The Indian MBA Vs. the International MBA

 | August 13,2010 06:42 pm IST

Many wonder what more an MBA overseas can give you when you have world-class institutions right here in India. The IIMs (just to name a few) have for years churned out leaders, some of who hold global positions today.


Let's clear some myths first. The quality of education at top-ranked Indian business schools is at par with some of the best in the world. But that applies to only a handful of schools across the country. Equally, not all international MBA programs stack up to the best-in-class that India has to offer.

Let us look at some of the major differentiating factors which should help you understand the value that an overseas MBA can bring to you: -



Most admits in an Indian business schools tend to be freshly minted under-graduates. While this is beginning to change, the better known global programs will typically have a class full of an average of three years of work experience, in a class of 70 that brings 210 man-years of diverse work experience in different industries, countries, environments and positions, compared to practically nothing in a similar-sized class in India.



For many, the cultural setting of an MBA class-room is the most diverse formal environment they will ever encounter in their life-time. Imagine a class full of 70 students with over 25 nationalities represented amongst them compared to an Indian class-room where more than two or three would be an achievement.


Teaching Methodology

Top-ranked MBA programs use teaching styles ranging from a pure case-study based teaching system to a more lecture or simulation focused system. The general emphasis in Indian programs is on the tried and tested "spray and pray" process where a professor shoves concepts down the throats of a class that typically lacks management experience if not skills.


Program Content

The choice of courses offered overseas tends to be much broader allowing you to better structure your MBA around your career path with opportunities to share classes with other programs not only at the business school but also at other schools in the wider university campus enhances your options, e.g., law, public policy and government.



While it is not uncommon to find IIM alumni in senior positions in global organizations, Indian schools can't match the reach of some of the well-known brands like HBS,GSB-Chicago and Wharton. What makes the comparison even worse is that some of these schools have been in existence for well over a 100 years churning out nearly a 1,000 MBAs each year.

It is simply to be part of this elite network that draws many to global MBA programs. A big global MBA brand opens doors anywhere around the world but Indian brands are yet to graduate to a global level.

All this of course comes at a cost. Not only can the total financial costs be well over a 5 to 10 times as much, it involves uprooting yourself from a place where you have your family and many other attachments. The decision to go overseas is increasingly becoming more difficult to evaluate for some as top-ranked employers converge in ever-growing numbers on Indian campuses to lure the best students away on salaries that match those offered at the best schools elsewhere in the world.

However, the returns on investment from an MBA overseas continue to be extremely rewarding for most: a new career, a new country, new opportunities and excellent learning opportunities.