Is it all about placements?

MBA is losing sheen in the higher education space because of a host of reasons, excessive focus on “placements” being one of the most important amongst them. I am focusing on this aspect in this article.

It is not known but even an IIM Ahmedabad does not promise 100% placements…they happen thats another story. They happen not because the institution arranges them but because the recruiters are more sure that their IIMA hires are definitely worth the money and they will certainly add value. Yet, the most common question one faces during an MBA admission process- “whats the guarantee of placements”. Quite some MBA institutions publish aloud about 100% placements because that is what sells (Its a different matter that the prospective students do not notice the word “assistance”…)

Once the admission happens, most of the effort of the better paid people (please note most are not the academicians) revolve around soft skills development, internships & placements. The class schedules are merrily accomodated for a company visit. Attendances are merrily given for preparing for interviews. Focus is so much on getting the first placement break that the very purpose for which a student had come to an MBA school takes a back seat.

Once such students go out in the market, either through campus placements or on their own…the real fight starts there. Some are lucky to get good breaks, projects, assignments and the rest (more than 90%) are left to an eternal wait for the same chances/breaks because they have no differential capacity to impart value to the organisation because the learning period was spent in just preparing for “placements”.

The policy environment and the education entrepreneurship also takes the share of the blame. 25 years back I did my MBA when there were 5 MBA institutes in Rajasthan…today there are 5 in my in-laws colony in Jaipur. There is little to differentiate between one another which leads to a never ending struggle to get admissions and the subsequent focus on “placements”.

Just like the Telecom revolution (read-multiple competitors in a free competitive market) led to a bonanza for the customers, the MBA education revolution (read- multiple competitors in a free competitive market) is leading to a bonanza for the customers (companies) who can now hire an MBA in sub Rs.10000.

Even a “placement” focus is not delivering….then what will? …Will deal with this question in the next article.