Education

Look beyond the numbers

Evaluating MBA programmes and B-Schools on the basis of Return of Investment is not an appropriate way to select one’s future course.   | Photo Credit: Pixabay

We live in an era of instant transmission of information across the world and like to know, explore and vet things before making a purchase or taking a decision. This attitude is now being applied to every aspect of our lives, including education.

In this sector, admission season means banners, hoardings and advertisements talking about what each institution has to offer, what it excels at and how it will transform a student’s life. Many Business Schools (B-Schools) talk about placement numbers and remuneration packages as part of their promotion. However, evaluating MBA programmes and B-Schools on the basis of Return of Investment is not an appropriate way to select one’s future course.

Factors that influence choice

B-Schools and top management institutes have earned their reputation through rigorous research, industry-oriented academic curriculum, renowned faculty, remarkable facilities, and impeccable pedagogy. They are centres of excellence and learning. Yet, while choosing a B-School, an applicant looks at it as a mere placement agency. When choosing higher education options, students generally consider these factors:

Cost: This is a major influence on admission preferences. The higher the cost of education, the higher the need to get a good placement and package. Students tend to look at the benefit of a good college not as what they will learn but as what they will earn.

Misleading reports and advertisements: This annual exercise influences the youth to think more about numbers rather than the learning culture because it focuses on placement numbers and packages. College brochures and documents also promote their association with big industrial players and assure placements in one of them.

Fear of missing out: Students are always concerned about scoring in the placement procedures and bagging an offer. They dread to think of a life where they don’t get placed. Hence, most of their queries are related to placement assistance rather than about what they will learn.

What can be done

The responsibility of changing these perceptions lies with all those involved in the admission process. Altering the perception of B-Schools as placement agencies is a must. Management institutes can create an ecosystem of learning and growth by influencing how students perceive higher education as a whole. This can be done by:

Promoting blended learning and design thinking instead of placements as their Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Evoke a spirit of curiosity and innovation among students with a new approach to traditional learning methods and including live and real-time learning experiences.

Introducing new models of learning where the colleges partner with organisations and help students upskill by updating them about market trends and processes and offering industry visits and guest lecturers.

Introducing design thinking, innovation, critical thinking, and problem-solving as part of the curriculum, as these are essential skills to boost self-confidence, holistic growth and one’s approach to learning.

Promoting entrepreneurship, self-learning, leadership, and honing multiple skill sets to help students understand that they are worth more than a few digits.

The writer is the Director, Symbiosis Centre for Management and Human Resource Development (SCMHRD).

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 2:52:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/why-b-schools-need-to-shape-mindsets-and-not-be-mere-placement-hubs/article34234684.ece

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