India's Best Business Schools Beyond IIMs
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Prof. Rakesh Mediratta
Associate Professor & Dean, Jagdish Sheth School of Management
"Virtual Or Hybrid Mode Of Delivery Has Come To Prominence"
How is MBA relevant in the post-pandemic world?
Let us first start by examining what the pandemic has taught us. I have 10 points to share:
• Our world is interconnected and all of us, including our economy and political systems are interconnected.
• We adopted social distance but realised the importance of social interactions and human touch.
• We are adaptive, at least got forced to be adaptive.
• Working from home and learning from home is the new mantra.
• Boosting localism, zero contact e-commerce has come to the fore.
• We have understood the importance of family time, have got back to old hobbies and have also learned to help with the household work.
• There is now a greater awareness of pollution after seeing the wonderfully clear blue sky.
• We have understood the preciousness of life.
• Humanity certainly exists. Look at the pandemic warriors and how they have been fighting the disease. This has helped us raise our voice for social justice.
• We are now in a phase of healthy living with change in lifestyle and better hygiene.
While the pandemic will soon go into history just like any other event, the intensity of this event impacting the entire globe – rich and poor alike, powerful and powerless alike – is definitely going to impact the next normal of our life. There are some factors that work against going in for an MBA program in post-pandemic times such as loss of potential earning, tough job market since some sectors have failed miserably, increase in automation and outsourcing through distributed workforce and traditional MBA losing its effectiveness with its emphasis on a vanilla theoretical approach.
On the other hand, we see a renewed interest in doing MBA during this post-pandemic period. The drivers are primarily the need to upgrade oneself and learn new skills to stay relevant and resource requirements in some of the booming sectors like pharmaceuticals, healthcare and consulting. In the new normal is the advantage of digital platform-based learning from home and the expectation of an economy uptick. Instead of looking at how MBA is relevant in the post-pandemic world, I would like to touch upon how this next normal will shape the future MBA programs.
We will be seeing the following trends going forward:
• MBAs will have high accent on business analytics, big data and AI.
• Classroom diversity will come into focus.
• Flexible learning options through certification programs with credit accumulation, leading to MBA degree.
• Students will have options to test drive the program with flexible exit option.
• Connection of business with the ecosystem like society and environment will receive attention. Increased investment on digitalization of the program.
• Emphasis on producing leaders of tomorrow who will be better equipped to manage such crises.
• Increased global collaboration, multi-country dual degree programs.
• MBAs will seek a life-long learning.
"Corporates are hiring fresh MBA graduates. Freshers in any B-School constitute 70-80 per cent of all graduates. They make an ideal fit for the emerging roles in new-age as well as old-age companies."
What are the unique advantages of doing an MBA from a reputed institute?
Traditionally, a reputed institute means an institute that is ranked very well by the National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF), has global accreditations, has the best-in-class faculty drawn from the industry and academia, and a strong alumni base. Such institutes are expected to provide the following advantages to students:
• A great academic experience through its well-established curriculum and pedagogy.
• An opportunity of learning by solving industry problems and learning by doing by being a part of institutional activities. This speeds up the classroom to corporate journey.
• Confidence of facing any situation, however difficult it may be.
• A strong alumni support that makes you a confident young entrant into the tough and competitive corporate world.
• High employability, a career of choice and of course a good remuneration package.
How can one judge which MBA program is the best?
There is a practice of looking at the return on investment or payback period to judge the effectiveness of any MBA program. This is getting passé when one looks at the future of work. A JAGSOM-NHRDN study (2018) reveals these insights to stay relevant to the future of work: the need for re-skilling at various levels, emergence of a multi-generation workforce, integration of digital technology and communication, wellness as an important element of self-management, solutions and service orientation assuming more significance, multi-disciplinary orientation, research and problem-solving orientation and social sensitivity. So, while choosing an MBA program you must ask: does the curriculum, pedagogy, faculty, supporting infrastructure and the institute’s vision help you achieve this? Does the program multiply your potential manifold during the two years of MBA journey and enhance your employability and ability to ride the wave of uncertainties?
How has the current pandemic changed the way business schools are run?
Virtual or hybrid mode of delivery has come to prominence. B-Schools are adopting virtual platforms for course delivery as well as conducting examination and proctoring. Most of the B-Schools have conducted their convocation, admission process and placement activities in the virtual mode. Each institute has adopted its own pandemic protocol based on the local government advisory. This has had an impact on the number of students accommodated in classrooms and hostels. In addition, campuses are seeing controlled movement of students, faculty and staff. Apart from this, rest of the activities have returned to normal in most of the B-Schools. JAGSOM has started running its business as usual with effect from January 1, 2021.
Are corporates hiring fresh MBA graduates?
Yes, corporates are hiring fresh MBA graduates. Freshers in any B-School constitute 70-80 per cent of all graduates. They make an ideal fit for the emerging roles in new-age as well as old-age companies.
Chairman and Mentor, Endeavor Careers
"MBA Opens Management Corridors Globally"
In your opinion, why is MBA relevant in today’s world?
One needs to look at the top Tier B-School placement reports to understand the importance of MBA in today’s world. IT companies and e-commerce companies have been hiring MBAs in thousands. Further, a thriving start-up ecosystem is pulling in huge venture capital which will only fuel the demand for MBAs as these start-ups go into the execution phase. Traditional placements have not dropped but find it difficult to match salaries and hence we can witness a new breed of B-Schools emerging with new salary benchmarks. Therefore, the simple answer is that if corporates continue finding it relevant and B-Schools continue to adapt and stay relevant, MBA is going to be relevant for decades to come.
