There has been much debate about the value of an MBA degree in recent times. Globally, MBA programs have come under intense scrutiny with business schools around the world trying to adapt their courses to the ever changing ‘new-normal’ of business. However, in the midst of this changing paradigm, there are certain foundations that form the basis of the success of an MBA program. These key foundations are invaluable in the training of successful managers and leaders.
Firstly, an MBA program should equip future managers with a strong conceptual base about the fundamental ways in which business works. A normative understanding of cross functional disciplines like Marketing, Finance, Operations, Technology, etc. allows a manager to take a holistic view of situations. This knowledge is gained not only through a rigorous coursework, but also by invaluable discussion with peers from diverse backgrounds.
Secondly, managers must learn to operate effectively in different administrative contexts and economic environments. The ability to influence a wide range of people in the organization is important. Execution skills are extremely important for a manager. Top business schools often design their own unique methodologies to train managers with execution skills. In a global economy the importance of executing in ambiguous situations cannot be understated.
Along with a sound knowledge base and impeccable execution skills, the best managers also develop a unique sensitivity to their operating environments. In order to build successful and sustainable businesses, managers must have a keen sense of responsibility towards all stakeholders. To ensure responsible decision making by managers, the best business schools consciously design their programs to inculcate such an attitude in their students.
Prospective applicants should take into consideration how much importance the MBA program accords to developing these fundamentals. Achieving the right balance of these core fundamentals is easier said than done. Top business schools have different approaches that they take in order to develop these fundamentals. For example, SPJIMR has a pedagogic approach like a compulsory social-sector project and the unique ADMAP course. Whatever the approach, applicants should take cognizance of these important fundamentals while choosing a program. An MBA equips an individual with important skills to be successful in the corporate world, and the right selection of an MBA program can be truly transformative.