September 21, 2012

The 49 week MBA program

The B-School business is in a bit of a crisis ! Globally, MBA applications are falling [ WSJ ] and in India many B-Schools, especially those run by slightly shady operators, are shutting down [ ToI ]. An obvious reason for this state of affairs is that, at least in India, the AICTE has created an environment where only shady people with little interest in education but with bags of money are allowed to build and operate B-Schools. Given the current state of political leadership in the country it is futile to expect any kind of policy support and so it is up to the B-School community to figure a way out of this rut.

Should we revamp the curriculum ? To make it more relevant ? Datar in Rethinking the MBA  has identified that MBA programs should focus on leadership skills, creative and critical thinking. In an earlier post I have explored the possibility of replacing the functional approach in the MBA program [ Marketing / Finance / Operations / HR ] with a more holistic approach that balances the application of left and right brain skills.

Another approach could be to make the MBA program more compact, efficient and effective. Can we cut the flab from the AICTE mandated 2 year program and come out with something that is shorter and so less expensive ?

While we cannot deny that placements is the principal reason why students join B-Schools, pedagogy is important as well. A quick survey of well known B-School curriculum shows that the teaching credits that range from 72 at Kellogs, 60 at Stonybrook, 60 at Stern, NYU, 51 at Haas, Berkeley, 60 at Harvard and 63( equivalent) at Wharton, UPenn. So if we shorten the program, we need to make sure that it delivers a significant amount of course content.

Here is a sample MBA program that comfortably delivers 72 credits of actual teaching in just 49 weeks.

Course Structure of 49 week program

Term 1  -  10 weeks of teaching @ 30 hours/week  + 1 week for examination = 11 weeks
Subject Teaching CreditsContact Hours
Marketing - I2
Human Behaviour and Management - I2
Organisational Design, Change and Transformation2
Financial Accounting and Reporting2
Cost and Management Accounting2
Statistical Methods for Management2
Mathematical Models for Management Decisions3
Management Information Systems3
Business Ethics2
Organisational Leadership2
Oral and Business Communications2
Total24288 max

Term 2  -  10 weeks of teaching @ 30 hours/week  + 1 week for examination = 11 weeks
Subject Teaching CreditsContact Hours
Marketing - II2
Human Resource Management3
Economics for Management3
Corporate Finance3
Production and Operations Management3
Business, Government and International Economic Environment2
Business Law for Managers2
Strategic Management2
Written Business Communications2
IT for Business Applications 2
Total24288 max

Term 3 : Company Internship OR Management Research Project 
8 weeks of Project Work worth 8 credits

Term 4 :  10 weeks of teaching @ 30 hours/week  + 1 week for examination = 11 weeks

Subject Teaching CreditsContact Hours
Choice of 8 - 10 electives from the pool of possible electives
Total24288 max

Placement  : 4 weeks

So the total duration is 3 teaching terms of 11 weeks each ( 33 week ) + 8 weeks Internship+ 4 weeks for Placement + 4 weeks for inter-term holidays, public holidays, registration, viva etc. to arrive  at a figure of 49 weeks.

Here we have assumed that a 3-credit course requires 36 contact hours even though many B-Schools are happy to offer only 30 contact hours.

So what is the moral of the story ?

The current 2 year MBA program is on its way to becoming a part of history. We need to revamp it with a new curriculum, a new technology enabled delivery platform,  a more efficient placement process or as is explained here a shorter, more cost-effective program itself.

Or why not combine all these elements into something new and radically different ?

I am sure that many people will find a million things wrong with this approach, but let the debate begin !

1 comment:

Unknown said...

This is definitely one of best information about breakup of things about full-time MBA I have come across. Thanks for such an informative and great post.