Why is it important for students to go after a top-ranked business school?
A B-School is not just a degree; there is a DNA ingrained to a BSchool and there is a brand and alumni network associated with it. These take years to build and maintain. Curriculum, peer exercises, quality of the peer group and faculty, exposure to the corporate world and quality of projects – all contribute to the development of a student’s skill, fundamentals, thinking and standing. A combination of these makes each B-School a league in itself and few of these combine to form a layer of elite, differentiating themselves from the other layer of elite, and so on.
How does one choose a perfect business school? What are the key parameters one should keep in mind while choosing a business school?
While selecting a B-School the top blend of parameters one must understand is the course composition and rigour, mix and quality of corporate exposure, quality of placements and the alumni. Once this filter is applied the aspirant needs to look at his career trajectory or choices of specialisation, infrastructure and fees as the secondary criteria.
For which set of students is MBA the right higher education programme?
MBA is the right choice for all those commerce or noncommerce students intending to excel in finance, marketing, human resources or general management. But what really makes it the choicest destination for the aspirant is that it opens the to the management corridors of top corporates globally. Hence, for all ambitious students looking to excel at a corporate career, MBA is an attractive career choice. Students who want to excel in individual subjects, research, technology, arts and communication should choose a specialised programme. For those interested in working with the government or in public policy should ideally go through the standard programmes of the government and tap into government-allied executive management programmes at a later date.
How does your institute train students to get admissions into top-ranked business school?
At Endeavor, we get the students ready both for CAT and MBA. Our ultimatum program is designed to take students from less than 40 percentile to 99 percentile in competitive exams by setting the foundation of mathematical and logical aptitude along with strong language fundamentals. Our modular system ensures students give the right attention to a unit before moving forward. Our in-house LADAR system ensures the student is assessed in each of these modules. Once the foundations are set the students move to the application phase wherein they are trained on applications and exam-oriented questions, post which the focus shifts first to mastering sections and then the test series and actual examination. Throughout this period there are general awareness and communication workshops to get students ready for group discussions and interviews. Stress on business awareness and habit formation in reading ensures the students are ready for their MBA as well.
Prof. Dr. Suresh Nagpal
Chairman, Krupanidhi Group of Institutions
"The Corporate Sector Is Also Interested In Values And Ethics"
What would be your advice to any MBA aspirant in the current environment?
MBA has always carried a futuristic belief and the promise of a lucrative career. With the advent of the pandemic, our MBA aspirants have had more time in hand than ever before. My advice would be to start working on your own self first. Become organised, practice time management, and identify your area of interest and up-skill yourself. Within just two decades into the 21st century, the world has witnessed a gargantuan level of evolution in the field of science and technology. Every industry and businesses today are looking into strengthening their technological stance and digital presence owing to its limitless possibilities and reach.
Stay updated and make yourself adept with the latest technology and tools. Select an institution that does not only teach but guides and mentors you and your capabilities. Set a goal and grasp all the opportunities that come your way whilst making optimum utilisation of the college resources. Embed in your mind that the market cannot go beyond and below where it is today. There is only way forward from here, which is upwards.
What are the important parameters which an MBA aspirant should consider while choosing a business school?
As we enter into an era with exponential technological advancement and globalisation, it is important for MBA aspirants to ensure that they select an institution that transforms them into able global citizens, who can make novel contributions towards economical and societal upliftment of the world at large. Some of the factors that an MBA aspirant should look at while selecting a business school are:
• A program which is application or industry-oriented.
• Academia-industry interface is a must for a good management program. Today, practical implications have a more profound impact on the students’ employability skills. The longer the internships, the higher the probability is for the acceptance quotient in the market.
• Novel subjects.
• Alongside the traditional subjects, new age papers must be introduced to pique the curiosity factor of the students, including analytics, digital marketing, SAP, artificial intelligence and so on that can keep the students ahead of the lot in today’s time.
• Most business schools see the imparting of information as an extension of an undergraduate program. Case-based teaching must be undertaken in order to engage students into articulation of real-life situations.
• It is important to ensure that the students choose institutions with highly qualified and experienced faculties who can guide and mentor them towards their success.
• Encouraging a culture of questioning the status quo is imperative.
• Students must select institutions that encourage students to think logically and give feedbacks that can enhance the teaching–learning systems such that it caters to all individuals at a personal level.
• There should be focus on research and innovation. The world is changing every second and what the industry really looks forward to is absorbing minds that have inclination towards research and innovation either to create a novel product or a theory that sparks evolution or solve existing problems. Students should, thus, look at selecting institutions that do not just give a PG certification, but rather endeavour to build researchers and innovators of tomorrow.
• Placement should not be the ultimate goal. A student is brainwashed into believing that entry into a B-School is for the job market alone. In reality, MBA is a program that not only aims to instil managerial qualities into the students but also spark their entrepreneurial capabilities such that MBA graduates grow into not just able job-seekers but also job-givers.
How is the management at Krupanidhi School of Management ensuring that quality education will be delivered in difficult times such as now?
The onset of the pandemic has forced educators across globe to recreate and innovate. We are extremely futuristic in our approach to education. We had our staff trained towards adaptation of technology into their regular teaching-learning methods earlier on so that the students are hooked on to the subject matter during their regular class hours and beyond. Of course, the integration was not absolute then and hence the complete shift was challenging both for the administration as well as the faculty.
