With the demand for big data and analytics talent, several business schools are now offering Masters in Business Analytics. The growing popularity of the Analytics programs has triggered doubts in many students and seasoned professionals whether to go for MBA or Business Analytics. There is also a section in the crowd who are kind of in dilemma with choosing between MS Business (Data) Analytics and MS Data Science. Then there is a large majority of folks who are unable to decide if they should go for MBA in India or MBA abroad. Finally, there too many overwhelmed brains amidst this entire buzz of big data analytics and the competitive job market. So, I would try to answer all those major queries to give you a piece of mind. Just bear with me!
How Big Data & Digital Transformation are Forcing Top B-Schools to Re-Engineer the Business Programs
Recently, the cricket fanatics & enthusiasts (that also includes me) witnessed a lot of confusion and controversy with the selection of the playing XI in the first test between India and South Africa. In a different world, similar kind of buzz is going around, but on a much bigger scale.
The fourth industrial revolution is marked by the technological disruptions (big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics, IoT), digital transformation in business models, and unprecedented opportunities for innovation. It’s not only about web searches, social media, mobile data, text messages, images, videos and posts. The volumes of remote-sensing devices, software logs, cameras, microphones, radio-frequency identification (RFID) readers and wireless sensor networks are also growing with big velocity. These changes are not only presenting challenges to the business organizations but also forcing the business schools to reboot their programs.
Re-Engineering of MBA Curriculums & Birth of MS Business Analytics Programs
INSEAD introduced several changes in their 2017 MBA program. Apart from modules on personal development and online learning tools, they also put emphasis on covering areas like Big Data and FinTech in the 10-month MBA program. In 2016, Wharton introduced a new major – Business Analytics, within their MBA program. Besides traditional courses like Business Economics, Marketing, Operations and Statistics, the MBA program also covers Big Data, Analytics for Revenue Management, and FinTech. Additionally, the business school is also leveraging the delivery of e-learning and flipped format.
Though the massive makeover of the MBA programs in the last 2 years, the process actually started back in 2013-2014, just around the time when big data and analytics started trending. But, make no mistake; the changes are not just to follow the trend. Today the businesses need professionals and managers with big data and business analytics skills.
Professionals and graduates need to have specialist skills in order to make sense, see patterns, draw conclusions from the big data. Additionally, they need to visualize the data and engineer solutions for driving business and profits. So, the big shot companies are collaborating with the business schools extensively on designing the curriculums of the business programs.
The majority of large corporations and start-ups are leveraging business analytics to exploit data-driven advantages. Due to the business demand, increasing number of business schools have begun to offer Masters in Business Analytics and MBA programs with Big Data or Business Analytics specialization. The rise has largely been driven by the demand of the tech companies in the Silicon Valley and American Business Schools. But, the European schools are also not too behind.
HEC Paris is one of the first business schools in Europe to introduce MBA program with a strong focus on big data skills, in alliance with IBM. The Said Business School (University of Oxford) and Imperial College London also collaborated with IBM and Huawei respectively, to introduce big data training in their MBA programs. In fact, IBM partnered with more than 200 business schools around the world, to design and develop their MBA and business analytics programs. Companies like Deloitte, Booz Allen Hamilton, GE and many others are also following the same path. No wonder, the business school and industry partnerships are emerging as a dominant education model. The results are beneficial for both parties, as well as students at those business schools.
MBA in India vs MBA Abroad
The traditional general MBA is no longer recognized by the employers unless you attended one of the world’s best business schools. For example, India has got more than 5,500 business schools. But, only 7% of MBA graduates are employable. Even the world’s best schools are offering MBA programs to make money, but the quality and return on investment are far better.
The problem with the majority of the Tier 2 business schools in India is that too much teaching takes place in a lecture hall environment where a professor ‘talks’ to the students and there is limited or no exchange of ideas. Rather it should be more of a debating forum, a networking place with a sense of dynamism, diversity, innovation and excitement.
So, what should you do if you are considering an MBA in India? Scroll down!
