Prof. K. Thomas
"The demand for MBAs for consulting jobs is perennially high"
What are the top skill sets for freshers that are in demand in corporate India?
The growing demand for top skills in the current scenario are visible mostly relating to ethical hacking, cloud computing, big data/developer/analytics, network and information security, digital marketing.
According to Forbes Technology Council, 13 top tech skills in high demand for 2018 relate to the following
1. Experience with AI (Artificial Intelligence)
2. Skills to envision,design and develop AR apps
3.Data science talent
4. Mobile application development
5. Excellence in cyber security
6. Tata for SaaS in the cloud
7. Ability to adapt to new tech
8. Coding and engineering experience
9. Applied machine learning
10. Programming knowledge
11. Any skills related to analytics
12. Cross team functionality and communication
13. Digital transformation
How does your institute ensure that students are placement-ready in today’s volatile and disruptive market?
IIBM offers structural programmes, which includes training in vocational skills, personality development, stress management, mock interviews, campus to corporate development, presentation skills, soft skills, etiquette, listening skills, etc. It also prepares the students for placements and offers a very good learning experience.
How do you ensure that the most recent and relevant curriculum is delivered to the students?
The curriculum is designed by University of Mumbai; it is periodically reviewed and updated. IIBM is affiliated to University of Mumbai. The syllabus is designed taking into consideration changing times and new concepts like digital marketing, data analytics, business analytics are introduced in the syllabus.
What distinguishes your business school from other business schools?
Over the years, the demand for quality MBA has increased. Your views?
We always maintain a one-to-one relationship with our students, and apart from their course syllabus,ensure that they excel in subjects of immediate relevance and as per current syllabus given by leading industrial and business organizations.
Over the years,the demand for quality MBA has increased. Going to business school can boost the employability and, in turn, the career prospects, and in many industries having an MBA will enhance the competitive edge. A good MBA program can give a thrust to the needs of the career. Each year, more MBAs are added to the workforce, and pursuing the right field is the only way to ensure that your career shapes up the way you imagined while studying for the MBA. Why MBA has become such a sought after course in the last few years is the sheer spectrum of career options that one can opt for after completing the course. From marketing to advertising and even finance is great career choice. We, i.e. IIBM offer five specialisations in MBA programme, namely Finance, Marketing, Human Resources, System(IT) and Operations. An MBA could help financial advisors to attract clients. For those who are not self-employed, an MBA can make it easier to move into a management role. Many consulting firms like Deloitte, Accenture, and Bain etc. want managers with an MBA, as these candidates tend to have the analytical abilities and software knowledge required to do the job. Companies that have a high demand for MBAs include SBI Capital Markets, Motilal Oswal and Bank of America Continuum, among many others. The demand for MBAs for consulting jobs is perennially high since they have the acumen to analyze what fits best for the client.
Dr. Raghu N. Prabhakar
Director, Aurora's Business School
"A well-accredited B-school certainly has a very positive impact on its students"
What are the key aspects of a business school that students should focus on while selecting a B-school for MBA?
Aspiring graduates looking for higher education in management select some prestigiousbusiness schools and resort to a comparative study and analysis of various B-schools. In this process, they look for some key aspects in the business school in which they want to get admission. They look for the placement record of the institute.
They desire to enquire from different sources hundred percent placement assistance, verifying company profiles, sectors of recruitments, average salary, along with the quality of placement which reflects the reputation of the company as well as the cadre of the recruitees. They also verify the number of campus placement drives conducted on the campus and off the campus with sufficient number of reputed companies attending them. Thus, an authentic and successful track record of placements of the particular B-school is the first priority for the student. Secondly, an admission seeker contemplates on the various rankings awarded by prestigious magazines such as Dalal Street Investment Journal, The Times of India, Business Standard, The Week, etc. and unless the B-school stands among the top 100, the students do not prefer to join. They further probe whether the B-school is unique among the B-schools in the region. Thirdly, the students enquire about the members of the faculty. Since faculty is the backbone for any institution, they expect high qualifications like doctoral degrees and vast industrial experience and their reputation in the academic arena. The students confirm for themselves that the faculty will train them in such a way that they can face real life challenges in industry and become competent professionals. They further look for the strict adherence to pedagogy and curriculum. Fourthly, they expect a result-oriented curriculum which includes global exposure, live case studies from the industry, seminar presentations, group discussions, debates, role plays, quiz programmes, etc. to instill leadership qualities among the students. Fifthly, the students prefer a B-school on the basis of infrastructure too. They want it to be modern and advanced, with well-equipped classrooms, projectors, teaching aids, laptops, library, etc. They also consider ROI (return on investment), campus ambience, opportunity to improve life skills and communication skills.