A platform like Microsoft Teams is now being used to ensure excellence in teaching in the new normal scenario. Teachers are now trained towards optimal utilisation of technology to design methods of education that can outlive these trying times and survive against the physical and mental barriers that obstruct the delivery of quality education. There are case-studies and business games rolled out in smaller groups to ensure that the theory classes are embellished with the highest level of learning.
What are the most sought after skills in MBA freshers that are in high demand in corporate India?
The skill-set required today is limited to not only the potent combination of technical competency with related technological proficiency but also an apt amount of developed personality traits and skills that can help one stand out of the pack. The corporate sector today is also interested in the values and ethics that drive you plus your sense of compassion and emotional intelligence that can decide your future in the long run. Don’t remain constrained to classroom knowledge. Explore the vast opportunities in diverse fields of research and innovation because that is the oxygen which determines the long-term sustenance of any industry. Students should ensure to have an excellent repertoire to showcase the myriad of talents they possess.
Why should any MBA aspirant consider Krupanidhi School of Management?
Krupanidhi School of Management provides nourishment for the mind and the soul. With research and innovation integrated into our education system, our highly competent academic staff and the visiting fraternity from the industry are sought after as guides and mentors who inspire and transform our students into specialists of the future. Our curriculum is designed to ensure 100 per cent industry-academia connect that provides experiential learning coupled with classroom theories for the wholesome development of the students.
We have recently received a platinum rating by the AICTE CII Survey of Best Industry-Linked Technical Institute 2020 which speaks volumes of our efforts towards the same. We take special care to nurture the entrepreneurial capabilities of the students as we believe that each student is unique and every idea is an opportunity. Krupanidhi Centre for Entrepreneurship ensures that we support students and their start-up ideas in ways that make them capable of scaling up such that they achieve widespread success in the future. We understand the impact of technological revolution in the industry today.
It is our aim to provide world-class global education to our students such that their horizon of success expands beyond all borders. From in-house sessions by subject matter experts from renowned international universities to international exposure for practical-oriented learning via visits to industries and universities outside of India, our students stand at par with graduates from any international community. With an excellent infrastructure for academic as well as research and entrepreneurship, the institute builds world-class global leaders who are vision-driven. A beautiful 11 acre campus coupled with sports facility to strengthen the physical quotient, a student passes out from the threshold of the campus as an accomplished consummate management professional ready to take on the world.
Our tailor-made techno-management courses cover learning of management skills combined with the relevant technological knowledge with focus on analytics which presents the students with boundless career opportunities ahead of them. In an attempt to fuel the new generation of techno-enthusiasts with skill-sets on the latest technology and tools, we have collaborated with IBM Career Education Program and provide free access to 120+ IBM-certified online courses to students. The exponential rate of technological advancement has also brought about fast-paced globalisation by diminishing virtual barriers and increasing the global connect and reach. It is our aim to provide world-class global education to our students such that their horizon of success expands beyond all borders. From in-house sessions by subject matter experts from renowned international universities to international exposure for practical-oriented learning via visits to industries and universities outside of India, our students stand at par with graduates from any international community. With an excellent infrastructure for academic as well as research and entrepreneurship, the institute builds world-class global leaders who are vision-driven. A beautiful 11 acre campus coupled with sports facility to strengthen the physical quotient, a student passes out from the threshold of the campus as an accomplished consummate management professional ready to take on the world.
Professional speaker, Professor, ESADE
"International MBA Provides Wider Experience And Interaction"
What is the advantage of an MBA over a regular Masters or MSc degree?
The advantage of an MBA over a regular Masters or Masters of Science degree is that the scope of an MBA is much wider. Given the times that we are living in, this broader scope of knowledge, coordinating different areas and having a holistic approach of enterprise is a beneficial asset for future professionals managing the peer strategy of companies dealing in this complex digital world.
How has the pandemic affected the full-time MBA programme at Esade? What steps has the university taken to include all its students situated around the globe?
In general, due to the pandemic we have adapted quite successfully to the new normal. We have turned to a hybrid approach. Obviously in the first days of the quarantine we had to close the campus but as soon as we were legally able to open the campus then we have in a record time implemented the measures so that the maximum amount of students could come to the campus. This was done taking into account the different variety of situations, meaning that people who were staying in Barcelona or who went back to their countries or those students in any of these places who were not able to attend due to the pandemic.
Those staying in Barcelona were not able to go to the campus because they or their colleagues had the virus and hence we had to adopt a hybrid model having both online and on-premise classes and tried to combine both theory and practical approaches. We also trained our professors in remote teaching. A majority of them were already used to doing so because we have been investing in this methodology over the last few years since we think this is somehow the future not only because of the pandemic but due to the advent of digital technologies. Esade has always been a top university in applying technologies in both online and blended courses.
What are the opportunities that await students post MBA at Esade?
The opportunities after doing an MBA at Esade are many, either in Spain or in any part of the globe. Companies really value our MBA students and they also appreciate the level of not only technical knowledge but also of soft skills, relationship skills and social skills that are the core backbone of the Esade DNA.
Considering the current pandemic situation, would you advise students to pursue an MBA?
Considering the current pandemic situation my advice would be to take advantage of this time to increase the capabilities and also to enhance the CVs of those students who have ended with a degree in a valid and excellent time. Therefore, students with holistic vision of the enterprise and equipped to identify new trends and implement changes should definitely pursue an MBA. This is also true for those having managerial capabilities that are based on agility, understanding the environment and anticipating the market trends. They would be able to build on these skills and create a set of capabilities that will make them unbeatable in the future.
What are the key advantages of doing an international MBA?
