With B-Schools in abundance, today every Pappu has an MBA degree. Is it the quality of ‘education’ or is it the quality of ‘students’ enrolling for MBA programmes.
When I finished my graduation I did not know what I wanted to do, to study further or to start working. There were friends who were enrolling for MBA programmes by giving entrance exams (CAT/ CET). There were two things stopping me, one I did not have enough marks to enrol for a programme and two there weren’t enough colleges offering MBA programmes. So I figured work is probably the best option for the time being, MBA can be done after a few years.
Today, almost two decades later, with management colleges in abundance almost every student has the opportunity to pass out with an MBA degree. I visit some management colleges for lectures and workshops, I have also been a panelist at one or two colleges for GD & PI and a jury member at some of the college events. I get the feeling that save a handful of students all others are there only for the certificate. The quality of students passing out is deteriorating, HR team in corporates are struggling to find quality people.
Some of my observations on why this is happening is as follows
- The best students go to the best colleges – starting from IIMs as you go down the overall quality of students decline.
- With management colleges on every corner the overall quality of trainers/ staff is on the decline.
- The course syllabus has not changed much over the years.
- New courses are announced by colleges in the hope that there will be demand for it, but a good two to three years are required for any course to become popular.
- With increasing number of distance learning and online courses, admissions to full time courses have become a real challenge.
It’s a constant fight between management colleges to grab the best students. IIMs want those who a going to join Universities abroad. The others want people who are looking to join IIM’s. I was once having a discussion with the Dean of a leading management college who was a bit concerned about the number and quality of applicants at the college reducing. One of the reasons, I said, might be that colleges are very syllabus driven rather than being market driven. I took the example of a Analytics course where the students actually work on data and are taught to do regression analysis and so on using different softwares. Rather than jumping straightaway in to regression, a better way to go about it might be to define the objective first. A particular problem the client is facing like who are the most likely people from the current customer base to buy a premium product that will be launched soon. And using the data given what can we do to figure out the answer to the question. Segmentation, regression and predictive analysis might be ways to now figure out the answer to the problem.
Now the whole perspective of education changes, the student is now trying to tackle a live problem rather than learn something. At his campus interview rather that saying ‘I know regression analysis or predictive analysis’ he will say ‘I created a model to figure out the most likely customers who will purchase a new premium product for brand X’ or ‘I created a model to predict who are the most likely people to buy a second insurance policy within the next one year’. In this way he learns how to tackle problems rather than just learning regression or predictive analysis.
The student on his behalf should not look at a college only to get a certificate but a means of career progression. Get involved in the curriculum and actively participate with college staff to get industry specialist to visit the college and address students more and more. That probably becomes one way to get first hand information on the current market situation. Do a brainstorming to figure our more ways to be appraised to the current situation.
Till this happens the vicious cycle continues – the institute and candidate being equally responsible in the creation of Pappu MBAs.