ABSTRACT: blend of industry, teaching, training, research and

ABSTRACT: Employability
Quotient

“We are here to nurture and transform with our
industry relevant course curriculum”, Are we transforming you? Every year
management institutions come up with new statistics of campus placements, no of
recruiters, awards and rankings. Management Course when we talk about MBA/PGDM
is one of the most sorted professional courses across the globe. Every graduate
– Mathematics, Economics, Journalism, Science or Law wishes to pursue MBA to
enhance their key skills and add value to their existing qualifications. MBA course
is today understood as the shortest route to success.

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The National Entrance Exams like CAT, MAT, XAT have
gained much popularity as they have helped students to secure their admission seat
in the premier institutions.  Hence,
grabbing a handsome package, which makes them a perfect professional? People who
are unable to make into IIMs, other Tier A, B & C institutions are giving
them opportunity to take up MBA/PGDM programs to continue their higher
education. And, dreams continued.

The objectives of my paper are following. Firstly,
what are the methods employed by B Schools to develop employable workforce?
Secondly, reasons behind the contrast between current employment statuses and
employability which management institutions aim to offer. Thirdly, what are the
challenges faced by Management institutions to deliver quality education?
Finally, the deadly GAP and developing employable workforce continues to cost
Business Schools.

 

Keywords: Accreditation,
B-Schools, Higher Education, India, Management Education, MBA Placements, MBA
Ranking, Quality Education

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION: FROM CAT TO RAT

Graduates
see themselves at the top positions from the beginning of their journey of MBA.
Quite overwhelmed and excited, about their career, they are geared up to
experience the new phase of their life. MBA course is often considered as the
last professional degree to get into corporate. These students undergo rigorous
trainings and a new rat race begins (before it was for CAT or IIMs), now it is
a dream company, profile and package.

Institutions
develop unique teaching pedagogies to give students an amalgation of classroom
teaching and industry learning. Management institutions excellently plan course
structures for students with a blend of industry, teaching, training, research
and consultancy experiences. Industry Academia Interface is understood as a
strategic tool to transform the students. Therefore, guest lectures, corporate
checkmates, alumni interactions, live projects and international conferences
are key elements of management institution’s
academic calendar.

Institutes are therefore developing extensive modern
teaching facilities to transform their students. Institutes are aiming to
prepare their students to face industry challenges and meet corporate
expectations. Institutions today are frequently interacting with industry to
know their employer’s expectations through feedback of placed students.
Institutions are further upgrading their academic deliverables by incorporating
feedback received from the recruiters.  But
it is a paradox.  Despite the above efforts,
the recruiters are struggling very hard to find an appropriate candidature and
therefore, have lukewarm response towards recruitment of MBA’s for top
positions from last four or five years. It seems that jobs have perished for
MBAs or the products of management institutions lack competencies?

 

MANAGEMENT EDUCATION IN INDIA
– PARADIGM SHIFT

“You
can teach all sorts of things that improve the practice of management with
people who are managers. What you cannot do is teach management to somebody who
is not a manager, the way you cannot teach surgery to somebody who’s not a
surgeon.”  ? Henry Mintzberg 

Once
a time, food, shelter and clothing formed the basic needs of human beings.
However, with the industrialization, another important factor was added up to
the list of the basic needs – education. Education empowers, enlightens and
therefore holistically develops human beings. With the globalization, a
revolution came in the education sector and various specializations were
introduced to impart key skills to develop professional human resource for
industry and business.  With the newer
trends in the field of education, today students have plethora of career
options matching their interests. These newer trends like fashion designing,
food technology, news reporting/anchoring, radio jockeying/management and
management and entrepreneurship have transformed the conventional education
system of India.  Management which is not
relatively a new field today is also a product of globalized and industrialized
economies. Today industry is a new industry therefore management which was
unknown in the nineteenth century, has now become a dynamic force for change in
industrialized and developed economy. With the Globalization 2.0, technological
advancements and IOT, change is another factor that is added to the list of
basic needs. And change is something which is constant and is here to stay; generations
come and go.

