Time to revamp KU’s MBA

The degree of Master of Business Administration (MBA), which was started byGraduate School of Business Administration at Harvard University in 1908,reached Asian subcontinent in 1955 when the Inst...

The degree of Master of Business Administration (MBA), which was started byGraduate School of Business Administration at Harvard University in 1908,reached Asian subcontinent in 1955 when the Institute of business studies,in Karachi launched this program in association with Wharton school of the University of Pennsylvania, USA , under the University of Karachi, Pakistan. After that, it went to Europe in 1957 when INSEAD became the
first business school to offer an MBA degree.

This century-old degree has proved to be of phenomenal help to the counterpartsate
world, to attain
its unprecedented prodigiousness. Due to such benefits which the holder of this degree brings to the
table, 'employer
demand' for such professionals aggrandized, which
eventually made their
salary packages nearly insurmountable in the job
market. Understandably,
MBA became the most expensive non-science degree
program and its ubiquitous
acceptability captivated and fascinated millions of
students across the
globe.

Of late, this post graduate course has become the
most popular one in
Kashmir as well, especially after the fortunate
deviation of people's
traditional liking for Medical & Engineering fields
alone. The University
of Kashmir and its affiliate colleges have responded
to this requirement
and introduced the said course, including its
bachelors degree (BBA), even
though any under-graduate is eligible to register for
an MBA (which again
amplifies its 'aspirant base'). However, the way this
program is being
operationalized defeats the purpose of introducing
this course and the
cardinal reason for its inefficaciousness is that it is
being coalesced
with the conventional M.com degree,
notwithstanding colossal discrepancies
between the two. Unquestionably, academic system
in Kashmir has a humongous
experience in managing commerce degrees of B.com
and M.com but MBA of this
era is altogether a different ball game. It should not
be herculean to
comprehend that if M.com was already in place, then
what was the motivation
to come up with an MBA? Logically, there must be
something different and
that contrariety, if understood can solve the
quagmire and same divergences
between the two programs are to be delineated and
applied to the MBA
course.

 Let us try to do it here. MBA is a
professional course, while M.com
is not. Most substantial dissimilarity is that MBA is an
applied program,
unlike other academic ones. Applied academics is an
approach which
concentrates on how academic subjects can apply to
the real world and it
goes ahead of theoretical knowledge by actually
studying how the same can
be practically applied, which means it has two
components—acquiring
knowledge and then learning how to apply it. The
second one, being most
significant one, is totally missing in Kashmir's case.
This is also called
contextual learning, which require innovative
teaching methods to be adapted, wherein lecturer himself needs to know the
way companies apply
theoretical business models practically and should be
able to exemplify it,
make class more interactive and also explain the
need of studying the
topic. Students should feel connected with the
corporate world from their
classrooms. This calls for either the faculty to posses
industry experience
or at least facilitation of industry experts as guest
faculty, on a regular
basis. How many of our Kashmiri BBA's or MBA's
read news about Finance,
Economics, Markets, even though libraries are full of
such facilities? How
many of our MBA graduates can actually understand
stock market page of 'The
Wall street journal' or even the national 'Economic
or Financial times'?
How popular is NASDAQ and 'New York Stock Exchange'(NYSE) or even 'Bombay
Stock Exchange' (BSE), not in terms of definitions
and abbreviations but in
terms of staying abreast about its ratings and
fluctuations? Forget about
students, how many faculty members prefer
browsing live stock market update
websites over Facebook? How many write for
journals regularly except few
eminent ones? Why is it not mandatory for faculty to
be involved in
research, like everywhere in the West? Apart from
these questions, how much
do business schools emphasize on soft skills, problem
solving and Interview
skills, leadership and global orientation (exposure).
Many of our senior faculty
members and
administrators are highly competent and
knowledgeable, which means they alone
can not be held responsible.
It is the over all
system, right from the syllabus design, setting of
examination papers to
the grading pattern, all of which forms the mindset
of students in terms of
their priorities. Exam questions are not engineered
to challenge student's
creative and business skills. Grading system
encourages students to stick to the syllabus and
discountenances them to
think of their own, as bookish definitions are
considered to be safe as
they fetch highest grades. Faculty
and administration should
promote real MBA skills as much as they can, so that
students can have that
MBA personality, because the 'system overhaul'
seems to be a distant dream.

(Mehboob Makhdoomi is an MBA from Pennsylvania
University,USA, with a
research degree from Britain.
Email: Makhdoomi.mehboob6@gmail.com)

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