The fact of doing any international MBA is that your interaction is wider and you get the experience of a more multicultural environment. Barcelona is already a multicultural city but given the fact that we receive students from all over the world, the learning has another dimension not only with what we do but also with what they learn just by working with all these different nationalities. It makes the overall experience extremely useful.
How does your institute prepare future business leaders?
We have always had a look at the future. We try to create technical and capable leaders and obviously we also develop highly qualified professionals while keeping in mind the demands of the future.
Pro Vice Chancellor, Ajeenkya DY Patil University
"I Foresee Increased Use Of Technology In Academic Delivery"
How has the current pandemic impacted the future of MBA students? What would be your advice to the current MBA students?
The business environment is very dynamic. Whenever there is any change in the environment it adversely affects certain businesses and at the same time, creates opportunities for other businesses. The current pandemic is no exception. The consumption pattern has changed and hence the way companies do business has also changed. This is where the future of MBA students gets affected. Traditional functional roles have changed all of a sudden. MBA students must appreciate this change and prepare themselves for the nontraditional roles that will emerge. Technology will play a big role. My advice to current MBA students is to remain sensitive to the changing business environment, foresee changes in the functional roles and equip themselves accordingly.
Students should also keep an eye on emerging businesses and the roles they offer to MBA graduates. At ADYPU, the focus is on developing a T-shaped professional. A T-shaped professional is one who develops skill in the chosen domain represented by the vertical stroke while the horizontal stroke signifies the potential to collaborate across disciplines and apply knowledge in other areas. For an MBA graduate, technological prowess is one of the disciplines that can be defined as the width of a T-shaped professional. A tech-savvy management graduate is always more in demand than otherwise.
What would be the lasting impact of the pandemic on business education in India?
As long as businesses exist on the face of this earth, the need for trained, competent and efficient manpower will remain there. Formal business education is the key source of providing such manpower in quality and quantity. So the demand for business education will always be there. The pandemic is a temporary phase in which the whole economy has suffered, including the education industry. But on the contrary side, the education industry in India has progressed to impart education through technology-driven modes.
The most important lasting impact I foresee is the increased use of technology in academic delivery. Learning management system, email, course-based websites, video conferencing and computer-based chat rooms are some of the technologyenabled resources that facilitate communication and teamwork among students. Institutions are already looking into their curriculum and syllabi. The curriculum has to be dynamic and should address the prevailing and future changes in businesses and functional roles.
What are the emerging trends when it comes to placements for MBA students? How are the placement opportunities shaping up post lockdown for MBA students of the current batch?
The emerging trend in placements for MBA students is seen in the change in the type of companies that are doing campus hiring and the roles they are offering to the MBA graduates. Technology-based companies are figuring prominently in this. Companies engaged in financial technology, education technology, KPOs, e-commerce, technology start-ups, etc. are the prominent ones in hiring MBA graduates as compared to the traditional business companies in such sectors as FMCG, banks, etc. Many start-ups are also hiring MBA graduates.
A major factor that is being considered by the companies during placement is whether the students are prepared for any black swan event. This pandemic is not the last crisis we are going to face; we will see more of them, maybe due to technology changes or climate changes. Time demands curriculum changes to prepare MBA graduates to ‘expect the unexpected’ or I can say ‘plan for the unplanned’. Post the lockdown, placement opportunities for MBA students are picking up gradually. As businesses are picking up and companies are making changes in their organisational structures in the new normal, opportunities are being created for fresh MBA graduates.
What is the single important message that you would like to give to MBA aspirants?
As businesses evolve in the new normal, business education will also evolve. Education techniques and methodology is changing at a much more rapid pace than expected. The skill-set required for working in a particular industry is also changing drastically and the present scenario demands MBA aspirants to equip with the required skill-set. Every day new businesses are coming up and they definitely need an MBA to manage. I read somewhere and I think it actually conveys the necessity of an MBA: ‘It’s true that you don’t require an MBA degree to be Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or Rata Tata, but to run a company like Microsoft, Apple and Tata Motor, you definitely need MBAs’. MBA aspirants should focus on a 360-degree learning approach for a rewarding career.
What are the important criteria students should focus on while selecting a business school?
It is imperative to select the right business school whether as a fresher or with a few years’ work experience in order to define a clear future career path. Some of the factors to be considered include:
1) Analyse: A student needs to analyse his or her goals and ask the reason to take an MBA course. Do you need to broaden your mental horizon through education or pursue your entrepreneurial dream or are you looking for a career enhancement or better salary? This will help a student to decide if he or she wants to pursue an MBA in a specialised field like entrepreneurship and innovation, film and media, etc. This analysis acts as a foundation for placements as companies prefers to recruit students with the desired specialisation.
2) Faculty: Faculty plays a pivotal role in shaping the students’ careers. Apart from industrial visits and mentorship programs, business schools use numerous teaching methodologies like case studies, simulators, role plays, competitions and games. Thankfully, technology facilitates such teaching methodologies but the role of a qualified and competent faculty is pre-eminent.
3) Learning Model: While learning is the reason students are enrolled in programs, whether the learning model provokes thought processes is equally important. Is the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship is inculcated? Is technology used in the teaching-learning process? Is the model flexible and allows changes if desired? Do continuous evaluations happen?
4) Recognition and Accreditations: Recognitions and accreditations carry weightage. An AICTE, AIU or a UGC-recognised institute has better education quality and standards. Students need to be aware of the fact that while planning to pursue a PhD or research in the future, a degree from an unrecognised institute will not be of use.
