Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in India has lost its sheen
The very purpose of education is to empower learners to develop their creative human potential; making them finer humans. Improve their thinking, enhance, and transform their potentials to lead and develop a finer society and lead a finer life. As such education at any level of life must empower an individual to work better with others to solve complex problems.
According the Directorate of Education (DTE), Maharashtra management Business Management program appears to be falling out of preferred courses with students in the state. Data with the state technical board shows that aspirants for this dynamic course are falling year after year. There is a mismatch between existing institute, number of teachers, their qualifications, experience, aptitude of students, their aspirations, their employability etc.
Ironically, MBA/MMS course which once reined the educational streams seems to have lost its zest; almost 50% seats remaining vacant. The case is worse in Nagpur University where 59% management seats remained vacant in 60 colleges. Though the number of MBA seats is increasing every year, the colleges are facing crunch of students, especially the newer ones. Karnataka has 236 colleges having an intake of 14,148 for MBA degree. Out of these, 8,007 seats were allotted through the Post-Graduate Common Entrance Test conducted by the Karnataka Examination Authority. And of them only 7,600 students have reported to colleges.
Students used to look up to the MBA course because of the employability it offered. But today corporate world prefers Economics graduates; they prefer BMS (Bachelor’s of Business Management) to the MBAs. “These students (BBAs, BMS, BFAs, and BMMs) carry less head weight and are down to earth. They are humble and supple therefore they are easy to shape, also, they study all subjects taught in the MBA degree at the degree level itself” say some of the HR Heads from prominent companies. In most Universities the syllabus the MBA degree overlaps with the degree course such as BBA, BMS, BAF, BMM etc.
Successful entrepreneurs are rare among MBAs
In an article published few years back in ‘The Economist’ by a Harvard MBA, Philip Delves Broughton, the author was very forthright while suggesting that MBAs have lost value, he says successful entrepreneurs are rare among MBAs. They come from general public. Entrepreneurs know that business is fundamentally about two things innovation and selling. Most MBA programs don’t teach both of these. If MBA is about networking, it happens when you are successful and you don’t need to get into an over cramped networking of MBAs struggling to clinch on to their jobs.
In today’s business world “innovation” is the hottest thing. Google searches for the term have grown by more than 500% in the past few years. The Wall Street Journal has published that innovation is no longer obsession of entrepreneurs only; it matters even to the general public. Innovation is the key word in everybody’s life because it is the key to living life brilliantly.
Lesser interest for MBAs could be due to increased demand for market oriented postgraduate diploma courses. Some experts blame the lukewarm industry response during campus placements. Students are reluctant to invest up to Rs 5 lakh for an MBA degree after graduation. If they do, they seek instant gratification in way of lucrative placements on campus. Many are taking up jobs and opting for part-time MBA courses instead of taking up full-time MBA programme.
With so many students doing an MBA it has almost become like a generic graduation degree, the other fact is too many institutions are offering the course. Startups are reluctant to hire MBA graduates because they don’t learn the basic techniques used in a business and big employers say they lack the skills required to effectively manage today’s diverse, globally-dispersed, super-connected and resource-constrained organizations. They lack things like strategic thinking, scientific analysis, formal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, ethical reasoning and most importantly leadership and interpersonal communications.
MBA courses concentrated only on theory
An old criticism of MBA degree courses was that they only concentrated on theory, thus leaving graduates wholly unprepared for the big bad business world. The focus of MBA degree courses has changed to some extent with focus on case studies. Only a senior faculty with good industry experience can solve a case study with points like what is the issue, the goal of the analysis, what is the context of the problem, what key facts should be considered, what alternatives are available to the decision-maker and last but not the least recommendation from the learner to the case. Experienced and seasoned faculties are in dearth.
A study by the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmadabad (IIM-A) has publicized that business school research in India is lacking. The research conducted by Professor Arindam Banerjee of IIM- Ahmedabad, aimed to look at “some historic reasons” for poor productivity in research in India, including unproductive competition among institutions due to a false sense of self sufficiency, lack of adequate research infrastructure at the institution level and, the long standing government policy in India that has considered teaching to be the core activity in the Indian university system.
In fact, research adds on competency to the faculty’s teaching skill. We need macro level policies regarding fund allocation and revising mandates to do some meaningful research says the report. The MBA course requires learning and adapting changes as a core of its syllabi; owning to knowledge, honing skills and capacity of the learner. Contemplating and integrating with student’s experience in the course work is very important. Does that happen?
The world has changed a lot over the last 15 years – it is very much an ‘unknowable world’. For instance, the numbers of Fortune 100 companies from 10 years ago are no longer in existence today. It is a swiftly, rapidly shifting world and it is hard to keep up with all the new features of change. The technology, the ethnicity, the business trends, climate changes, geographical tapering, world politics, everything is changing so swiftly. Technology is changing so fast that we see gadgets and updates that seem to come out on a monthly basis. Technological advances have hastened business practices – bringing in changes in business strategies.
Flexibility in MBA program
We have to ready ourselves to apply flexibility to our MBA programs. Take feedback from industry, make them a party while changing syllabus. Take feedback from the senior academicians; involve them in making effective curriculum. Take feedback from alumni and the current students by increasing choices of courses and flexibility. Allow students to choose their elective in the first year itself. Take leads from the market. I think we need to customize the curriculum as per demands from the employers. We need to bring concepts to the student’s life. Use effective pedagogies such as live projects, simulations, prototyping, role-playing scenarios, global captivation, and case studies.
In conclusion, let’s bring back the lost sheen of the MBA course and prepare the business leaders of tomorrow.