Losing Glamour of Management Education
Its real purpose and wrong perceptions


By

Arijit Roy
Faculty
Acharya Institute of Management and Sciences
Bangalore
 


Have you ever wondered why gold and diamond is so precious and garners so much respect? It's surely not because it shines in the sun and has a dazzling effect on the eye. A simple mirror held at an angle will probably dazzle you more. It's because these are rare, not everyone can afford to have them nor everyone should have them. Had everyone been in possession of gold and diamond it would be as common as a piece of glass. There is also another perspective to it which will resonate throughout this article. Gold becomes gold after passing through fire and diamond is cut and polished to make it a girl's best friend.

There is something that was supposed to be an elite item but has lost its sheen and glamour due to wrong promotion on part of the provider and wrong perception on part of the customer. It's the concept of Management Education. Today management education is perceived to be stepping stone to a huge bank balance and sometimes, unfortunately, even to a huge dowry. Some of the top B-Schools promote this field as something that will enable students to become successful managers handling complex situation in world of business. Is the purpose of management education to make good managers? If your answer is in the affirmative then you are having a myopic view of management's purpose.

So, what is the purpose of this field of study? The great Swami Vivekananda once said that human mind is not an empty well to be filled with buckets full of information. The purpose of management education is to make human minds like the stuff thunders are made of. In order to develop any economy we need thinkers and that is where this field should play its part. We should not look to produce good managers but nurture an individual and develop him into a leader who stands for integrity and honesty and is empathetic towards the needs of the modern society. We should train the youth to take a holistic view of any situation and enable them to solve causes rather than investing their energies trying to solve a symptom. Remember a simple chest pain is not a problem; it might be the symptom of something serious. We require leaders who can go underneath and solve the cause and not managers who end up wasting society's resources trying to reduce the pain by prescribing a pain killer.

This is where the quality of students matter a lot. Today anyone can afford an MBA degree if he has got money otherwise the banks are always there to help them become holders of MBA degrees. By attending lectures for 6 hours these supposed to be great minds feel they deserve to be there. It is what they do for the rest of 18 hours that determine where they end up. Management course doesn't guarantee a huge pay but if done properly can ensure a good career which may lead to a high package. This is the question of the journey versus the destination. If you ensure you are proactive in your path you will reach your destination in time. A good placement should not be a student's main objective; it should be promoted as an outcome of working hard and being dedicated. Remember profit is never a firm's objective it is the result of some correct decisions taken at the correct time. A firm which grows gets profit as a result of growing. Similarly a student's objective should be to develop oneself which might result in a huge bank balance and also fetch him a good dowry.

Students have a wrong perception that if they read and master subjects such as Economics, Organizational Behavior, Finance and Marketing they are sure to be successful in their careers. Let us draw an analogy here. A person working with a microscope in a lab is not a doctor. He is just a technician. A doctor knows something more. Similarly all the subjects that are taught at B-Schools are mere tools of management; even if you master them you are good at tools which make you a technician. To get the real benefit out of management you have to learn to connect all the tools.

Students increasingly are becoming myopic and look at any problem through a narrow lens. We have to enable students to treat all problems as the organization's problem not unique to a single department and come up with solutions having considered its impact on the society.


The growing number of B-Schools points out to the commercial viability of this field. It is up to the B-Schools to ensure that this field is projected in a right manner and right candidates are exposed to the demanding nature of this course in a way that future leaders come out of it.

Just like Gold and Diamond, MBA is precious, neither everyone should have access to it nor everyone should be allowed to undergo it. Remember MBA is supposed to be hard, if it is not hard any one will do it, it will be common. Are we making it look very easy?

Do not be poor in your ambition. You are entitled to dream of becoming an MBA only if you are ready to work hard. Adolf Hitler once said Men who do not face obstacles and win get victory but men who face obstacles and win create history. So be passionate and be ready to go through fire in order to be valued like gold.
 


Arijit Roy
Faculty
Acharya Institute of Management and Sciences
Bangalore
 

Source: E-mail December 27, 2010

          

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