How popular are B-school programs?
In India, the MBA programmes of top institutions are massively popular among the youth pursuing higher education and will continue to attract some of the best and the brightest students. In fact, the number of registration received for CAT 2018 was the highest among the previous nine years. However, one could safely assume that consolidation of management education in India is in the unveilleading to gradual weeding out of programmes that are below par. The trends from other jurisdictions such as the US, however, show that the general popularity of even top fulltime MBA programmes are in the wane, and many MBA programmes are being shut down and there is a definite shift towards specialized and online programmes. B-Schools must stress on moral obligation B-Schools must stress on moral obligation B-Schools must stress on moral obligation
Secondly, I don’t see full time MBAs being in competition with online courses anytime soon at least in India. Online courses are in demand among specific set of audience and for specialized courses. However, there is growing trend towards leveraging both models in a single programme.
Is there a need to introspect on the purpose and contents of management education in India?
Primarily business school curriculum tend to focus more towards ‘shareholder primacy modal’ that attempts to maximise shareholder profit and benefits. The 2009 financial crisis was a wakeup call for the business schools on the values systems that form the core of B school’s curriculum. In our book, Management Education in India (Springer 2017), we (Prof Manish Thakur) have reflected on the values that the business schools offers and the need to introspect on the purpose and contents of management education in India. Post 2009 financial crisis there has been a clamour for fundamental rethinking on what it is that we teach at business schools. Key observers of the management education landscape like Prof Srikant Datar of HBS lamentson the lack of balance in the management curriculum. Such an imbalance has resulted in negative consequences so far as the ethical and social responsibilities of the businesses are concerned. The students must learn to appreciate and inculcate the socio-economic realities rather than made to pursue narrowed visions that disregard larger concerns that the current society and the people faces.
Are Indian B-schools updated as per the practical needs of a business?
The tension between theory and practice in MBA curriculum shall continue to remain contentious. Since the formalization of business education, the emphasis on theory or practice have swing from one to the other based on the call for industrial application and academic rigor of management education. To achieve the goal of “education” and a well-rounded student with ability to solve organizational and societal problems in an uncertain world, one must aspire for an optimal balance of a strong conceptual foundation and at the same time provide adequate industry-based knowledge that would be of use in the day-to-day running of business organizations. Such a balance could be achieved through paying close attention to the structure and pedagogy of individual courses and their interlinkages with rest of the courses in management curricula.
How are students benefited in technology?
Technology has fundamentally changed the classroom environment. It can has significantly amplified the learning experience both inside and outside the classroom. Technology as “force multiplier” helps use and access to resources that are otherwise lacking in traditional classroom. No instructor can ignore the advantages that technology offers.
What are the important elements to consider while selecting a B-school?
Faculty profile, peer student group, institutional repute, bouquet of courses, student support, etc,- in that order. The first three are intrinsically linked.
How does the CAT ensure the selection of top-class students from all over India?
The Common Admission Test (CAT) used for screening the MBA candidates who enters top B-schools in India is one of the toughest competitive entrance exam in the world. The sheer competitiveness and layers of rigorous scrutiny ensure that only crème de la crème gets entry in the top programmes. The peer group, faculty, institutional repute and a large alumni base ensures a natural advantage for the graduates from top B-schools in the real world. Having said that, the way CAT exam is structured currently, the applicants with engineering background have a natural advantage over applicants from other streams.
How culturally open are Indian B-school students?
Most top B-schools give great emphasis on internationalization and curricula that are designed with international focus and cross-cultural context. International exchange programmes with opportunities to spend a semester in a peer institution abroad (and incoming foreign students), double degree programmes (like the one offered by IIM Calcutta), and summer internship programmes are specifically structured to serve this purpose. Like in the Executive MBAs, the attempt is to make international emersion mandatory for all students of two year MBA programmes. There is also an attempt by top institutes to proactively solicit applications from foreign students to enhance diversity in the classroom.
Whatis your advice for youth?
MBA is often seen as the assured way to professional success. However, one must realise that it is even more important to choose the right programme from the right institution.
Tell us about social responsibility of business?
Milton Friedman is often partially quoted as saying: “There is one and only one social responsibility of business — to increase its profits.” They conveniently forget the second and the most important part of what he said:
“There is one and only one social responsibility of business — to use it resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud.” (Milton Friedman, New York Times Magazine, 1970)
Friedman, when he refers to “rules of the game” was not just emphasizing on legal responsibilities of business, but the moral and ethical obligations and the sets of values that goes with it.
Learnings in B-schools must inculcate in students the important role that ethical and sustainable business organizations play in contemporary society and their individual roles in promoting collective good.
MBA is often seen as the assured way to professional success. However, one must realise that it is even more important to choose the right programme from the right institution