Friday, September 16, 2005

The Truth

This has been written as a response after reading a blog-post by Gaurav Sabnis. What follows has been written by an IIPM ex-student as well as ex-employee. Please read it completely and also forward it to as many people as you can so more students and parents are not lotted out of lakhs of rupees and their careers are not ruined by Planman

Thanks for raising this issue. It is indeed a shame how a person with minimal academic qualifications (MA Economics Correspondence Chennai University) has successfully managed to fool so many people with such convincing effect that the self-styled management guru and inventor of the "I Theory", as he has come to be known, is given more prominence in the media than Cambridge educated PhDs in Economics or Harvard trained MBAs. (Wonder who crowned him "Professor" anyway?) The print media plays a role in this game of deception as it earns huge revenues from IIPM's advertisements. Thus what you come to know in the Tribune or Times of India is that laptops aredistributed free (which is a blatant lie, as the cost is included in the Rs 7 lac plus fee) and where the students went for the GOTA (a waste of time and money anyway as students learn nothing) and not where they got their jobs and at what compensation. No names of the job recipients are divulged. No text books are given free, unlike other institutes like FORE, TAPMI, Welingkars or IMT Ghaziabad. Students have to depend on handouts and class notes only. Most of them do nothave a clue as to where an idea is taken from. The institute puts an overemphasis on unnecessary or irrelevant course requirements which may or may not be required in the industry as a means of impressing would-be parents and students to cough out the dough needed for a 'proper management education' which stresses on 'MBE course content'. Also the excessive stress on presentations in formal attire, which normally constitutes 40% of the course requirement makes the students plagiarise from B-magazines without gaining any proper perpective. None of what the Chaudhuris preach is original. All of them had been taught before by professors in the IITs, IIMs and IISc long before Arindam packaged it in "Count Your Chickens..". In the process he made millions.Wonder why no one brought out the charge of plagiarism against them before?

The fuel cost for Arindam Chaudhuri's Jaguar/ BMW runs into lakhs (even the fuel is imported) per week and the family expenses run into unmentionable amounts. One can shudder in horror. One can imagine the sheer wastage of wealth of the middle class who by way of educating their children spend millions to enrich the coffers of the Chaudhuri family, for little merit of theirs. That IMI, Belgium degrees are of no value in India does not come as a surprise either. People whohave had MBA degrees from IMI who had tried to get admission to universities in India and abroad were told that as IMI degree can be completed three years after 10+2, they would be regarded as BBAs or as undergraduate degree holders. I knew of one who, after coming to the US had to start all over again as a data entry operator (which is what she did in India) and had to re-enroll for another MBA programme at a third grade university (a four year college, incidentally, which offers an MBA course).

The talk of professors from Harvard, Columbia, INSEAD and Yale deserves to be addressed. IIPM paid huge fees to some of these professors to give a one-time guest lecture. What the public will know from the press is that these professors take classes at IIPM which is false. But it should also be mentioned that IIPM does its bit to gather the best of industry and academic brains (from IIT, IIM, IISc., IIFT, FMS, Delhi School of Economics etc.) to take classes on a regular basis.They are regarded as 'external faculty'. Planman members do the rest.

If there are anything that can be really said good about IIPM, they can be summed up as:

1) development of communication skills
2) presentation skills
3) marketing skills
4) financial problem solving skills and perhaps most importantly
5) personality development and attitude development.

Too bad that segments of the family run Indian industry which is traditionally Lala-company dominated, cannot appreciate these finer aspects. But the Government of India and PSUs send its officers for part time training on deputation. Senior Planman faculty like Vistasp Mallegamwala have trained PSU staff. It is also quite surprising that the only properly trained faculty is the dean A. Sandeep who earned his PGDBM (3 year evening) at IIM Calcutta. The other faculty N Chamoli, Prasoon Majumdar are only MA holders in Economics. Ex-students, they could notclear their MBA degree.

IIPM passouts ("grads") get jobs as DSAs, data entry operators, sales representatives (A. Sandeep started his career as a sales rep, while doing part time PGDBA at IIMC), financial and insurance agents, space selling agents , multi-level- marketing agents, account executives, and brokers. Most of the rest (provided they have or have developed excellent verbal communication skills in accent-free English, and who are fluent in making presentations with a smattering of knowledge of economics and marketing, which comes in handy) are absorbed by IIPM / Planman as they havenowhere else to go. On joining Planman, they are sworn to secrecy that prohibits them from foreclosing any details. Also they cannot clear their exams even if they want to leave as their contracts are time bound. They can clear their remaining exams only after they have served their terms and have offered their resignations. They cannot apply for jobs that require "post MBA work experience". And they cannot criticize IIPM ever as that might led to their future careerprospects being jeopardised. Also IIPM alumni are rarely willing to admit that they made a wrong choice as the admission of personal liability points to lapse of judgement on the part of the student. The talk of EQ as being more decisive than the IQ in corporate decisions leads unwary students, into being unwitting followers of the Pied Piper that is the Chaudhuri family. Many alumni after failing to get jobs, and after wasting their parent's lifetime provident fund /annuity and retirement savings, lose all their face and social standing. Many become nervous wrecks, drug addicts, swindlers, and drug peddlers.

It is also interesting to note how few IMI degrees (which are scraps of paper, useless anyway) are awarded every year. IIPM /Planman have controlling stake in IMI. So IMI cannot terminate its contract with IIPM even if it wanted to. One of the better kept industry secrets is that IIPM has the controlling stake in the Times of India as well. So the Times would never go so far as to criticize it. But Hindustan Times is not obligated to do so. That is why the criticisms of IIPM first appeared in HT.

I think it is high time that in the general interest of the student community and those interested in the state of education in India, that AICTE, UGC and AIU be given powers to investigate charges of fraud in non-affiliated institutes. Perhaps a CBI investigationagainst IIPM / Planman / Chaudhuri family might be a good way to start. Our student population deserve better than to be regarded as 'markets'.