Changing perception of MBA

MBA 2011-13 batch engrossed in their studies.

Do we give enough thought to an idea of doing an MBA before selecting a certain B-school? I guess it’s, if not otherwise, an obvious yes. Let me just rephrase it and put it this way: Do we ‘really’ understand and think over why we want to go for an MBA? I don’t think so. I believe that the most obvious reason that triggers one to go for an MBA is the fat pay package a manager takes away with direct jump to a managerial position. But are these reasons good enough go for an MBA? I don’t think so.

Years before MBA education became a craze, the aim for taking up a management course was to learn various aspects of an organization, viz.: Marketing, Finance, Operations, and HR. The aim was to apply scientific and logical techniques to optimize process outcome, with reduced variations; to optimize the use of limited resources, thus leading to higher profits; to improve the public speaking skills of students; and to teach students tools and techniques that would help them analyze and interpret data to generate meaningful reports. The management courses aimed at providing the best possible practical knowledge through case studies, group discussions, industry exposure, and peer learning.

The management courses even today focuses on these same aspects but that does not serve the purpose they are meant to serve. Finishing tasks in time is important, but compromising on the quality of work to secure our presumed-to-be-important internal marks is not. We have secured ourselves in a cocoon made up of orthodox management philosophy that has separated us from using common sense, and paralyzed ourselves of flexibility and creativity. It is not our fault alone. It is negative on certain b-schools that discourages the creativity and innovation of its students. Going against their preset norms is feared by certain b-schools as it might keep them behind in the race to win students for years to come.

Students are groomed in the MBA schools for their dressing and behaviour in the corporate which is appreciable and essential, but in many such schools, students are not groomed but taught. For example, students are asked to wear polished shoes and well ironed, neat and clean formal clothes with tie. But they are not ‘groomed’ on how to greet the interviewer, how to talk with fellow candidates, how to present themselves, their body language, their gestures, etc which, in fact, is more important than dressing. During recruitment, it is highly probable that a candidate in neat and decent casuals with in depth knowledge of subject and analytical skills is preferred over the one who is dressed beautifully but lacks the required skills.

The public speaking skills are focused on the quantity instead of quality. The presentations asked by faculties are supposed to be attractive but what about the content? Instead of emphasizing on skills of explaining and conveying the message correctly and concisely, what is emphasized is what is included and what is not. Although the main purpose of presentation is to understand what a student has studied in his assignment and raise a healthy discussion of the same so that a clear and concrete conclusion can be reached, it is hardly the case. The faculties are not ready to accept something new and innovative from a student, and hence they end up criticizing, giving no space for improvement. The student tends to develop similar attitude over time and this may lead to failure of student in the field as a manager.

Another important public speaking activity is debate. The purpose behind including debate in management curriculum is to develop skills of putting your thought across when you are in a meeting or discussion at your work place. The most important skill a student should learn is to be a good listener. A student should develop a perfectly balanced attitude of firmness and aggressiveness. The student should not become a dominating, disrespecting, and arrogant brat while putting a point across. But alas! Even here the grading system interferes and paralyses the purpose. More marks are given to those who speak more. This leads to what we call a macchi (fish) market. Nobody is concerned with what they are speaking. All they are concerned about is how much they speak which fetches them respective marks.

Can this scenario be changed anyway? Can we have a pure form of management education? Yes we can. We, as part of the industry, can contribute a lot to making this field of study more objective oriented and better in quality. We can unite and work harmoniously towards enhancing the impression by working on polishing our skills and gaining deeper knowledge of subjects. Then it would not matter which b-school we have studied from. The management institutes should not become a place where the students are spoon fed. Instead except running the college management ;), students should be given an opportunity to organize themselves in various student bodies or committees and work to cater different aspects of the college. This way I am sure we can bring back the quality to the b-schools.

Composed by:

Chahna Mashru

The author currently works as Quality Manager at Parekh’s Hospital, Ahmedabad. She did her MBA in Healthcare from ICRI (Institute of Clinical Research, India)

Disclaimer: The views presented in the article are authors personal views. We do not promote the views expressed, nor do we support any claims presented in the article.