MBA was and still is a valuable degree. The problem? Too many schools offer MBA courses and too many students sign up for it. Every other person out there is an MBA student or an MBA graduate so it is no more something that can set candidates apart.
Business schools laid extensive focus on the quality of education in the past, but not so anymore, and are on the wrong track now. Previously, MBA degree programs earned growing reputation. Only a selected few were admitted, and so the pay packages of the graduates were beyond impressive.
However, in the current era, quality has drastically gone down. Indeed, there are still some good schools out there, but they are limited. The curriculum isn’t designed properly, and so MBA students are not learning as they should have had. They don’t develop the skills that are required, and so fail to be an effective leader.
So what is the root cause? For most of the industry experts, it is the curriculum itself. During the past few years, business schools have developed an inappropriate academic excellence model. They now measure themselves using a scientific model that is based on abstract economical, financial and statistical analysis. The provided knowledge cannot be applied to real life scenarios, and so the current education system has become less practical.
The scientific model that is now used assumes business to be an academic subject like geology or chemistry. But this assumption itself is wrong. The truth is that business is a practical discipline like law and medicine. And just like all these subjects, business requires other subjects to be taught as well such as finance, accounting, mathematics and sociology. Thus, the curriculum is least expected to work until a more appropriate model is replaced by the current model, a model that considers all the essential requirements of a business profession.
So can we get the current dynamics to change? By understanding the profession at a deeper level and dealing with its requirements. Ideally, a profession has four fundamental elements: a body of knowledge that is widely accepted, a certification system that indentifies master of the knowledge body, targeted efforts for general good of the public and an ethical code. The core focus should be on industrial requirements, experiences close to real life scenarios and deeper practical insights. But all this must be integrated with theoretical knowledge as well.
That being said, the faculty should comprise of successful entrepreneurs and business leaders. Right now, most of the schools have professors who are intelligent and skilled, but unfortunately have no practical and managerial experiences. Consequently, they fail to identify problems faced in the real world, and cannot teach their students the art of making decisions.
Corporate employers and successful entrepreneurs should play their part as well, and let business schools know of what is expected of MBA graduates. Once they clarify their requirements, business schools will be able to serve their needs and produce more quality candidates.
If everyone gets on board, MBA programs can be improved further, and will teach the right lessons.