Prashant Kumar scored 96 percentile in the Common Admission Test but it was inadequate to get him into any of the top Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) – Ahmedabad, Calcutta, Bangalore or Lucknow. He grabbed the offer when the recently set up IIM Bodh Gaya (BG) said yes to him last year. With the coveted IIM brand in their mind, many students like Prashant readily took admission in Bodh Gaya campus, but it has been a roller coaster ride since then.
In a telling sign that the institute is still in incubation, it is operating from a couple of classrooms in the Magadh University. Although a temporary tea lounge has been set up for students and faculty, the institute neither has a library, nor a laboratory. Worst, the institute doesn’t have a single permanent faculty. Professors from IIM-Calcutta, which is mentoring the new institute, come here as visiting faculty, said a student.
Everything is either outsourced or managed from a distance. The convenor of this IIM is based in Kolkata and the institute, which was set up in 2015, is likely to get its full-time director sometime in the third year, according to the terms set when the new IIMs were set up.
Not surprising, the first batch got just 30 students, compared with the approved strength of 60 seats. This year, 54 students took admission. However, that does not mean the campus has gone up in the pecking order when it comes to the real test – placement.
IIM-BG’s biggest worry seems to be its credentials in finding placements. Its performance in summer placements in 2016 was unimpressive to say the least – it was second from the bottom among the six new IIMs – Visakhapatnam, Bodh Gaya, Sirmaur, Nagpur, Sambalpur and Amritsar – to conclude internships. The average monthly stipend was just about Rs 30,000 though the highest touched Rs 1.5 lakh.
“IIMs are brands, but opening them away from business hubs doesn’t make sense because of limited scope and industry exposure,” said a student who turned down the admission offer from IIM-BG. He sat for the exam the following year and got into IIM-Lucknow.
Parineet, a student who’s come from Kerala, recalls “the beginning was quite difficult. We were annoyed with frequent power cuts and poor quality of food.” Infrastructure is still a stumbling block, but students like to believe things will improve. “The hostel now has a power backup and a stabilizer,” he said. Soumik Saha, a student who is also in the public relations committee at the campus, said there is a proposal to construct four new classrooms and a laboratory on the second floor of the same building. Bihar government has pledged 180 acres of land for the construction of a permanent campus but the institute is yet to take possession of the plot.
Although IIM-BG is relying on IIM-C for first placement season, it has appointed six representatives to interact with industry. Struggle in getting placement may put a question mark on the Centre’s policy of opening IIMs in remote parts of the country without examining the finer points. Neither aspirants nor recruiters are enthused by the Bodh Gaya campus. Not yet. Source business standard.