Is an MBA worth it for your career goals?

A growing number of MBA programmes in India are integrating AI-centric curricula to prepare students for the digital economy

Is an MBA worth it for your career goals?

Abhirup Mishra graduated with a BTech in civil engineering from a top college in Kolkata. Despite his father’s wish for him to join the Public Works Department, he wasn’t interested in becoming a site engineer or project manager. Instead, Abhirup pursued an MBA in Finance, where he learned about financial management, investment analysis, and financial decision-making. Today, he works as a senior consultant for a Big 4 firm.

Despite rapid technological changes, MBA remains a much preferred choice for the students. Today, some of the most sought-after courses are MBA in Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, MBA in Business Analytics & Big Data, and MBA in Financial Management. Also, MBA benefits aspiring entrepreneurs by equipping them with the skills and knowledge needed to successfully establish and run their own ventures.

“In the realm of higher education, an MBA opens doors to diverse career opportunities across industries such as economics, accounting and finance, information systems, production and operations, HR, sales, marketing and strategy management. The curriculum is designed to develop essential leadership and management skills, preparing graduates for executive and managerial roles through case studies. The programme also offers extensive networking opportunities with industry professionals for career advancement. Additionally, MBA graduates often experience a significant increase in earning potential compared to other specialisation,” said Prof Mahadeo Jaiswal, Director, IIM Sambalpur.

Kartik Narayan, CEO at Staffing, TeamLease Services, mentioned how MBAs equip graduates with critical leadership, strategic thinking, and management competencies, which increase their adaptability and competitiveness. “As per the findings of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the employability rates of MBA graduates surpass those of other postgraduates. The India Skills Report 2024 indicates that the employability rate of MBA graduates is 71.16%, which is greater than in other disciplines. Kerala, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh are the five states in India where MBA graduates enjoy the highest employability,” he said.

He further added, “According to reports from IIMs and other prestigious B-schools, graduates can recoup their tuition expenses within two to three years of gainful employment. MBA graduates contribute to the Indian job market with valuable leadership and strategic abilities, financial acumen, marketing tactics, and data-driven decision-making process, thus, the degree represents a prudent investment for sustained professional development.”

Sanjay Modi, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Lovely Professional University, believes that the enduring value of pursuing an MBA is evident in today’s competitive landscape. Recognized across industries, MBA programme offer a holistic skill set including leadership, strategic thinking, problem-solving, and networking - attributes highly sought after by employers, he said. “As businesses evolve, the demand for individual’s adept at using technology, navigating complexity, driving innovation, and making data-driven decisions remains robust. Thus, the continued demand for MBA degrees underscores its relevance in equipping graduates for success in diverse careers and industries,” he said.

India boasts some of the best institutes recognised for their MBA programmes. According to the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Subject, IIM Ahmedabad is ranked among the top 25 institutions globally for business and management studies. IIM Bangalore and IIM Calcutta are ranked among the top 50. Today, all these institutes offer MBA programmes in AI and ML. These programmes combine data analytics and optimization tools, focusing on the latest developments in machine learning and AI.

“An MBA programme equips graduates to navigate AI challenges and opportunities by incorporating AI-focused courses and practical experiences. These programmes teach students how to leverage AI tools for business growth, enhancing decision-making, efficiency, and innovation. They often include AI applications in finance, marketing, and operations, fostering a strong understanding of data analytics and machine learning. Also, MBA curricula emphasise ethical considerations and strategic implementation of AI, preparing graduates to lead in an AI-driven business environment effectively,” said Dr M Kishorebabu, Dean- Management, Humanities and Sciences, KL Deemed to be University.

Meanwhile, St Xavier’s University, Kolkata, has recently announced the commencement of a two-year Executive MBA programme exclusively for the working professionals starting July 2024. The Executive MBA has been crafted in line with the curricula embraced by Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI), Xavier Institute of Social Sciences (XISS), Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA) and others to accommodate working professionals from various domains. In fact, an MBA programme is ideal for working professionals, as it offers flexibility through online or part-time courses.

“Executive MBA equips graduates with the knowledge and skills to excel in senior management roles such as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Operating Officer (COO), and Chief Financial Officer (CFO). The programme fosters innovation and strategic thinking, making it valuable for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to launch or grow their own businesses. The programme develops strong analytical and problem-solving skills, making graduates well-suited for careers in management consulting, where they can advise businesses on strategy, operations, and growth,” said Dr Sitangshu Khatua, Dean Xavier Business School, St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata.

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