Why the MBA remains the course of choice

Venkatesh Ganesh | Updated on March 10, 2018

Industry insights (From left) Amit Agnihotri, Founder, MBAUniverse.com; Sundar Kondur, Vice-President, Kasturi and Sons; TV Rao, Chairman, TVRLS, former Professor, IIM Ahmedabad and member HBL-MBAUniverse.com Rankings 2016 Advisory Committee; Lakshmi Narayanan, Vice-Chairman, Cognizant; and Shailesh Kekre, Principal, McKinsey India, at the release of The Hindu Business Line -MBAUniverse.com B-school Ranking 2016 in Bengaluru. SOMASHEKAR GRN

bl08_B Sschools table

IIM-A tops in The Hindu BusinessLine-MBAUniverse B-school rankings 2016; five IIMs in the top 10

India’s top B-school, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM-A), always leads the rankings sweepstakes and it is no different in The Hindu BusinessLine-MBAUniverse B-school rankings released last week at a power-packed careers conference in Bengaluru.

The B-school rankings for academic year 2016 by The Hindu BusinessLine-MBAUniverse combine, widely recognised as the one of the country’s most credible data-driven rankings, has five IIMs in the top ten B-schools. IIM Calcutta and IIM Bangalore are ranked second and third respectively and are also among the oldest B-schools in the country, recognised for their rich academic orientation.

Other B-schools in the top ten are XLRI Jamshedpur; MDI Gurgaon; NMIMS Mumbai; SP Jain Institute of Management and Research Mumbai and Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), Delhi University. The rankings were released at India’s biggest annual MBA Careers Conference, where HR heads from India’s marquee MBA recruiters such as Cognizant, Flipkart, ICICI Bank, Infosys, Titan, HP, Amazon and Cisco, addressed deans, directors, academics, placement heads and students from more than 20 leading B-schools.

Adapting quickly

Lakshmi Narayanan, Vice-Chairman, Cognizant, along with TV Rao, Chairman, TVRLS; Shailesh Kekre, Principal, McKinsey India; Sundar Kondur, Vice-President of Kasturi and Sons (The Hindu Group); and Amit Agnihotri, founder of MBAUniverse.com, released the B-school rankings for 2016. In his address, Lakshmi Narayanan said the success of MBA graduates lies in their ability to quickly adapt to changing market dynamics.

He said the need for reinvention is one of the key business ingredients for success. Citing the example of electronics giant Haier, he said the company brought about a lot of reinvention based on case studies conducted internally.

It was able to quickly shift strategies and got into new business areas, thereby ensuring the company does not stagnate.

Narayanan elaborated on the impact that MBA students are bringing to a company like Cognizant. “If you see, all of our C-suite executives are from leading colleges in India and abroad,” he said. The CEO of the company, which figures in the top five software exporters list, Francisco D’Souza, did his MBA from Carnegie Mellon.

Narayanan also pointed out the need for institutions to collaborate on issues which have a larger bearing — on the industry, economy or the nation. As an example, he pointed to efforts put in by US institutions to assess the impact of cyber security breaches in many of their corporates.

“The study assessed that electronics and communication technology, aerospace and aviation and healthcare (including pharma) are most often attacked by hackers from China,” he said.

As a result of this, cyber security got top priority as customer data had to be protected.

Keep learning

McKinsey’s Kekre was of the view that an MBA is not a prerequisite for a successful management career, pointing to dropouts such as Steve Jobs and other famous CEOs. “Students should not sit back and think that once they complete a degree the work is done,” he said and urged them to keep their learning caps on at all times.

Industry veterans such as TV Rao, spoke about some of the psychological aspects of business, such as what makes people effective. Rao, who has written a book that addresses many of these concerns, told the gathering that he categorised performers into four buckets.

“The first are doers — they work hard and follow job descriptions. The second are achievers, who work faster than others and are focussed on achievements,” he said. Rao categorised the third as visionaries, who chart their path following their conviction and belief.


Innovation is an important aspect and colleges should dispel the belief that 20-year-olds cannot be visionaries.

The last category is made up of missionaries, who are passionate about the cause and who have a combination of some of the above-mentioned traits, he said.

The issue of values also came up for discussion, especially at a time when corporates around the world are being slammed for their lack of values. Rao said that values are a very important metric and urged corporates to do their bit to inculcate more values which, in turn, would result in a better Human Development Index (HDI).

The rest of the sessions were marked by high-quality discussions involving HR heads from top companies, who debated the future of the MBA in various sectors and the opportunities that fresh graduates who enter the job market will have.

Rankings, a credible yardstick

Rankings are important for MBA aspirants as they represent a credible yardstick that they can use to decide which B-school to apply to. The Hindu BusinessLine-MBAUniverse rankings for academic year 2016 were conducted under the supervision of an eminent advisory committee, chaired by distinguished management academic Dr Shekhar Chaudhuri, former Director, IIM Calcutta. Other members are Dr TV Rao, Chairman, TV Rao Learning Systems and Mr S Sivakumar, Group Head, Agri & IT Businesses, ITC. The rankings follow a dominantly data-driven methodology, which uses measurable data. By comparison, most media rankings give a 50 per cent weightage to perception survey data. The BL-MBAUniverse rankings adopt complete transparency of methodology and results.

Also, in line with the changing emphasis of management education, a few new areas were included for research and evaluation such as ‘values and ethics’ in the MBA curriculum and entrepreneurship at B-school. The entire B-school rankings of 90 B-schools and the methodology followed will be released in a special handbook for MBA aspirants.

Titled Inform & Inspire, this handbook, to be published mid-December, will contain useful information on how to choose a B-school. It will include quick guides on what gadgets to carry to B-school, what not to do at school and which books to read. It will feature a rich selection of articles from industry experts on the MBA and on career and personality development.

(With inputs from Vinay Kamath, Chennai)

Published on December 08, 2015

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