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Hirable MBAs are not so common most management pass-outs are unemployable or marginally competent.

Most MBAs today are fairly well versed in their theory but cannot convert any of the ideas into actual actions. Many modern management programmes, especially degree courses, put too much emphasis on theory-driven practice, and tend to overlook the immense value that a student can derive from practice-driven theory. This has led to a general industry atmosphere of disenchantment and disillusionment with management school trained candidates. According to The Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India (Assocham), only 20 percent of students graduating from B-schools in 2017 have employment offers. According to data available with the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), only half the students graduating from B-schools approved by it are being placed. New-age managers, employers increasingly feel, must offer more.

Given the sheer number of institutes offering MBA programmes in India, this can come as a surprise, or not. Numerous institutes are no more than swanky buildings, with wi-fi and laptops for all. Sadly, they are missing the vital infrastructure most essential to produce employable, industry ready, managers of the future. Many do not have quality faculty, others are unable to cater to market realities and others still have poor placement services. What this does is give the student a degree or a diploma but sadly fails to equip them to deal with the real world in many ways.

Given the current market dynamics, the economic situation, the ever changing work environment, it is essential not only that MBAs hit the ground running, but also that they are able to acclimate and adapt rapidly. However, the reality is that most management students join courses directly after their graduation from a bachelor’s course, and have no work experience. What this means, realistically, is that when they graduate from an average management course, they know theory, but are unable to convert these ideas into work related actions. They do not possess the insights and skills so important to effective functioning in the workplace.

In addition, very often the actual B-school curricula are taken directly from the West. While this equips them with a great grip on international theory, it does not often take into account the huge paradigm shift, the difference in context that actually working in India is going to entail. There is a huge amount of cultural difference, not to mention greater diversity in almost all possible segments, much higher actual or possible growth rates, and far more regulation in the emerging markets.

This is where institutes with a focus on more industry experienced faculty, strong on corporate connects, and with a history of bringing in experts from actual market sectors will win out over courses designed with an academic bent of mind. Academic content tends to be traditional and slow to change. However, the market in India, and the world, especially in sectors like financial services, airlines, media, communications technology, and more is changing far faster than academics. Revised curricula to focus on real-world issues is useful, but a far larger role can be played by "insiders"; experienced members of the mid to senior level workforce who can share their invaluable insights and their hands-on knowledge of how things work.

Experiential learning is a lot more durable than just theoretical knowledge. Moreover, internships can play an important role in giving the student a taste of reality. A combination of good internship placements and industry expert faculty can equip the student with the ability for quick and flexible decision-making, calculated risk taking, use of multiple media and communication channels to maximize efficiency, get a hands-on feel for marketing, see business processes at work, learn to balance risks with returns, and more. Classrooms that work on the discussion/workshop model rather than the lecture format can combine with case studies to deal with immensely complex issues through dialogue, debate and real time domain-based knowledge.

Additionally, management students gearing up for the workforce of a new - global - world must also learn the softer aspects of management. Part of a manager's work - a very important part - is communication. Other soft skills like presentation skills, teamwork, language skills, active listening, global good manners, business and professional ethics and more will all add to the managerial abilities. The new age workplace is not built only on theory or academics and management students need to focus on soft skill development as dedicatedly as they do their "prescribed courses". They cannot afford to be solely focused on writing and clearing exams, they need to pay attention to what businesses really need in this changing world. Participating in industry-linkage events can add to this skillset, alongside soft skills training, and make managers of the future Industry Ready.

In short, aspiring future managers and entrepreneurs need to find a management course and a B-school which emphasizes up to the minute academic curriculum; A pool of industry experienced and hands-on expert faculty, superior corporate-connect and industry linkages through multiple events; Optimum internship placements; Adequate emphasis on soft skill development and training; And last, but definitely not the least, Superior record of final placement history. This will be the path to assuring future success.


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