Experience – A vital key for moulding business skills

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MBA needs to be re-imagined, rebuild, redelivered and reinvented for working professionals, opine Rajul Garg, Director, Sunstone Business School in an interaction with Veena Kurup.

Can you outline us the possible reasons behind individuals opting towards professional management courses like MBA?
Considering the prevalent scenarios, two major trends are being increasingly focused witnessed among individuals who aim to pursue MBA. One major trend is increasing demand and popularity for business skills in any profession. Today, individuals are expected to be more accountable and have a clear understanding of the customer needs and how the business-finance inflow works. In addition, the market is seeking professionals with leadership qualities, wherein an individual need to play roles as a team member and a team leader. Business skills have evolved as a crucial career deciding aspect. Along with these trends, a rising concern over affording professional courses like MBAs is being witnessed among the masses. Hence, the whole idea of MBA needs to be re-imagined, rebuild, redelivered and reinvented for working professionals.
The students who get enrolled at Sunstone for PGPM courses are already having a prior experience or are employed. Hence, their basic motto is to gain a promotion at their present organization or to seek better salary packages. Few of our students also opt toward switching their jobs for more prospective ventures. Overall, the academic support which we offer along with their prior experience supports the students in moulding their career into better shape.

Is experience a crucial issue that needs to be looked upon in MBA courses?
Yes experience is a vital key for moulding business skills and plays an unavoidable role in management courses like MBA, which is purely industry oriented. A closer understanding of the industry can be achieved only through a balance of theory and practical knowledge. Sunstone Business School upholds this value; all our courses are open only for students who atleast has a minimum professional experience of three years.

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Do you see deterioration in the quality of students opting for professional management courses over the years?
Definitely, we are seeing deterioration in the quality of the students, the major reason being the lack of adequate professional in-hand experience. MBA is such a course which is very hard to be taught to a completely fresh candidate. By definition itself, MBA is learning all about business activities. For instance, if you are trying to teach an individual about leadership qualities, and when the said person is unaware on how the industry functions or has never been a part or lead the team, then the teaching process becomes an added hurdle. In our country, the bulk of the MBA candidates who are let out from institutions are mostly at the fresh-hand level and this certainly is a grave problem. However, it is not an easy problem to tackle with and requires a more planned approach in resolving this. Culturally also in our country people have an already set-mentality of completing all education and then looking out for job opportunities, this system and belief needs a transformation.

How has been the corporate participation at your placement initiatives and how has the experience of the students contributed in gaining better job prospects?
Placements have been actually very positive and we are receiving a positive inflow of corporate participation. The one best aspect at Sunstone is all our students are either working or they already have a prior experience. With the added management course gained, the students are able to add a better profile for seeking new career prospects. With the help of prior experience and an added management academic support our students are either able now to get better salary packages in the organizations where they are presently employed, or are able to gain new job opportunities.

What are prospects for business schools at smaller towns or regions located at tier-II and tier-III sectors?
Sunstone Business School offers India’s first Open Courses (MOOC) in management, which is our effort to open up the knowledge hub to a larger community by building a continuous and flexible learning environment. 50% of the enrolments at Sunstone MOOC are from smaller cities and towns and is continuously growing. MOOCs provide great alternatives to working professionals and students in tier-II and interior regions who never had access to quality education. Besides, local campuses at these regions don’t have a direct industry connect, and hence such conditions opens prospects for business schools like us to expand our presence and deliver quality education to a wider mass base.

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