5) Infrastructure: Infrastructure is important, but it should not be the only criteria in your decision-making. Students need to look for the infrastructure that will be used by them like a well-stocked library, digital library, ProwessIQ or any other comprehensive database, latest software, LMS and a well-equipped computer lab. Students can also consider hostel facilities in their criteria.
6) Internships and Placements Assistance: Students should look at the profiles of the companies where the past students have been placed or are pursuing an internship. Students can also look for the salary package provided by the companies to the placed students. But keep in mind that the foremost purpose of business schools is imparting knowledge and not being a placement agency. There are many students who opt out of the placement process to pursue their goals.
7) Alumni: I believe that alumni are the most reliable source to collect information about their experience with the career assistance team, about the program and campus life. I would rather say that alumni are like a report card for a business school.
Fr. Joe Arun SJ
Director, Loyola Institute of Business Administration
"We Want To Form Leaders Who Can Excel With Ethics"
As a leading MBA institute in India, how has the current pandemic changed your outlook on management studies? The current pandemic has made clear the following:
• Adaptation is the key to growth.
• The pandemic is not a crisis but an opportunity to grow. It is not a disease but a cure.
• The lockdown has unlocked the hidden potentials of creative and innovative ways of facing unprecedented challenges.
• Learning and education do not lie outside but inside. Therefore, education is an inside business.
Why and how are management studies relevant in the post-pandemic world?
What stands out in the post-pandemic world is how one is competent enough to manage human resources, financial resources and finance during a period of crisis. It is also a lesson in how technology could be leveraged to mitigate challenges such as the present one. A Centre for Technology and Innovation (CTI) was conceived to bring about a digital transformation in LIBA and to leap-frog into the new normal environment of the post-pandemic era to become a beacon of knowledge in educational technology and offer assistance to other institutions. In its proactive efforts towards online teaching and learning, LIBA has opened a learning studio that functions as a technological centre in which the online content of learning would be created by faculty and industry experts.
For the forthcoming years, there’s one thing on the management’s mind of LIBA i.e. to innovate and expand. In terms of expansion, LIBA will start three verticals: PGBM in Analytics, Healthcare Management and Logistics. To accomplish this, the institute will work with TCS (analytics), CMC (healthcare) and Kerry Indev Logistics (logistics). LIBA and Kerry Indev Logistics have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on collaboration in the area of academics involving teaching, curriculum development, research, internship and placement. These digital and innovative transformations will make management studies very relevant in the post-pandemic world.
How has LIBA adapted to the new normal in the present scenario? How is technology helping you cope with the situation?
LIBA is one of the few B-Schools that have adapted quickly and embraced technology smoothly to transit to the new normal post-pandemic situation. There has been a paradigmatic shift from knowledge transfer to knowledge creation. It is not the knowledge you want to transfer from professor to student but rather the students and the faculty must work together to understand what facts there are and how they can be managed. The vision involves how the new trends of artificial intelligence, deep learning and machine learning are applied to management to make a B-School stand above the rest.
Technology has metamorphosed the ways management education is conceived and delivered. Digital literacy has become a prerequisite skill to access information and organise the structure for appropriate use. The huge volume of data presents a big challenge for the learners and the faculty who assist the learning. Technology has closed the doors of physical classrooms and brought the learner into a realm that is quick and powerful in terms of provision of information and knowledge and the formation of character. Not only in pedagogies but also in the content, technology has transformed management education. LIBA actively mandates innovative learning-teaching-evaluation by empowering the faculty to use their creativity within the broad scope of the course syllabi.
We imbed technology in our business classrooms through an average of five different technology tools at the same time. LIBA is not a teaching but a learning institute where everyone learns and assists in learning. LIBA uses Moodle as the platform to implement e-learning which is one of the most used platforms in distance learning systems in the world. AI is used to create, update and retrieve all records pertaining to courses as well as students enrolled in the various programmes. LIBA’s library management becomes easier through automation software Koha which is an integrated library system that provides simple and clear interface for our students and faculty.
We also have online comprehensive databases like EBSCO to integrate digital resources into Moodle, thus offering our students a seamless learning experience. LIBA has state-of-theart IT infrastructure that provides the students with all the necessary tools and services that support and help leverage their learning and enhance their productivity. We have smart classrooms with online computer labs and sufficient number of systems loaded with the latest versions of all software packages needed for the programme. LIBA has incorporated the inevitable need of both financial and commodity markets into classroom lectures to instil the objectives of participatory teaching by setting up a finance lab. The results of all these implementations have been promising.
What will be your message to MBA aspirants right now?
LIBA’s students are characterised by their values and commitment in all aspects of business and personal life. Every year we welcome students from more than 15 states across the country, each bringing their own experiences and opinions, enabling stimulating debates in our classrooms. The background, principles, ability, experience or training is what sets each individual apart and this is valuable for the institution in general. In addition, as a Jesuit institution, we look for students who want to be churned to become competent and committed leaders who are ethical, principle-centred and socially responsible with a global perspective and entrepreneurial spirit.
Over many years, LIBA has developed its own culture. Our students, alumni, faculty and staff are proud of this culture that can be characterised by informality, humanistic approach, smooth interpersonal relationships and family spirit. One of the hallmarks of Jesuit education is ‘Cura Personalis’ (care of the entire person), which is the high point of our culture. Our faculty and staff support the students during their time at LIBA and beyond. We recognise each student as an individual with his or her own aspirations and goals. Our team works with them to build their personal and professional development and prepare them for the global job market. We want to form leaders who can excel with ethics.
Which sectors are absorbing the maximum number of MBA students?