How important is the accreditation of a B-school? How does it impact the student’s career?
For any B-school, proper accreditation is highly essential without which it forgoes its own credibility. Accreditation makes the B-school adhere to the requisite rigorous standards in academics. It can make its own self-evaluation with an independent approach. It helps to keep up its educational peer quality. It contributes to the institute’s proper maintenance of academic schedule. Finally, it provides financial stability, retention status and placement avenues. A well-accredited B-school certainly has a very positive impact on its students. Being a part of it, the student participates in many constructive and innovative activities, such as national and international conferences, workshops, symposiums, consortiums etc.
"Students expect a result-oriented curriculum which includes global exposure, live case studies from the industry, seminar presentations, group discussions, debates, role plays, quiz programmes, etc. to instill leadership qualities among the students."
This directly improves the interpersonal skills of the student,engendering the desirable professional competence. It exposes the students to corporate atmosphere and makes them self-sufficient in negotiating with business counterparts.
What are the various specializations you offer at your B-school? Why are specializations important?
According to the father of management, Henry Fayol, specializations in the field of management are essential for improving efficiency in the workforce. By achieving specialization, one can increase the productivity of the firm. At the same time, the accuracy and speed of the functioning of the company can be increased further. So, specializations are applicable to both technical and managerial abilities. In Aurora’s Business School, we offer the following specializations in PGDM course:
4. Business analytics
These specializations are prominent and also in high demand in the job market.
What distinguishes your B-school from other B-schools in India?
Our B-School, like any other B-School, teaches management education to students. But we are different because we impart social commitment, in addition to professional competence to our students, so that they perfect themselves in business ethics. We emphasize on this aspect to the core. We motivate our students to start their own businesses. Moreover, the curriculum followed at Aurora’s Business School is far more updated. It effectively moulds our students to be competent professionals in management.
Aurora’s Business School provides rich intellectual capital to its students. An excellent placement record paves the way for their successful career. The industrial study tours, workshops, seminars, lectures by stalwarts organized by our B-school makes their industry interface full-fledged. They perfect themselves in different scales of industrial operations beforehand. At the same time, they become well-versed in maintaining transparency in management with their clear perception of goals and achievement of these goals.
What are the key challenges faced by MBA students in finding suitable placements post-MBA in the current market environment?
The students face many challenges before selecting their career and during their career too. Business trends keep changing every day. The students have to update themselves. Communication skills play a vital role. Majority of the students lag behind in learning,speaking,reading and written skills. Practical exposure is also a winning factor for them. Our B-school conducts special classes for communication skills for our students. They undergo the prestigious Cambridge Business English Certification Programme, for improving their linguistic performance. They are provided with CRT (Campus Recruitment Training) at ABS to equip them beforehand to face the actual challenges in the business field.
"We motivate our students to start their own businesses. Moreover, the curriculum followed at Aurora’s Business School is far more updated. It effectively moulds our students to be competent professionals in management."
Naturally, the students of management, after completing their professional degree, have to face challenges.They find the path of career to be moving slowly. They find themselves lacking in managerial, business and analytical skills. Their technical understanding will not suffice for the needs of the industry. They are laymen in the area of problem-solving and pragmatic approach. But the students of ABS fortunately overcome such challenges easily because our curriculum through experiential teaching and learning practices trains them in such a way that they will become future leaders and entrepreneurs who assert their priorities differently, unlike other professionals. They are exposed to an evolution of dynamic industrial environment. They are encouraged to think creatively, critically and independently. So, career achievement is a cake-walk for the students of Aurora’s Business School.
How do you ensure that your students are placement ready?