Old School MBA is Dead
More often than not, the majority of the not-so-elite colleges in India are still conservative with a sense of a ‘bottom-up’ dominated culture. Innovation is always a key driver of a good MBA program and is only feasible in a college with less bureaucracy. Likewise, a diverse class is also very critical. If you are in a class with senior executives and folks with lesser work experience, you will develop a lot of perspectives. In India, getting admitted to an MBA program has become too easy, and the majority can get an admission without work experience and/or qualifying standardized tests like GMAT, CAT or XAT.
Verify the Marketing Claims of the MBA Providers in India
There are good MBA colleges that might not be in the top brands in India but does offer decent curriculum and placements as well. But, do verify the marketing claims before enrolling in the MBA programs. Don’t get dazzled by the shiny claims on their websites and prospectus. The growth story of management education in India is not so rosy – it is surrounded by complexities and uncertainties. The concept of viewing “education-as-business” has led to mushrooming of many poor-quality B-schools in India, especially in the last 10 years. The Advertising Standards Council of India regularly receives complaints on B-schools coming up with false claims in their unsubstantiated advertisements. Over-exaggeration is bound to be there, but it’s your job to find out how much!
Education is Currently a Big Business……. Beware of the Frauds & Scams
We have to face it – Education has become a big business in India. But, not everyone is doing the business in an ethical way. Over-exaggeration is human-nature and improper course curriculum has got many underlying factors including bureaucracy, incompetent staff etc. But, scams and fake degrees are way more harmful to the society.
The IIPM saga is still afresh in our minds. The Capital is getting flourished with fake business schools and technical colleges (forget about credibility and accreditations). The presence of several media, PR and digital marketing agencies in Delhi-NCR is also a reason behind luring innocent (and not too informative) students. These incidents are not acceptable at all. But, please perform every kind of background check and research by all means on your own, rather than just depending on media and education agents. There are loads of smart brains & streetsmart guys who don’t possess any background in academia, education management or abroad education system, neither any honest intention and running education business (no offence to anyone).
I accept even we are also in the education management, professional guidance counselling and admission consulting business. Stoodnt is a for-profit organization that is passionate about helping students & professionals with their career journeys (Career Counselling, Summer Schools, UG, MS, MBA & PhD Admissions, Internship Assistance, and Job Guidance & Mentoring). But, we believe in few phrases like “business ethics”, “right way of doing business”, “unbiased advice” (we are not agents or representatives of any college/university) and “expert guidance”. But, there are quite a few organizations who have made education a bad business and hampering the careers (and lives) of thousands of students every year.
By the way, we are not exclusive in India. There are still Few Good Men & Women in the Education sector in India.
Don’t Waste Money on Mediocre MBA Programs with No or Little Credibility
The 2017 job market has been a tough one for the Indian students and professionals. Things are likely to stay little rough in the beginning of 2018. More importantly, Big Data, Machine Learning and AI will be having a major impact on the 2018 job market. So, if you are not acquiring the relevant skills (both hard and soft skills), or attending elite schools like ISB, IIMs, XLRI, FMS, SPJIMR, NMIMS and few others, don’t waste your money on MBA. Rather it would be wise to take up a job and go for the MOOC courses and/or an online MBA. At the end of the day, skillset and job performance matters, and not whether you got your degree sitting in front of a computer or in a class with other students. Under the current circumstances, trying a MOOC before an MBA could pay you high dividends.
Check out the hottest MOOCs and online courses for the current job market! You could also go for industry-relevant programs that have got some association with global brands. In India, Aegis and Praxis Business School are delivering decent courses. Below is the banner of Aegis program.
MBA Job Market
The current job market has been shaken tremendously by technological disruptions. The current job market is like what the Newlands pitch (Cape Town) to the Indian batsmen in front of the Fearsome Foursome (the pace quartet of the South African Cricket Team). An ideal MBA program should equip you to survive in such a fiercely competitive job market.
India or abroad, it would be hard to get proper MBA jobs (not the 10K/month ones – no offence) without expertise in data and business analytics. McKinsey & Company looks for MBA grads who understand the science behind decision making. Understanding of data and implementing analytics to find pragmatic solutions to problems is crucial for job applicants eyeing Bain & Co and BCG. At present, Data Analytics is certainly the most desirable skill for MBA employers. So, focus on acquiring the right skills set and gaining work experience through internships to get started.
