Published on December 17th, 2018 | by drkkr


Job Markets look for Quality with Quantity

The marketplace is ruled by a supply/demand dynamic and as much as we would like to think otherwise this extends to education too. The statistics are in: 56% of MBA graduates did not land a job during campus placements in 2016 17. And of the 15900 students from Tamil Nadu only 6900 managed to find a job.

Cue the hand wringing. Despite the chorus about the sheer volume of management graduates being produced every year, the fact remains: India is a young population, the economy is booming, and tempering the ‘supply’ of graduates is not the answer. Inclusion is not an option, it is mandatory. We must tell ourselves that ‘too many graduates’ is not a problem that we have. What we must swiftly correct is quite a different matter.

I submit that the quality of our education needs a revamp from top to bottom. For starters, it must be an education, not a brutal ruthless exercise in churning graduates out from a factory. And when we say education it should be the highest possible escalation of life skills and professional skills that can be pulled off. Make note that one doesn’t have to be seated in the classroom of an Ivy League campus to do this. Wisdom and ability are as available and welcome on any campus.

To start with the faculty. Of course, there isn’t an inexhaustible supply of superior faculty. But the existing faculty can most certainly be trained deeply and be given constant refreshing’s through workshops, seminars and their own classrooms. A radiantly capable faculty upgrades a classroom just by walking into it, so to speak.  So the faculty is actually the place to start.

Incorporating teaching by leaders in industries should be much more frequent than the random and rare occurrence. These are featured as highlights of a student’s exposure. They shouldn’t be; heavyweight visitors to campus should be frequent occurrences. This will give everything the classroom imparts a new dimension of relevance.

Let us take a cue from the Indian educational institutions that are succeeding admirably. There are a few but a robust lot at the top end of their charts. Their graduates land plum jobs with windfall salaries. What are they doing right?

For one they have cracked being leaders in their universe. Today, they cannot be rivalled for the heft of their reputations. And they guard those reputation zealously. Be it faculty or students, only the cream of the top-flight applications are rewarded. The input is above standard so the output is above standard. Consequently their graduates absorb this supreme sense of themselves and then exhibit it. The graduates are distinctive by their self-confidence and this carries the day for them in many a situation.

Also the better institutions have a clear, articulated vision of themselves. That vision is also calibrated to the ground realities of an ever-changing world, so it feels contemporary and one can believe in it. Knowing that vision prompts students to align to it, and it informs their ability to conceive of a superior future for themselves.

Unfortunately this does not apply to the tsunami of institutions that have sprung up, whose goal is not education, it is the manufacturing of MBA Applicants. Their graduates are unnecessarily diffident is not just hesitant, and their timidness is palpable. This is the first problem we must solve: that applicants with an MBA qualifications may be qualitatively far from it.

Second, the quality of the education we offer should be contemporary, plugged into the marketplace and genuinely extend itself to preparing out management graduates for the workplace realities. Is it? Quite apparently not. It is most certainly a lengthy rote learning process.

As far as increasing the education we need to ensure that three things should be paramount:

  1. How to think for yourself (and not wait for constructive thinking to be spoon fed to you)
  2. How to make decisions (and not have solved situations given to you on a platter)
  3. How to discover alternatives to difficult situations (and not to capitulate to an impasse)
  4. How to communicate efficaciously in any situation (and not lose your equilibrium and say too much or too little)
  5. How to negotiate oneself through and out or into situations (and how not to stay trapped in something)
  6. How to develop an emotional quotient, not just an intelligence quotient (and how to be a enabling part of situation, not the dumb one).

Desperate graduates not finding a job even at reduced salaries while the colony is booming is something we have to solve. We need a new paradigm of placements that helps our MBA’s be worthy of an above average employment. Part of that effort should be the preparing of students for the entire gamut: how to ace the job interview, how to prepare yourself to be a profitable employee, how to adapt oneself to a working environment.

Our MBA colleges don’t teach our students to develop a work ethic. A well-developed work ethic at one point gallantly embraces hard work, adapts to different environments, and believes delivering finished work a moral imperative. Such an ethic is a carryover from the early years of our lives. Many companies have a well-thought out and perfected set of expectations from their people and an individual who doesn’t have a work ethic will not be able to deliver to them, because they simply don’t know that terrain.

The road is long and hard, and what is harder still is that it need to be traveled before dawn tomorrow. We must begin to solve this situation on a war footing. Far too many graduates are being churned out who have not a skill, personal or professional, to bring to the table. We are quite literally beginning a situation that will present overwhelming challenges to the students and the nation as a whole.

It’s not that it cannot be done. Our students deserve our deepest effort. The responsibility of their education is a moral responsibility. And we should each wish each other the very best …… for our students.

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