To prepare our students for getting good placements, we take the following steps:
1. We take them to industrial visits in India and abroad for professional exposure and industry interaction.
2. We send them for a 4-week summer internship programme for practical learning.
3. We make them participate in seminars, consortiums and group discussions, which are conducted under the auspices of protagonists in business organisations.
4. We arrange interactive sessions with the alumni to share knowledge and experience.
5. We conduct mock-interviews to prepare our students mentally for actual interviews.
Dr Atish Chattopadhyay
Director, IFIM Business School
"What if I am not a CAT topper?"
In India, the observable trend tells us how management studies have a tradition of rigorous training, especially by test-prep centres to attain a coveted high rank in the CAT examinations. The selection process at the top IIMs have pressurised aspirants to work on specific requirements in an intensely competitive environment. There is an immense burden on the aspirants to enhance and design their CVs to accommodate particular requirements like high CAT percentiles, certain years of industry experience plus co-curricular activities.
For instance, everything else being equal, a bright engineering graduate with the reasonable job experience may not get a seat at the desired institute as some of the premier institutes often provide additional points based on gender and/or the academic stream to achieve diversity in classrooms. At the same time, another equally bright student will not be able to secure her candidature because of comparatively lower CAT rank despite having scored consistently throughout her academic life. So, what can be done to maintain parity between the intricate short-listing criteria among premier IIMs and their evaluation of capabilities in aspirants?
The other available fulltime programs at top IIMs are the PGPX programs which are expensive and require minimum work experience of five years. Some premier institutes are coming up with rigorous internal screening processes wherein they are providing leverages to aspirants based on their innovative and creative thinking, critical and analytical bent of mind, values they exhibit and see if they fit with the institute’s mission. Based on my personal experience, there are a few leading institutions in the country who are doing excellent work on this very front.
"A bright engineering graduate with the reasonable job experience may not get a seat at the desired institute as some of the premier institutes often provide additional points based on gender and/ or the academic stream to achieve diversity in classrooms."
MICA Ahmedabad, SPIJMR Mumbai and IFIM Bangalore are the top examples to be cited who have already begun to set an example in the field of management studies. These institutions have proved to be pioneers when it comes to changing not only the way MBA is understood and defined pan-India but also how the admission protocols must be designed. First, none of these institutions gives a high weightage to CAT, XAT and GMAT scores compared to their IIM peers. Although one must appear for a national level entrance exam, one need not necessarily have a high score. MICA, for example, offers a PGDM-C programme for students desiring to pursue management careers with a special emphasis on marketing and communications. The mission and vision of the programme are to groom ethical, well-rounded, responsible and talented professionals, who would manage and lead organizations using analytical, innovative, creative and out-of-the-box approaches. To fulfil these criteria, the institute has its very own entrance exam dubbed as MICAT which aims to shortlist candidates who demonstrate an aptitude for expressing, assessing, and /or conceiving ideas that move people to action and achieve business results. Thus, MICA aims to train leaders in the fields of creativity, design, media and marketing communication areas.
SPIJIMR, on the other hand, has designed a selection process that assesses not only the intellectual readiness in terms of academics but also emotional readiness, work experience, extra-curricular activities and aptitude for and befitting the institute’s mission of value-based leadership. What sets SPIJMR apart is their focus on the ‘values’ and thus the key recruiters invited at their campus are the likes of Tata Administrative Services (TAS).
The IFIM curriculum focuses on grooming socially sensitive professionals who can provide innovation-led solutions for new age organisations. With a revised admission process which zeroes in on the innovative and critical thinking capacities of candidates along with their solution orientation, IFIM wishes to create a diverse group of students who will be ready for the dynamically changing world of tomorrow. IFIM offers the bespoke curriculum which allows students to create their own learning paths and career goals. Each student is offered the flexibility to choose courses that paves the pathway for them to custom-create their own curriculum making each pupil’s journey and tale unique to their own individualised skillset.
