Thursday, May 05, 2016

MBA – Management By Accident?

Till some thirty years ago, MBA wasn’t a very common degree to find in India. Very few institutes offered the degree. There were down-graded versions (DBM and suchlike), which were also popular in small circles. In fact, Management Education was considered more with ridicule, thanks to the family-owned structure of Indian businesses till then. Sharu Rangnekar regaled a bevy of readers with his books, which were further augmented by R. K. Laxman’s cartoons. 

With a big round of privatization of education that happened in the beginning of ‘80s, ‘professional’ degrees (engineering, architecture, medical and legal) became more accessible and affordable. The number of institutes offering management degrees and diplomas grew by leaps and bounds. 

Of the ‘professional’ degrees, engineering degrees were de-glamorized as a result of supply crossing the demand. In Maharashtra today, out of some 150,000 engineering seats today (as per Directorate of Technical Education), more than 50,000 are vacant. So getting an admission to engineering college is not simple, it is now trivial. 

Of the students who pass out of these colleges, the ones who are eligible to get a job, get a job. A majority of the unemployed are lured by a dream of doing MBA and getting a ‘better’ job. Sadly enough, students who do a four year ‘professional’ course, and their parents are lured by this mirage. One look at coaching classes for CAT (entrance test for IIMs) in any urban city would tell you the story. The number of applicants is over ten times the capacity of IIMs and the remainder, still chasing the mirage, is sucked up by institutes of B-grade and below. 

Plagued by the consistent low quality of the so called ‘management graduates’, ASSOCHAM (Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India) did a study of the B-schools. The results are shocking. Only 7% of the output is actually employable. 

Sadly enough, no concerned party is willing to pay attention. The students are more interested in posturing left or right. The institute owners consider that their responsibility ends when the students pay their fees. Whether they get a job after getting out of the institute or not is not really a concern. As long as students keep walking in without considering what exactly is the value add that the degree will do, why should the institute owners bother? The industry has given up. Almost each of these 5500 B-schools runs a program called ‘Industry Institute Interaction’ at least once a year. Some has-been from the industry puts on a tie and a jacket, and delivers a lecture to the captive masochist audience. And government never considers increasing the quality of education as its responsibility. The HRD minister is keener to include ‘Sanskrit’ in IITs than such meaningless stuff. Increasing the quality of education will not get her brownie points from RSS. 

So one becomes cynical and accepts the full-form of MBA – Management By Accident!

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