do this.

Hope your initiative also acts as a deterent to them.

employed_vella said...

Hi,
i am an alumni of SCMHRd and i got a forwarded mail about this particular blog that you have written.
Now i was very surprised that such a thing is happening .
I dont really think that to be true bcoz SCMHRD as i know shud nt be indulging in such practises.
however i have posted a message at my alumni site trying to confirm this.
if this is the true then we can try and stop the symbiosis society from doing so as it actually sullies our image as an institute of repute.
Regards'

Peter Monsy said...

hello, I read the email floating around with this matter! But isn't life just as unfair to everyone. You cannot get everything fair and square and as mgmt professionals (or even as aspirants) i believe that folks need to prioritize what they need in life and take risks accordingly! Now if the institutes do not put on a monetary penalty, a student would be inclined to hold onto his seat until he is assured of the best option. Then at the last possible moment he would withdraw his candidature and go to the better institute...

Its all like a flight..if i hold onto my ticket until the very moment, obviously the plane flies with an empty seat ..i.e once it takes off! That is why the imposing penalty is put in the first place, be it an airline ticket or an academic endeavor.

As a student who has been in such situations before, I appreciate your concern, but would suggest that you look at the possible moral hazard possible in the matter

nilesh said...

Here the issue is plane is not going with the vacant seat, they are pessengers waiting for seats and it's not the last minute cancellation on an average this cancellation takes place well before two months.

Anonymous said...

This practice is not limited to the 2nd rung B-schools but extends to the IIMs as well. I moved from one IIM to another and lost 50K deposit in the process. :(

Nice that you are thinking of a PIL. Let me know if I can be of any help!

Anonymous said...

Kudos Nilesh......Its definitely an thought worth appreciating...People have been talking on this, but no one cares to raise their voice against it......Lets go ahead and fight for justice......

Anonymous said...

good that someone did think bout it..but lemme draw ur attention towards the fact that what SCMHRD did is clearly mentioned in their Prospectus. they did not catch the guy offgaurd. there is a time period within which if you withdraw ur admission u do get a decent refund..and this is the case with every B-School in the country(including IIM)

Priyank here had blocked a seat at SCMHRD. if there are no such monetry clauses attatched can u imagine what that cud lead to??

Avik Kumar Chatterjee said...

Hi Nilesh!!! Good to read your article courtesy one of my friends. I'm a working profssional & an aspiring MBA student. Just wanted to let you know that u have my support in ur endeavours. Do call on me for any help that u might need in this regard. My mail id:akchatterjee@kanbay.com. Mobile:(0)9850964301.

Anonymous said...

Hey,

What venkat says is right. Fist we shud start wid reducing the exhorbitant entracefees.
And i think there shud be a penalty if an aspirant wants to withdraw his candidature but there shud a a timelimit beyond which this will aplly( lets say 2 weeks before the start of acads - cos this means there will be "an empty seat on the plane")

rahul maniyar said...

hi nilesh...great work ....i have one more similar issues which was concerning me...B schools who ask aspirants to purchase their prospectus even before CAT or XAT or any other exam are are really doing a unfair deal....what is the use of buying 10s and 15s of college forms when aspirant gets admitted to only one college...
what if a student buys around 10 top rung b school forms and ends up scoring pretty low....i understand that it is all based how the student predicts his score before the exam based on his preparation before the exam but isn't it injustice?

Peter Monsy said...

nilesh,

lemme bring back the context of the flight in the earlier example..why did airplanes start to charge for cancellation, even when there are people waiting to get on board???

Because they know that if they do not charge a penalty, those who want to cancel will do so only at the last moment and the flight would have to take off empty!!!

As anonymous rightly said- all schools mention such detail in their prospectus. As aspiring managers, we students should learn to prioritize our wants and needs, use of our money etc....

Reduction of the fee is not an alternative - it would just mean unwarranted entry. The fee is a mean to restrain the high candidacy..isnt it??

Anonymous said...

Firstly I don't think the institute per se does any thing wrong.
 students are not compelled to accept admissions to the institute
 students are sent a detailed acceptance letter that highlights the rules, regulations, terms of acceptance to be signed by them before accepting a seat. They have the full liberty to take action that they deem necessary and consult whomever they would like to before taking a decision
 Therefore it is made clear in these terms what the conditions of withdrawal would be
 I am not an educationist or legal expert but there are no rules that define the period and procedures for admissions (except for universities and other such), placements or any other such activities for autonomous institutes

Therefore if someone would like to join and then withdraw the person needs to consider all the pros and cons before taking a decision. This principal applies to many things in life coz there is no such thing as a free lunch. An institute also needs to cater to and conduct its activities (I want to avoid the usage of term ‘business’) and hence needs to have plans, procedures and infrastructure in place before an academic session. If no penalty (let us leave the quantum aside for the moment) was attached then possibly the institute would only have 10 students comprising a batch at the beginning of the session instead of the 150 seats it caters to. Just because an IIM or an IIT doesn't do something doesn't mean the rest of the lot have to go by the same principal.