IFIM forms the perfect breeding ground for those looking at new age roles in companies that are thinking of beyond tomorrow issues. With respect to IFIM, the biggest differentiator is the two unique tracks it offers: The first being the two-year program with a ‘Global Super Specialisation Track’ that makes you a 'specialist for tomorrow' ready to be a business professional in the 'new era'. IFIM aims to do this by partnering with international universities having a global reputation. For example with one of its potential partners McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, Austin, IFIM aims to shape leaders in Big Data and Blockchain, while with Darden School of Business at University of Virginia, the institute envisions creating experts in Digital Business and Consumer Insights, and for candidates seeking career opportunities in Fintech, IFIM aims to collaborate with Johnson College of Business at Cornell University.
Very few current institutions are offering such opportunities. One of the innovations being initiated by IFIM is an engagement driven final placement process which aims to replace the conventional interview and/or Group Discussion format. The cohort that will go for the ‘Global Super-specialization Track’ will be a combination of executives from recruiting partner companies and second-year participants, allowing them to work in groups in finding solutions to real issues being faced by the industry in real time. Hence, IFIM’s objective is to create a differentiated and engagement driven approach towards placements which have not been explored by conventional institutions. The second track is essentially for those looking for international careers in developed countries. The IFIM PGDM-IB program is designed in a manner that allows students to complete one year in India, and then go abroad to the partner institutions in the USA or Europe and complete the program there with the advantage of having access to their career services.
"The real challenge is not about being a CAT topper but to come out of the herd mentality of looking at only a limited number of institutions, where high CAT score is a prerequisite. Each individual is different and needs to have his/her own unique plan of action based on one’s specific strengths and skills."
As illustrated above, the answer to the question, ‘What if I am not a CAT topper?’ lies in aspirants exploring institutions which are aligned to their strengths and career aspirations, which need not necessarily be an IIM.
I have spoken here of only three institutions with which I have been associated. However, I am certain if a diligent candidate were to look carefully and explore, he/she might come across some more such institutions. As I see it, the real challenge is not about being a CAT topper but to come out of the herd mentality of looking at only a limited number of institutions, where high CAT score is a prerequisite. Each individual is different and needs to have his/her own unique plan of action based on one’s specific strengths and skills.
So whilst CAT toppers may have a whole bunch of reasons to celebrate their score, the ones that do not have need not fret, for when one door closes, another window of great opportunity swing open elsewhere.
Dr. Sandip Sane
Director and Professor Dr. D. Y. Patil B School, Pune
"Unless you jump into water, you'll never be able to swim"
How MBA helps build a career in Investment Banking and Capital Market. What additional preparation is required to excel in the finance market apart from a basic degree?
A career in Investment Banking or the Securities market are the most sought-after options for MBA job seekers, especially those who are very passionate about finance, banking and equity. However, the entry to this illustrious career is not so easy.
PGDM course is designed in such a way that it helps you in honing your skill sets and domain knowledge that are relevant in this career. The skill sets which I take is imperative to excel in this field are:
1. Accounting and Economics: The drivers for the economy can be inflation, deflation and politics. One needs to have a fairly good knowledge of these factors to understand the impact of these drivers and how to shield or make the most out of these situations.
2. Quantitative Knowledge: Investment Banking and Capital markets are completely mathematical. Each number tells a unique story. One needs to understand the implications of these numbers and churn out favourable positions to leverage maximum from any situation.
3. Good communication skill is imperative because if you are not able to explain what you think to your clients and counterparties, it will be hard for you to survive in this industry.
4. Strong programming skills will help you as you would be needed to clean a huge chunk of data to finally start working on something. Research reports require building models to project future performance of companies. Knowledge of tools like R, Mat lab, SPPSS, SQL and Excel will be needed to start your career and help you complete the task assigned to you in minimum time with fewer mistakes.
5. Discipline: Working in Equity will make you deal with huge data. The working hours will be more. So you need to be disciplined and physically fit to cope with the stress quotient.
The other skills that a student should possess to be competitive are a strong understanding of financial statements, competitive landscape, macro factors affecting the industry. As a fresher, you can possibly subscribe to national or international publications to get a better idea of writing, using analytical skills and understanding various statistical tools.
Networking skill is again something very important to be successful as an Investment Banker or a Capital market professional. Getting connected through social media networks like LinkedIn with people who are already working in this field will help in understanding their Career graph. Also, they can possibly act as your mentor and guide you in planning your career path.