Indian Brands Have got Value in India
Although MBA in India is overrated, getting an MBA degree from a top b-school in India is still a great option. Thanks again to the big data, digital innovation and start-up boom; the economy and job creation in India is certainly improving. You just need to have the right skill set to penetrate the competitive job market. Additionally, relevant online certifications and a degree from a reputed college in India will certainly make you stand out in the Indian job market. An MBA degree from ISB Hyderabad, IIM-A, IIM-C or IIM-B can help you to land up with a job offer of INR 18 Lacs, provided you enter the MBA program with few years of full-time work experience.
At the Indian b-schools, the bulk of the hiring happens on campus, unlike abroad. Not many Indian companies track FT or other Top MBA rankings. The HR recruiters don’t always have any idea about the value of a foreign degree. So, even if you have to compete with foreign MBA degree holders, you will have more than decent chances. Besides, pursuing MBA in India is far cheaper than pursuing MBA abroad. Apart from sky-high tuition fees, you also need to cover the comparatively high living expenses in foreign countries.
MBA vs MS Business Analytics Abroad
Now let’s move on to one of the hottest topics in the study abroad space – MBA vs MS Business (or Data) Analytics.
MBA (from Top Business Schools) is Still Alive and Kicking
Back in 2013, Christopher Earley (Dean of the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University) had predicted that by 2018, only 25% will opt for 2-year MBA and around 75% of MBA aspirants will go for specialized Masters Programs like Finance, Accounting, Economics, Supply Chain Management, and Business Analytics. It was around that time when the early movers like NYU Stern School of Business and George Washington University were about to introduce Masters in Business Analytics.
Currently, the MS Business Analytics programs are being considered as a quick ticket to high-paying jobs. But, MBA programs are still very much in demand due to industry relevance and the recent changes in the curriculum, at least at the top b-schools. In 2016, Stanford received a record number of MBA applications. Interestingly, 15% of the MBA Class of 2019 is Advanced Master’s degree holders. So, MBA programs can be very valuable even if you hold an MS degree in Business Analytics.
This could be an excellent time to pursue an MBA program if you are looking at to start your own business. The top business schools are ideal and safe to launch your venture. The business schools possess valuable resources in the form of more specialized coursework, incubators, mentorship, alumni network, and links to VCs. The business schools will give you a real exposure to the challenges, and a feel of what start-up life really looks like.
Harvard, Stanford and Wharton continue to remain at the top in terms of attracting MBA applications, and low acceptance rates (the Frown Index) in 2016. More or less, all the top 25 MBA programs in the US are very selective. According to the admission officers, the top 80% of all applicants had very competitive profiles. According to the GMAC data, when it comes to the MBA applications for international MBA programs, Indians are no. 1. So, it’s not very hard to understand why Indian applicants are more likely to get rejected by the best business schools.
Some 15 of the top 25 schools last year had lower acceptance rates in 2017 as compared to 2016, with significantly tougher admission standards at MIT, Cornell, UC-Berkeley, UT Austin, and Duke. Though few top 25 schools saw a decline in the number of applications, the declines were generally modest. Even the second tier b-schools (ranked 26 – 50 in the US) didn’t report any significant decline. In fact, few b-schools in this group reported a significant increase in the number of applications. In reality, the acceptance rates are higher than the other group (top 25 schools), but they are still competitive.
Both MBA and MS Business Analytics Programs Will Co-Exist
There are many top MBA programs with electives focussed on big data and analytics. But, one or two courses might not be good enough. The field of big data analytics is complex, rich and comprehensive. Many managers and students are only being too eager to brand themselves as big data and analytics professionals. But in reality, most of them are far from it as per Murat Kristal (Director of the MS Business Analytics program at the Schulich School of Business). So, MS Business Analytics programs do provide real value, provided you are attending the RIGHT PROGRAM.
So, what’s right for you, and how to choose the right program between MBA & MS Business Analytics? Read the Concluding Part!
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Featured Image Source: IMD Business School
Author: Tanmoy Ray
I am a Career Adviser & Admission Counselor at Stoodnt. I did my Masters from the UK (Aston University) and have worked at the University of Oxford (UK), Utrecht University (Netherlands), University of New South Wales (Australia) and MeetUniversity (India).