Dr. D. Mukhopadhyay
Management education in India has witnessed a remarkable growth during last one and a half decades. The journey of Indian management education was started with the business programme in 1954 by the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management (IISWBM) affiliated to the University of Calcutta. In the Country, there were about 135 B-Schools in 1985 which rose to 4,500 in 2005 and due to economic recession in 2008, the same came down to 3,217 as on date from 3541 in 2012. The number of AICTE approved seats in B-Schools has increased to 3,85,008 in 2012 from 94,704 in 2006. Thus this is worth mentioning that the MBA has become one of the most popular academic qualifications across the globe. According to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), India tops the list in terms of number of B-Schools followed by United States of America and Philippines which they have 1,624 and 1,259 respectively.
But the most tragic part of the story is that no Indian B-Schools is visible in global top 10 across various rankings. B-Schools are supposed to groom the young minds with the skills such as leadership, collaborative, initiative, interpersonal relationship , goal setting, quantitative analysis, information analysis and interpretation etc but many of the them remain absent in Indian management pedagogy and mostly students are given bookish and theoretical inputs. As a result they face tremendous stress to cope with the day today challenges. Most of the Indian B-Schools are giving MBA Degrees without offering essential skills that a manager needs to solve and deal with the practical world. MBA aspirants are provided with information without experience and therefore no knowledge, since, information plus experience is knowledge. Majority of the B-Schools recruit faculty members attributed with theoretical knowledge without any mandatory industrial experience. MBA curriculum needs to have 60 to 70% job related experience contents, 20 % from interaction with others and the remaining 20% should be formal educational class room contents. But in actuality, it is just reverse. Majority of the contents of the curriculum comes from class room theoretical teaching and remaining from others and this is the genesis of the problem .
To perform satisfactorily a managerial duty in an organization, the concerned person needs to be bestowed with the capability of strategic thinking, problem solving ability, interpersonal and team building skill and last but not the least is the communication skill. 21st century is the age of technology and adoption of technology is the most desired aspects for being globalized. Indian top notch B-Schools design their course curricula by adopting the practice followed by the B-Schools of economically developed country like USA and European countries. Most of Indian B-Schools barring the top-notch B-Schools offer finance, marketing and human resource related subjects only in the name of specializations. In true sense, specialization comes from rigorous practical training on the back of time-honoured theoretical knowledge. But here training is by and large missing. Now management education is facing a note of interrogation in the context of relevance. The moot point of rationale for such void is the gulf between desire and delivery. The Indian B-Schools have miserably failed to deliver according to the desire of the corporate world. Corporate world is the cause and B-Schools are the effects. Effects are subsidiary to the causes by any means . The corporate world requires collaborative and readymade problem solving leaders. The corporate scams and scandals are rampant in India and this comes of the incapacity or incapability of non-handling the situations with care by the leaders who mostly hail from leading B-Schools.
This raises the question of contemporary relevance of management education at large. It may not sound irrelevant that India is one of the signatories of the protocol of General Agreement on Trade Services (GATS) which includes the area of higher education and as a consequence she shall be facing a tough and uncomfortable competition from the global and international institutions of higher education. Under the stated circumstances, quality is the only criterion that would matter much and in no way quantity. To be more specific, quality of research, publications, faculty development programmes, placement scenario along with the size of compensation package, industry-B-Schools interface, contribution of the alumni, governance and accountability shall be the most important parameters to evaluate the core competence and relevance of management education provided by a B-Schools. Now a question arises as to whether how many B-Schools across the country are ready or having preparedness to meet the benchmark set by the global B-School leaders. It is a high time to ponder over these issues. A B-School which shall not be able to meet the criteria set for performance evaluation cannot sustain and survive under changed scenario and only those who can pass this litmus test shall exist. Indian education governance is highly centralized and there are multiple governing bodies . Time is witness to say that they have failed to give good academic governance in terms of creativity and contemporary relevance.
The centralized governance structures are not suitable to meet the contemporary challenges that a corporate world faces . It is only a few higher educational institutions from India who have a place in the list of global ranking of academic excellence. B-Schools are based on the philosophy of the economists and not that of the professional models of Accountants (Professional Accountants like CA/CMA), Lawyers and Medical Practitioners. They are meant for diagnosis of the trouble and instant delivery of treatment in order to cure the disease. Quality of the faculty hired is very important and faculty hired should have the attribute of industrial experience, communicating and teaching ability and high quality of research outputs. International exposure can be an added advantage. Case study analysis, practical training in the form of internships for a longer duration at least equivalent one semester along with project handling experience is a must. The quality control mechanism of B-Schools is very weak. The mushrooming growth in management institutions in the country has declined the quality of the management graduates. There is no mandatory requirement for quality maintenance of the management institutes after obtaining the approval of the AICTE for commencing a particular programme. NBA is an arm of AICTE which evaluates the standards of the management programmes in the country but it is optional. Management institutes and programmes are poorly governed and hardly meet the global standard benchmarks. Now the management education delivery system needs a thorough revamping and reformation. A transformational change from the grass root level is necessary for taking corrective measures. Moreover, academic freedom is a necessity for having flexibility in decision making for running the day to day affairs of the management institutions.
Currently some of the IIMs are playing mentorship roles for certain young IIMs but that should not remain restricted at IIMs level only. IIMs should play the guiding and mentoring roles for other B-Schools in the country too besides young IIMs. Comparatively, IIMs do have better infrastructure , ambience and qualified faculty with industry and practical exposure and that is why management graduates from IIMs are preferred to non-IIM management graduates by the corporate world. But IIMs have annual intake capacity around 3,500 MBA aspirants only. India is a vast country and abode of 130 crores people and her requirement is also diverse. Therefore, non-IIM B-Schools also have a role to play in the socio-economic development of the country.
(The author is Professor of Management, School of Business, Faculty of Management, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, Katra, Jammu & Kashmir.)
Dr. D. Mukhopadhyay