There are certain relevant certification courses like NSE’s Capital Market, Derivatives, CFA which can in real sense complement your basic degree.
What else can you do?
I firmly believe that unless you jump into the water, you will never be able to swim. Therefore, the first thing that you should do is open a Demat and Online trading account with minimum subscription and start trading.
Attend workshops: There are many paid and free workshops by broking, Stock market firms and magazines. Attending them will give you the basic knowledge to get into the capital market.
Legal knowledge and compliances of acquisitions and mergers will always put you ahead as a prospective candidate.
Watching business new channels will also keep you updated about the corporate world. Investment bankers and Capital market people need to be always updated with various happenings in the industry and its fallout.
Keep visiting the websites of Investment Banks and Companies in Capital Market, understand their portfolio and clients. Get an Internship: Banks and Organisation value internship a lot as both can test the waters. If you could perform well in the internship and showcase your abilities, it increases the chances of getting a full-time job in the organisation.
Preparation is the key to success. Learn the art of understanding the financial statement and its interpretation. Knowledge of identifying the challenges and loopholes in the company from their statements will give an extra edge.
Finally be in touch with the Placement Department of the Institute. One needs to keep track of all companies coming to the campus offering jobs in Investment banking and Capital market. The job description will help you in understanding their requirements and one can really make sure that you are an expert in all those skill sets which have been mentioned by the company.
The companies where the candidate may get placed are CRISIL, JP Morgan, SG Analytics, Kotak Securities, BNY Mellon, Future Group Value Serve, Karvy Group, WNS, Sundaram Finance and many more.
The compensation in I-banking and capital market is good and the package includes a component of incentive as well, which in most of the cases surpasses the salary many folds. The industry is performance-based and gauging one’s performance is not a big task.
The industry took a big hit in 2008 when Lehmann Brothers collapsed and the recession started. There was a lull for a short period of time, however, still, it has not deterred its position as one of the most sought-after career choices. The potential earnings and prestige, the industry enjoys has ensured that it stays as the first choice for students aspiring for a career in the financial market.
Founder and Director, T.I.M.E.
"MBA puts people on afast-track growth path"
What are the key aspects one should look at while choosing MBA programme?
The biggest gain that one can get from an MBA compared to other career paths is 'faster growth'. MBA puts people on a fast-track growth path, breaking the so-called 'glass ceilings' that may otherwise hinder growth. So, if one's objective is to grow quickly and reach his/her objective as soon as possible, MBA is the path to choose.
Once the decision to do an MBA is taken, one needs to evaluate the various MBA programmes that are available and choose the right one to get into. This is where things start getting tricky.
India has about 3000+ B-schools offering MBA programmes. With such a huge number of schools, applicants are always in a quandary over which schools to evaluate, apply and eventually join. Serious MBA aspirants know that their MBA will benefit them only if it is from the top schools. While this fact is widely known and acknowledged, the definition of 'top' varies from person to person and also from year to year. Given the large number of institutes, especially with their boastful/exaggerated claims, it is difficult for a student to make the right decision about the quality of the school.
Hence it is very important that students understand the key parameters that are to be looked at while evaluating B-schools.
The key parameters are:
1. Location of the B-school, as it plays a major role in the industry-institute interface and also faculty availability
2. Entrance test cut-offs – These determine the academic quality of the students getting into a B-school
3. Fees charged and placements
A parameter like 'Brand Value' could also be looked at – however, one needs to understand that as it is subjective, getting a good handle of this parameter is tough, especially for schools outside of the 'top' group.
While trying to obtain this information, there is a very high possibility of aspirants falling prey to the false claims that fly around thick and fast on various internet fora and websites. One would also need some expert understanding about B-schools so that the data available can be used correctly.
What sort of preparation is required to crack top ranking MBA institute?
Contrary to what many think, the CAT is not a difficult exam. The questions in the exam are of the 'school level'. Questions from the quantitative ability section will be on arithmetic learned in classes VIII, IX and X and very few topics of higher maths from Class XII. With preparation and practice on the kind of questions asked in the exam, aspirants can score well and increase their chances of selection.
