Redefining MBA

It is sad to note that not many Indian B schools figure in top business schools globally. I, myself being an “MBA” know that MBA education, atleast in India is not much more than a 2 year academic journey, very similar in style and structure to technical education, with its main (if not sole) purpose is to get admitted in a top firm offering top bucks.

I have always wondered how we can redefine MBA to enable students to truly become “Masters of Business Administration” Here are a few inputs, some of them having drawn from a few of my earlier posts.

1. Moving from specialization to generalization
In most MBA curricula, students are given a feel of all subjects/ domains in the first year and later they choose subjects of a domain of their liking. This is exactly opposite to a person’s career path. He generally moves from a specific domain/department in the initial days, later to assume a more generalist, managerial role as he climbs up the ladder. He is the pseudo HR manager for his team/ function. So, to reflect this flow, why not reverse the flow of MBA curriculum? To make matters more interesting, let second year students of specialisations say A, B and C study subjects of specialisation D along with those first year students who have chosen D as their branch. This will ensure fairness and healthier competition among students across the two years.  I have provided a detailed note at one of my posts at Case for change in MBA course flow

2. The “Real” MBA subjects.
With the advance in Internet and mobile technology, access to technical knowledge is too easy and doesn’t really require a MBA teacher to deliver it. There are a few subjects which currently are treated as complimentary ones, but need to be given top slots in the ladder of importance
a) Self management
You cannot manage a business if you can’t manage oneself. Here is where subjects dealing with personality, self development and behavior, anger management, crisis management, one’s behavior in organisation need to be given high priority.

b) Strategy
This is one of the most misused words in MBA education. No one really knows its real meaning but everybody wants to talk about it. To give students a good dose of strategy, show them the complete series of the greatest epic “Mahabharat” which is full of plots and strategic moves. In fact its main character Lord Krishna is the best strategist, crisis manager and street smart person known to us. I am sure all will learn about strategy much better than they can through powerpoint presentations and flowcharts.

c) Languages
Learning of foreign language: Help grow business in new frontiers across the globe and regional language : To be able to communicate with local allied partners better are as important as other technical gyaan

d) Some other important subjects like Business Law: Know your rights and restrictions and Yoga/ gym workouts: To keep you mentally and physically fit, Disaster Management: To be able to protect oneself and all around  us in case of any unpleasant situation, etc are as important, if not more.

3. Guest lectures
These have been reduced just to another formal exercise and 2 hours of sleep amongst students. You really cannot learn much about business through hi-fi talk in 2 hours. Better would be to invite personnel known to us better in our day to day lives such as the food caterer: One who manages food arrangement for over 500 guests, minimising costs, maximising consumer satisfaction, etc or infact even someone like a pilot who deals with stress much more and better than us. I have detailed this thought at one of my earlier posts The real management gurus

Traditional way of class room lectures need to be seriously re-looked at when it comes to MBA. Case-studies, group interactions which are right now treated as a supplement need to be brought in the forefront. A person’s thought process should have undergone a change at the end of MBA, something which doesn’t happen at undergrad courses.The course should aim at all round development of an individual and if required reserve marks for the extra-curricular activities also. Through these and through a lot many more such simplistic ideas, we can make MBA education much more meaningful and help the seekers (I am not referring them as students) gain out of it better to help make their businesses more successful.

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