As a student of marketing the thing which made me curious was about the way B- Schools market themselves & few of them are named premier B-schools in the country. What peeved me was that all the B-schools taught Marketing as a subject for their students but very few could claim the premier status given that there isn’t a cap on the number of B-schools. I accept the argument that the definition of a premier B-school is not well defined but the sheer ratio of the number of dominating B-schools- 10-20 No.s to the total number of B-schools in the country (4500 colleges & B-Schools).
To my mind various reasons emerged for the in-congruency. The first maybe that these B-school have positioned themselves as centres of excellences in different fields/sectors. For example SPJIMR positions itself as an institute that churns out professionals with a penchant for the social sector, spirituality, innovation & ethics & each of these B-schools have positioned themselves catering to different values. The most important component of marketing gets satisfied where the schools differentiates & hence positions themselves. This positioning reflects in their pedagogy, curriculum & administration of the courses. We observe that the B-school rarely reposition itself & when it does it caters to the need of the market.
The second reason is the connect with their stakeholders- students, corporates & faculty. The premier B-schools put a lot of effort in selecting their students & each of the schools select their students based on their positioning statements. SPJIMR for instance puts a lot of effort in selecting students with an excellent profile- professionally & in extra-curricular & have a penchant for social sector. The B-school also have a large clout with corporates where there is constant engagement by means of live projects, guest lectures, top executives being part of the advisory councils. In addition, the presence of the alumni networks help the students get better placements. The above two factors attract the best faculty to work for the schools.
The third reason may be the administration of the programs which are conducted with great professionalism & effectiveness. The schools put a lot emphasis on putting in place systems & feedbacks in place to ensure the programs runs without any hassles.
The fourth reason maybe that the culture of timeliness & decision making is encouraged where the students are prodded to think, take a stand & decisions & justify their stands. These B-schools push the students to aim to look for ground breaking solutions & insights. Plagiarism & participation for discussion sakes are frowned upon. The students are conditioned to carry the institutes name to great heights. We can observe that the B-schools puts a lot of time & effort to develop their end products. Any marketer would agree that any marketing strategy, campaign is as effective as the product & these schools take care in developing the students. Continuous improvement in courses, introducing new courses & feedback to faculty on teaching & evaluation criteria helps in creating world class education & also better knowledge transfer.
The B-schools may appear to relish in their position as premier institutes but for the above mentioned reasons we find that the institutes put a lot of effort to make themselves relevant in the changing market. But they use the principles of marketing to achieve the same. Let us look at some of the innovation that the B-schools have instilled to maintain the dominant position.
The B-schools as mentioned above have worked immensely in bettering their product. An example is the introduction of Design thinking course in SPJIMR which is widely accepted in industry as an effective way to design solutions. The second is the introduction of new course which are done in collaboration with foreign universities.
These B-schools have been introducing new locations for conducting courses. The example will be IIM Indore introducing satellite campus in Mumbai. The students have a flavour of the cosmopolitan city & also get to participate in competition & internships by corporates in Mumbai.
The B-schools have been raising the fees for their courses. It creates a perception of premium offering for their courses. It makes the students demand for improvement & work to make the best out of the courses. The students are on their toes & compete for various activities, competition, internships & placements. The B- schools have added to their service offerings by adding international immersion programs.
The B-schools have stepped up their promotion activities with targeted advertisements in select newspaper & stepping up their digital presence. Almost all the premier B-Schools have dedicated webpages, Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter presence. The B-schools also reach out to select students for applying to their programs.
The B-Schools regularly sent the faculty to foreign universities to upgrade skills & ensure the faculties are up to date with the latest research. The schools conduct in house trainings, knowledge sharing by faculties, encourage the faculties to come out with research papers.
The premier B-Schools are going into get their courses audited by independent agencies like Crisil to create credibility to their academic & infrastructure standards & placement records. The colleges also go for international accreditation like AMBA to provide international backing to the colleges. This creates an urge to grow & develop & become world class environment.
As mentioned above the B-Schools put in a lot of effort to develop their courses, administration, systems & processes in place.
The factors mentioned above goes on to show that the B-schools are under constant urge to innovate & grow & look to compete in the international level with global schools & the marketing principles employed to achieve the goals.