Friday, June 6, 2008

B Schools & what they teach

I was part of an interview panel for an upcoming business school couple of weeks back. This was a mock interview session before they actually go in for their placement in the next few weeks. This interview was for the students who were majoring in Marketing and had come from diverse background. The interview panel consisted of a HR professional, a Personality Development Expert and a Marketing Professional (that’s me)

When the first 2 candidates came for in the interview, we started talking about the projects they have undertaken, key learning from such projects and how have they applied their marketing knowledge and learning into this project. Seeing them fumbling with answers, I decided to check their basic understanding of the discipline. Therefore, when the 3rd candidate came in, I asked him what’s the difference between Marketing & Sales? And that’s where the trouble started. No one, not a single student, can tell me the simple difference. It was a shocking experience for me and for the other two panelists. And we were at a loss at how we should continue with the interview.

Back home, when I started analyzing the situation, I understood, that the students have failed to answer even the most basic questions, because they have not been told at the beginning of the course what is expected of them at the end of such course. Also, the curriculum was not in tune and the exams merely tired to test their memories. Therefore, the fundamentals of a business school were challenged. As an aspiring business school from Bangalore, I was expecting that these would be the main concern area of the school and they would have spent most of their time and energy in planning the courses and its teaching methods.
I called up the dean of the school, discussed about my observation and talked about my suggestions.
The big dilemma that I faced post this experience is :
1. What is the future of these students, who have spent lacs of rupees?
2. Should we have a qualification process for a business school who wants to set up a shop here? At the end of the day, they are not delivering what they are supposed to do.

I asked almost all these students why they want to do MBA in Marketing. Everyone, without exception, said that because they like to interact with people! An answer which could be acceptable before someone joins an MBA school, and definitely not when he / she is graduating from one.