Is the MBA Losing Its Eminence in India

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Its a well known fact amongst the global MBA community that India is the hottest market for MBA aspirants across the world. International Business Schools get the highest number of applications from India which inturn translates into the maximum number of offers and admissions being made to Indian students. MBA tours held in India also get the largest audience with over 500 prospective applicants attending any particular MBA tour event held in the country.

While this works out great for the schools, it often proves to be a disadvantage for Indian candidates. A highly experienced Indian software engineer with a 700 GMAT would not even get a look in to the top global Business Schools while a Swedish candidate with the same credentials would stand a pretty good chance of making it. Still this does not deter the determined and many Indians go on to study at reputed global B-schools, largely due to the significance of the “MBA” tag as written about here .

However the trend seems to be changing as there are too many MBAs being produced in India. Consider the facts (as reported by Rediff.com: Glut of MBAs: Where are the jobs?)

In 2000, there were about 600 colleges in India offering about 70,000 MBA seats. By the end of 2009, the number had increased to 1,400 colleges offering about 120,000 MBA seats! By comparison, the US which has an economy that is more than 10 times bigger than that of India, has about 1,000 colleges offering about 150,000 MBA seats to both US citizens and to a growing pool of international applicants

As the article goes on to state the whole model of MBA education in India is flawed and tends to produce low-quality MBAs who take up managerial jobs after 5-6 years of completing high-school. No wonder that employers have a hard time finding quality graduates and visit only the top schools (which only have slightly improved models) for most of their hiring.

In order to address the situation, the All-India Management Association (AIMA) plans to roll out the Management Aptitude Skill Test (MAST), a screening test designed to determine whether business school graduates in India are qualified for jobs. (as reported by Bloomberg Businessweek:Indian MBA Grads Face Hiring Test). Now whether that is a wise decision or not is open to debate. While it would certainly help employers find good talent and add another element of assessment to their complicated recruting process, it will impact the desire of an individual thinking about an MBA. After all, who wants to give another test after finishing a degree just to prove that he learnt something during the course. Not only is that an inconvenience but it also questions the degree itself. This fact is echoed by a recent tweet from PagalGuy, one of India’s leading MBA portals:

PagalGuy's Tweet on CAT Registraton deadlines

Seems like the wisest thing to do in today’s economy is to strive for excellence in your current job, build skills externally if you’re looking for a change and target only the top brands that are insulated from swings in global economic movements if you want to study further. Its sad to see that higher education which often proves to be a rich experience is gradually losing its significance and both educators and employers are to blame.

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