Friday, June 12, 2009

The Ponytale Crusade. To IIPM and back.

So it begins. My first ever entry in my all new shiny blog *smirks*
I'm not much of a blogger; In fact I'm not much of anything. I was pretty apprehensive about joining the blogosphere first but I would like to see if someone (anyone) out there is interested to read my nonsensical babbling. Besides, it is a good medium to vent out my frustration since people around me fail to understand the things I talk about (generation gap, lack of friends, anti-social nature... eh? Never mind).

So what do we talk about? Let’s start with IIPM, the institute I was mud slinging to get into for MBA studies. Why IIPM? You may ask. I remember a comment posted by someone long ago in this context, "education in India is not a basic right, but a privilege" which sadly, is true. Average students like me who've never done anything more than studying a day before exam and passing with a good ol' 50-60% percent can not dream of joining top rated Institutions. Add to it the sudden flood of nerds shooting up the merit of colleges that were once average to 80-90%; our future is further doomed. It’s not like it’s their fault that they're scoring so high, but likes of me just can't survive in so much competition and I know there are zillions of lost 20 something’s out there like me who can only rely on leftovers to complete our basic education. Basic education?! Everyone wants to be an MBA... hell even my relatives think MBA comes under basic education. Perhaps by next few years we will need a PhD in sweeping-floor Science even to apply for a peon's position. It is, therefore, not unusual for people to turn desperate and get into any institution that offers a degree.

Back to my choice of Institution, I did appear in CAT but with absolutely no preparation at all and the result of that was a measly 77 percentile that is not sufficient to get me into any decent B-schools. Getting into IIPM seemed like a decent enough choice (compromise) following the tall ratings in their full page advertisements that my good ol' TOI never fails to shove on my face every other day. Although I am aware that IIPM is not recognized by AICTE, UGC or any other Govt body, I consoled myself with the fact that they at least offered 100% placement or so they claim.

More or less convinced, I decided to at least go ahead with the admission process and burn 2000 bucks out of my Dad's hard earned money to check for myself what the great India dream is all about. Having worked in corporate sector before for a brief period of time, I know the value of money… err well in a way that it pleases me. I always like to calculate how much I'm letting a company rob me and how much worth I can get for the money I'm spending; even if it’s a measly 50-Rs note we're talking about. I thought the entry fees or whatever they like to call it was a bit high for a shabby piece of paper they handed over to me in return but knowing how most of these private institutes work, I have seen worse.

Note that before I applied at IIPM, I was told by my uncle's friend who allegedly (?) has contacts in IIPM that IIPM has started another educational body by the name of ISBE- IIPM Institute of Business Education(?); everything about IIPM and ISBE is the same except the name... they just wanted ISBE to start as a new body (??!!!!). This logic made very little sense to me I admit, and I decided to visit IIPM by myself to clear the dirt. When I reached the information desk, I was greeted by one of the staff who explained the admission process to me in a fake British accent as if his life depended on how I'm going to rate his English rather than the information given to me which by the way was the only thing I was interested in. Getting through IIPM's marketing strategy was pretty easy, tell them you're interested in GOTA and they will tell you the actual worth of ISBE, which as per my understanding is nothing. Again, I must clarify that what I'm posting here is my personal view and must not be taken as a final verdict in any way; it’s always good to do your own research. Anyway back to ISBE, first of all ISBE and IIPM are two different Institutions with different standing in market even though ISBE has been started by IIPM. If you must choose to take admission in IIPM at all, I would suggest you go for IIPM, not ISBE.
Having said that lets discuss the actual difference both ISBE and IIPM has.
The total fees in ISBE will approximately be 5.7-t0-6.2lakh depending on the course you opt while IIPM has the following (all figures are approximate)
IIPM MBA (no GOTA) - 8.1 lakhs
MBA (GOTA, no certification) - 9.1-9.5 lakhs
MBA with GOTA program where in you get a certificate from the foreign (?) university where you attended the 1-2 week program.
If you were fooled by the tall claims of free study tour, please don't be as it is pretty much clear from the prospectus and fees figures itself that you pay for the GOTA program beforehand although no one is saying it in open. The free laptops scheme makes little sense with fees that high, considering a commercial body can easily manage to get laptops at the price of -/+ Rs 20-30,000 per unit on bulk orders and similar corporate schemes. As far as the campus is concerned, I do not know about others but the Saket campus is located at south park, Saket. It’s more of an office than a campus but with a nice feel to it. I haven't seen the students area though, so this is only half the story plus there's so much confusion over IIPM shifting from pushp Vihar to Saket that I don't even know anymore if the place is even a campus! If not, where is the Saket campus located at? Sadly there's no information on sites and prospectus regarding that.
Anyway, apart from the huge fees difference, there's the course content. The number of subjects (credits??) to choose from in ISBE is lesser than IIPM and (if I heard right, although I found it hard to believe) ISBE doesn't offer dual specialization credits like IIPM does. Considering that, the big fat 6.2lakh you invest in ISBE will also be a waste if you're really worried about the course content.
Thirdly, in words of the staff at IIPM whom I clarified my doubts with (I should dig up his name again and put it up here) "if you're a pass out from ISBE, you can not claim to be an IIPM student" which is a major bummer because whatever good/bad reputation this institution has in market is that of IIPM and not ISBE. ISBE is a new body and yet to prove its standards, although IIPM claims to arrange campus placement for both ISBE and IIPM together, which tones down the difference a bit.

