August 28, 2010

What you must learn in an MBA

When the name of the department of commerce & business management at Punjab University Chandigarh was changed to the University Business School it was considered an exercise in ‘marketing’. ‘Marketing’, in India particularly, is understood as an additional activity of hyperbolic nature. MBA is still taught in many [most] b-schools in India as another commerce course.

An MBA student wishes to learn about the ‘business’ scenario around her/him so that they could develop an understanding about it. Most MBA classrooms can be heard discussing myths about industry that has no relevance to the actual shop floor. You have scores of MBA graduates who have never written a business/marketing or financial plan in a class room. The first and foremost part of learning in an average MBA program is to develop skills to write a plan. Though plan writing is mentioned in the syllabus but the student never gets a chance to learn it.

Knowledge about the industry in the local & global context is very crucial. I have met many MBA students & teachers who have heard about the TATA, Reliance & Bhartis of India but have never bothered to visit their website or care to read the reports to find the crucial numbers. A student must understand how various corporations work so that they could prepare to deal with them.

The functional approach in MBA should be mixed with sectoral knowledge. What I mean is that discussions about a particular sector of industry are necessary to develop a deep understanding about it amongst students. Why should a student learn about FMCG sector if s/he is aspiring to join durables industry? Agree that all knowledge is good but let us first develop understanding about one’s own domain before spreading thin into another plane.

Generally it is seen that beyond few management institutes others places do not study about b2b and the industrial goods industries. This results in lack of appreciation amongst the students about this important sector that discourages them for joining it for a career.

MBA/PGDM course seems to be losing its attractiveness in India due to factors that are controllable if the owners, managements and faculty care to look seriously at the quality of the 
the content in the class room.

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