The Case for an Industry Readiness Program
by Dr Vijayender Nalla, Content Director and Founder at Agribusiness Academy.
MBA programs have become very popular in India over the last 15 years. It is estimated that roughly 5000 institutes accredited by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) produce 200,000 graduates each year. A 2016-2017 report by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM) suggests that barring the top 20 MBA programs, a mere 7% of MBA graduates get a job immediately after their graduation (as per 2016/2017 statistics).
In the process of interviewing learners for our Industry Readiness Program, I happen to interact with over a hundred graduating MBA students that have not yet managed to find a job. During my interviews it became clear that most of these postgraduates were not yet ready to deliver value to industry. They lacked clarity on the sector they wanted to work for and had little awareness of industry-specific current topics and ongoing issues. In several cases they lacked the confidence and communication skills to express their ideas effectively.
While these graduates readily understood that they needed further (and more importantly, industry specific) exposure it was difficult to explain to them that they had to invest even more time and money just to start their careers. From their perspective, they have already invested two years of their time and an average of INR 1.5 million to finish their studies only to be left jobless after graduating. While one can empathize with this situation, the fact remains that their current approach might not succeed in helping them start their career. Many better qualified MBA postgraduates end up in underpaid in jobs that that earn them INR 300,000 – INR 600,000 per year in a market where even a well-qualified graduate could earn INR 200,000 – INR 400,000.
As an undergraduate student considering an MBA program, you should be thinking hard before you finalize your MBA choice. Based on my experience with many MBA graduates I would recommend picking up a job and considering following some online programs within the sector of your choice. That way you can expect to beat the earning level of your peers and would also be able to perform better on the job than the average MBA graduate. After all, the new mantra is not a two or four year once in a lifetime learning but that of ongoing lifelong learning: get work experience under your belt and make ongoing learning an integral part of your work.
If you have already started your MBA you should consider choosing your sector, and prepare yourself to deliver value for the business from day-1 while also making sure you have a job in hand before you graduate.
If you are keen on pursuing a career in agribusiness, food processing or in the food retail industry then we might have something interesting for you. Look behind the scenes here to see how we have designed the Industry Readiness Program.