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With the ever-increasing number of graduates on the lookout for jobs and avenues of higher education, the number of MBA institutes in India and abroad, is presently on a steep rise. Since most of the students tread into an unknown territory, they tend to rely on the annual college rankings that are published by various sources. However, how many of them can be trusted? The answer to this question, sadly is, a very few of them.

Lack of Consistency

Though all the listings and rankings claim that they have been drawn in a transparent manner, and by using fair and objective parameters, it’s not uncommon to come across discrepancies in these rankings. It’s pretty rare to find any sort of similarity or consistency in these rankings, with different ‘so-called’ top institutes featured in most of them. Hence it becomes very difficult for the MBA aspirants to gauge which all colleges are doing good (in reality) and provide quality education. In the same way, many elite colleges that have stood the test of time, and are well known for their education, faculties, placements, etc. do not find a spot in these rankings.

Most of the rankings available for a student are directed by some or the other ulterior motive, which, more often than not, cannot be described as in the best interest of the student. Many a times in the past, MBA rankings have placed some of the lesser-known private colleges, way ahead of the established ones, for reasons best known to them. Some of the rankings are sponsored by certain management colleges, which unsurprisingly explain their positions on such lists.

Tricks and Tactics

Furthermore, there are some “tricks” employed by colleges to improve their rankings. For example, colleges inflate the number of the applicants, thereby showing a colored picture of their selectivity. “Wait-listing” of students which have a higher score than the average score of the college, and subsequently rejecting them, is another tactic used to portray “higher” selectivity.

There are several other tactics which colleges often use, and if the rankings fail to notice these, students have to pay the price.

Reliable Sources

Few sources such as the Financial Times (FT) or Quacquarelli Symonds, popularly known as the QS MBA Rankings can be trusted for their veracity. QS is well-known for its global career and education network, and its rankings are trustworthy not just for the Indian colleges but for colleges abroad as well. Similarly, the FT, which publishes a Global MBA Ranking, is also known to be a well-respected and unbiased ranking.


Quite often, students tend to rely on private rankings a little too much, and altogether neglect any government sources that might be of some avail. For example, the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) (an initiative by the Ministry of Human Resource Development) has provides a list of management colleges ranked on the basis of broad parameters such as “Teaching, Learning and Resources” and “Graduation Outcomes”.


Thus, before narrowing down their options, students should always do their own research and a background check on the rankings themselves. A careful look at the methodology used and comparing it with public perception can take them a long way ahead. Mere rankings, from lesser-known sources, should not be one’s sole decision-making criteria.

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