Equipping MBAs for the challenges and opportunities ahead
Great opportunities await the MBA student who keeps his eyes, ears and most importantly his mind, open in the years to come.
It is true that the slowdown in the world economy is not a very cheery prospect, but while we must survive that and stay afloat in the current economic situation, all of us (not just students alone) must keep an eye on the future. The current cycle will come to an end and the economy will be buoyant once again. We must be battle-ready to take full advantage of the opportunities we are offered then.
The global village, that all of us work in today, offers us an almost unlimited range and scope of opportunities. Earlier, an MBA graduate thought in terms of jobs across the country, while today, he must alter his mind-set and think in terms of employment across the world. Multinational enterprises offering posts in Rio Di Janeiro or Lisbon or Hong Kong, can take them anywhere across the globe.
Those planning to be an entrepreneur, must cease to think of their own country as their only marketplace. The world has the potential to be their market now – borders have blurred, governments have pulled down trade barriers and one can sell wherever a good customer base exists. With all this in place, it’s important that the students are well aware of these opportunities, and realize that these exist not just on paper. An institute that appeals to the presence of International students – where a student is exposed to classmates, teachers and staff from different countries and cultural backgrounds – offers a variety of networking connections. It is difficult to quantify the manifold advantages that this brings to him. The experience is an education in itself.
Learning what each country does best
Singapore is at the epicenter of the economic revolution in Asia. Next door is China, which has converted itself into the factory of the world in a few decades. It is a success story that is quite breath-taking in its scope – a textbook in itself for all MBA students. Yet, while China will probably lead the world in building taller buildings, giant bridges and grand highways, it is still the United States of America that leads the world in creating ‘Soft Power’. No country can match the United States in the array of brands that it has built – from Coca Cola to Apple to McDonalds.
Singapore has had a long and close relationship with the United States, and Singapore has done a remarkable job of creating a brand of itself. The tiny red dot has carved its own niche in the community of nations and that have been through an extraordinary journey – one that students can learn a great deal from.
No more ivory-towers
Academicians and students can no longer reside in their ivory towers and expect to conquer the world markets. Tomorrow’s MBA students must certainly acquire a bird’s eye view of the world of work that the academic theorist can give him. But they must also have a worm’s eye view of the everyday challenges in the work-place. These can only be provided by a working industry professional.
The interaction of academically qualified and professionally qualified teachers gives the students a stimulating environment, making them complete managers.
Competing with MBAs from all over the world
Earlier, the MBA student from India competed with other Indian students from other institutes and other cities in India. But if globalization provides opportunities, it also offers challenges. The Indian–origin MBA will, in the future, compete with students from all over the world. Even being among the best in India will not really matter much. A bigger challenge posed in future will be, can he compete with the best from all around the world?
Not by the rules, alone
Of course, systems play a large role in guiding the growth of all corporations, big or small. But in the world that all of us work in today, where change is a constant, the rules vary every day! The great entrepreneurs, the good managers today are often mavericks. So, what can we learn from them – can we see a pattern in the behavior of these successful rebels? Can we make rules about how, when and why we should break rules?
That’s the challenge in management education today – to create new systems that allow for constant non-conformity. Students are taught never to stand still, to keep moving ahead, even when they are well-ahead of the pack. That is also what the world will demand of them in the future.