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Grads of Second-Tier B-Schools Struggle to Find MBA Jobs in India

Grads of Second-Tier B-Schools Struggle to Find MBA Jobs in India main image

The value of an MBA has always been inextricably tied-in with the question of employability. While alumni and business schools themselves will always talk up the romance of the experience and personal growth and the like, without strong placement figures at the end, those add-ons are worth precious little.

Figures concerning the employability of those opting for a second-tier MBA in India may therefore prove rather distressing to both the candidates and schools concerned. Brace yourself, because in 2014, only 18% of graduates from programs deemed not to be top-tier found MBA jobs in India, NDTV reports.

This is despite QS employer research showing that MBA jobs in India are plentiful – at least within the responding cohort of employers.  

Which MBA in India makes all the difference

It is worth pointing out that placement rates at the upper end of the scale remain respectable. Indeed, statistics reported to QS for the purposes of the Global 200 Business Report indicate that the top four schools in the country all enjoy 100% employment rates three months after graduation. Many of these higher-tier schools are now gaining or targeting international accreditation, with the goal of making an MBA in India a more credible option for those targeting international employers operating within the BRIC nation, or even beyond.

However, as the second-most populous country in the world – and estimates indicating that it will knock China off its perch by the end of the next decade – a mere handful of top schools isn’t going to cut it. Indeed, the percentage of applicants admitted to IIM-Ahmedabad, consistently ranked as the best MBA in India, stood at 0.25% for the class of ’14. That compares to 13% for Harvard Business School, by the way…

India has always been a sending nation, particularly at graduate-level. Domestically educated students must therefore also vie for MBA jobs in India with those educated at prestigious international schools. The question of employability is especially pertinent, as the value of an MBA which cannot bolster a candidate’s employability must seriously be called into question.

Eligibility or employability?

The issue of an oversaturation of MBAs without a jobs market to absorb them is not a new one in India, with some commentators questioning the pressure to mindlessly pursue the qualification at the expense of all else. Indeed, headlines earlier this year highlighted how the main value of an MBA was as an essential prerequisite for marriage in India, with the dark undertone being that is wasn’t as useful for other little things. Like finding MBA jobs in India…

Many of these second-tier schools have closed down in light of this – increasing the eligibility of bachelors (and it is still very much bachelors) is not, it seems, a sustainable business model. The number of schools had notably risen a great deal over the past few years, with nearly half a million places available in 2013, up from around 10,000 in 2006. Over 220 schools went last year, with 95 predicted to follow suit in 2014, according to the NDTV article referenced above.

The value of an MBA – what does the future hold?

These problems, it should be pointed out, are not unique to India. It has been noted that a boom in business school branch campuses in the Gulf, for instance, began to prove unsustainable during the crash years – and many of these were schools acknowledged as being part of the global elite. Mid-ranking US schools are also facing scrutiny for not moving with the times, with the dean of UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business going so far as to predict that online courses could well put paid to 50% of mid-ranking schools.

But returning to the question of the value of an MBA in India, there are those who can see positives in the future, particularly in light of the election of a prime minister known for being pro-business. As well as becoming the world’s most-populous country by 2030, it is also thought that India will possess the world’s fastest growing economy, with a GDP of US$10 trillion (of course, the question of distribution must be raised). A youthful, highly qualified workforce in this context, and that of an ageing Western populace, may well prove to be a game-defining asset.  

This, however, depends on the nation’s willingness to pull together and see that educational provision is aligned with its needs. Whether or not this happens will be a matter of great interest to the world of business as well as the world at the large over the next decade or so. One thing is for sure, though – a slew of second-tier business schools churning out inevitably second-rate MBAs is not to anyone’s benefit.

See employment rates at the world's top 200 business schools according to employers >

Written by Mansoor Iqbal

Mansoor is a contributor to and former editor of TopMBA.com. He is a higher and business education specialist, who has been published in media outlets around the world. He studied English literature at BA and MA level and has a background in consumer journalism.

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