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Spillover Effects Of A Global MBA

Countries, industries and firms don’t know anything. Knowledge exists only in the minds of individuals like Bhrugi ...

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New York’s financial district won’t intimidate Bhrugi Badheka when she starts her new job at Citi in August. She grew up in Mumbai, so she already knows how to navigate big city life. More importantly, Bhrugi will have an MBA from a globally ranked programme.

“An MBA teaches you to be nimble and think critically to solve problems,” she says. “It teaches you to think on your feet and think fast.”  

Bhrugi took a risk when she came to the United States. She had to leave a secure job in India and come to an unknown land with no guarantee of employment. “This is more overwhelming than you might think,” she says. “But the rewards are exceptional.” Bhrugi expects to pay off her student loans within her first year at Citi, and she will gain valuable experience as she applies her business education at a multinational bank. She is a winner, and so is India.

People sometimes worry about “brain drain” or talent loss when they see young professionals leave home and start their careers abroad.  People make a similar mistake when they see multinational companies like Google doing research and development in India. They assume the knowledge stays with Google, and they write it off as “foreign R&D.” Such thinking discounts the spillover effects that drive innovation in entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Anil Gupta, my faculty colleague at the University of Maryland, has little patience for this mindset. “It’s just hogwash and reflects woolly headed thinking,” he says. Gupta serves as an adviser at Bangalore-based technology incubator Kstart, where he gets a clearer picture. “The R&D work is done in India by Indian scientists and engineers,” he says. “After a few years, these scientists and engineers leave their multinational companies and do their own startups or go work for other companies.”

Employee mobility is the engine that drives growth in entrepreneurship hubs like Silicon Valley, where I launched my career. Countries, industries and firms don’t know anything. Knowledge exists only in the minds of individuals like Bhrugi. As she collaborates, the spillover effects from her MBA will spread. Even if she stays in the United States, she will lead global teams that reach India and beyond. She will be a bridge builder, ambassador and role model. And she is not alone.

Her classmate Krupa Karekar from Goa did her summer internship at Discovery Communications and now works as a graduate teaching assistant in managerial economics. She is learning to see problems from multiple perspectives as she interacts with students from many countries. “Getting my MBA in the United States meant I had to give up the comfort and certainty of the familiar settings in India to immerse myself in a new cultural and business environment,” she says.

Sreejith Manghat from Pune also understands the importance of a global mindset. “Spending time in class and outside with fellow students who hail from diverse backgrounds and cultures has expanded my perspectives across multiple dimensions,” he says. Sreejith had his own Silicon Valley experience this summer, when he did an internship with TriNet. He saw first hand the spillover effects of an MBA as he made connections with like-minded people.

“In the entrepreneurial world, forming relationships with partners, employees, dealers, suppliers and customers is what defines the firm’s growth,” he says. “An MBA equips you with tools to navigate this world.”

 Bhrugi, Krupa, Sreejith and so many others from our programme will touch thousands and potentially millions of lives in the coming decades. They are making India proud.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Alexander Triantis

The author is dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, USA

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