A roadmap for MBA education

S. Vaidhyasubramaniam | Updated on January 21, 2011 Published on January 04, 2011

Hyderabad:03-11-2010:SANSKRITI”10 A National Level B-School Event celebrating in Hyderabad on wedesday. Photo-----:G_RAMAKRISHNA   -  THE HINDU

HYDERABAD (AP) - 17-07-2010 - ( FOR :STOCK PHOTOS ) -- B-School students of ICFAI Business School . --PHOTO: P_V_SIVAKUMAR   -  P_V_SIVAKUMAR

The World Economic Forum, which measures the Global Competitiveness Index, has included the quality of a nation's B-schools as a variable. The World Bank too, includes this variable in its Knowledge Assessment Methodology (KAM) as a tool to help nations transit to a knowledge-based economy. The Global Business School Network, which operates as a World Bank arm, encourages B-schools to enhance future leaders' access to high-quality management education.

The World Bank estimates that the world's population will reach 8 billion by 2030, from the 6.5 billion in 2005. Asian and African countries already account for 73.4 per cent of the world's l population and that percentage is expected to grow. In contrast, the United States, Canada, and all of Western Europe currently combine for only 11.2 per cent, and that percentage is expected to decrease.

This trend will become informative when combined with age. Shifts in age distribution of the population will significantly impact management education.

Asia accounts for over 60 per cent of the world population with almost 3,800 million people. China and India alone comprise 20 per cent and 17 per cent respectively (US Census, 2007). Looking at the demographic trends and assuming that the maximum enrolment to B-schools lie in the age group of 25-29, it is reasonable to conclude that the market for B-school lies in the African and Asian countries, making the case of Indian management education very special.

India is becoming increasingly relevant in the global business space and will need a growing number of managers and leaders. It will have an estimated 400 million population in the 25-35 age group, as the sourcing hub for human resources. The role of management education in grooming future leaders is, hence, critical.

It is estimated that India Inc. will need about 2,000 chief executive officers and, based on a conservative ratio of 1:4 of CEOs:Senior Managers, there is a need for 8,000 senior managers. Assuming a senior:middle manager ratio of 1:4 and a similar ratio for middle:junior managers, the gross requirement of fresh MBA recruits by India Inc is 1,28,000.

The National Knowledge Commission (2008) also foresees a three-fold increase in the output next 10-15 years. It is expected that from the current level of 1,00,000 graduates, India will require 3,00,000 employable graduates in the next 10-15 years.

Key gaps

Three important gaps need to be addressed to ensure that MBA education is taking the right direction. The relevance gap can be seen as the difference between the needs of the industry (corporate clients) and what the B-schools deliver.

The delivery gap deals with the competencies within the B-school framework to handle the MBA programme which predominantly lies with the faculty and their abilities to understand, conceptualise and deliver the needs of business education using proper pedagogy. The policy gap is an enabler for B-schools to reduce the relevance and delivery gap. The delivery gap due to shortage of faculty and the relevance gap due to rigid academic framework along with the antiquated policy-making are plaguing the growth of MBA education in our country.

Countries such as the US, Canada, the UK, Netherlands, Singapore, etc. have well-laid-out policies for MBA education and constantly improve on relevance and delivery. The Harvard Business School (HBS) case-study team, while celebrating its 100{+t}{+h} anniversary in September 2008, conducted a cross-B-school workshop with unprecedented cooperation from various leading B-schools, critically examining the future of the degree it invented. In HBS's own words, “the stage after 2005 is the making of management a new profession.”

Self introspection

Similarly, Indian management education needs to undertake a massive self-introspection. The management education policy maker (AICTE) is still grappling with various policy level issues when many countries with clear policies are moving ahead.

In India, after 60 years of management education, over 10 review committees, numerous workshops, etc. we are still struggling with policy level issues of approval, admission, fees, one-year MBAs, new IIMs, etc. pushing back crucial issues of relevance and delivery. The need to reinvent Indian MBA education cannot be put off any longer.

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Published on January 04, 2011
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