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The MBA Conundrum

MBA is Master's in Business Administration and in India most universities have a separate department for management education. Sai Kumar and ARKS Srinivas discuss some of the management programmes.

india Updated: Sep 08, 2008, 13:19 IST
Sai Kumar and ARKS Srinivas
Sai Kumar and ARKS Srinivas

Every year at least couple of hundreds of thousands students clearly look for an alternative career or a path which will enhance their career prospects. After the 1991 reforms process began at the centre, a clear alternative to going abroad has emerged strongly in terms of an MBA. However, thanks to the very reforms there are too many players who have joined the bandwagon offering MBA sometimes at ridiculous prices and locations.

It is therefore very important that we understand the various management programs that exist in India and which of these would fit your requirement depending on your present state


The following are the various options available for a management programme in India. However, this article mainly focuses on the two-year full-time PG programme:
(a) Two-year full-time programme;
(b) One year full time programme (Sometimes 15 months);
(c) Three-year part-time programme;
(d) Correspondence course - usually lasting about three years, and
(e) Executive Development Programme (EDP) - lasting anywhere between one and 13 weeks.
(a) Two-Year Full-Time Programme

MBA is Master's in Business Administration and in India most universities have a separate department for management education. Universities like Mumbai University and Osmania University accord affiliation to a number of management colleges. Mostly the university conducts the examinations and awards the Master's degree on the successful completion of the course. In such cases, the universities or the governments of the states where the university and its affiliated colleges are located, conduct a Common Entrance Test (CET) for admission to the management institutes. Maharashtra-CET, AP-ICET, and UPMCAT are examples of popular state CETs.

Difference between a Diploma and/or a Degree: Apart from Universities which award an MBA degree, there are a number of autonomous institutes which offer a two-year Post Graduate programme (PGP) in management. These institutes cannot award a Master's degree as only Universities can award degrees. Instead, they usually award a Post-Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) or a Post-Graduate Diploma in Business Administration (PGDBA). The IIMs, which are autonomous bodies and are not affiliated to any university, award a PGDM to their students.
The value of the management course pursued by students does not depend on whether they do a 'degree' or a 'diploma' from such and such institute (also called a B School in normal parlance), rather it depends on the 'reputation and standing' of the institute that is offering the degree or diploma.

When organisations recruit students from these B Schools, they certainly don't worry about the title of the course offered at the particular B School. They look at the intrinsic worth and the reputation of the B School, quality of the course offered, and, of course, the ability of the students.

Specialisation: Most management institutes offer General Management courses. In this kind of a course, the student learns the basics of all functional areas, viz. Marketing, Finance, Human Resources, Systems, and Production, during the first year. This will help a student to understand the various functions of a business and lay ground work for the second year. In the second year (or, say final year) there is an option of specialising in any one or two of these functional areas. It should be noted that in most cases, the student need not decide on the functional area she / he is interested in at the time of applying for admission. However, there are exceptions to this as some management institutes like SP JAIN which admits students to the specialisation clearly specified by the candidate before the beginning of the programme.
Sectoral B-Schools. Also, there are a few management institutes that offer specialised courses in certain functional areas / fields. Here are some of the better-known institutes in this category:
· Xaviers Labour Research Institutes' PMIR programme, Jamshedpur
· Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA)
· Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), New Delhi
· Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai
· Mudra Institute of Communications at Ahmedabad (MICA)
These institutes do not offer a general MBA like the other institutes. Rather, they offer a specialisation in a particular functional area. It has been seen however that quite a few graduates from these institutes also get absorbed in regular MBA jobs.

Batch Size: With regard to the batch size, it varies from 30 to about 300. Most management institutes have a batch size of 60. However, the top ones like the IIMs have close to 300 students in one batch (divided into 3 or more sections). Also, there are some private institutes which have started taking close to 600 students in one batch. University departments and their affiliated colleges usually have one or two sections, each of 30 to 60 students.
Summer Internship. Almost all good management institutes have a two-month summer internship programme after the first year. During this internship, students are expected to observe the actual day-to-day functioning of an organisation. Also, they are given a project by the organisation, which they are expected to complete during this period. This internship programme is aimed at providing the students (mostly fresh graduates) with hands-on experience in the corporate world.

(b) One year (Executive MBA ) Full-Time Programme

Over the last 6 years, one year programmes have gained a lot of importance in INDIA., Indian School of Business (ISB) has been able to attract a lot of good students with a work experience of more than 3 years to their One Year Programme. The areas that are generally covered in a two-year course are also covered in these courses in that one year to 15 month duration. The Times School of Marketing (TSM), Delhi, Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad, and Great Lakes Institute of Management (GLIM), Chennai, are some examples of such institutes. Some of the IIMs, in addition to their regular two-year PGP, also offer one-year programmes for candidates with significant work experience.
One year programmes are recommended for those students who have a work experience of more than 5 years and ideally not less than 3 years.

(c) Three-Year Part-Time Programme
This programme is basically meant for working professionals who cannot pursue a full-time programme. As the focus is on working professionals, the eligibility criteria for this programme is a minimum of two years of work experience (usually two years). Some of the prominent institutes that offer this programme include Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS), Mumbai and Narsee Mongee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS), Mumbai.

(d) Correspondence Course
The market value of a correspondence course in management is definitely less than that of a full-time course. The reason for this is that the classroom learning in a management course is experiential, with the required focus on activities like group interaction, group projects, and classroom presentations. Active participation in these activities certainly helps a regular course student to gain experience and exposure to real-life situations. This is not possible in a correspondence course because of the very nature of the course.

But those who, for whatever reasons, are unable to pursue a regular classroom programme, can look at the correspondence course as an alternative to acquire knowledge of management concepts. One thing to note is that there is not much of a difference between the syllabi and text books prescribed for the regular course and the correspondence course. Hence, it can be said that those who pursue a correspondence course usually receive the same theoretical inputs as their counterparts in the regular course.

Correspondence course can be taken by those employees in whose organizations, completing of such a course will help in getting increments or promotions in their respective organizations.
IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University) and Symbiosis, Pune, are two such institutes that cater to this need of working professionals.

(e) Executive/Management Development Programme (EDP/MDP)
Most top management institutes in the country conduct Executive Development Programmes (EDPs) or the Management Development Prgragrammes. Typically, an EDP/MDP is a short-duration programme lasting anywhere between a week and three months.

While there is no entrance examination for admission into these programmes, sponsorship from the organisation where the candidate is working is essential to gain admission. The EDPs/MDPs, especially at top-notch management institutes, are usually quite expensive with the fee anywhere between Rs.20,000 and Rs.1,00,000 for a two- or three-week programme. These programmes are mostly meant for acquiring additional skills in specific functional areas and also for refreshing one's knowledge of the latest developments in one's regular work domain.

The eligibility requirement for most management institutes is a graduation degree in any field. A qualification equivalent to a degree is also considered adequate provided it is recognised by the appropriate authority (such as the UGC or the State or Central governments). If a student has a doubt about one's eligibility, then it is recommended that she / he write to the institute and find out whether her / his qualification is acceptable to the institute.

All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) regulates most of the colleges in the country and they may have a minimum percentage criteria for admission to the Post Graduate Programmes. Typically, it has been found that a student should get atleast 50% in his graduation to be eligible to apply to these management institutes. Even the IIMs which conduct the CAT exam have a minimum criteria for applying (50% in graduation).

In Maharastra, however, the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE) conducts the MBA CET exam for which the eligibility is 45% in graduation for an Open Category student.

(Sai Kumar, CAT Director, T.I.M.E. & ARKS Srinivas, Director, T.I.M.E. Mumbai)

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