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IIM Graduates Debut With Degrees
Indian Institutes of Management that used to grant postgraduate diplomas are now granting degrees thanks to the IIM Act. What di­erence does it make to graduates?
Pritha Roy Choudhury

Shivani Pethe, a research scholar with Indian Institute of Manage-ment Calcutta (IIM-C), had faced a peculiar problem. With a background in statistics and master’s degree in operations research, she wanted to study “industrial clusters”. “I am working on industrial clusters.

My particular topic is at the intersection of operations management and strategic management,” she says. Her best bet for research guidance was not a university but an IIM. “I picked an IIM over any university because it really allows you to have a multidisciplinary approach which a normal university with a single operations management program may not be able to,” says Pethe, now in the fourth-year of the program.

At the time she joined, the doctoral research programmes at the premier public business schools did not end in PhD degrees. They were called “fellowship programmes” and their graduates “Fellows”. Similarly, students of the two-year post graduate management programmes left with diplomas, not degrees. While granted equivalence by the Association of Indian Universities, the PGDM-holders often faced problems at the time of recruitment and promotions in India’s regular public university system. Some even faced problems while pursing studies abroad.

Pethe’s status has changed since. In 2017, Parliament passed the Indian Institute of Management Act bestowing upon the IIMs the power to award degrees instead of diplomas. When she is through with her research, she will be a full-fledged PhD degree holder and permitted to use the honorific “doctor” before her name.

Beyond the name

“A “PhD” is a universally-accepted title. Previously, those who were in doctoral studies were called ‘fellows’. In that case, if they wanted to apply

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November 2019

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