10 years back I took my daughter to a UK education fair in a Kolkata hotel. It was a relatively big event with over 40 (if I remember correctly) UK institutes in attendance, and there was counselling by representatives from the British Council.
My daughter was studying arts, and she was interested to explore taking up language courses or subjects like Sociology, Media Studies, etc. To our dismay, nearly all the institutes were offering various shades of management courses and some also offered a plethora of engineering courses.
When we asked about arts courses, we could see they were surprised…and a bit embarrassed. But they quickly explained the situation. “We do have great arts courses…but what to do?” they said informing, “Students here want to study only management (sic)!”
The British Council reps showed us figures to explain that those that studied 2-3 languages were the quickest to get jobs – within 2-4 weeks of completing studies – even as management graduates and those with computer degrees languished for months to get jobs.
The mushrooming of private management colleges all over India is a proof of lopsided priority in the higher education. There is no building of real talent by these institutes, and for many of them, teaching management is akin to equipping the students with the famous Indian jugaad technology so that they can fit into any system.
The country doesn’t need so many management graduates with little exposure to the fast changing business scenario. Today – and increasingly more so in the days ahead – a sizeable chunk of business happens online. So, not only the jobs are getting squeezed, but also the job aspirants are woefully short in the knowledge of the latest business functioning in this ever-changing situation.
I guess this is the bane of most private b-schools. Lesser and lesser jobs for management graduates mean lesser students, and therefore lesser colleges. Which is why, as TOI reports, there are more b-schools closing than new ones opening.
As per that report, between 2011 and 2013, the All India Council for Technical Education or AICTE received 231 applications from management colleges wanting to shut down. The AICTE has okayed about 80 of them. A similar story haunts the Master of Computer Application (MCA) courses where 84 colleges stopped offering the programme last year.
I’m reminded an article by Rick Newman a few days back in Yahoo! Finance. It is titled, The 10 Worst Majors for Finding a Good Job (in the US), where Business Administration / Management is ranked at the top.