Like many Indian engineers, Priya Mani made the mid-career decision to improve her business credentials by studying for an MBA. But unlike many of her peers, she opted for distance learning with the Open University Business School instead of applying to Indian schools.
BusinessBecause caught up with Mani, now a management consultant, to hear her views on MBA options in India:
What are the prospects for MBA graduates who go to middle-ranking schools in India? Do you think they have the same chances as students who study abroad?
MBA students at middle-ranking Indian schools get less exposure and may not get as much international recognition for their education. But most of them willingly make this choice as they need an MBA from a university recognised within India. They can’t go to better schools and they know that other management qualifications aren’t equal to MBAs, so they apply anyway.
An example: Wigan and Leigh College, a British college which awards non-MBA management certificates, has invited me many times to address their students on management topics when their students visit India each year on one of their programmes. But the students feel that the certificate they get gives less opportunity in the Indian market when compared with a MBA degree from any local college.
Indians who plan to work in the UK or any other nation prefer highly regarded non-MBA qualifications to middle-ranking MBAs. But Indians who want to stay in India need MBAs to get ahead.
Are too many Indian students are choosing to study management outside of India?
No. The poorer students prefer the subsidised universities here in India. And the middle and upper class have a lot of choices now - for example, IIPM (Indian Institute of Planning and Management) or the GLIM (Great Lakes Institute of Management, Kellogg’s school here), WLC and many others. Brilliant Indian students always end up in one of the Indian Institutes of Management.
Most Indian students choose to study abroad after a few years of experience, when they are looking to specialise in, say, industrial human resource management. Recently these kinds of qualifications have started being offered by local colleges as separate six month modules.
If an Indian student wanted to work internationally, would it be better for them to do an MBA at a top school in India or a mid-ranking school abroad?
A top school in India – I say that because the top schools here are the IIM’s, which have high international rankings. I’m going by the last two years of placements of IIM graduates.
So why did you choose The Open University for your MBA?
My aim was to move out of the engineering stream and pursue the career in consulting I have today.
I was looking for an international MBA from a reputed university because I wanted a change of perspective and better opportunities. I heard a lot of good feedback about OUBS from my peers and also discovered that online study was possible – so I decided it was right for me. I studied through OUBS’ partner institution, IFMR (Institute for Financial Management And Research), which is a reputable postgraduate college in Chennai.
Even the basic topics we learnt in the first six months are still helping me in my work today.