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BW Businessworld

How Indian Schools Can Catch Up

Having done my finance management from The University of Nottingham, I find Indian B-schools very dissimilar to the UK education system. In the UK, learning is based on live examples, case studies, and research. There are great prospects for B-schools, as post-graduation is a must-have qualification.

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Having done my finance management from The University of Nottingham, I find Indian B-schools very dissimilar to the UK education system. In the UK, learning is based on live examples, case studies, and research. There are great prospects for B-schools, as post-graduation is a must-have qualification. It’s also crucial to have a well-thought out, holistic curriculum, and thus, the method of teaching needs to be improved for delivering quality education.

In recent years, India has witnessed growth in the number of B-schools. However, only a handful of them are well established. This spurt has certainly lured the private sector financially. However, it has not been able to match international standards and quality. It is therefore a matter of great concern that even some leading institutions’ programmes are not accredited by international bodies for a variety of reasons. India has multiple accreditation agencies which are not driven primarily by academic concerns, but which have huge political clout. Hence the depletion in the quality of academic content.

An MBA from a foreign university helps one understand business from a global perspective, and is a cut above if one wants to work abroad after graduation. Most foreign B-schools have diversity in the classrooms, which helps students gain different cultural perspectives. Trained professors and better infrastructure are also advantages for international MBA students. After graduation from a US or European MBA programme, remuneration is higher than that after an Indian counterpart. More than 70 per cent of the courses in Indian B-school curricula are similar to those of foreign counterparts. However, foreign schools have the upper hand in delivery and facilities to support learning, compared with Indian schools.

Another challenge that Indian B-schools face is the shortage of academically qualified faculty. A few leading institutions can continue to attract qualified faculty, but it is not the case in less prestigious institutions. There have been few cases where few institutions have provided dual explorations of teaching and research, and have been successful in retaining quality faculty, but this is not the case everywhere and this is not sustainable.

The student profile matters and also defines the quality of B-school education. A lot of students lack work experience, which is a much-needed element to understand the context for business education. By contrast, international B-schools emphasise established workplace leadership and outstanding academic credentials.

There are three ways in which we can look at globalising the curriculum and enhance the overall B-school system. One is to have more global content in all our offerings; the second is to have classes such as the multinational group in our management department; and the third is to have global modular classes. These short, intensive, immersive experiences can go a long way in providing real, grounded experiences to students.

Students, in addition to classroom content and faculty expertise, need to live the experience. And B-schools need to provide the opportunity to take advantage of the greatest trends. Also, all B-schools have a challenge with the weight of activities that must happen on the campus, not only in terms of course work, but also making sure that their MBAs live 24X7 lives. Real experience is priceless.

Digital India distance learning can be a good platform to explore and will certainly see more enrolments. There is a growing demand for business education across the world, and India has the potential to open up countless possibilities, provided it creates a sustainable education system that imparts quality education on par with international standards.

The author, Vivek Agarwal, is MD of M-Tech Informatics, and an award-winning young entrepreneur

(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 14-12-2015)