In course of a rather illuminating and interesting session on how " The Economist" MBA rankings work, it came out that there is a criterion called " Class Diversity". I hope that diversity is more to do with national diversities coupled with work-ex and just not industries represented in class.
Further, the rankings seemed me to be a composite indicator of which the Asian economy is tilting since the Chinese( both Mainland & HK ) schools are rapidly going up the ranks, while the Australian and Singaporean school are holding on to their ranks. Only IIM-A is in the list from India, so I guess B & C didn't bother responding or feel its beneath their level to take part in these rankings. Either way, if they don't want to play, Amen.
For a school to actually do well in the rankings, along with other institutional factors like number of Professors with Doctorate( which obviously have a long gestation period), one simple and easy to control factor which somehow many schools seem to ignore is Alumni Relations. If your old boys don't say good about you, no amount of hard work from the school level will be enough to climb up the rankings. And this is one place where Indian B-schools, rankings or no rankings have done tremendously well. The entire process of Alumni relations is structured, controlled and a matter of " National Security" for the schools. And it is not surprising that the schools with the best placement records are the ones with the strongest and most active alumni network. If students cant help your cause and don't agree to become your greatest ambassador and advertiser, something is gravely wrong with a school and Indian B-schools have caught on this little fact of life very early in their existence. And this is one place I feel my school needs to focus on as of yesterday. Alumni relations is the first and best way to spread the good word and generate interest, goodwill and acknowledgement. Anybody would be curious to know about the school from which your best buddy at work come from. And if he has only good things to talk about, bingo. Half the work is done.
Talking to people involved with the recruitment process in India, it is apparent that most of them don't have any idea of international schools, rankings and will hire only from their own old schools or the schools in the list given by their bosses. Mind it, this is at lower HR level where the first round scanning of resumes is done. Funnily enough, the slightly senior people will always know someone from the HK or Singapore schools and even from my school. In case of my school, it seems many very senior management level staffers know all about it and actually have a very favorable opinion. So its not a brand building for the school, but more of a dusting and polishing of the name plate.
So lessons for the day.
1. Mend the fences( if necessary ) with the old boys and girls. Talk to them about the school, the new direction, the way forward, about the new library and the canteen. Play to the sentiments, remind them of the pool-side parties and the take-home WACs. Talk to them about Greenbelt, about Washington Sycip park, the Legaspi village food-court.
2. Do it a matter of pride and not as a chore or JD.
3. Track them at their work, track changes, track career shifts, advancements, track it all. Congratulate them, show some love and they will do whatever it takes to help. That's how it works with all schools and no one can prove otherwise.
4. For ASEAN to be the next thing and growth to explode, its imperative we have managers trained to run business in this region and as a school with ASEAN focus, we should be at the forefront of it. But somehow this feeling is not permeating the system beyond a certain level.
5. Read the cases.