Success of the MBA Program


By

Kavita R. Shanmughan
Ex-Faculty
SAINTGITS Institute of Management
Kollam
 


Management degree is the want of today's youth.  And yes, all the Institutions imparting management education is also targeting these youths to join their institute and emboss their future.  All these institutes have two aims: 1. To impart business studies different from others and 2. To make profit out of this business. 

Something that most of the management institutes will look upon is to get the students with good communication skill as it is believed that good communication along with the knowledge of the subject is an essential aspect for to find a place in the job market.  Hence most of the b-school has started taking soft skills training to the students seriously and one can even consider this as one of the criteria that each of the b-school differs from?  To understand this issue the author here presents the case study of one of the beginners in management schools. 

Mahasagar Institute of Management had established itself in June 2006 with the objective to train its students with IIM's or elite b-schools standards.  Now when such was the objective it was a fair expectation from the institute that it could grab good lot of students who could grasp the subjects fast in the class itself along with certain activities meant for developing their personality traits essential for the business.  Unfortunately as the beginners it had hardly 10 out of 50 who would have an above average communication skill and mostly students were of average IQ and even cases were found where the students were not able to understand the basic language (English) through which the classes were to be delivered. Since the institute was resolute on its objective it moved on with communication classes for English and also the idea of mentoring was imbibed to tailor in the confidence among the students.  The classes for these students started by 8.30 with the library hour which includes economic times reading.  Really a good idea but even after two months of reading the students were not being able to understand the standards of economic times. Reading ET was adhered to one hour in the time table in which most of the students either do their subject home work or just sit and gossip.  After one hour of library the students had 4 subject classes, each consist of one and half hour duration.  By 4.30 the students undergo mentoring session. 50 students were divided among the three faculty member.  Each carried out their mentoring session with their own pattern.  One of the Sr. faculty from IIM-Calcutta emphasized on the economic times presentation, still another Sr. faculty from Sinhagad business school preferred to do presentation with only negative punch and a faculty from Asan memorial institute, a psychologist cum softskill trainer  went for the administration of communication package. After a month time there was confusion in the minds of the students as to whether they are developing their communication skill or not?  To what extent students agreed to have developed their communication skill was judged through a survey conducted by the trained psychologist. To start with the survey feedback from the students as to how they feel about the course was taken.  It was found that most of the students were not happy with timings of the classes as well as they complained about the excessive emphasize on personality development and less on the subject learning. Based on the interaction with the students it was established that they were so much stressed out that they are loosing their competency that they already possessed.  Based on the results of such a feedback the administration of the stress inventory questionnaire was done as the aim was to understand at what stages (Unproductive, Productive and Illness stage) of stress the students have arrived at. The result indicated that 23% of the students moved towards illness behaviour, 44% moved towards unproductive behaviour and 32% have moved towards the productive side.   It was also found among girls 66% moved towards unproductive side while among boys 40% moved towards illness behaviour and resorted to unwanted habits such as drinking, smoking and unethical behaviour towards girls.  To the surprise it was also found that students who were getting negative punch were less stressed when compared to the students who were subjected to fear to be expelled from the institute or from the students who were given only moderate type of risk. Why it happened so?  Some of the reasons the psychologist pointed out was:

1. Students who got the negative punch were trying to face the problem in a constructive manner, that is, by improving themselves but at the same time their tendency to do the wrong acts not acceptable to the society was also increasing.

2. Students who were under the fear of being expelled were lacking what is called as positive strokes and hence were stressed more than the other two groups.

3. Students who were given the communication pack wanted to raise their legs before they can sit hence were stressed than the group with negative punch.

4. There were also students who were given excessive positive strokes as a result of which they felt that their potentials are not being inflated.

After the administration of the stress inventory again a questionnaire was administered, which posed up direct question to the students regarding their problem.  The students were requested to answer to the statements honestly.  The test revealed that around 44% of the students were fearless of doing wrong things and 68% felt that studies should be emphasizes more than any other activities that would include personality development. 35% felt that they are worth nothing. 58% feel that the course should get over soon 38% feels that faculties are indulged in criticizing the other faculty in the classes, 52% feels that they do things out of fear with regard to study matter, 40% feels that they are affected by the use of abusive language by the faculties. 33% feels that they are having disturbed sleep, 49% feel that faculties de-motivate them by giving them negative punch, 48% feel that they have lost the competency they already possessed, 40% feel that communication is the only tool for the fetching a good job, and 62% feels that they should be given time to study the subjects.

Based on these data one can easily plot as to where Mahasagar Institute of Management is heading? As far as the author is concerned, she feels that different socio-economic-cultural background should be considered while planning any type of course.  What the institute did was taking up all the good things of the other successful institute tried to implement strategies at the cost of the diversity and the capacity of the students and hence creating confusion and displeasure in the minds of the students and the parents.  Some of the suggestion that the author would like to putforth are:

1. Economic times reading could have been made more interesting if there was an instructor who could clarify the students doubt and ET Quiz and debates on certain issues could have made the reading fruitful for the students.

2. It started communicative English class and thus has brought in the minds of the students that some are having good communication and some very weak.  There is nothing wrong in pointing out the weakness of the person but it should not be to the extent that it de-motivates a student and make them feel they are worth nothing.  Any institute should give primary focus on the subject studies than on any other matter. Personality development, communication development, leadership development, etc should be felt as relevant in the minds of the students and not being forced upon by the institutes.  These types of training will be effective only when it comes from within a person.  It is something like advising the person don't smoke and we all know that the person will stop only when he decides.  The same applies here too.  Mahasagar institute instead of starting the communication classes should have made the students aware of the benefits of communication and slowly after a month period could have started the classes for communication. 

3. Mentoring should have some purpose rather than just presentation which either creates fear in the students or just give them a lot of negative punches.  Even it was noticed that the mentors were not the trained personnel in the field. There was no common objective framed among the mentors and hence it resulted in perplexity in the atmosphere and also negativity about the institute.

4. As stated earlier knowledge of the subject is essential to understand the business scenario and solve the problem.  Students should be given enough time for them to think of their own as to what the concept means, why it has evolved and how it has to be applied in the real business settings.  They should be given the understanding of business solution through real case studies and forum. 

5. The success of any management institute depends on its way to expose students with the learning of concepts relating to the current business scenario and also with the latent manifestation of personality trait development necessary for to be successful in the business.

Questions:

1. Can Mahasagar Institute of Management achieve IIMs or other elite b-school standards with its existing policy?

2. Elucidate negative punch without any positive stroke can boost up the performance of the students.

3. Why negativity has crept in the minds of the students towards Mahasagar Institute of Management?

4. Mentoring should be given by the trained personnel. Justify.

5. Discuss whether every act of the institute should have clear purpose known to both the institute as well as to the students.  If yes, what are its benefits?

6. Prepare an action plan of MBA Program for an average IQ students as well as students mainly from remote areas? Identify the development areas of such students.

7. Suggest the measures for the success of Mahasagar Institute.
 


Kavita R. Shanmughan
Ex-Faculty
SAINTGITS Institute of Management
Kollam
 

Source: E-mail September 12, 2006

     

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