Thursday, October 13, 2005

A Web of Deception?

Gawker continues to explore new aspects of the IIPM story today and has a post about a string of schools in Europe associated with International Management Institute [IMI], which IIPM calls its partner. Gawker noticed some curious similarities in the websites of IMI and its partner organizations namely; Barcelona Business School [BBS] and European Business & Management School [EBMS]. In fact these websites were so similar that Gawker had to conclude:
"Eerie? Hell yeah! I don't know about you, but I sure think this daisychain of interconnected institutes, each existing ambiguously on the internet with no information other than the fact that they claim to churn out a large number of high quality MBA graduates seems extremely suspicious to say the least."
The degrees offered at IIPM are actually conferred by IMI and do not come under the purview of AICTE, UGC or other state acts, a fact brought to you by the JAM article.

All this sounded really fishy, as aptly put by Gawker. So I decided to scrutiny the websites of these three institutes (IMI, BBS, and EBMS) further. Gawker had already pointed out similarities in faculty pages for IMI, BBS and EBMS. In fact they are the same word for word, except the names of the schools. None of them list any faculty with names and contact information. Here are some more facts I found:

The "Studying at IMI", "Campus" page at BBS and "Students" page at EBMS; all have exactly same content.

The teaching philosophy pages are also the same for the three schools. Check it out for: IMI, BBS, EBMS

The program descriptions are also similar (word for word). E.g. check out the description of the BBA program at the these schools: IMI, BBS, EBMS

The courses for the BBA program are also the same. The names of courses... everything is same: IMI, BBS, EBMS

Well, these schools are partners so they must be sharing the same course materials, same programs and same teaching philosophies etc. There is no big problem with that right? I guess so.

But hold on... IMI and EBMS both have same contact address, phone numbers and both have campuses in Antwerp and Brussels, as we can see from their contact pages (IMI, EBMS). So, could it be that there is just one school with two websites and two different names? Why? I don't understand this.

Now you will say, "So what? What about BBS? It is physically at a different place (Barcelona) and has a different name too." Very well. I presume it must be having different students too. I think it is highly improbable that these schools located at different places can have the same students. But guess what... different students studying at different schools have surprisingly come up with "exactly the same" testimonials [IMI, BBS, EBMS] singing the glory of these schools. Or was it that "BA graduate from Russia" simply attended all of these schools and found that they are really the same. Curiously none of these students seem to have any names or addresses.

So what? Maybe students didn't come up with good testimonials. So these schools decided to come up with their own and share. What's a little sharing among partners?

Actually I am pretty much convinced that IMI and EBMS are actually one and the same... two names, two websites... one school. Their students look awfully similar to each other as ascertained by links to the same student party pictures from both websites (here and here). Same for their Egypt tour 2004 pictures. But what about BBS then? Do they have similar looking students? Well I dunno about that, but their Turkey 2005 trip seems to have gone on exactly the same route, with exactly the same people as IMI's Turkey trip.

Now either these schools are taking the meaning of "partners" to a whole new level by sharing student photos, testimonials and all the other stuff on their websites OR they are up to some sort of a scheme here. I don't know how IIPM chose IMI as its "partner" but they surely seem to have one similar quality. Both of them are using some really suspicious information (in their advertisements - for IIPM and on their website - for IMI) to catch students and rake money.

IMI, BBS, EBMS, IIPM: all partners in a web of deception? I leave that for you to judge.

Updates:
My posts on media coverage of the IIPM story: [1] [2] [3] [4]
IIPM in the media: [I.E.] [Pioneer] [H.T.] [NDTV] [IndiaTogether] [Outlook] [Business Standard] [CNBC-TV18 online news: 1, 2] [New York Times]


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23 comments:

gawker said...

Great digging. Someone really needs to find out what the deal is with these people

Anonymous said...

Well, you certainly have a lot of free time!

On the flip side, excellent detective work. I only hope this cause is taken up in the media and all these findings actually find their way to the thousands of wannabe MBAs out there.

Anonymous said...

excellent work

spark_uk said...

Great digging dude...

Have you realised the fact that the 'student party 2004' link from EBMS website takes you directly to IMI website...

SPOOOOOKY !!!

Ashish Gupta said...