As for the GOTA program, I was pretty much never interested in it as shelling out so much money for a week's program that I most probably won't be able to gain anything from is really not worth it. Its more or less just an add on to boast about in general ("OMG you went to BLAH uni!! for real?!!" mindless chatter anyone?) rather than something to benefit from in the job market.

The majority of applicants and students are from rich families so be sure to face some music if you happen to be self-conscious and not so filthy rich; an issue seldom ever addressed but equally important.

The selection process: You can pretty much sleep through it. I haven't heard of a student that applied in IIPM and didn't make it, but lets not take it as a negative point here. We need some institution that’s ready to pick up anything from gems to garbage and teach them the basics of corporate world, now whether or not these people pick up the teachings is not something the institution can control, which I think is somewhat practical so I'm not going to criticize IIPM's level of selecting students. The admission process(CET) starts with a written admission test - math, English and management related questions (A student in my batch actually got the permission to attend CET when he wasn't even carrying his admit card! talk about flexibility); a GD (just make some random statement in loud, firm voice to prove that you're not the dead goose in crowd and you're in) and the interview, which was my most favorite bit during the CET. Needless to say, I cleared the exam although I was worried whether I will clear or not to be frank.

Now what next, am I taking admission? NO. Why? Read on.
The call letter that ticked me off
When I got the call letter confirming I cleared the CET exam, I couldn't believe my eyes. No, not because I was mad with happiness but because of how it was drafted. I received the letter in a shabby courier package that had already been torn and thoroughly inspected out of curiosity (or hunt for something worth stealing?) by the oh-so-professional courier company they have tie up with, on 10th of this month and I was asked to deposit a non-refundable fees of 40,000 by the 15th to hold my seat! D: Moreover, I am supposed to submit the first installment of my fees (pretty much everything non refundable) by the 22nd which is around 2lakh+. What do you expect me to do, rob a bank? This is for the not-so-filthy-rich people; IIPM's call letter clearly states that the first installment of fees needs to be submitted on time irrespective of your personal hues and cries. Meaning, if you applied for a loan, even if it’s though IIPM and the bank doesn't pay on time or doesn't complete the formality within this short notice then you're doomed... or so it seems from their documentation. As for the loan, as of now you can avail the loan @ 13% interest rate which is really high and the worst part is that the recovery will be in 48 monthly installments starting after 6 month from your time of course completion which is a really short time to take care of amount this high+interest if you availed anything over 50% loan. Anyway, the short notice came across more as a ransom note than admission notice making me more nervous about investing my Dad's hard earned money, almost all of his savings, in this institute for its no child's play. To add to my fury, I was allotted a seat in satberi campus without even offering me a choice of location or asking for any preference! Or is it just a hoax that IIPM has branches in Gurgaon, Saket and Noida? (The prospectus doesn't say anything about the Saket and Noida branches)
I dug up the net to get some reviews and stumbled upon some interesting stuff dating back to 2005 where IIPM was involved in a huge controversy with JAM magazine.

If you want to investigate the issue, try checking out the following links and more links that you dig up from here:
The article that started it all :
Editor's take on IIPM's claim's and the vulgarity by IIPM students that followed:
a blog by ex-iipm student
the much talked about blog by gaurav, check out more entries regarding his resignation and such from wiki reference links archive (wiki links given below)

Wiki doesn't have many good things to add either: <- check out the link references at botton here too While you're at it, you might want to recheck their ranking status too, because I can't seem to get anything positive regarding IIPM's ranking

My verdict on the whole Issue: I think what really pissed IIPM students off was the fact that how the incapability of IIPM's management in addressing this issue professionally turned into flame war of IIPM Vs IIMs instead with most people proving how IIMs tower zillion miles over IIPMs. We all know that... but what is the point of that? We all know that IIMs cater to a very small number of people who by the way are top rankers or IITians but what about the rest? In that context I will say dare to think beyond IIMs but that doesn't mean you have no choice but IIPM, it can be any institution. Referring to the above links putting aside the IIPM-Vs-IIMs mud slinging, many people actually have valid point to make starting from JAM magazine whose allegations were hastily dealt with by filing a law suit instead of clarifying the facts publicly. What are the facts then? Even I don't know because I couldn't find any but IIPM does have some shady business going on that I accept. Or rather, I feel that way to be on the safer side... I'm in no way trying to condemn or praise the institute, I'm just trying to share the opinion I formed on basis of my findings to help future applicants.

After this pathetic excuse of a never ending blog, all I want to say is that IIPM does have something to offer if you've got the money to spend but whether or not to take this risk is up to you. I for one, didn't feel comfortable shelling out so much for a degree that’s not even recognized in India and its certainly not world renowned (check out IMI too, its not bigshot); but yes its good on paper if that’s what you're after- provided the institute does hand them out as promised. Its pretty much going to be a happy ride (the oomph, the luxuries?!, the gym, the girls, the events and whatnots ha-ha) if that is the kind of institute you were looking for along with basic assistance for shaping your future if you really know how to use IIPM's resources properly. In the end it’s not about IIPMs or IIMs or great India dream or ponytail's follies, it’s about what you can achieve with what you have and IIPM is no different if you really have the skills to make the best out of every situation. But then again, Will you really consider investing so much for something that you can get much cheaper anywhere else is something that only you can decide. If money is not the issue, then go ahead and while you're at it -try to go for IIPM Delhi. In the end, your best guide is your instincts so calculate your risks and act accordingly.
As for my calculated risks, IIPM is not my cup of tea.

Good luck to the students and the Institute!

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