Saturday, October 22, 2005

The saga of IIPM vs. Bloggers: Mainstream media get into the act

Slowly, but surely, the mainstream media and non-blogger journalists are getting into the act of investigating IIPM. Because of their established position in the media scene -- not just in India, but everywhere else, too -- they get access to the innards of IIPM. This allows them to offer some new perspectives. I give here just a quick list of such pieces. DesiPundit is aggregating links to MSM pieces on this issue.

What I will do instead, is to point to one of them, which is very good. The Business World's Aditya Khanna and Aarti Kothari have done a reasonably thorough story [requires a free registration]. They actually probe further into the veracity of the claims made by IIPM in their ads (many of the others, sadly, stopped at just reporting it at the level of "IIPM vs. bloggers"). Interetingly, the BW reporters were 'promised' complete access to IIPM. This is what the BW story states about the access they actually got:

Meanwhile, "Professor" Chaudhuri decided to pay a visit to the editors of various media houses to present his side of the case. He visited Businessworld and invited it to conduct its own examination of the IIPM facilities and his credentials. He promised to provide all documentary evidence to prove the veracity of his claims. However, he also pointed out that his advertisements were models of careful wording. [the quotes around the word 'Professor' are in the original.]

Businessworld's investigation: At the outset we must confess that despite his claims of providing us with all help, neither Chaudhuri nor his head of corporate communications, Amit Saxena, provided us with the details we had asked for. Among the things BW had asked for were specific details on companies that come for campus recruitments at IIPM, salary details of the people placed, details about its faculty and facilities, as well as details of its study tours and other advertising claims. What we got from them by way of reply was a one-page letter full of generalities about liars (Bansal and Sabnis presumably) and the "inferiority complex of the pampered students of the IIMs".

The rest of the story is about the information they have gathered, presented in a dry journalistic style, without trying to sound judgemental. They really had to try very hard, as can be seen from this passage.

The IIPM faculty: Well, the bulk of the IIPM faculty is made up of former IIPM students. You pass out and promptly start teaching. Average age of permanent faculty: 27. Research conducted by faculty: no verifiable data that we could get our hands on. IIPM refused to cooperate. Chaudhuri has this to say: "Other institutes use people who have studied psychology and economics to take their classes. We are the only ones who have MBAs. And we extensively use Planman Consulting staff who have vast consulting experience." It is a nice example of vertical integration. You join IIPM. Pass out and join IIPM as faculty or Planman Consulting as a consultant. If you are a consultant, you also teach at IIPM. The loop is complete.

Of course, this excellent article would have been even better if it had used some of the interesting information (I am trying to be non-judgemental here!) unearthed by a whole lot of bloggers. In particular, the following are absolute gems in terms of grassroots journalism: Arzan, Gawker, Transmogrifier, Thalassa_Mikra, and Thalassa_Mikra again. The last two, in particular, are the very best of what Michael calles Google journalism.

Thanks to Kaps for the e-mail alert.

A quick update: T.R. Vivek (of Outlook) has a nice news story on this issue. It is short on its own investigation of IIPM's advertised claims. But it mentions -- and discusses -- bloggers' discoveries about IIPM. It even has screenshots of some of the blogs -- most notably, Rashmi's, and Gawker's.

Do read the BW story. It is (still) the best out there so far. Do read both the stories. Together, they are the best out there so far.


  1. Anonymous said...

    i would sugget that all bloggers unute together and take on this menace of an educational instituion and root it out on the very bane of its existence - money and fraud

  2. Anonymous said...

    IIPM's official statement on this issue, as featured by NDTV and CNBC:

    We are stunned as to how the most pampered students of India (i.e. from the IIM)

    suffer from so much inferiority complex from us that given the first opportunity to pen something (be it [former] IIM students like Rashmi Bansal or Gaurav Sabnis, and all

    other IIM students on the Net and other media), they stoop down so low as to write relentless lies and spread baseless rumors about IIPM," the statement read, in part.

    "But beyond a point IIPM can't allow these kinds of shallow rumors mongering to go
    on and had to take an action."

  3. Anonymous said...

    TR Vivek in Outlook Magazine - October 2005


    "The Indian blogging community (or blogosphere, as it likes to call itself) is

    essentially a bitchy, self-indulgent and an almost incestuous network comprising

    journalists, wannabe-writers and a massive army of geeks who give vent to their

    creative ambitions on the Internet," Vivek wrote. "Given that the average blogger-age

    is 25 years, it's clear bloggers love to indulge in hearty name-calling and taking

    college-style potshots at others. This is probably why some of them get into trouble."

    Hehe.. you IIM guys and your jealousy can do nothing against such a respected institute... say whatever you want to, no one believes this lies about IIPM anyway. And I remember beating you guys at IIM Ahmedabads' management fest... losers!