Ranking: India’s Best Business Schools

History and prestige. Academic excellence and distinguished alumni. Yes, IIM Ahmedabad is the total package: demanding curriculum, connected alumni, and high-paying jobs for new grads – a diploma that tells recruiters that a hire is ready to step in or step up.

No wonder IIM Ahmedabad has the reputation for being the top business school in India. And it is a sentiment reinforced by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), a ranking produced annually by the Government of India’s Ministry of Education.


This year, IIM Ahmedabad again topped the list in the NIRF ranking of management programs – an honor it has enjoyed since 2020 when it knocked IIM Bangalore out of the top spot. Not surprisingly, IIM Bangalore has clung onto the #2 spot since then. In a bit of an upset, IIM Kozhikode – ranked 8th in NIRF just four years ago – bumped IIM Calcutta out of the #3 spot.

Launched in 2016, the NIRF rankings cover far more than management institutions. NIRF also evaluates higher education in five categories: Overall, Colleges, Universities, Research Institutions, and Innovation. In addition, it ranks programs in eight domains: Engineering, Management, Pharmacy, Law, Medical, Architecture & Planning, Dental, and Agriculture and Allied Sectors. Overall, 5,543 institutions were ranked this year based on school-submitted data, which is supplemented by third-party data, both of which were verified for “inconsistencies, contradictions, and outliers” according to the Ministry of Education.

The ranking is based on five parameters (with their accompanying weights):

Teaching, Learning and Resources (TLR) – 30%

Research and Professional Practice (RP) – 30%

Graduation Outcome (GO) – 20%

Outreach and Inclusivity (OI) – 10%

Perception (PR) – 10%

Inside each of these parameters are “marks” – subcategories that are integrated together to produce the weighted score. In the Management ranking, schools are evaluated as a whole, not just full-time MBA program.

Navaratri, an Indian festival, is celebrated with great energy at the campus of IIM Ahmedabad


Why did IIM Ahmedabad hold the top spot. The school scored highest where it mattered. In TLR – Teaching Learning and Resources – IIM Ahmedabad posted the best score in a parameter with a 30% weight. The school’s near perfect score in GO (Graduation Outcome) also gave it a decided advantage where the weight was 20%. Beyond that, IIM Ahmedabad finished 4th among Top 20 programs for RP (Research and Professional Practice). More important, it outpaced IIM Bangalore and IIM Kozhikode – its nearest competitors – in a dimension worth 30% of its score. At the same time, it placed 2nd in Perception.  These high index scores enabled IIM Ahmedabad to endure low performance (11th in the Top 20) for Outreach and Inclusivity (OI).

That’s not to say IIM Ahmedabad should be popping the cork just yet. Technically, the school lost ground in four of the five dimensions, only edging up in OI (Rising from 68.13 to 69.66). Luckily, IIM Ahmedabad’s overall index only shrunk by .13 of a point. Compare that to runner-up IIM Bangalore, which lost 1.73 of a point. While IIM Kozhikode improved by 1.74 of a point this year, it is a long way from challenging either IIM Ahmedabad or IIM Bangalore, which are 6.72 and 4.41 points above the school overall.

Looking at the big picture, IIT Delhi lost ground, moving from 4th to 5th, while IIM Indore and XLRI Xavier School of Management each lost a spot in the Top 10. In contrast, the National Institute of Industrial Engineering in Mumbai climbed from 9th to 7th. IIT Madras suffered the worst fall, dropping from 10th to 15th, while IIM Udaipur gained six spots to each 16th.

Here are the top performers in the individual dimensions:

Financial Times 2023 MBA ranking

Lakeside in the evening on the IIM Calcutta campus: For the first time ever, there are five IIMs on the Financial Times 2023 MBA ranking


This dimension evaluated programs on low faculty-to-student ratios, high rates of PhD faculty and doctoral students and financial resources. While IIM Ahmedabad set the bar in this dimension, IIM Bangalore was just 2.17 points behind it. XLRI Xavier School of Management acted as the outlier in this area. Ranked 9th overall, it still produced the 3rd-highest index score (87.55). Vice versa, #5 IIT Delhi’s 67.37 score ranked among the lowest in the Top 20.


IIT Delhi may have struggled in the TLR dimension, but it led the way in Research and Professional Practice. The school’s 79.47 mark was 16.02 points ahead of IIIM Ahmedabad – and 23.86 points better than IIM Bangalore. In fact, IIT Kharagpur is the only management program to even come close to IIT Delhi – and that was with a 72.77 mark. The RP dimension covers both the quantity of quality of research output, as well as the schools’ professional practice and executive development programs.


Historically, IIM Ahmedabad has been the Indian management program to beat for pay. Among full-time MBAs, The Financial Times reported that IIM Ahmedabad MBA grads were earning $186,420 in weighted pay within three years of graduation. Compare that to IIM Bangalore, where the number is $157,514. When scoping out beyond MBAs, IIM Bangalore is far more competitive. In fact, just .03 of a point separates IIM Ahmedabad and IIM Bangalore in this measure. More than that, IIM Calcutta (99.03) and XLRI Xavier School of Management (98.07) are nearly as competitive. As a whole, this measure is equal parts placement and median salary, with examinations making up the rest.


Outreach and Inclusivity (OI) produced some of the lowest scores for Indian management programs. The highest score in this dimension? Think 78.25 – courtesy of IIM Raipur. Compare that to Graduation Outcome – where a 78.25 would’ve been the second-lowest score. That said, IIM Raipur enjoys bragging rights here – nearly nine points better than IIM Ahmedabad. IIM Rohtak (78.0) and IIM Kozhikode (77.03) also fared well in this dimension, which addresses the percentage of women, economically and physically challenged students, and students from outside the school’s home state.

Editor’s Note: To see how the Top 20 management institutions ranked in the various categories, go to the next page.

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