Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The marketable MBA option

With the country’s business community increasingly employing modern-day methods of doing business , there’s now a thriving market for management graduates. Businesses know that to remain relevant, one of the surest bets for them is to invest in MBA (Master in Business Administration) graduates who have a high level of market competence and practical knowledge.

That is good news for MBA students who would like to get into the banking sector, corporate entities and the like, or even for those who want to go it alone and start out as entrepreneurs, emboldened by the knowledge that they have undergone the rigours of an MBA degree.

Educational options
Not surprisingly, educational institutions here have more than welcomed the trend and have been at work trying to meet the demand for MBA grads. Several national-level universities, including Tribhuvan University (TU), Purbanchal University (PU), Pokhara University (PU) and Kathmandu University (KU) have authorised dozens of

colleges to run MBA programmes. Furthermore, there are almost half a dozen colleges running MBA programmes with affiliations from foreign universities.

The MBA programme in Nepal has been broadly segregated into three major types: the regular MBA, which is best suited for regular students; evening MBA programmes, which work for regular students as well, but are targeted more towards job holders who can attend school after work; and executive MBA degrees, which cater to professionals who have already held a job for at least four to five years.

And within the programmes themselves, there are slight variations in the type of MBA degree offered, the courses differing from college to college.

According to Binod Khatri, principal of Phoenix College of Management, Kathmandu, students have been increasingly coveting the marketability of a postgraduate degree in business because the market is so welcoming of new grads; and the MBA programme has thus become one of the more popular options for today’s students. Luckily for them, there are so many colleges getting into the game that many of them have started competing with each other to lure the students. One way the colleges have been trying to lure students into their institution is making the course more affordable.

It is estimated that the country produces 1,300 to 1,400 MBA graduates every year. Furthermore, because many students today are finishing their undergraduate degree in an era where instances of young entrepreneurs striking out on their own at a relatively young age is no longer an anomaly, there are many such enterprising individuals moving on to do a Master’s in business , which means that the pool of MBAs keeps increasing.

There also seems to be a nice ripple effect at play in the market here that seems to be making an MBA degree an enticing option. “If you observe most business institutions in Nepal, there is a huge demand for capable and dynamic leaders,” says Ramesh Silwal, principal of Golden Gate College, Kathmandu. When a business ropes in the best graduates available, its competitor too will have to think about bringing in well-educated graduates to keep pace. And if the business houses have to compete with a corporate house setting up shop here in the country, then that means not just job opportunities for current MBA grads, but also a raising of the bar across the board: It’s almost like there is a feedback mechanism that comes into play whereby as the market takes in better managers, the more managers that the other players in the market end up needing.

Cost factor
But even though the competition among colleges has largely helped in reining in tuition fees for the degree, the MBA programme is still among the costlier disciplines in Nepal. Depending on the college, students are charged anywhere from Rs 300,000 to Rs 600,000 for a four-semester course which lasts for two years. According to Khatri, the fees are justifiable because MBA graduates in Nepal have been finding pretty good jobs pretty easily. But teachers do want to warn prospective students that an MBA by itself does not guarantee cushy first contracts. “The job prospects still largely depend upon the students themselves. It’s mostly the competitive and dynamic students who have become successful in getting stupendous job offers,” said Khatri. Ramesh Silwal of Golden Gate College added another important caveat. “The cost of MBA studies is high. Therefore, students need to be serious about seeking the appropriate jobs that justify their investment,” he said.

As in any industry that has seen immense growth and development, several problems have cropped up in the MBA education sector too. “The most serious problem seems to be lack of monitoring and evaluation of colleges by the concerned universities,” said Silwal.

“The rampant distribution of affiliation without the governing bodies’ measuring the capacity of colleges can be damaging in the long run.” The other challenge, according to Silwal, is lack of willingness on the part of corporations and companies to offer internship opportunities to students. “If you send a student to a bank for an internship, for example, they will hardly get even a designated seat,” he said. One way out would be for universities and colleges to collaborate with corporate groups to create internship facilities together, he added.  

But as with most majors, the main challenges concern things that are within the control of the students themselves. “MBA is an intensive course. Students should devote at least eight to 12 hours a day to their studies,” said Khatri. “Since many students in Nepal are already involved in some profession, they don’t have enough time to devote to their studies.”

source: the kathmandu post,11 Dec 2013