In the Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning section, the students will be tested on their ability to understand and analyse the given information/data to come up with answers to questions pertaining to the same. This is essentially the use of common sense, specifically toned to that particular situation. Exposure to a number of such questions would determine success in this area.
The Verbal Ability section is one which many dread and equally many think that they can score well in. This is also a section which catches many unawares in both pleasant and unpleasant ways. This section will test the aspirants' ability to comprehend the language, their comfort level in understanding the reasoning being presented in the sentence/passage, and their familiarity with contextual usage of words. While people with a regular reading habit do not find this section that difficult, even those who do not have such a habit can start on it early so that they get in shape by the time of the exam.
In addition to preparation on individual sections, taking AIMCATs regularly is essential to know where one stands in the competition. Detailed analysis of the mocks will give important pointers on strengths and weaknesses which are to be used to plan further preparation.
Having a fixed schedule for preparation, attending classes regularly, and making sure that the weaknesses are identified and eliminated are some of the essential aspects that one needs to keep in mind while preparing to crack the CAT.
Are you seeing more and more students opting for MBA programme? What is the trend in the last few years?
Yes. The demand for MBA has been steadily on the rise. The number of CAT applicants has increased by over 20% in the last four years, bearing testimony to the increased demand that MBA education has. Our growing economy is one reason for this. The other reason can be attributed to the rising aspiration levels of students which can be achieved only by a programme like MBA which helps them get on to a fast-track career path.
At your institute, how do you prepare your students in today's competitive environment?
We train students on skills across the spectrum – from basic concepts to advanced test-taking strategies. The basic concepts provide the necessary confidence and knowledge, and the test-taking strategies help in score maximisation.
Our comprehensive material which is designed by a team of IIT/IIM graduates provides the much-needed edge to the students by exposing them to various ways in which concepts are tested in the CAT.
Our faculty is selected through an extremely rigorous hiring process. They make sure that the concepts are explained in the class in the best possible way so that the students understand even the most difficult concepts quickly. All classes are based on pre-designed 'Handout sheets' or ‘Study Material booklets’, and help in developing conceptual clarity at the root level.
The personalised 'Student Home Page' is a one-stop-shop including study tips, mock tests and the very popular and indispensable AIMCATs (All India Mock CATs). Videos of important concepts are also available to supplement the class-room learning. All these features are available via a mobile app too (TIME4CAT on playstore and appstore), ensuring that the students can prepare on-the-go as well.
In all, a combination of high-quality material, extremely well-trained faculty, combined with the right kind of online resources make sure that serious aspirants always get what they need to bell the CAT.
Manek worked for six years with Godrej and Boyce in the field of Marketing and Sales. Subsequently, he worked for VJ Info Systems Limited, Hyderabad as head of the Education and Training Division. He has been associated full-time with T.I.M.E. for the last 18 years – training and guiding students in preparing for a large variety of entrance exams. He handles a variety of functional areas at T.I.M.E. – from accounting and finance to advertising and marketing.
Dr Madhavi Lokhande
Dean - Bangalore Campus WeSchool
"MBA is not merely a qualification but is a complete learning process"
How has the demand for MBA graduates been in corporate India for the last two to three years? And do you see more demand for MBA graduates in the coming year?
Across the globe, MBA graduates command a premium salary based on their skills sets and their ability to meet the recruiters' needs. The same applies to students in India. The idea is to stay updated and relevant - and students who understand this are always in demand. Six months ago Economic Times had shared the GMAC 2018 corporate recruiters survey results that clearly stated 90 per cent companies in the Asia Pacific and about 70 per cent companies in India will be hiring MBA graduates - these figures were higher than that of previous years. This is definitely encouraging news to students in India who can now look forward to opportunities in India and the other Asia Pacific regions. These positive trends in MBA hiring are sure to push the admissions to B-Schools.
What sort of skills are recruiters looking for while hiring MBA graduates?