Today students and parents consider an MBA degree an elixir for becoming successful. Everyone wants to do an MBA. Most students don’t even have a clue as to what they want to do in life. Given that maturity and understanding comes with age and a 18 – 22 year old may not even really be sure about all the options open to him but our education system and parents to a large extent do not help matters. Students blindly fill forms and are willing to get admission anywhere and everywhere often wasting parent’s hard earned money in terms of excessive fees, management seats, donations or NRI quotas. Moreover I don’t think any of the exams conducted; in any manner have an ability to predict work place success. Competencies required to succeed in a work place go beyond what most exams including CAT test for. Related to this is the issue of placements – most people just want to get placed, no matter where, how and at what cost. Institutes lure students with the dice of getting them placed in blue chip MNCs at the best of salaries. Obviously of you have no caliber, because the institute is in the first place is not able to identify potential (due to faulty selection procedure), develop and strengthen it, then why would a company want to select you. Placement is usually considered successful on most campuses in terms of company brand name, money earned, foreign trips made etc. Maybe in a utopian world things like – “me still being in my company 1 year down the line happy, successful and progressing” would be considered as a successful placement because it is abut matching the right student with the right company. All of us can’t be happy in the same corporate environment – some of us are made for some places while the rest for other.

According to me the main issue is much broader – it is about correcting the education system in the country, about bringing in awareness among students and parents regarding career counseling and options open to our youth. And it is definitely about treating education seriously. Education is not a business; it should not be treated as one. It builds the foundation of our future. Unfortunately most education institutes (MBA, Medical or Engineering) today are in for making big bucks and providing sub standard education through incompetent and inexperienced faculty.

I think earnings, in principal, are incidental to the profession of teaching. And this is what needs to be debated, checked, regulated and improved.

Anonymous said...

Hey dont defence forces at the training academies such as NDA, AFMC etc. levy a fine too if an officer leaves before a scheduled period / or without completing a course. Aren't we working on a similar principle. What about filing a case against the Union of India

Venkat Ramanan said...

Hi,
I expected some form of freedom of speech to the posts put up here and now I know it is a very moderated space. When I can vouch 100% that there weren't any derogatory remarks or usage of condemnable words, why has my post been removed? You want only comments which support your thoughts? You never want to look from some other person's perspective? Afterall, we are analysing some issues which concern all the student fraternity!! This is ridiculous. I shall not post anymore here.

Ashutosh Sharma said...

Guys,
This is really good issue to debate. I really would not like the issue to be compared with the airline ticketing as some people have pointed out.
First, the mission and values with the two things work (airline and b-shoool) are different and should not be compared. But we can take a break from values here.
Second, a departed airline and a due to start academic session are two different things. An aeroplane once off the ground can not pick a passenger in mid-air. An academic institute can certainly call stundents from the waiting list and fill its seats as it has plenty of time to do so.
Third, excuse me from being judgmental, I do not see any reason other than making some easy money on part of these institutes. No matter how clear you make your terms at the time of offering admission to students, two facts can not be taken away. One, you are making use of candidate's helpless situation. Two, there is no reason why you can not manage without charging that amount.
Having said all that, the comparison with IAF and other defence examinations are idiotic and show a lack of knowledge about the way these programs are managed. I believe people should make comments after they have given a thought to their facts and arguments.

-AP
visit my blog at http://ashpali.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I think everyone has a right to express their views. Usage of expletives should i guess be avoided. I guess one needs to take a higher moral ground and ignore those.

Anyway the facts are that -
Most if not all organizations / establishments assign some sort of penalty clause for certain actions etc. and these are informed to prospective(s) before hand.

Certain defence establishments / training academies also lay a penalty for withdrawl. The difference is that the way it is effected might differ. I quote " A bond to the effect that if, on account of his dismissal or discharge or withdrawal from National Defence Academy for knowingly furnishing false particulars or suppressing material information in his application for admission to the said National Defence Academy or in the event of his being dismissed or discharged or withdrawl from the said and he does not complete the prescribed period of training, or he, the cadet, does not accept a Commission if offered as conventated above, then the Guarantors and the cadet shall jointly and severally be liable to pay forthwith to Government in cash sums as the Government shall fix but not exceeding such expenses as shall have been incurred by the Government on account of the Cadet on his training and all the money received by the Cadets as pay and allowance from the Government together with interest on the said money calculated at the rate in force for Government loans.
Some other notable examples are -
2. Goods / services contracted for but not delivered or rendered, unless otherwise stated in the contract, also charge a penalty for withdrawl. Like mentioned these institutes provide a detailed prospectus and a acceptance letter to be signed by the student. Students can consult a lawyer if they like

Ashutosh Sharma said...

