Dr. Saurabh Verma is the Faculty and Placement Coordinator for the MBA and BBA Programs at the RICS School of Built Environment. He teaches data analytics and sustainability subjects at the School and actively engages in sustainability research and corporate training.
Over many decades, MBA education has been synonymous with business skills and knowledge, management, networking, and quick career progression. According to the latest India Skill Report, having an MBA degree is no more the key to landing jobs in India. Despite being ranked as the second most employable course, less than half of students (46.59 per cent) with an MBA degree have enough skills to be hired (Indian Express, 2021). Rest ends up with low skill – low pay jobs or go figure their career choice again. Redundant curricula and limited emphasis on pedagogical training, industry skills and competencies, especially in low-tier management colleges and mushrooming private institutions, are the main reasons for the lack of employability skills. Hence raising questions about the relevance of an MBA degree in today’s time. In this changing business environment, an MBA aspirant should look at the below aspects while choosing the right program.
Post-Covid, the world business and industry have evolved with digital technologies, environmentalism, automation, community health, well-being, social impact, and innovative supply chain solutions. The skills and competencies needed to be successful in business are changing, and hence curricula of MBA need to change. The fact is that the MBA curricula need to future-proof the human skill requirements of industry and society. These days, MBA Programs expose learners to courses relating to Data and Digital skills in business, Corporate Sustainability, Business Analytics, and Innovation as mandatory subjects. Digital and Data literacy and excellent entrepreneurial skills are much-demanded skills in business. Successful MBA programs have embedded these skills and attitudes with relevant pedagogy in various courses and intensive workshops conducted on campus. MBA Programs having a balanced emphasis on soft, technical, managerial, and new-age skills and behaviours delivered with relevant pedagogy are the need of the hour.
Right Environment and Experience
One critical aspect that B-School needs to emphasise is creating the right environment and experience for the new Generation. Generation Z is looking for the right experience, motivation and regular feedback, and a communication loop to develop as new-age business professionals, which online courses fail to provide. Another critical ingredient is creating key collaborations and partnerships to enhance student experience and skills. The new educational policy of the government of India allows students to pursue other programs along with full-time degrees. MBA programs can now offer blended dual degree programs, certification skills-based programs along with MBA degrees. Programs must offer some degree of customisation in which students can choose from a bucket with a defined career trajectory. Of course, the blended programs and customised courses should be of value to the employer and add relevant skills and behaviours among MBA graduates. Relevant MBA programs have some part of the curriculum delivered online mode and the rest majorly delivered in an offline interactive mode.
Industry-specific MBA Programs
Over the decade, industry-specific MBA Programs have been in high demand. It offers industry-relevant professionals and students the education of their choice based on their interests. The industry has been inclined towards having more sector-specific educated professionals. However, there is a need for more awareness of industry-specialized programs among human resource functions of various industries. There has been a realisation to bring industry human resource function, academia, certification bodies, accreditation agencies and admission seekers on a common platform to build awareness for industry specialised programs.
Accreditations and Certifications
Accreditations and Certifications have also proven to differentiate between successful and non-successful MBA Programs. Accreditations like AACSB, ACBSP, IACBE, and WASC have been traditionally considered important benchmarks. Now sector or profession-specific accreditations like PMI, RICS, and ACCA are gaining popularity and are a good choice for various industry-specific programs, which recruiters also value. As discussed earlier, key collaborations certifying MBA students can increase the confidence of students and the recruitment market.
Overall, we see that MBA Programs have been upgrading themselves with the changing times and business environment, which has kept them successful and relevant. There will always be a need and demand for business and management skills and changing times have made the requirements more specific and specialised. MBA Programs with better flexibility, visibility, the right collaborations, industry connections, and accreditations will continue flourishing, and the ones that will stay opaque to changing times will perish.
Advice to MBA aspirants
A word of advice to all MBA aspirants, don’t overdo your search on finding the right MBA program. In each tier, MBA Programs may be similar because of competitive forces and pressures. But focus on how open, flexible, and hungry you are to learn and transform with the chosen program and then give it your best. Instead of searching courses, it’s more about searching yourself, your likes, and strengths, early engagement with the program and having a clear goal of what you want from an MBA Program. The odds will be always in your favour if you are just open, hungry, and ready to transform. The very successful MBAs that I have seen are the ones who come with a lot of clarity and hunger to be successful and actively engage in most of the MBA school activities.