Dr. Christopher Abraham, CEO and head of Dubai Campus, SP Jain School of Global Management
Over the last few decades, India has rapidly grown into an economic, financial and technology hub for the global marketplace. This rapid growth has perpetuated a plethora of business and MBA programs to cater to the rising requirements of these emerging sectors. Over the years, the MBA program has become the most popular and sought after and the obvious choice of students and professionals, who are keen to upgrade their skills. Due to the large demand for such programs there has been a mushroom growth on the number of MBA programs and schools all over India. This has unfortunately resulted in the gross dilution of quality and relevance in many of these programs. So, the big question augurs how much worth is an MBA in the current circumstances?
Historically, India’s educational system has been largely influenced by the United Kingdom, due to our colonial legacy. Many traditional Indian universities and business schools are still running programs with obsolete and irrelevant curriculum. This vicious cycle results in Indian MBA graduates who are unfortunately ill equipped to address the demanding requirements of the changing workforce.
MBA programs across the world normally evolve to address the changing requirements of the marketplace. The modern Indian MBA programmes should take into consideration the complex changes in the job market and prepare students with the right knowledge, skills, competencies and professional attributes. Recently the World Economic Forum published a set of key intelligences identified by Harvard University professor John Kao as imperative to thrive in the Post-COVID World. These are Contextual Intelligence, Moral & Ethical Intelligence, Emotional and Social Intelligence, Generative Intelligence, Technology Intelligence and Transformational Intelligence. Every MBA program should have a judicious blend of these hard and soft intelligences, which are increasingly gaining significance. With the world moving towards digital transformation and innovation in every sector, the other skill sets required include critical thinking, problem solving, design thinking, data analytics, and human excellence. Most contemporary Indian MBA programs unfortunately do not address these emerging requirements, resulting in graduates who do not know how to face managerial and leadership challenges in the VUCA world of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.
Interestingly in these current circumstances there is an increase in applications for good MBA programmes across the world. So, what should prospective students look for in an MBA program? Students should explore programs that offer contemporary courses like Leadership in Complex Times, the Economics of a Pandemic, Preparing for a Post Pandemic World, Risk Management in Uncertain Times etc. giving more flexibility and relevance. While there is still a huge demand for classical disciplines like finance, marketing, operations and strategy, extreme care should be taken to ensure in embedding of contemporary topics in each discipline; For example, FinTech and Blockchain In Finance, Neuromarketing and Marketing Analytics in Marketing, Big Data and Internet of Things in operations and scenario planning simulations in strategy. In addition to the above, students should also be exposed to the role of AI, robotics, deep learning and machine learning, who then can appreciate how these cutting-edge technologies are applied in their disciplines. The critical focus should be to cater to these fundamental shifts and be designed to be resilient to stand the test of time.
In this pandemic era, business schools should also explore flexible delivery modes with different learning options. The key here is to offer an engaged learning experience in any format including online, offline or blended.
So, in the case of Indian MBA Programmes, this is a case of too many of not the right quality and it is time for Business Schools and Universities to get their act together and create programmes that are relevant for the changed world that we live in. Then it would certainly be worth the students’ time, effort and investment to enhance their value as talented and skilled business management professionals.
Also read: SP Jain Global launches short online courses