Dude,
The simple difference is that Government pays tons of money to educate these officers who chose to take admission in these academies and training programs. And mind you these are not educational institutions after passing from which you are can flaunt their degree/diploma to get a job. The admission itself is a job-offer.
These are not bogus institute (read IIPM) who lure you into admission on the bogus promises of job offers. The candidate takes an oath to serve the country and is bound by that. The only reason to put that kind of bond in writing is to avoid candidate to sign up for high-paying commercial airliner rather than serving IAF which I repeat spends millions in training one guy. I am sure before that person wrote that commment he did not know that training fighter jet consumes aviation fuel at the rate of 800l/min. And these people fly them as frequently as we used to ride our bikes in childhood.
People have a right to share/express their views but in the enthusiasm of expressing their opinions they should not put comments mindlessly without giving proper thought. Writing is a potent medium and through writing you end up creating impressions in someone else's mind. And I am sure you would not liked to be blamed for creating a wrong impression just because you thought making a comment was a good thing to do.
I saw the follow-up post and was again disturbed to see the efforts you wasted in arguing for a mindless point.

Anonymous said...

Good intentions Nilesh!

All the fair and even minded people would be with you. Its a question of ethical practices on the part of B-Schools and definitely not a question of sullying image of any particular college. This issue is about general good of MBA aspirants. MBA colleges donot have any right to preach about fair and ethical business practices and things like corporate governance etc. when they do not follow the same. Even if I have to compare with ticket booking for travel, I would prefer to compare it with railway reservation which gives you back substantial amount of money back if cancellation is done merely 48 hour in advance. And there are always good number of aspiring MBA passengers to fill the vacant seats of MBA school bus or train. Hence it would be a very good step to take further and sue these colleges if they do not follow themselves what they teach.

And this is an innate part of revenue model almost all the MBA college whether it be IIMs, IITs SPJMIR, XATs, SCMHRD or any other college. I would say that everybody should rise against this.

All the best in your endeavors.

To be or not to be said...

Seems It is a serious case of Selective Understanding . Its justifying a person who in want of "better things" in life deprive many people of a place which they deserve.
Priyank Left SCMHRD and he did eat up a place.. I also had a chance to recieve calls from the same place.. Somehow found my call letter from the dusty papers in the drawer.. What was clearly written that u recieve 1 lack once u cancell ur adminssion before 15th March i.e. the day of publishing of last wait list!! Right Nilesh!! Well if someone cancells his/her admission after that he recieves 10000 Rs. and no new admissions are also there on his seat. That clearly results in one seat remaining empty..

So its rather OK for a person to pay a fine for taking such a high risk.. At least i find so..

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dipankar banerjee said...

nilesh,good job man,all these institutes are playing with the student folks of india.i believe that in such situations the aspirants should be more carefull with their choices.you will find a lot of people in your quest.as far as comparing it with the armed forces,boy some people just post for the sake of posting .c'mon buddy the govt. spends hell of a lot in making of these people and at the end they simply walk away for better fortunes.i believe that such people should be given some sort of punishment along with the bond money.

Anonymous said...

This is not only withn SChrmd but with all the institutes with Symbosis. The result of the candidates selected is not shown openly I.e that by entering your rollno. & code you can find the result. Further they come out with No of lists I.E candidates getting admission in premier institutes surender the seats and have to sacrifies a big chunk of fees deposited with them. Further the list of canditates declared should be open. Best of luck for doing such a noble task which will be helpful for clean & clear selection of the candidates on merit.

Niranjan said...

Hi, I feel this issue merits debate. As for me, I park my argument on the side of peter monsy et al: if we allow costless cancellations, the 2000 students who finally join an IIM can collectively block 5000-10000 seats in other institute, hurting 10000 students. One should pay a premium to be able to block a lower institute as a safety net.

Larger issue: If we all go by rankings for joining institutes, we will perpetuate a few islands of excellence and disallow growth of other institutes. If people join based on institutes's core values and fit, rather than rankings, we will have less migration as talented students would join non-IIMs too. If young students don't think that way, penalties will force them to think that way.

I find nothing wrong if SCMHRD forfeited the fee, provided it was clearly mentioned earlier.

Regards,
T T Niranjan (Nilesh's colleague in the IAF, and currently an FPM student at MDI)

k verma said...

hi,
came across this site while filling the form for schmrd today .....it's terrible to find this abt big b schools.I m frm jabalpur and we hav mp high court here.tell me if u need any help.
lov to know abt the progres u've mad till date....
gud luck

Anonymous said...

Let us all fight this corruption of SCMHRD and other management colleges.

No College should survive on poor student's money.

Let us write to AICTE, file cases, issue legal notice.

This injustice should end.

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Anonymous said...

HRD Ministry in the government has given written order that state that institutions should allow students to withdraw their admissions to apply elsewhere and exercise their choice ( with a major portion of fee refunfed) that is the order by HRD whiche these institutes are violating. read teh story in hindu. http://www.hindu.com/2007/05/02/stories/2007050203881300.htm

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