Amazing bit of detective work! I guess, with all this going on, IIPM is doomed forever, justifiably so! Good work. We should all possible to make other people (blog-non-readers) aware of all findings...may be someone read all the links on desipundit and summarizes all work at one press..and let forward take its course!

Sriram said...

Rock on bro! I 've done my bit of digging as well.

Point 5 said...

I have been a lil busy off late, and havent followed this issue completely....but is is this big only on the blogosphere ? I havent seen much about it in standard media ?

thalassa_mikra said...

Great work. I mean what is most astounding to me is that all these schools have absolutely no web content in local languages. For a school claiming to be based in Barcelona, no Spanish content!

dominic said...

well, i think one of the reasons this hasnt made the print media at all so far is the fact that IIPM is the largest print advertiser in the country, 8 crores a month as per ET - will the print media bite the hand that feeds it?

tony said...

The more we dig the more shit its going to throw up..lol, by the way Arzan has posted some welcome post after the long IIPM stories..

Moon Rays said...

There is some thing more interesting on this affair. Just note the Partner links on the Global Distance Education Academy website. Study the french sounding link. École de Lil. It is a sex chat site. So the IIPM fraudsters do have an amazing sense of humour

Angirasa

Jay said...

He he he...

Look at the IP addresses of timi.edu (63.223.76.45) and bbs-edu.org (63.223.76.46). Don't they look similar either?

Possibly... It would be easy for them to copy paste the contents if it were together so that they need not send the contents by mail :)

This again shows how they maintain integrity by sharing resources.

Way to go partners... Hell's breakin' loose...

Transmogrifier said...

Thanks all for the comments. All the shady aspects of these websites definitely say one thing. IMI is not the "leading business school in the world" B-school as IIPM claims on its website.

Gautam Ghosh said...

Awesome work !

Have posted this stuff on a HR mailing list

Anonymous said...

As an MBA from a truly authentic institute called IMI in New Delhi, I feel saddened that this 'so-called' sister institute of IIPM might tarnish the reputation of our wonderful institute.

IMI is @ www.imi.edu/imi; I hope someone bothers to mention that it's the real thing and nothing to do with IIPM!

Anonymous said...

you could try to do a whois.net on these domains and find out if they are all run by the same person

Anonymous said...

Amazing work .. has anyone taken it up from here?

Satyajeet Sahu said...

Awesome detective work dude !! I have always been skeptical of this fraudulent institute called IIPM (Indian Institute of Assholes)and the tall claims they make. If they are really ahead of the prestigious IIM's why they need to spend crores advertising their infected Asses. Suckers !! Thanks to the internet and guys like you IIPM is finally busted. Now we will together screw up that Arindam Chaudhuri's Ass with our joint efforts and save thousands of desperate aspiring MBA's out there who are an easy prey to this fraudulent mammoth called IIPM. I would conclude with "IIPM Sucks !! "

Rob said...

I teached at the Antwerp and Brussels campus of IMI.
Real students, courses, building etc..
EBMS has been taken over by IMI. Since they have all the same but the same. EBMS as well as IMI still exist. Both are using the same administration and campus.
They also toke over A school in Barcelona. I suppose they gived it a new name, their program etc. Students are often one year in Belgium, and a next in Spain.
The english language that they use is for the simple reason that they are not focussing on locals. Their student body is very international.
IMI people are hard working, and are not spending their days on blogs..
I think people who don't understand this better don't write to mutch.. However, BORAK is also a creative idee.
Kind Regards,
R Stammen

Syd's Ballet said...

Check this out.
Ms. Malfroy's mistake
Mistakes do occur.
The very very very very is not specific to any institute, it is the common language of Ms. Malfroy and as you find here, she has committed a mistake in this case. Similar attempts at institutions which remain private and do not approach the Belgian authorities like IMI etc. Regarding the similarities between IMI, Belgium and EBMS, see Rob Stammen's reply at Goto Rob Stammen's reply

