MUMBAI/BANGALORE: Women power just got its biggest shot in the arm across IIM campuses this year with the institutes' efforts to increase their intake of female students yielding significant dividends.
Data from the five IIMs at Calcutta, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Lucknow and Indore shows that the institutes are set to welcome a record number of women in the 2013-15 batch. With the exception of IIM Ahmedabad, which has acceptances from 80 women, the other four will all have more than a hundred women each on their rolls.
Says Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairman and managing director of Biocon: "The intake of more women in IIMs will certainly have a positive impact on gender diversity and on building women in
leadership roles in corporate India. I do believe that business schools should ensure a minimum percentage of women enrolments and in that context affirmative enrolments are desirable."
The top three IIMs — Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Calcutta — alone have received a total of 294 acceptances or confirmations from women students so far, as compared to 215 for the 2012-14 batch.
The total batch size across these three IIMs, based on acceptances till now, has risen from 1,220 to 1,247 this year, which means that women students comprise around 23.6% of the batch across the top three IIMs this year, compared to 17.6% in the 2012-14 batch.
The acceptance of offers to the IIMs' flagship PGP programme is still ongoing and there may be additions and/or withdrawals till June 17, 2013, at the top three and end-June-early-July for the rest. But all data points to the fact that the final tally of women will easily surpass that of last year.
IIM Calcutta, which trailed behind the other IIMs till last year on the women students' count, has got its act together this time. By awarding three points out of 100 to female candidates at the shortlisting stage, it has seen women students surge ahead, doubling from 11% (51) of the 462-strong batch last year to 23% (107) this time around. For 2011-13, it was a mere 31.
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"Companies are increasingly looking for more women professionals. That apart, women students tend to bring a greater balance and diversity to the classroom in terms of approach and ideas. Giving extra weightage to them was part of the affirmative action IIM Calcutta decided to take," said Prof Sanjeet Singh, chairperson, admissions, IIM-C.
Top MBA programmes are usually among the most critical pipelines for future business leaders. Debjani Ghosh, MD - Sales and Marketing, Intel South Asia, see the positives in such initiatives.
"Unleashing the power of women in India in corporations, politics and government is a must do. If this great country of ours wants to be seen for whatever it's really worth. And yes, higher education institutes like IIMs need to do their bit to prepare women for the corporate world," she says. She adds: "They must increase their own intake of women and also focus on building the needed level of confidence in the women students. Everybody needs to do their bit to ensure we build a strong workforce for India. Our success depends on it."
The IIMs are certainly doing their share. At IIM-Indore, the number of acceptances from women so far has gone up from 74 out of 453 last year to 126 out of 445 acceptances till now. Six acceptances are still pending but so far the percentage of women stands at 28.3% as opposed to 16.3% of the 453-strong batch of 2013-14.
"It's a welcome development. What's more, it has happened without awarding any special marks to women," said Rohit Kapoor, admissions chairperson at IIM-Indore. Ashutosh Sinha, his counterpart at IIM-Lucknow, says that out of 397 confirmations that the institute has received so far, 154 are women. Last year's tally was 162 women out of 450. "But with 53 acceptances yet to come, we are expecting the final tally of women to rise anywhere between 160-170," says Sinha.
Source: Economic Times