What sounds more fancy – ABC School of Business or the Department of Management Studies of ABC College of Engineering? Management courses offered by engineering college are increasingly being promoted as brand by themselves.

Often the Management Studies department of Sri Sai Ram Engineering College is referred to as the Sai Ram Institute of Management Studies. Similarly, the department in Alpha College of Engineering is referred to as the Alpha Business School.

“For the purpose of branding we call ourselves this way, but we are registered as a wing of the engineering college,” says S. Rajasingh, director, management studies, Alpha College of Engineering.

Increasingly, colleges are trying to attain the ‘standalone B-school status.' With autonomy the colleges expect that student and recruiters' perception about their programme would improve and also that they can increase their intake.

Students generally prefer taking up an MBA offered by an exclusive B-School rather than by a university. “They do not realise that there is very little difference between the two, as the quality of the course depends on each institute,” says K. Maran, director, Department of Management Studies, Sri Sai Ram Engineering College.

Students feel that a B-school tag impresses recruiters more. “Though we are toppers in TANCET, often recruiters are more aware of management courses offered in some of the affiliated colleges of Anna University that are standalone. Often the engineering department overshadows us as it is the core department,” says a student of the Department of Management Studies, Anna University, Chennai. “There are just 70 students in the department and even the placement cell would focus on improving the placement of the 4000 engineering students. But autonomy will always benefit a management course as it would give us more independence in terms of organising conferences and events,” he adds.

Recruiters say that they would prefer a professional graduate from a B-school. “We believe that being attached to an engineering college, management departments offer a conventional course and do not have the freedom to innovate,” says Sujith Kumar, a practising HR and trainer.