The MBA Craze


By

Prof. Priya Angle
CFA, PGDBA
Faculty
ICFAI Business School
Pune
 


"Why do you want to pursue a MBA?" I questioned a MBA aspirant. "I want a job" pat came the reply. A simple straightforward and honest statement made. It was a statement that made me uneasy and raised many questions in my mind.

What do management institutions strive to achieve? What do management students think such institutions should offer? Are management institutions indirectly assuming the role of placement agencies?

With the exception of top notch Business schools in the country that offer rigorous academic inputs along with state –of-the art campuses,  most educational institutions that run management programmes harp on the placements they have generated for their students. This is done in order to attract as many aspirants as they can. No importance is given to the course content or the quality of resources available with the management institution. What are important are the visibility and right contacts in industry. Management education is big business today and many institutes just want to cash in while the going is good.

Many students choose to pursue an MBA degree as this qualification guarantees them a Job. Or so is the perception amongst the student community." Just pay the fees, hang out there for a couple of years and you will find yourself sitting in an air conditioned office of an MNC" seems to be the mantra. Very few students look at a management schools as a place where one invests time and money to acquire KNOWLWDGE and SKILL SETS that would enable one to build a career. Getting a JOB is the priority. Knowledge and skill sets rarely figure as secondary objectives

Given such a scenario, how do management institutes place their students? Why is there such a rush to recruit MBA's?

1. Hiring a MBA is easy and thus many organizations opt for this route. Skills required by industry are developed on the job. Most students learn the hard way once their very survival is at stake in the ruthless corporate world.

2. It may also be a prestige issue for a few organistions who employ management graduates without clearly defining the role and growth path for the new incumbent

This probably also explains why one finds a MBA quitting his / her first job within a year of acquiring it. The misfit – right person for right job is obvious.

Just as corporates need to identify talent and nurture employees to assume roles of strategic importance in the organization, business schools must provide relevant and cutting-edge management education. This can be achieved by adopting the case methodology of learning. Case studies that talk about real issues/ problems that organizations face and that discuss the manner in which difficulties faced were resolved by corporate houses provide valuable insights to students. Case studies also help in bridging the gap between theoretical concepts learnt in the classroom and their application in industry. Innovative and creative thinking is developed – an essential trait for new age corporations. Management programmes must strive to develop the following skill set

  • Communication skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Knowledge application skills
  • Interpretation and Integration of information.

The case study approach addresses all of the above.

Management students also need to stop focusing solely on the monetary aspects of a job and rather concentrate on understanding the organization culture and its people. Management institutions can play an important role in developing such an attitude amongst its' students with the aid of counseling. The aspect of social responsibility too cannot be ignored. The student community needs to be sensitized to the fact that social responsibility does not stand for giving charity or working for an NGO. It needs to be understood that being socially responsible is being sensitive to the needs and expectations of society and doing ones' job sincerely and ethically.

In an age where knowledge is going to drive organizations towards excellence, our seats of learning and society at large need to change their approach towards management education. Merely producing graduates and post graduates without these being competent enough to be absorbed by industry could have serious repercussions in future. A change in attitude where focus is on merit, discipline and ethics, is the need of the hour.

References:

  • MBAs' aspirations and expectations: the missing link; Colloquia Panel Discussion, NBSM, IIM Calcutta
     


Prof. Priya Angle
CFA, PGDBA
Faculty
ICFAI Business School
Pune
 

Source: E-mail June 21, 2006

     

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