FPM in India vs. PhD from abroad?

What is FPM in India?

FPM stands for Fellow Programme in Management. Because IIMs (Indian Institute of Management, the premier business schools in India) were not allowed to give degrees, they started their doctoral program as a fellowship program. They conferred the title of Fellow, such as “Fellow of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (FPM)”. The FPM programs of the IIMs are recognized as equivalent to a Ph.D. by the Govt. Of India.

How is FPM different from PhD in USA or other countries?

The FPM program in IIMs is modeled on the PhD in USA. The first two years are coursework, followed by 2-3 years of research. On paper, it is quite similar to a Ph.D. in USA.

How do the FPM programs in IIMs compare to the PhD abroad?

The advice I got from professors (all over the world) and current students was that if you can do a PhD in USA, make that your first choice. While FPM in Indian institutes are based on a similar model, there is a difference. In most countries, the ultimate goal is always publication in a good journal. The entire Ph.D. revolves around trying to publish. However, in India, most professors do not focus on publishing world class research. If they publish, they do it in lower quality journals. Also, if you need primary data, finding a funding would be very difficult in India but much more accessible in other countries. However you can consider doing FPM in India if you cannot go abroad for any reason.

If you have to do your PhD/FPM in India, where should you do it?

After talking to current students and professors, the feedback I have got is as follows:

Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad – Everyone has a good word about this school. If there is one school in India which is publishing in top journals consistently, it is ISB. An FPM here would be the closest to a Ph.D. in the USA. However, the FPM of ISB is not recognized as equivalent to Ph.D. as per Govt. Of India. This is a huge dampener if you are looking to work in India post FPM. However, they placed the two students in the first batch in London School of Economics and IÉSEG, France.

IIM Bangalore – This is the IIM who is probably the first to start shifting the focus towards research. The new faculty they have been hiring are highly research focused. Moreover, the FPM program has a dedicated curriculum. Among IIMs, IIMB is the place to be if you want a good learning experience.

IIM Ahmedabad – This is another IIM which has a dedicated curriculum for FPM. IIMA has good professors and the FPM students had good experiences to share.

Apart from IIMA and IIMB, most IIMs have the first year of FPM same as first year of MBA. This could be good as you would get an exposure to MBA classes and knowledge which can later help you in teaching. However, you are better prepared as a researcher if the two year coursework is FPM specific. I will update about the other IIMs once I get more information on them.

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