Four things that need to change in Indian MBA education right away!

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The Magic Wand!
It’s almost a ritual for most commerce, science and engineering graduates in India to consider MBA as the next career option. One can attribute this popularity to the growing Indian economy and the promise it presents in form of a great career.  The reasons to enrol for an MBA program are mostly that of peer group influence, percieved career success and parental pressure . The result 1000s of youngsters out of Business schools with limited real world skills. For one to appreciate the nuances of business, they have to experience it first hand and then put the theory in right context. Off late, there is some sense prevailing and I see more people opting for MBA education after spending a reasonable time working in the industry. The responsibility also lies with educationist, academia and parents to guide the youngsters on these lines.
Euphoria around placements
We can not get rid of this at least in India. Lets accept it, the primary motive for higher education in India is to get a good job & financial security. Definitely not for reasons of passion or interest in a subject area, unlike the developed world. But somehow I always felt the MBA programs in India are designed only around getting employed rather than building capabilities to become employable. I thinks that’s because of focus B schools put so much on placements, as if it is the nirvana of the corporate career!
Students should be encouraged to build their own networks and get jobs on their own (like in most top global schools). What is concerning also is the low number of B school graduates taking up entrepreneurship as an option? Some how the job option is perceived to be less riskier and more acceptable in the community. I would partly blame this on the pedagogy and euphoria built around campus placements
Pedagogy
Amongst the teaching faculty, you will find mostly those who chose academic career early on, did their Phd and took up teaching positions.  While the ones from academia come with great analytical skills and acquired industry insights, their ability to relate with and articulate corporate realities is challengeable. So one way to ensure they bring in real corporate perspectives is to make industry assignments mandatory in their doctoral programs. We should also encourage candidates from the industry apply for Phd programs in management. Career in academics would sure be a different track for these corporates, but I am sure there are many souls who would love to jump in to this for lack of intellectual stimulation in their work life. The challenge though is how to attract such talent to academia?
Majoring the Minor and Minoring the Major
Ask any MBA candidate at the end of their first year and there are just two things on their mind, one is of course placements and second is the specialisation/major.  This generally gets decided by the number of electives he or she chooses to study in a particular area like Finance, Marketing, HR et al. This approach, I believe goes against the fundamental objective of MBA program which is to create Business Managers / Leaders and not functional specialists. While there is nothing wrong in concentrating in a set of electives, but to think that one would be working in the same area for rest of work life is flawed. Here is where the pedagogy plays a vital role in explaining to students they need to see things holistically and try to get a hang of most business topics they would need to navigate their careers effectively.
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4 thoughts on “Four things that need to change in Indian MBA education right away!

  1. One point from my side: B-Schools need to insist on and abide by the eligibility criteria of 'minimum 2 years of work experience' . A large part of teaching learning process at a b-school gets compromised because teh students are fresh out of college and are unable to appreciate the importance of professional behavior and education.

  2. Indian B-Schools (well most of them),do not focus on entrepreneurship, which in my view is the perhaps the single biggest driver of innovation. Innovation leads to wealth creation and the rest as they say is history.How many schools have incubators or idea-labs in our country? Sadly not too many. It is certainly not a difficult model to emulate from the schools in the west, but our schools certainly do lack the will and the vision. I guess in a country where “private wealth creation” takes precedence over “public wealth creation”, this is pretty much expected. The sad part is that there is so much Venture Cap and Angel funding chasing too few ideas, we are missing the boat due to our obsession with “placement records”.

  3. My Commenst are not in relevance to the Topic ‘Four things that need to be changed in MBA Education” but more on the lines of If MBA is Over-rated??

    There was a time when pursuing an MBA degree ensured a successful career in management or entrepreneurship. It was the most coveted career option for many young aspirants who believed that a management degree could give them the edge over all other candidates. I was one of them. I don’t have anything against MBA but over the past few years I’ve seen people simply take the Plunge just for the heck of getting the “MBA” tag alongside their names. Unfortunately, Women ,whose parents spend a fortune on their MBA education and its dissappointing and sometimes frustrating to see these women promtly getting married right after completing MBA to a man of well-means. Some of them finish MBA not with Career in mind but thinking that getting an MBA will add value to their ‘Profile’ which helps find them better ‘Salaried’ grooms.Its dissapointing to see women get that coveted MBA seat in plush colleges go on to become Housewives selling Tupperware. Not that selling Tupperware is bad, but if they were not serious about pursuing a Career after completing MBA why snatch some other deserving Candidate’s seat who could have made it big in the Corporate world?

    MBAs Vs Non-MBAs: In my career I have come across so many people who have rose from clerks to the position of VP Sales (Names not disclosed),without an MBA degree ofcourse , and have people loaded with arm-length of Degrees and PhDs running to them for Consultation. Another common example would be Marwaris – they are No Harvard-Returns but noone has the Business sense like the way these people do. Any Marwari Business man would calculate interest-rates quicker than an MBA clutching a Calculator.

    If you have it in you you will still make it big or make a splash in the Corporate sector, if you don’t have the vision nor the Fire or the Zeal to suceed, MBA from a reputed institute will not come you your aid, rather it will be just another Degree in your Kitty.

    David Zwiener, executive vice-president at Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (HIG), his experience points to a little-realized fact about the MBA: It only gets you so far. In fact, for those seeking a job at the very top of the corporate hierarchy, it’s not even a requirement. BusinessWeek research has found that fewer than one out of three executives who reach those lofty heights do so with the help of an MBA. And if you think a sheepskin from a top school is a necessity, think again. Only half of the executives with MBAs went to the top 10 schools in the 2004 BusinessWeek ranking
    “MBA Opens that first door for you,After that, it’s up to you.” David K. Zwiener

    Sushma Tiwaari,
    May I add Non-MBA, but I did good.

    • Thanks for the comments Sushma, appreciate the way you clearly categorise the fact that its not about MBA or not but the business acumen that an individual brings to deliver growth! And precisely the reason I mentioned in my article that some where the reasons of doing MBA in India are that of job and financial security. Nevertheless lets hope this madness and perception that MBA education is the magic wand fades of. And rather more an more youngsters take up entrepreneurship as an option irrespective of what ever they study.

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