So,
it is important to view management education with the same perspective.
Management Education is ever-changing and ever-evolving. With the growth of
industries, corporate houses and multinational companies, there is a higher
demand of management professionals. India is one such country, where management
education has grown exponentially and institutes offering management courses
are termed as Business Schools/B Schools. Every year a new list of top business
schools in India is featured by various ranking organizations on the basis of
industry interaction, faculty profile, pedagogy, infrastructure, learning experience,
placement performance, selection process, global exposure, brand value/future
orientation  and the list goes on.
Nevertheless, Business Schools are also facing challenges to cope up with the
changing industry demands, increased peer pressure and over-expectations of MBA
aspirants. To meet the above demands, huge cost is being invested to impart quality
education and develop industry fit professionals.

 

 

QUALITY EDUCATION IN B-SCHOOLS – AN OVERVIEW

Quality
is difficult to implement and capture in a meaningful sense. Given the forces
that place intense, sometimes conflicting pressures on the providers of MBA
programs, it becomes of incumbent upon on us to reflect what quality means in
today’s world. (Rapert et al, 2004).

With
the exponential growth of management institutions in India, various regulatory
and statutory bodies came into existence to ensure the standards of quality in
management education. The management institutions have been keen to get the
necessary accreditations and approvals from the following bodies AICTE, NBA,
AIU and NAAC. These bodies take into consideration following parameters –
Academic Environment (library facilities, journals available, computer
facilities etc.), Intellectual Capital – (number of Full Time/Part Time faculties,
no of Ph.D faculties, books, journals, articles published, seminars and
conferences attended), Physical Infrastructure (classrooms, laboratories,
campus, cafeteria, hostels, etc), Industry Interface ( MDP’s, guest lectures,
industry professionals visiting campus, workshops, seminars and consultancy
projects), Placements ( percentage of students placed through campus
placements, industry sectoral break-up, average salary), Faculty, Student,
Alumni and Recruiter perception and satisfaction, Innovation – (courses
modified and new courses launched.

Management
schools have understood that there is a need to develop holistic perspective
for delivering quality. Therefore, they have completely transformed their
teaching methodology. Innovative teaching methodology is the need of an hour
because it suits to management and quickly transfers information and also
enhances transfer of learning. The cases from the industry, business games,
role plays, on the job trainings, alumni interactions and corporate mentorship
programs help integrate theoretical knowledge with the practical aspects of
organizational settings and techniques of management. Moreover, infrastructure
plays a pivotal role in conducive learning environment. From smart boards to
online access to libraries, from infotech labs to digital labs everything has
taken the management education to the next level.

Teachers,
Academicians and Faculties are the pioneers of every educational institution.
Teachers are considered to have surpassed difficult situations. They have the
ability to innovate on unique teaching methods and make learning a fun
activity. Teachers are powerhouse of intellect and talent. Management
institutes are today focusing on hiring faculties from excellent academic
background with an industry exposure. Industry experience of faculties plays a
very important role as their industry exposure helps bridge gap between
industry and academia.

Therefore
to qualify the quality parameters, management institutions are spending
extensively to position themselves and emerge out as pool of resources for the
industry. Institutes are also focusing on international placements to make
their alumni present in all parts of the world. Alumni are brand ambassadors of
management institutions. When they speak about their success stories, it
uplifts and substantiates the promise of quality education, which B Schools make.

 

A PARADOX – EMPLOYMENT Vs
EMPLOYABILITY

There
has been phenomenal growth in the number of management institutions in India
since independence. At the time of founding of the All India Management
Association in August 1988, there were just about 100 B-Schools in India.
Thereafter, there was a massive surge in the number of B- schools in the
country which almost doubled after every five years; following a kind of a
geometrical progression (Bowonder & Rao, 2004). The AICTE’s Approval
Process Handbook 2017-2018 data highlights the remarkable growth of management
education in India

 

 

 

Source:
AICTE Handbook on Approval Process 2017-18

 

The
management education system has developed very fast quantitatively and
qualitative parameter still remains a question. In the economic and social
development, role of competent and qualified managers is quite evident. The
industry requires skilled professionals to meet the rapidly changing demands of
business environment. But the industry seems to be deficit of right management
professionals. Let us look at AICTE’s approved MBA – course vs
Intake/Enrollment/Passed/Placement for academic year: 2016-2017:

Source:https://www.facilities.aicte-ndia.org/dashboard/pages/angulardashboard.php#!/graphs

The numbers are alarming as around 44.6% seats are
left vacant and further out of 184892 enrollments only 69706 students are
placed or employable i.e. only 37% of the enrolled aspirants are found
employable.

