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Intelligent and serious minded students, researchers and working professionals, especially from science, engineering, medicine and other professional background, often wonder what value does an MBA degree add and why should one do it. Is it necessary?

Very often MBA programme is considered to be a superfluous course involving soft skills in general and presentation skills in particular. Teachers and researchers from other disciplines also do not take management students and teachers seriously. But, more often, they are in the awe of such students and even teachers.

Management is one of the newest disciplines. Outside of USA it has started only after 1950. After 1980, the world over, growth has been almost sporadic. Management involves decision making. It has planning, organising, coordinating, training, motivating and control as important functions. Marketing, finance, human resources and operations are important departments in an organisation to support management functions in meeting mission and vision of the organisation. Whether it is an office of a political party, research organisation, religious body or the office of the Prime Minister, management is required. Management skills or leadership can be inborn, no doubt, but these can be learnt too. Of all the functionaries, the higher the person is placed more of managerial and leadership qualities are needed.

A question quite often asked is – were things not managed when MBA course or management discipline had not evolved. How were family and other businesses managed? So what an MBA is ? nothing. It is “Common sense jargonised and smartness personified”.

The fact remains management can be viewed in one of the two ways. One, it is a science or discipline which needs to be developed and formalised through serious research just like any other discipline. This is the job of teachers who need to contribute through their research work and publications formulation of theories, concepts and principles. Two, management is a profession. As an art it is to be practised. It requires very close interaction and collaboration with business and industry, even government and society. This again needs to be developed by teachers through management development programmes, executive development programmes, faculty industry executive exchanges and through development of case studies. For an MBA programme both these perspectives are important. Teachers tend to take the first perspective whereas students wish to be practice oriented

Management is interdisciplinary. It is integrative. It evolves.

Why should one do MBA?

1. One gets exposed to a variety of disciplines of engineering, science, humanities and social sciences. It helps students to understand people, process and profit as concepts. Being interdisciplinary and integrative it helps decision making, particularly at higher levels. Strategic Management and Management Information System, two courses, may be quoted as example.

2. There is a lot of learning from peer group. Students come from varied backgrounds in terms of educational qualification, industry experience, geographical locations and demographic factors- age, gender, culture etc. MBA student learns more from peer group than from teachers. Management teacher is only a facilitator.

3. There are economic reasons; good placement; return on investment in terms of money and time.

4. If one of the two engineers or for that matter officers belonging to junior or middle management level needs to be promoted, the one with management qualification will have an edge.

5.  In today’s Knowledge Economy era postgraduation is going to be a minimum must  for all and a course like MBA  will help improve the perspective, broaden the horizon  and enable learning practical knowledge and skills required for real life.