Why so many MBA grads are unemployed

Why so many MBA grads are unemployed

Representative image. (Photo credit: Getty images)

What good is an MBA if it cannot land you a job and guarantee a career? The cruel irony is even after investing lakhs of money, time and effort, an MBA —considered to be a sure shot entry into a professional career —now fails to meet the expectations of management students and industry. This downside is reflected in news and reports—out of 3 lakh students graduating every year from B-schools only 35% of them are getting jobs. Business schools and MBA degrees continue to have a huge influence and expected to feed the industry with the best pool of industry-ready talent having business acumen, intelligence and ability to run the show independently from day 1 of their joining. However, the B-schools seem to have forgotten the drill of developing competent managerial professionals who can meet the employer’s expectations. Making students employable is a must for B-schools, so where are they going wrong and why are the graduates struggling to get a job?

In this emerging world of innovation, disruption and rethinking, there has been no or little change in the management programs curricula and pedagogy. The B-schools till date are so rooted in 20th-century methodologies with more inclination towards theoretical lectures and age-old classroom teaching techniques. B-schools are ignorant, with insignificant focus on experiential learning, corporate engagement, live projects and training. They seem to have forgotten to remodel and redesign their programs to impart present-day management practices and knowledge to the students, build the much-needed competencies and skills required by today’s employers.

Defining and developing industry-ready specializations in consultation with corporates and industry leaders is the need of the hour, which B-schools are overlooking. To attract placements, it is important for the B-schools to nurture the right skills that will help students to fit into various job roles. The academicians and experts at B-schools need to closely interact with employers to understand their needs and expectations from MBA freshers and thus design the course modules accordingly.

The management programs must impart relevant concepts, learnings and skills aligned with the emerging jobs, the key tasks and responsibilities involved to make the MBA graduates a perfect fit for employment.

Barring a few B-schools, the majority still steer clear of their responsibility of exposing the students to industry visits, guest lectures and developing corporate connections. Such interactions with the industry help students become aware of recent business trends, practices and expertise needed to deal with real-life business problems. As part of the program structure, the management students undergo compulsory internships and training, but hardly monitored by the B-schools. The hands-on experience and skill-based training obtained by the students at these internships is not assessed properly which takes a toll on their employability.

The new admits to the business school are often perceived to possess basic computer literacy in Ms Office, Google Suite, and other tech skills. This perception persists throughout the course duration and the B-schools do nothing to ascertain the digital competency of the students and bridge the skill gap if any. Minimal efforts are put in by the B-schools to deeply assess the student’s understanding of new-age digital tools and technology. Employers look to hire MBA graduates proficient in basic tech skills but are disappointed at the time of task delegation after hiring.

The B-schools have always functioned more on assumption than reality. The students selected after going through rigorous selection rounds are perceived to be efficient in certain skills and attributes. However, many times, the students are from a background where the initial years of education do not prepare them for the life skills needed to become successful. Till date, the focus has been more on imparting technical or hard skills than soft skills, which are increasingly demanded by employers and are a must to make a mark today in the corporate world.

The number of MBA graduates currently unemployed is concerning and will steer away prospective MBA students. A one-size-fits-all outlook of the B-schools is failing to meet the present-day expectations of both the recruiters and management aspirants. They need to revive their outdated approach towards education and develop industry-ready professionals who can be the right fit for the employers of today.

(The writer is the CEO and Co-Founder, Sunstone Eduversity)

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