Lack of quality control and infrastructure, low-paying
jobs through campus placement and poor faculty are the major reasons for
India’s unfolding B-school disaster. “The need to update and re-train faculty
in emerging global business perspectives is practically absent in many
B-schools, often making the course content redundant. (ASSOCHAM,2016). The
lakhs of students passing out of business schools, barring a handful from top
business schools, are largely unemployable. ASSOCHAM in its recent report
indicates that only 7% of the pass-outs are actually employable in India
excepting graduates from IIMs.

The rapid mushrooming of B Schools has not been able
to contribute to quality to management education in India. Due to low education
quality, B Schools are struggling to survive and many B-schools have already
shut down in top cities such as Delhi-NCR, Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata, Lucknow
etc. 

 

THE DEADLY GAP

Management institutions are today spending lakhs of
rupees to improve their deliverables and similarly the parents are investing
their efforts, time and cost to give their children a successful career.  But there
are various problems plaguing management education in India. Why India suffers
a severe lack of quality managers and administrators. Seeing the current
scenario, everyone is in a dilemma that who is responsible for the current
mess? Is it the B Schools or faculties or students or all? This
is truly debatable. Perhaps there has been a mismatch of aspirations due to
lack of industry-fit course curriculum, quality faculty, policy structure and
return on investment.

Management institutions are definitely coming up with
innovative teaching methods but then also the current students are not able to
comprehend to recent trends. Is it the lack of commitment of students or they
just see B Schools as more of placement agencies. This
is also posing a threat to B School’s positioning strategy. Adding to it, unfortunately,
management institutions are not able to hire best talent. The faculty is also
another problem as few people enter the teaching profession due to low salaries
and the entire eco-system needs to be revamped. (ASSOCHAM, 2016). Therefore, insufficient
availability of specialized experts, qualified faculty and lack of Industry
based specializations has paralyzed the entire management education system.
Hence, it is becoming difficult for B Schools to translate the graduation
figures into placements. This in turn is resulting in decline in the
enrollments in the Business Schools.

 

CONCLUSION

This
paper deals with one of the biggest challenges of management education –
imparting quality education and developing employable workforce. India has the
world’s largest youth population, with a population share of 27 per cent. It
can be witnessed that there has been a significant increase of student’s
enrollment in management for the year 2014-15 in comparison to 2011-12 i.e.
from 4233487 to 3571083. (Ministry of HRD -Annual Report, 2015-16). But what
continues to be a challenge is quality of employment. Skilled and employable
workforce is a key to rising GDP levels of any country.  Despite an increase in general education
levels, the youth unemployment situation continues to be a major challenge. In
2011-12, the youth unemployment rate reached a maximum of 18.8 per cent for
urban women aged 20-24 and 12.8 per cent for young urban men aged 15-19.(
Indian Labour Market Update, July 2016) These figures are alarming as they
question the current structure of higher education in India and will retard
economic growth. The need of the hour is to reinvent the management education
system in India. A new action plan needs to be developed to transform
deliverables both at micro and macro level. At the micro level, there is need
of highly equipped academic structure and innovative teaching pedagogy. At the
macro level government and the regulatory bodies need to strategize their
policies to eliminate poor maintenance of norms and standards in management
education.  The Government, AICTE, NBA,
NAAC procedures are required to be more stringent to upgrade quality of
education. Therefore, it is mandatory to make adequate investment in
good-quality education skills as it can help empower students and raise
productivity. So to augment the country’s existing academic structure of India,
government has launched Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) an
excellent platform to garner interaction of Indian students and faculty with
the best academic and industry experts from all over the world. To ensure
determining standards of quality education, UGC has taken significant regulatory
decisions. To uplift the quality standards, UGC will grant status of ‘University
with Potential for Excellence’ and “College with Potential for Excellence”. Presently
172 colleges are enjoying the CPE status and 14 colleges are enjoying CE
status. During 2014-15, a total grant of ` 51.93 crores was released to the
colleges with potential for excellence. (Ministry of HRD -Annual Report,
2015-16). AICTE in association with NBA has also started the first ever
National Ranking Framework (NIRF) in Engineering, Management Pharmacy &
Architecture disciplines to ensure qualitative growth. The above steps are
expected to enhance the quality parameters and therefore will substantiate the
sustainability of education if implemented well. Certainly a clear vision and an
appropriate strategy will make our students industry-fit.

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