At LIBA, the industry acts as a lab unlike science and hence a connection with the industry plays a dominant role to give exposure to industry practices. The result of all this underpinning is seen during placements. LIBA has an enviable record of securing 100 per cent placements since the inception of its full-time PGDM programme. This year LIBA conducted Placements 2020 virtually due to the pandemic situation and witnessed the presence of top recruiters like Asian Paints, Deloitte, CTS, etc. The pre-placement offers or interviews every year bear testimony to the fact that our students are in great demand in the industry. Organisations which offered preplacement offers include Bank of America, EY and HP Inc. and CTS, to name a few. Along with our regular recruiters, we also witnessed an increase in first-time recruiters who expressed their interest in our students this year. We are proud of our alumni support in the placement process.
What is the trend in salaries in corporate India and what sort of packages should MBA freshers expect in the current market condition?
The pandemic may have put jobs and salaries on the chopping block but it is not necessarily across the board. Bucking the trend has been a clutch of corporates who have boldly struck their neck out and said they will increase salaries and look at recruiting more. India’s biggest IT firm, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), and the multinational Coca Cola famously declared that there would be no job or salary cuts. An MBA’s salary in India is directly or indirectly dependent on how upskilled and updated the candidate is. With industries changing dramatically and perspectives of business taking new shapes, the demand and scope for MBAs has undergone a radical shift.
Companies now want multi-skilled talents that have niche domains skills as well as leadership and management skills. Forming men and women for the corporate world is not in the domain of vocational skills. Instead it lies in the sacred realm where building character becomes a holistic, integral and formative exercise that helps a student gain a certain facility and ease to face challenges, take calculated risks and mitigate the risks by which he or she has a deep sense of fulfilment in life. This formation, we believe, is not achieved by acquiring prescriptive knowledge but is intensively ingrained through discerning propositional knowledge that connects organically with the real world of business. As LIBA focuses on pursuing excellence with ethics, we view this formation as a deliberate approach to excellence, which means unusual goodness surpassing the ordinary to reach the heights of pristine standard of learning.
That standard provides a unique and valued position in which a student feels (pathos), thinks (logos) and acts (ethos) in his or her circumstances based on the values of goodness, truth and beauty. Excellence is not a skill but an attitude. In the same way, ethics is not an act but a behaviour that comes from proper self-knowledge leading to appropriate and mature expressions in inter-relational situations. In this, there is an acute awareness of inner motivations, consolations, desolations and intentions in what one says and does – what we call ‘self-conscious living.’ In fact, this attitude and behaviour make a way of life of everyone who lives, works and learns at LIBA.
In the courses our students follow, the learning they gain from them and for the life they live on the campus we insist that they pursue this kind of excellence that leads to ethical living. Therefore, LIBA students are competent, committed, creative and compassionate. When they join an organisation they will commit totally to enhance its quality and standard. You can see this clearly in the profile of our students. Since the inception of LIBA, it has maintained a reputation of achieving 100 per cent placements for its students, with the highest salary package of Rs 14 lakhs per annum and median salary package of Rs 9 lakhs per annum. Students are placed in 13 different sectors with more than 50 companies participating in final placements.
Manek N Daruvala
Founder and Director, T.I.M.E.
"A Program Like MBA Has Resilience Built Into It"
What is the current mood amongst MBA aspirants? Are the graduate students keener to do an MBA or has the interest precipitated post the pandemic?
It would not be an exaggeration to say that MBA has been one of the sectors least impacted by the pandemic. The biggest indicator for this is the number of CAT applicants. CAT 2020 saw a drop of only 16,000 from 2019 – a drop from 2.44 lakhs to 2.28 lakhs. One of the reasons for the MBA scene not being impacted much by the pandemic is the duration of the MBA program. Students can see that things such as economy or public health would bounce back from the depths they have fallen to and may even rebound to much better levels. This is more than a fair assessment of things and we have already started to see some indicators of such things being in the offing. Students preparing for MBA in 2020 and entering into MBA programs in 2021 would graduate in 2023, by which time things would hopefully and very likely be much better than they were in 2020.
How are various business schools coping with the new post-pandemic world in your view?
B-Schools have done a very good job of not letting the students lose valuable time due to the pandemic despite the fact that the start of the 2020-2022 session was bang in the middle of the peak of the pandemic. Online classes and evaluation have been started by all schools from day one. We have information coming in from almost all schools that group work and exercises are also being done in an almost seamless manner, online. While there is always the fact that physical sessions at the campus would indeed be ideal, B-Schools are doing the best they can, given the constraints. The batches that started during the spread of the virus have also completed placing students for summer internships. Top B-Schools have been able to place 100 per cent of the students in internships and this shows that the B-Schools are on a strong footing despite the constraints imposed by the pandemic.
What are the permanent changes introduced by the current pandemic in the management institutes?
It is probably too early to comment about permanent changes. However, we could venture into possible scenarios that may pan out as being regular in the near future. The most important and exciting one would be accessibility and availability of high-quality faculty. Given that online classes, despite their shortcomings, have more or less been accepted by one and all as a meaningful means of education, we may see many faculty members from outside India being available to take sessions for students in the country. This would help in enhancing the amount of learning for our MBA students with different perspectives being available.
In the past, this benefit was restricted to only a few top schools that could afford to bring in visiting faculty from B-Schools abroad in the pre-pandemic world. Many more schools can now look at reaching out to top-quality professors, both within and outside the country. Removal of physical travel, with online interfacing being available and popular, could also mean that places that were hitherto seen as remote and difficult to get to, could now start attracting recruiters who can conduct their recruitment process online. This could be a shot in the arm for the placement prospects of such institutes.
