India’s top business bosses tell Gauri Rane what they expect from fresh management graduates.
The much sought after management degree, it seems, is losing its shine. Head honchos attribute the downfall to the dwindling quality of management graduates coming out of the country’s innumerable B-school. Many are reluctant to recruit candidates who produce diplomas or degree certificates of management institutions other than the country’s top 20.
“Management aspirants have a lot to learn to bridge the gap between the classroom and boardroom,” says Arun Nanda, director, Mahindra and Mahindra.
While the number of MBA seats increased almost four-fold - from 95,000 in 2006-07 to 3,60,000 in 2011- 12, there was no corresponding increase in the number of job opportunities.
A paper titled “B-schools increasingly losing shine in India” brought out by the Associate Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM), corroborates this. The paper states that only 10 per cent of the graduates from Indian business schools today get placement immediately after completion of the course. This obviously excludes those from the country’s top 20 management schools. However, in 2008, almost 54 per cent of business graduates got jobs immediately, the report states.
Business barons observe that today’s management graduates not only need to hone their technical skills but soft skills as well. Ability to handle work pressure and cope with competitions is an area that experts express caution about. They are of the opinion that often an employee is not capable of handling the competition and also the success.
“Most common office conversations one hears start from, ‘I am from IIM- A, and why should I be reporting to someone from IIM- C, or ‘I belong to a senior batch and why should I be following orders of someone my junior,” says Nilay Yagnik, member, academic council, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies. “This attitude will not add value either to your degree, job or to the organisation you are working for,” he adds.
With the current turbulent economic climate, it has become even more important for a management graduate to gain knowledge from the outside world to become successful. In depth domain knowledge coupled with soft skills can take one a long way in their career, say experts.
"To become successful one should first train to be a good listener. You also need to be a team player, and most of all, be humble about your achievements,” says Nanda. “The younger lot brings in a lot of energy to an organization, but what is important is how this energy is channelized,” says R Mukundan, managing director, Tata Chemicals.
Keeping the emotional quotient alive is as important as acquiring any technical or soft skills, advises Anuj Puri, chairman and country head, Jones Lang LaSalle. “As you climb the corporate ladder, make sure that your emotions are alive, learn to manage relations, build trust and also build a strong network,” he says , adding that to match up to their international counterparts, Indian management graduates have to juggle changing and challenging times with speed and forethought.
There is no doubt that the demand for MBAs has begun to deflate. To stand out from the scores of management graduates entering the industry every year, one will need to be a master of all traits, from theory and technical know-how, to soft skills and leadership, and at the same time keep the emotional quotient up too.
10 rules for MBAs
By Anuj Puri, Chairman and Country Head, Jones Lang LaSalle