There is no over supply of quality professional managers

Aug 26 - Sep 01, 2002

Certainly Danishmand is right when he says, "There is no over supply of quality business school graduates." The outgoing graduates of leading business schools are offered jobs before they pass out. Employers select graduates depending on their needs. Some of the jobs demand certain traits, present in graduates from only selected business schools. Therefore, there is a wide gap between the salary being paid to graduates from various schools.

This clearly indicates that business schools do not follow universal selection criteria and curriculum. The quality of faculty and infrastructure is not similar. Therefore, if the inputs are different the finished product can not be identical. The mushroom growth of business schools may offer an opportunity to students to get an MBA degree, but hardly helps in securing a decent job and comparable remuneration.

This situation tends to give an impression that there is an over supply of graduates from business schools.

It was good that the government allowed establishment of a large number of universities in the private sector. However, the absence of regular appraisal of following the charter allowed them to charge higher fees and ignore the objective of their creation. Students and their parents complain that despite paying a fabulous fees the job assurance is not there. For this they must accept the blame. Do they make any effort to find out the details about the business school they wish to join?

One tends to agree that an MBA degree is considered a symbol. They very proudly say that son or daughter is an MBA. Some of the well connected and affluent also succeed in securing jobs for their son or daughter in a blue chip company. However, despite getting a job such graduates have to live on the crutches of their family for promotion. The number of such lucky persons is very limited. The remuneration of a fresh graduate range from Rs 3,500 to Rs 15,000. It is believed that now employers consider MBAs from certain business schools, a little better than an ordinary B. Com.

A large number of graduates from Institute of Business Administration (IBA) hold top positions in local blue chip companies, MNCs and abroad. This demonstrates that IBA has been able to beat the challenge. The first preference of a number of admission seekers in business schools is still IBA or Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). The reason being their contemporary curriculum, dedicated faculty and above all an environment which encourage students to spend more time towards acquiring knowledge, no doubt the sole attraction remains better job opportunities and remuneration.

In the absence of any financial support from the government and employers business schools have been forced to charge fabulously high tuition fees. The society has to address this issue. It is eye opener that an institution like Harvard mobilized over US$ 300 million last year, despite enjoying millions of dollars on endowment fund. It is believed that the sole objective of fund raising was to ensure better remuneration for teaching staff and improving infrastructure but a key objective was to increase the number and amount being paid as scholarships. A larger number of scholarships can help even poor but outstanding performers to study at the most expensive institution. The local business community is the largest beneficiary of graduates of local business schools. It should discharge its responsibility towards these institutions by contributing large sums. This is not an expense. It is an investment to secure better future for the country.

The government has changed the name of University Grants Commission and assigned a new mandate. It is expected that the new commission will ensure implementation of the charters. During the last decade there has been a mushroom growth of private sector universities. A number of these universities charge fabulous fees and money minting seems to be the main objective. They may charge any amount but should deliver quality education and provide scholarships to outstanding students.

PAGE has been emphasizing, over the years, the need for improving the quality of faculty and making curriculum more related to real life in Pakistan. Foreign books may be good but unless the outgoing graduates are familiar with the way business is done in Pakistan, they will continue to find it difficult to use book knowledge in real life.

Last but not the least, Pakistani business schools are still using mostly foreign case studies. Since the leading business schools proudly talk about their emphasis on research, they must also develop indigenous case studies. The local business entities should help the business schools in developing case studies.