Recruiters traditionally have had a long list for skill sets required in B School graduates ranging from negotiating skills, leadership and decision-making ability, communication skills besides the technical skills required for specific jobs. New age businesses have specific demands that can be listed as- Creative problem solving, Global mindset, Ability to work in teams, Adaptability, Strong business ethics etc. It is evident with the kind of developments in the industry that B-Schools need to work with students to hone their skills in areas of Data Analytics, Business Development and Artifical Intelligence. While all students may not have interest in areas like Data science, Machine Learning or Artifical Intelligence - they may have to work with technical teams with these core skills. They cannot be found lacking these basics. Consulting companies look for skills sets like the ability to tell a story using data, work experience with analytical skills is the ideal candidate for them. Knowledge of a foreign language is always desirable.
How do you train your students to embrace increased uncertainty in markets and win in today’s disruptive market environment?
Present generation of learners at B-Schools have information and knowledge at their fingertips. They are not interested in static learning models. Keeping this in mind we have created modules which are experiential and immersive. Also at WeSchool, we have identified the competencies that we would like to nurture in the students over the 2 years of the program. These competencies have been identified keeping in view the competencies and skill sets that recruiters are looking for. As an outcome-driven approach for every subject, we try to ensure that most of the competencies can be measured or evaluated. The pedagogy and teaching plan is designed thus. Working in cross-functional teams, empathy, customer centricity, understanding stakeholders perspective and other important skill sets have been included in leadership modules. Coping with ambiguous situations and storytelling approach are some of the important soft skills that have been included in their education. In terms of the courses offered, we have always tried to stay ahead and also stay relevant with changes in the business environment. The courses that have been added to the existing courses based on our research have been on innovation, design thinking, data analytics etc.
What distinguishes your business school from other schools?
WeSchool is known for the quality of education and the updated knowledge it provides to the students. WeSchool has chosen a design thinking approach towards management education. A strong industry interface with unique PGDM programs in Business Design & Innovation, E-business, Retail, Rural and Analytics just to mention a few programs. The institute has several interesting and unique industry - institute interfaces like We cafe, HR showcase, Leadership program etc. The academic philosophy revolves around Acquisition, Application and Assimilation of knowledge to help create confident managers of programs. The campuses attract students from diverse cultural, personal and professional backgrounds. The campuses in Mumbai and Bangalore are equipped with Protolab and Innovation cell.
What will be your advice to students who are looking to pursue MBA program? How to choose the best B School?
Today’s disruptive business environment demands that young professionals and students challenge themselves. MBA is not merely a qualification but a complete learning process - as the program is designed to engage with a student in a professional setting. In order to get the most from this program, the student must be willing to be engaged in the learning process which goes way beyond just attending classes. Students who come to pursue this program with a classroom mindset will definitely acquire the degree but may miss out the greater learning from the course.
Essentials for a student who wants to pursue his MBA are: Focus
1. Be open to try different learning styles
2. Understand that network is net-worth
3. Choose the school that offers programs aligned with your areas of interest.
Dr Madhavi Lokhande is the Dean - Bangalore Campus, WeSchool. She is a Ph.D. from SNDT Women's University and a fellow of The Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of India. She also attended the International Teachers Program at SDA, Bocconi. With 16 years of academic experience, she has authored several papers and case studies. She runs an initiative called 'Padhaai', whose social activism is to help the education of girl child.
Managing Director & Vice President EU Business School
"Online MBA enables students to combine their studies with their current professional obligations"
What are the key advantages and disadvantages of an online MBA?
Building on your skill set and expanding your knowledge base are the keys to taking the next step in your career, and an MBA is the fastest and most effective way of achieving this.
The key advantage of an online MBA course is its flexibility: it allows students to adapt their studies to their professional and personal commitments. Professionals who wish to study a full-time MBA on campus are often forced to leave their job to attend a business school, which potentially disrupts their career trajectory. An online MBA programme, however, allows students to remain in their positions, and the added value of their MBA studies can help them move up the company’s ranks. Moreover, studying online is cost-effective, since students do not have to pay additional costs for accommodation or relocation.
The online MBA students also benefit from outstanding academic and professional staff, because business schools can contract highly qualified professionals from around the globe to deliver presentations, host podcasts and give masterclasses, among others. Students learn from a wide array of professionals and experts who aren’t geographically confined to a single campus. They are also connected to a truly global network of fellow students and faculty, which allows them to enhance their international reach and provides them with support and contacts. In addition, they become part of a global community of alumni. In the case of EU Business School (EU), we have over 27,000 members in our Alumni Association. Our members work across different sectors across the globe. Having access to this body of professionals can really help students to learn about new industries and gain contacts in companies which they are interested in working for. Online MBAs offer another important advantage over on-campus programmes: the superb online depository of recorded classes, webinars, podcasts and other study material. This means that students can review, revise and return to lessons as often as they choose, whenever they choose.
