I have already talked about my learnings for life from MBA in one of my earlier posts What MBA taught me ? 21 learnings for life.. . As I look back on the past 2 years of MBA education, I found a couple of areas where the academic course can be restructured to enhance the RoI for the students.
Moving from specialisation to generalisation
The course generally proceeds by giving an general over view of various specializations through a few subjects of each & then the students select courses as per their area of interest in later semesters. This, according to me has a few issues.
1. This is opposite to the way a person normally moves in his career path. He starts with operational level stuff closely related to his area of expertise, and then gradually assumes general, managerial & Human resource management responsibilities, either explicitly or implicitly
2. Just in engineering, subjects of a particular specialization taught in the beginning are, quite naturally forgotten by students of other specs by the time they complete the 2 year course. As a result there remains a very thin line between teaching different specialization subject in very early part and not teaching them at all in the first place. This format is all right with engineering because in all probability an engineering grad is offered a specific technical role; but an MBA grad is expected to be a manager with generalist skills as well.
Here are some of my suggestions to change the schedule
1. In the 2 semesters of the first year, the students of 1 particular specialisation will be taught atleast 8-10 subjects of that particular specialisation. Any student should be required to study only a minimum number of subjects of other specialisations &/or a few general management subjects early on, rather than forcing a plethora of them on him (some of them making no sense whatsoever). In this way a student will be exposed to a maximum number of subjects of his specialisation before going for internship
2. In the third semester, the students will be studying all the important subjects of the other specialisations, along with those 1st year students who have opted for that specialisation.For example , Finance, HR & Operations guys would learn marketing concepts in their 3rd sem , along with those students of the first yr who have opted for marketing as major..
As a result of this, students of any particular batch will become each other’s tutors; since students of any 1 spec will be able to teach the students of other specialisation the subjects they have studied in the previous year itself. Also the divide between 2 batches will reduce; Afterall MBA is a professional course and there should be continuous interaction & healthy competition between batches pursuing the course at any particular time.
Post these changes, the flow of the course according to me will be better in line with that of a person’s career path of moving from specialisation to generalisation role & will also help to increase the overall learnings from the 2 yr course.
More incremental gain in knowledge post placement season.
For most of the students course effectively ends by the calendar year end, after they have achieved one of the most important goals of MBA (if not the only one). The last semester remains a mere formality because the course is till the spring and the fees have been already paid for the same. I feel that the last semester should feature some general learnings as well. 1 such suggestion: Quite a few students will be placed in cities different from their hometowns for their jobs. They should be encouraged to try to learn the local language of that city to ensure a smoother transition. This won’t be much of an issue as an MBA college boasts of students from all regions of the country. A student who manages to do so should be appreciated.
MBA is a turning point in a student’s career, both in personal as well as professional lives. The course should hence aim at creating a holistic environment so that the overall extraction from the course can be further enhanced.