Got a seat in B-School! It’s party time for you. But, is securing a seat in MBA College an end in itself? No. It’s just the beginning of a long journey. What you do in your classroom in the next two years determines whether you will achieve your career goal of getting into the Boardroom of your dream company. Remember, life is a journey and so is your career. The journey ahead is much more than the journey completed. Here is what you should be concerned about. Sectors such as financial services, information technology, banking, retail are fast losing their sheen. These industries need to grapple with risk managing and risk mitigating techniques. Emerging sectors for future seem to be viz., healthcare, hospitality, biotechnology, infrastructure, etc. Hence as B-school student you need to grapple with current business environment and the future opportunities and challenges. Surely you are heading for a harder life than is visualized earlier. You need to create architecture for your future. How do you de-risk yourself in this challenging and dynamic environment and ensure a progressive and prosperous career.
There are nearly 2,000 B-schools in India producing about 1,00,000 MBA graduates every year. In Andhra Pradesh itself, there are about 200 schools offering business education. While you are a lucky person to be one among the future managers, the fact is that for every one aspirant four others do not get a chance. Research studies in India suggest that it is only the top 50 B-schools in the country that maintain quality standards in business education. Large majority of the other B-schools are yet to catch-up with the key quality parameters. Knowing the gaps in business education helps you bridge the gap through your own initiatives.
Areas where most B-schools do not fare well are:
1. Students lack English language skills, grooming, confidence, corporate orientation and attitude. Most schools do not have qualified trainers to impart necessary skills to the students in these key areas of skill development. Often schools make spurious claims on their capabilities in these areas. But much needs to be done. In case your school does not focus on these areas, identify institutions which offer such programs and join them for short term courses.
2. Many B-schools do not have cutting edge curriculum. Most of the schools are affiliated to universities that who do not revise the curricula. Consequently what is taught in the classroom vastly differs from the knowledge requirements of industry. Incidentally some of the private universities/institutions are doing well on this count. But they suffer from lack of other regulatory requirements. Keep checking your curriculum with other leading B-schools and learn through self study the recent developments.
3. Most schools do not have competent faculty resources and consequently classroom delivery suffers. The dearth for quality faculty members in business education is so severe that barely 20% of faculty members are competent to teach the courses assigned to them. This means there is no substitute for your own efforts to study.
4. Lack of interaction in terms of industry visits, internships, guest lectures and corporate input in curriculum. We woefully lack the industry-institute interaction. Most B-schools do not invest sufficiently on networking with industry to provide value addition to students through guest lectures, visits to industries, intensive company supervised internships, etc. Companies too do not take sufficient initiatives in this direction. While insurance sector, out of compulsion, is active in its interaction with B-schools, the work pressure and employer-employee relationship during interaction drive students away from this sector. Take initiative to have your own student clubs/ committees to augment your schools efforts for these facilities.
5. Lack of employability training. When the going was good during the past 4-5 years, most schools paid lip service to building internal competencies for training the business education students for employability. When the economy went under, B-schools are sulking with poor placements. Active placement committees with the participation of students would help institutions do the necessary ground work on a sustainable basis.
6. Unorganized placement departments which lack focus on percentage of placements achieved and quality of placements. B-schools often make spurious claims on placements achieved and quality of placements. Business education schools are required to organize themselves to archive sustainable placement record.
7. Lack of proper alumni network: Business education requires a very well knit alumni network. Most B-schools woefully lack this focus. The top B-schools in the country not only have well networked alumni, they also help each other to achieve higher levels of performance and progress.
8. Choice of specialization courses: Most B-schools offer conventional specialization courses due to lack of competent faculty resources in emerging verticals. This seriously affects the MBA aspirants in getting right placement with right compensation. Students must sufficiently research on the specializations they take during their second year of MBA. Winners choose winning combination of specialization courses.
9. Peer learning: Top B-schools leverage peer learning for development of their MBA students. Student activities such as management fests, industry interaction committees, case competitions, competitions for business proposals, simulations etc. have often been found to be most effective in improving student quality. Students, through their own committees and under the guidance of faculty members, should take initiative in practicing some of these peer learning practices for their own benefit.
10. Willingness to work hard: On an average, students of the top B-schools put in 15-18 hours of efforts per day for learning. This is often not the case with most other B-schools. Every aspiring MBA student must be willing to put in hard work. It is said that a manager’s life is 99 percent perspiration and 1% inspiration.
11. The challenges for management students do not commence after they complete their studies. In fact, the challenge for them is to make their campus life a very enriching learning experience blended with fun and bonding among their peers, seniors and juniors and industry experts. If students can achieve this, they need not run after placement interviews. Indeed the HR department of companies would run after them.