There appears to be a drop in interest from overseas applicants to U.S. MBA programs, according to Kumar Anand of the Economic Times in an article titled: “Number of Applicants for Executive Management in Indian B-Schools Rises.”
Anand cites the example of Jorawar Singh, an Indian young professional seeking an MBA degree inside India and not the likes of Boston and Ohio B-Scools. This is unusual for many Indian MBA applicants, as well as applicants from other countries, too, as U.S. schools are typically the most sought after in terms of admission. Anand writes: “In all, 42% of the full-time MBA programs in the U.S. reported a decline in the number of foreign applicants. Of these, as many as 70% reported the largest decrease in number of applications from India.”
Jorawar Singh, the young professional Anand cites, feels a one-year B-School in India will help him get a job after graduation in India, as opposed to going overseas and then returning to look for work. Singh contributes, by saying: “Today, quite a few Indian B-Schools are offering quality executive management program at much cheaper cost.” Anand adds to this, saying that a number of Indian MBA applicants favor Indian B-Schools over U.S. B-Schools because the quality of education is much higher in India than is used to be, not to mention the cheaper cost.
Dave Wilson, president and CEO of GMAC (Graduate Management Admission Council) claims:
“More Indians prefer Indian B-Schools over B-Schools in the U.S. Of late, India has been offering world-class management education. Less expensive quality education provided by Indian B-Schools remains a big draw for Indian students. People are interested in pursuing MBAs from the geography where they could continue working, and India has emerged as a preferred destination for many.”
Curious to know the facts supporting these statements? Anand claims that a total of 17,488 applications were submitted to Indian B-Schools in 2008. That number is five times higher than seen in 2004, according to the GMAC. At the moment, 24 Indian B-Schools accept GMAT scores for 53 programs.
A new trend among MBA students (one which might surprise you) has emerged in recent years. Many future business leaders are voluntarily pledging to act responsibly and ethically, to uphold truth and integrity, and to view businesses as more than just money-making organizations.
Interest in ethics courses and student activities concerned with corporate responsibility has significantly grown. Students at Columbia formed a Leadership and Ethics Board that holds lectures about business and ethics. Ten years ago, Wharton had one ethics class that was required. Now, there are seven professors teaching several ethics course offerings that are popular among students. Wharton has also had the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research since 1997.
Recent graduates are growing more concerned with corporate social responsibility. This is not to say that graduates will not be interested in high-paying jobs at big companies, but they’ll think about how they earn their income and how corporations impact the environment, the community, and their employees’ quality of life.
So who’s taking the pledge, and how? Here are examples of how students at two of the top business schools are promising to be ethical in business.
- Around 20 percent of Harvard Business School’s graduating class have signed “The MBA Oath,” a voluntary pledge to act responsibly and ethically in business practices.
- Students at Columbia Business School must pledge to an honor code that states: “As a lifelong member of the Columbia Business School community, I adhere to the principles of truth, integrity, and respect. I will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.”
Like many business schools, London Business School (LBS) is receiving an increasing number of applications for the 2008-2009 school year. Applicants to LBS recognize the advantages of studying in London, a center of world finance and business, and many are interested in not only learning from a highly knowledgeable faculty, but also surrounding themselves with students who have significant professional experience. The LBS program lasts between 15 and 21 months, during which time the school offers a broad range of academic and professional opportunities.
For applicants to LBS, it is important to consider that LBS places a great deal of weight on work experience. Getting in to LBS without any significant work experience, e.g. straight from college, is quite unlikely. It seems from a recent chat on Business Week with David Simpson of the Admissions team at LBS that 2 years is almost a minimum for admitted students. One reason for this is that LBS is interested in business people who have not only worked for companies, but also led teams or managed projects. These students then have their own valuable experiences to share in the classroom so that they can learn from each other’s past successes and stumbles. Since gaining such insights takes time, LBS generally admits students with around five years of work experience. When they evaluate applicants, their number one interest is to develop an understanding of what the applicant has done professionally beyond academics and extracurricular activities. Therefore, those applying to LBS should have a solid base of professional experiences to drawn on and to delineate in their application.
However, work alone is not the only key to LBS admission. The school also seeks high GMAT scores, a median of 690, and strives for diverse international representation in each class.
During the recent two years, many business schools have revamped or retooled the curriculum of their MBA programs . This is designed to better prepare students to manage and thrive on new challenges in an ever-changing global business world through a more profound intellectual experience and more effective training on leadership development. These modifications allow students to customize their MBA programs with a greater selection of electives, an increased number of half-semester core courses, more exchange programs for studying aboard, smaller classes, a closer integration of in-person and online class participation, and more week-long intensive courses.
Deeper, Smaller, Broader
So what are those key improvements? In a nutshell, MBA curriculums have been remodeled in 4 major aspects:
1.) Content – More real-world relevant courses, more interdisciplinary courses (such as legal and international relations courses), and more collaborative effort – Harvard Business School, for example, offers the opportunity to cross-register for courses in other select graduate programs. So do many other top business schools. More extra-curricular lectures from business professionals and on-site projects with corporations or governments.
2.) Configuration – Broader spectrum of electives allow you to construct your own study program and make your B-school academic experience unique. The weight of core courses as requirements for the degree is lowering. Many core courses are also offered in half-semesters to let you take many different courses within a semester’s time. For example, about half of Columbia Business School’s core courses are half-semester.
3.) Delivery – More high-tech equipped classrooms with more frequent use of the Internet. Smaller class sizes. Classes are taught in seminars that maximize active participation and deeper intellectual involvement. More courses are taught by two or more faculty members as a team.More interaction with faculty advisors. For example, at Stanford Graduate School of Business, your faculty advisor partners with you to select the courses that fit with your personal background and interests.
4.) Format – New curriculum models. For example, Yale’s MBA program did away with the traditional self-contained subject courses such as marketing, finance, and organizational behavior. Instead it starts to offer an Integrated Leadership Perspective course focusing on managing internal and external parties such as all levels of employees, customers, competitors, and investors. The goal is to tie together all that students learned in the first year in a holistic manner.
What prompted these changes?
Many top-rated business schools had not developed new MBA programs in nearly 30 years. Why all the changes now?The major reason for the changes is one framework of business education simply won’t work anymore. Interdisciplinary studies and experience-based learning foster the kind of creativity, leadership, problem-solving skills, critical and independent thinking, business ethics, and cultural sensitivity necessary to succeed in real-world business.
The impact of the dot-com era and an increasingly dynamic, global economy are two main catalysts for curriculum changes. MBA programs now incorporate more courses specifically geared toward e-commerce, digital media, and information technology. Programs also look beyond textbooks to incorporate more interactive learning into the classroom. The growing significance of communication in a global context also translates into a stronger emphasis on foreign language study and traveling abroad within MBA curriculum.
Finally, many top business schools have changed due to new dean and program director appointments in the past few years. These new personnel bring years of experiences, fresh perspectives, and great initiatives to instill new energy into well-established institutions in a competitive and adaptive MBA education world.
What Is Required of the Schools?
To take the program to the next level, those schools need significant funding from their respective parent institutions to support new facility, new equipment, increase in faculty and more. Both Stanford and Columbia are in the midst of expanding their business school campuses.As we can see, a lot of more work is ahead for all the top institutions. To educate next century’s business leaders, all the business schools need to stay at the forefront of the changes.
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