Why is MBA relevant in current times?
An MBA program trains students on the aspects of business that are relevant universally across all industries such as marketing, finance, human resources, operations, etc. It is this universal applicability that makes MBA graduates the most resilient to the twists and turns of the economy as they can move across industries with relatively lower levels of difficulty. In a way, a program like MBA has resilience built into it to withstand the kind of scenes we are experiencing as of now. B-Schools also update their course content to ensure their students are ready for the changing landscape. All the top B-Schools offer new-age concepts as part of the course structure. Business analytics, data mining, etc. are now part of most MBA programs. Apart from that, some of the premier B-Schools have also started offering new-age programs like MBA in Business Analytics, MBA in Data Sciences, etc. that are a lot more in demand these days.
Are the costs of doing MBA expected to come down or would it be the other way around?
If the past is of any indicator, we have never seen the costs coming down despite the many ups and downs in the economy. So, if MBA is on one’s mind, it is better to start early and get it done with, as in general, costs only move in one direction, which is upwards. However, post-MBA salaries have also moved up every year. Thus, with the returns from the MBA program also going up more than commensurately year-afteryear, the upward movement of costs has not been much of an issue, particularly with the top and mid-rung B-Schools.
Are business schools able to place MBA students successfully? Do you see any pattern?
The top B-Schools have never had issues in being able to place their students. As mentioned above, despite being in the midst of the pandemic and having been forced to start the batches off-campus in the online mode, the top B-Schools have been able to place 100 per cent of their students for summer internships. This is a very positive sign that holds a lot of promise for the batch that would be graduating in 2021. It is very unlikely that they will have any issues post-pandemic too. Some of the B-Schools in the mid-rung and more so in the lower rungs could possibly be impacted in the near term for the batch that would be graduating in 2021. However, this is very likely to be only a steadying step before making the rebound to much brighter placements that are expected 2022 onwards.
Head of Marketing / Degree Programs, ESMT Berlin
"The Current Situation Demands Leaders Who Can Face Challenges"
What is the advantage of an MBA over a regular MSc degree?
ESMT’s MBA is a practice-oriented program which offers students the opportunity to apply acquired skills in projects and assignments. A strong connection to the business industry assures a focus on the issues of responsible leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation. Further specialisation tracks provide the opportunity to dive deeper into the topics of managerial analytics, strategic leadership and innovation and entrepreneurship. The student setup of the MBA is the most international of all ESMT programs, with students coming from all parts of the world.
An additional great professional diversity creates the possibility to benefit from each other’s work experience and cultural knowledge. The choice of MBA over MSc is usually a question of professional experience. In the case of ESMT Berlin, the average work experience for the Master’s in Management or MIM, our MSc program, is around 4-6 months in comparison to 6-7 years for the MBA. The MIM allows students to gain experience and start their career, while the MBA program is for students who would like to boost or change their career.
How has the pandemic affected the full-time MBA programme? What steps has the university taken to include all its students situated around the globe?
From the beginning of the pandemic, ESMT’s main objective was to keep the quality of the program as high as possible. In the beginning of the lockdown period, classes were moved to a hybrid online or face-to-face model or if required fully online for a certain amount of time. Constant exchange with the authorities helped diminish inconveniences for our MBA students to a minimum, and the current cohort was quickly able to return back to campus. Due to the comparably smaller class size and even smaller groups in the cohorts’ tracks, social distancing in classrooms was possible. Group projects, career events and guest lectures were moved online, and provided our students the chance to collaborate and network even at a distance.
What are the opportunities that await students post-MBA? How is the placement scenario shaping up for MBA graduates?
MBA graduates are granted a visa extension of 18 months to stay in Germany to seek employment. About 80-90 per cent of the graduates stay in Germany and another 10 per cent in Europe. The career services team prepares the graduates’ placement journey throughout the program with individual career coaching, career fairs, interview sessions and company visits. Berlin’s business landscape provides opportunities at big corporations, SMEs and start-ups in various industries.
Considering the current pandemic situation, would you advise students to pursue an MBA?
The pandemic has shifted industries. Business opportunities and career moves have become scarcer and new challenges in today’s business world have emerged. While it is always a good idea to pursue a degree program, the current situation demands leaders who can face those challenges and will need a special set of skills to tackle them. Both for candidates who want to gain the skills needed to tackle the challenges that have emerged with the pandemic and candidates who want to reconstruct their career altogether, this may be the perfect time to pursue an MBA degree. Even if at some point the situation does not allow for on-site teaching, all class content can be delivered online while maintaining a maximum of class interaction.
What is your advice to MBA aspirants? How to get admissions into the best business school?
Candidates who consider an MBA at ESMT Berlin are invited to learn as much as possible about its curriculum and content in order to evaluate if the program is the right fit. Webinars and networking events can provide great opportunities to gain first-hand insights into the study experience. ESMT is always happy to connect aspirants with currents students and alumni. In terms of admission requirements, there is a set of criteria that is necessary to get admitted: at least three years of post-graduate work experience, an undergraduate degree, a GMAT score of around 640 (alternatively a GRE score). To learn about a candidate’s individual motivation, recommendation letters and essay questions as well as an interview complete the application process.
Global MBA Program Director, EDHEC Business School, France
"We Value Career Growth And Personal Commitment"
What are the advantages of doing a one-year Global MBA programme over a two years’ local MBA programme?
