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Will the Pandemic Reshape MBA Education in India?

Will the Pandemic Reshape MBA Education in India?

Ten ways the pandemic has impacted management education in the country

Covid-19 has disrupted the world forever, including the way formal business education is imparted. In India, with longer nationwide lockdown and recent increase in coronavirus cases, the impact has been prolonged.

Consequently, B-Schools that could leverage technology, had visionary leadership to quickly build an eco-system of virtual learning, teaching, evaluation and community-building were less impacted. As the pandemic has not yet ended, it would be imprudent to evaluate the nature and magnitude of the impact. So, how does Covid-19 impact business education?

  1. Covid-19 has caused huge job losses, salary cuts and potential unemployment in more sectors. While some have decided to pursue an MBA, many are considering it as a devalued asset. The B-Schools that MDRA interacted with have said there is minimal impact on admissions and enquiries. In placements, many organisations have either deferred joining of B-School pass-outs or revoked offers. 
  2. Several B-Schools had to re-design courses, evaluation parameters as well as admission processes. Some top IIMs have done away with WAT (Written Aptitude Test) this year as part of selection process. 
  3. In almost all B-Schools, teaching and learning have been happening online. Institutions offering PGDM have conducted online exams and awarded PG Diplomas. Students could join organisations from where they had job offers. However, a large number of students pursuing MBAs from institutes affiliated to state universities could not join as these states have not yet conducted their final exams. Many run the risk of losing the opportunity.
  4. This year, most of the first year MBA/PGDM students had to contend with virtual summer internship. Some were not able to even get any summer internship. Industry visits and industry-interaction programmes have also suffered, thereby substantially impacting practical learning.
  5. B-Schools awarding PGDM have commenced new academic year, though almost two months late and without any induction weeks or fresher parties. Those affiliated to state universities could not fill up their seats as states have not allocated students from their fixed quota seats. 
  6. Due to travel restrictions, students and parents are choosing B-Schools nearer to their homes.
  7. While majority of students had access to virtual libraries, they could not visit physical ones. On the positive side, the circumstances led to faster availability of reputed global resources (journals, research papers, magazines) to help them in building deeper and global perspectives. 
  8. Student activities, clubs, as well as sports and championships play important role in personality development. Students of pandemic-batch would regret missing on peer-to-peer learning and moments of togetherness.
  9. Student-exchange and faculty-exchange programmes might be affected, though B-Schools are keeping mum on this and waiting for the situation to get better. 
  10. In terms of economic and financial impact, many uncertainties cloud B-Schools. A significant number of support staff, vendors and service providers have been hit. The revenues have been disrupted with lesser consultancy projects, MDPs, EDPs, etc. Nonetheless, some B-Schools have saved on operational overheads.

As Covid-19 pushed MBA education towards an all-digital world, and a possibility of new opportunities through "work-from-anywhere" in the post-Covid era, some questions remain unanswered. a) With stronger emergence of "education from anywhere", would high-priced classroom-MBA programmes command the same premium in future?; b) Will the traditional concept of strong social and physical infrastructure associated with high-quality MBA education be challenged?; c) How many B-Schools that adopted "emergency remote teaching" would transform it into a blended online and classroom learning?

Abhishek Agrawal is Executive Director, MDRA (Marketing & Development Research Associates) ; He tweets at @twit2abhi

Published on: Oct 15, 2020, 7:15 PM IST
Posted by: Vivek Dubey, Oct 15, 2020, 7:15 PM IST