Friday, December 22, 2006

MBA students-Preparing for tomorrow - Learning or Earning?

Should the premier institutes be preparing professionals-for MNCs to employ? The input is the cream of India- trained and conditioned by the best of research: shouldnt the output be spawning entrepreneurs?
Am intrigued with the media hype around campus is a very few who opt out of the placement exercise to pursue their own dreams… and make the difference!!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit a top ten MBA college –and a great learning for me.

The ICFAI Business School ( has recently moved to a sprawling 100 acres campus –about 35km away from Hyderabad. One could see a lot of buzz all around –and I was there, exploring if our firm could engage some students for their summer internship program (SIP).

It has all the trappings –smart youngsters strapping laptops, growing infrastructure, faculty-experienced and visiting , bandwidth connectivity..itsnt a surprise that its among the best in India.

Somehow I came back with an uneasy feeling -there is a distinct lack of imagination and ownership when it came to SIP! Over 800 of the brightest youth-from across the country-a good mix of experience and promise-they seem to have all their future plans well laid out..atleast in the rehearsed pitch at the interview!

The missing link- the vital piece SIP which wd give the students a 3 month insight into the practical world –how businesses actually work-the dynamics of interpersonal management, chance to experiment with some of the hypothesis they have nurtured…

While it is easy for me to generalize-having met only a handful of candidates- to me the fact that they were chosen among the 800..was a good enough sample size.

1. the students were all specialized in HR- as recruitment is a subset!

I would have thought a recruitment firm is as much as a business as any other. There are avenues for students to learn about business development, marketing, positioning, streamlining operations, improved automation of processes, financial analysis, corporate name it..even entrepreneurial development. There is as much need for strategy –as some smart tactics..and especially in a growing global economy- and when the vagaries are very much similar irrespective of size!

2. Despite there being close to a 100 in HR, guess most of them were looking for big brands

Surely that would help them decorate the resume –and help them in their final placement. Some of them were waiting for a great ‘preplacement’. Big brands mean better stipends. Wasn’t this a good opportunity to look at the content of the project- and try and learn the nuances of a growing business? After all how much would you be allowed to tinker around –with systems of well established MNCs with processes almost sacrosanct.

Who is to bell the cat..the academia? The industry? The alumni network? I invite comments from you!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think it's the safe option for most management students - opt for the big names - good salary, the structure is more hierarchical so scope to climb up the ladder and definately looks solid on the resume!

But to opt for content rather than a brand requires a great deal of self confidence and perspective.