MBA glut

There is no denying that most B-schools had made themselves MBA factories rather than education institutions. Unfortunately, education has become commercial! The basics have to change, and the last level is not the place to do so.

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ROSHEE LAMICHHANE
What is a sure-shot strategy to gear a nation up for leadership in the knowledge-based economies of the present and coming eras?One way is to invest heavily in large and differentiated Higher Education System (HES) to provide access to a large number of students at the bottom of the academic system, while at the same time building research-based universities that are able to compete against the world's best institutions.

However, Nepal has not been able to do either, and therefore is not able to rush headlong into economic success and modernization.

It is not in a position to host high-tech industries such as Information Technology (IT) and biotechnology to propel it to prosperity. Unfortunately, its mediocre HES are the Achilles heel of its overall growth strategy.

So far, its meager investments in HES have not yielded world-class researches or trained scholars, scientists and managers to sustain high-tech development.

Nepal has not achieved economic success despite its cheap labor and low-tech/low-cost manufacturing. Low wages help, but contemporary large-scale development requires sophisticated, and at least partly skilled, knowledge workers.

There are few high quality institutions which can form a basis of quality HES in Nepal. Education must lead to quality life. Money plays a key role, but it is not money alone that makes a fulfilled life.

We here are driven by crazes and fads, running after programs that could fetch more money. Don't we need good attendants, clerks, soldiers, police, administrators, cooks, sportsman, orators, writers, poets, and painters? The government will have to change its policies if it wants to cultivate these different skills in its people.

There has to be dignity of labor, duly supported by attractive wages/salaries. For that matter, we have no National Wage Policy in the real sense of the term. General people think that only those who pass out as business graduates are employable, which again is not the reality.

Management education
An MBA Degree, unfortunately, has become the minimum qualification in the job as well the matrimonial market. No longer do college degrees such as B Com, BSc, and those in humanities command value.

This has resulted in the mushrooming growth of Management colleges in Nepal. It has become a fashion for parents to send their children to B-Schools and Management Institutes rather than to Commerce or Accountancy colleges.

Know yourself before making a foray into higher education must be the students motto. Getting into traditional management curriculum after Higher Secondary must not be automatic; students should get into it only if they have a strong will to pursue that degree. Imagine the plight of students who pay huge fees in self-financing colleges and remain unemployed after graduation.

Isn't this the time to review and correct the trend? Certification should not be the only important thing; we should also focus on quality. We have to professionalize our Management education in such a way that we avoid stuffing the mind with information i.e, the Commit and Vomitmode, provide a progressive growth path, and offer more focused and dynamic fields of specialization such as Tourism, Retailing, Hospitality, Hospital Management, Banking and Insurance. While every student does not have the caliber, or finances, to become a doctor or engineer, their obvious next choice is an MBA.

With the increase in population, it has become a terrific business to start MBA institutions. Now, HES itself does not stand on the right foundation or fundamentals. There is a problem at the raw material stage itself, which is reflected in the finished products displayed in the showroom! Generally, when a student does not do well or get a decent job, management schools are blamed.

There is no denying that most B-schools had made themselves MBA factories rather than education institutions. Unfortunately, education has become commercial! The basics have to change, and the last level is not the place to do so. It is too late to attempt to straighten a bent coconut tree when fully grown. However, the blame cannot be put squarely on B-Schools, HES also needs to share some of it. The shadow education system tuitions and tutorials is a real menace of our education system.

While there are a number of reasons for the failure of business schools to attract students, who is the main culprit? Generally, students coming from high-end schools who possess good soft skills are also failing to get respectable jobs because management programs today focus more on written examinations based on theories, and not on skills/competency building.

Unless the rigor of the management programs is pushed to the same level as those found in Medical/Dental Colleges, and Technical Institutes of international repute, MBA will remain a degree for marriage market, not employment.

The way forward In Nepal, there are powerful forces driving innovative academic programs down the ladder to low-margin educational offerings and packages. There is a business school in every nook and cranny of the valley. In the process, both in the local and national markets, as more and more innovatively conceived and delivered courses click with students, they are getting imitated by one and all. Inevitably, they are becoming standardized and commoditized. Persisting with the regular run-of-the-mill BBAs and MBAs with the attendant routine and orthodox course structure and content can no longer ensure success at the marketplace.

The only effective pushback is to follow them up with continual innovation, and resist becoming one of those also ran business schools. The key is to be distinctly different, not just different from the plethora of B-schools students are surrounded with. Let us hope that such progressive thoughts and views will eventually be implemented over time to revitalize business education and HES!

source:LAMICHHANE,ROSHEE (2013),"MBA glut", republica,21 Nov 2013
The author is product development manager at Chaudhary Group

2013-11-21 | EducateNepal

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