For candidates looking at Europe, a one-year MBA programme is the norm. One-year programmes are ideal for more experienced professionals who have a clear career vision and want to return to their career or business quickly after a focused, intensive learning boost. One-year MBA programmes like EDHEC offer the distinct advantage of outstanding return on investment with impressive career progression and short payback periods. At EDHEC, the 10-month programme means you forego less than one year of earnings to complete studies. These criteria are ranked by QS, where EDHEC ranks number one in the world for return on investment and payback. For MBA participants with families, or those considering global mobility, a one-year MBA can be a wiser investment. This said, for younger candidates, EDHEC also offers a two-year MSCMBA double degree which allows for more time and deeper specialisation.
Do you see more and more students opting for Global MBA programmes? Or has the pandemic reversed the trend?
It has been a good year so far in terms of admissions. We have seen solid growth in both the quantity and quality of our Global MBA applicants. I believe the pandemic has served as a reminder of what is truly important in terms of our careers and inspired many candidates to reach out to achieve their dreams. If you have set a goal to get an MBA, now may be the best time to do so when the job market is slowing and promotion opportunities are delayed – it is a perfect time to update, re-tool and re-think what lies ahead for businesses everywhere. There is no better place than a Global MBA to connect to the pulse of the post-pandemic world of business. I am absolutely certain that businesses around the world will need smart, innovative problem-solvers to approach the challenges ahead.
What are the key aspects one should keep in mind while choosing a Global MBA programme?
There are many excellent MBA programmes on the market today – locally, regionally and globally. My recommendation on the key aspect to keep in mind would be to find the programme which has the right fit for you. For example, at EDHEC we take a holistic and personalised approach to our admissions process; we look for candidates who are more interesting than a perfect paper file. We value career growth and personal commitment; we look for candidates who are ready to be actors in their own future rather than passively relying on the school’s brand name or connections. Candidates who succeed at EDHEC are innovative, entrepreneurial and open-minded with a global outlook to succeed in their careers anywhere in the world.
Beyond that, candidates would do well to consider what kind of learning experience is important to them – a smaller more personalised programme in a distinctly foreign culture or a large, more anonymous experience within their comfort zone. Another important aspect relates to their potential cohort: is it a programme which will give diverse and innovative viewpoints or is it more homogenous – who do you prefer to study with? The world of tomorrow requires leaders with emotional and cultural intelligence and so will the programme you choose help develop those qualities?
How has the current pandemic changed the way you conduct your programmes? What are the permanent changes at EDHEC, caused due to the pandemic that you would like to highlight?
The pandemic’s second wave forced us to move back online after beginning the academic year face-to-face with strict hygiene rules. While this was a challenge, we were ready for it, and the first months of the MBA face-to-face allowed participants to bond, to get to know one another and begin the year well. We are now back online but have kept the campus open for study along with library access. This has been very helpful for our MBA participants to keep a link with the school and to work in small teams together, preserving some campus life. One major challenge, as in the case of all MBA programmes, has been the global study trips, which had to be postponed or moved to alternate destinations this year.
In terms of permanent changes, we are hoping to leverage much of what we have learned in terms of digitally enabling our professors to modernise and globalise our classes. For example, rather than a written case, this year we ran a live case with L’Oreal China in our marketing class. We brought in twice as many alumni from all over the world in this year’s Alumni Career Days. Meeting online has also enabled our careers’ team to offer a wider variety of employers in a hackathon format. These are not typically what we would have tried so readily in the past, and we are already planning other live business cases next term. All this is very exciting!
How is the placement scenario shaping up for MBA graduates?
At EDHEC, we have the advantage of more experienced profiles with an average work experience around 7.5 years. This means that they can bring immediate value to employers looking to solve difficult challenges and they are operational right away. We pride ourselves in our MBA graduates’ career progress and in our robust CareerSMART offering. The main rankings have criteria for career services and EDHEC’s FT top-20 rank in this criteria plus The Economist’s top-10 rank for opening new career opportunities point to the quality of EDHEC’s engagement in helping our graduates succeed in their post- MBA careers. We have seen excellent diversity in offers and global locations in 2020 despite the pandemic.
Nearly 50 per cent of our latest cohort was already in jobs or internships before the end of their studies in December 2020. This is a good sign for 2021. The pandemic has been somewhat of a wake-up call to MBA participants, who responded by greater engagement and effort in their job or internship searches. They have been more active in networking, gaining advice and getting on with the search in the face of a difficult job market. EDHEC’s small programme gives personalised career coaching, advising and follow-up to every participant and to every employer.
This approach has paid dividends in a particularly difficult year. While a lot of people prefer to hang on tight to their current positions, MBA graduates are available, mobile and immediately operational. Finally, sectors like technology, healthcare and key players like Amazon or Uber are close partners with us at EDHEC. Our extensive alumni network has helped our graduates find opportunities in firms which are well-positioned to weather the pandemic.
What is your advice to MBA aspirants? How does one get admission into the best business school?
My main piece of advice would be to express more than what we see written in your application file. Show us that you have thought carefully about why our programme would be the right fit for you and your career aspirations. More and more we are looking for personalities with potential and an entrepreneurial spirit. Most applications from India are excellent and there are so many great applicants. It is difficult to make a difference in that context – focus on what makes you special and how you would like to contribute to the next generation of business leaders.
Here, I would like to say a word to women candidates: the future squarely belongs to you. Recently we have met some amazing women candidates from India and we encourage them to apply. We have even created a ‘Women in Leadership’ scholarship to encourage more gender balance in our classroom and grow more women leaders for the future of business worldwide. We have already seen an increase in the number of excellent women applicants from India and I hope it is a trend we will see grow even further!