Nevertheless, studying online does bring some challenges: students might feel like they are missing out on the student experience or classroom interaction. To combat these challenges, some business schools implement the blended education approach. At EU Business School, for example, we invite online students to attend class and experiential learning sessions, such as company visits and guest speaker sessions, on our European campuses during one-week on-campus sessions. On-campus weeks foster peer learning, give online students the chance to meet face-to-face with leading experts and visit state-of-the-art companies, and provide them with the opportunity to network with full-time students and faculty to build their international network.
Are more and more students opting for an online MBA?
Several factors contribute to the increasing numbers of students choosing to study an MBA online. Gaining an online qualification is considerably more accessible than in the past, as the world becomes more interconnected and online education becomes the new norm. The range of online programmes and the number of business schools and universities that offer them is increasingly extensive. The vast offerings really does enable students to find a programme that matches their exact requirements at the educational institution of their choice which may be located anywhere in the world. At EU, for example, we offer an MBA with eight different majors, including global banking & finance and digital business. Our online MBA programmes offer the same course modules and qualifications as our on-campus programmes and for this reason as well as their quality, they are highly valued. In fact, for four consecutive years, our online MBA has been ranked number one in the world by the CEO magazine. In addition, online MBA programmes can adapt material rapidly in response to the new trends, ensuring they remain at the cutting edge of business technology. Ongoing technological advances have brought about improved user experience on platforms, and these opportunities will only increase as the capabilities of the internet, 5G in particular, evolve. What skill sets are highly in demand for MBA graduates? In the increasingly fast-paced environment of the business world, knowledge of the latest developments in business are paramount to ensure companies stay ahead of their competitors. As internet applications take hold in the everyday operations of a company, digital skills are increasingly in demand. A clear example of this is finance, where the advance of blockchain management has revolutionised the sector. Moreover, this technology is predicted to take a greater hold in other fields such as health in the near future. EU recognises the importance of this new discipline and now offers an MBA with blockchain management as a major.
The availability of data has never been greater. This is leading to data overload in companies. Data analytics, recognised as a key factor behind efficient strategic decision-making, is now much in demand by companies and considered crucial for the business leaders of the future.
As well as hard skills, companies are also on the lookout for candidates with superior soft skills. These include an international background and mindset. Candidates who have interacted with peers and faculty from around the world offer different perspectives. Moreover, their multicultural comprehension provides enterprise with a competitive edge in the global marketplace, and hence they are in high demand. With the advance of artificial intelligence and robotics, which are effectively performing routine tasks, other skills such as out-of-the box thinking and creativity are required by industry.
How does an online MBA ensure that students are industry/placement ready?
Many MBA students choose to study online so that they can combine their studies with their current professional obligations. Many are interested in continuing to pursue their career in their current company and aim to simply expand their skill-set. Working and studying at the same time is certainly challenging, and requires perseverance and dedication. Online students need to plan their time, manage multiple tasks, remain focused under pressure and prioritise. In the fast-paced business world, these skills are increasingly valued and recognised by companies.
It should also be pointed out that an MBA student is looking to further his or her career and has professional experience on which he or she wishes to build. Hence, an online MBA student has already been exposed to a working environment.
Above all, an online MBA offers students the opportunity to interact with peers from across the globe. However, group work and direct peer interaction is more difficult to undertake. A blended MBA option is a good response to this. At EU Business School, online MBA students spend three weeks on campus, one week in Barcelona, Geneva and Munich, respectively. They spend time with international faculty and fellow students to help them learn how to interact and work in a team. They also visit leading companies and attend sessions given by industry experts to ensure they see and understand the latest changes being applied.
Online MBA students are also given access to a business school’s alumni network. The contacts made through these associations across sectors are not simply an excellent information resource, but also crucial for connecting with professionals who can help students enter desired companies or sectors.