Same is the case with IIPM. Do we really have to put our belief in the accredition by the UGC. I request you all to kindly visit the dark alleys of cities like Kanpur, Meerut and many many others. They are full of AICTE, UGC and other 'responsible' associations' accredited institutions for MBA, Engg, Dental Medicine, and even MBBS. The real fraudulators are the zillion colleges who are operating with not more than a house with a balcony and a few rooms dubbed as classrooms, unfortunately very much accredited and 'recognized' by our very own AICTE, UGC, MCI, etc. I wonder why hundreds of blogs are only aimed against IIPM, while no person cares for those wandering in the streets with MBA degrees from 'recognized' institutions, without apt knowledge for getting a decent job. I understand that being aggressive in a marketing campaign smacks of overconfidence and a tinge of irresponsibility too. Targeting IIMs should not be the approach to establishing the innovative teaching and learning techniques of IIPM. But truly, the education structure, the faculty, the guest lectures, the National Economic Planning presentations and the extremely challenging and demanding work schedules are a part and parcel of IIPM and I doubt whether such a wonderful mix of innovation and established principles can be found anywhere. I believe this is what they should advertise aggressively. The faculty are mostly (I say mostly because, yes, there are some who aren't not up to the mark, but this is the case with even the IIMs) drawn from industrial backgrounds. Labour Law is taught by a person who was an HR at Maruti Udyog for more than ten years, Accounts is taught by professional CAs, Finance is taught by those with experience in IndiaBulls and ICICI, Marketing Research is taught by someone who's worked for more than ten years at Nielsen, just to quote a few. IIPM students NEVER feel cheated - ask anyone who has passed from here in the past twenty years. The quality of students is definitely not as good as that of IIMs owing to IIMs selecting the cream of Indian students (definitely the handful of students selected by IIMs get the advantage of exclusivity), but some of the students at IIPM every year (I say every year) amaze the visiting companies and the faculty alike with their innovative skills and go-get-it approach. Then there are a few who achieved fine scores in CATs (not enough for IIMs but enough for IMT, FORE, etc., myself included, I had even got admitted in IMT and TAPMI), but chose to dare - and dared to think beyond standardized, accredited, institutionalized, or recognized formal education systems.
A standard day at IIPM begins at 8.30 in the morning with classes, discussions, class room assignments, book discussions, news analysis, and the 'famous' presentations (ask an IIPM student, and he/she will always remember the emphasis on presentations, which are held in at least one subject almost every day). The teachers are extremely cooperative, most of them entertaining students' queries even after classes, on the phone, on email, and even at their homes. Professionalism is not something that takes a formal structure here. Students learn it as it is inculcated by observing their seniors and their teachers. After the hectic day's schedule which often ends around 6.30 in the evening, the students feel every penny of their money is being paid back in worth. Life is about learning. The education at IIPM is an experience that cannot be shared by those who missed it. Unfortunately our society is marred by the hoard towards placements placements and placements, forgetting that what matters in life is what you've learned, not where you've been placed. It will take some time to reach the standards of IIMs and thus reach their level of recognition (which will automatically bring 'placements' to IIPM campuses, of which I am not concerned). But regarding economics and finance, the extreme emphasis on these subjects at IIPM change the paradigm of thinking of almost all the students here, and the whole world seems a different place, each bit falling in its piece, each piece filling its place, like the Neo of The Matrix, the codes that govern societies start to make meaning. The NEP (National Economic Planning) is a subject at IIPM which surpasses the level of innovation anywhere else. Here students have to research upon and frame their views regarding current economic issues, from Globalization to the Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, from Socialism to Sustainable Development. And the gruelling is tough - no student can escape the hard work behind the topics and the revelations that this hard work makes is extremely rewarding as a citizen of this country and as a concerned human in the world. I am not making any claims here, or posting any information from IIPM websites. These are reflections from my own experience, the most wonderful days of my life.

Anonymous said...

Guys excellent work. Thanks for sll your inputs. Great job all.

could we have this published in the media instead of wasting so much space inn this forum.

I think we can approach the media.

Great job you all.

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jeromekjeromepune said...

HI,I wish to add some more to this iipm bull****,recently there were morchas and demonstrations outside pune iipm campus by it's students,they were conned for a tune of 4 lakhs each,they were promised a classroom progam but were given admission to one of it's dubious distance learning programs.very few print media carried this news for the obvious reason.here is the link of the news in one of a leading daily in pune
http://www.sakaaltimes.com/SakaalTimesBeta/20110222/5400856865105743796.htm