MBA or management education is termed as a sure-shot recipe for success when it comes to professional life. Especially in India, several B-schools have come-up in recent past that offer MBA degrees in with varied specialization options with unique teaching pedagogies. Taking about MBA teaching pedagogy followed by top MBA colleges in India; one raging debate has been about MBA Internships.
MBA Internship Debate
In India, MBA Internships are an integral part of any management education programme that you join. Irrespective of the kind of course or MBA specialization that you opt for; almost MBA programme requires students to undergo an internship as part of the course. Internships are seen as tools that can help MBA students develop the necessary skills through hands on experience. These skills can be developed or inferred only through actual experience.
But with the advent of new age B-schools and part-time MBA programmes, many MBA colleges have curtailed the option of Internships and instead are focusing more upon classroom teaching. They are of the view that classroom teaching primes the minds of students to understand possible business problems, making them better equipped to handle similar real life situations when they actually encounter them. To top this, the lobby discouraging MBA internships also suggest that during internship period, MBA students are made to do menial work and therefore they do not learn anything relevant or important during it.
Such contrasting views about MBA internshipshave led to a major debate in the MBA education world about the teaching pedagogy, especially when it comes to MBA internships. To make matters simpler, below we have discussed three key reasons that justify the importance of MBA internships. Read on and decide for yourself, if you think MBA education without internships is something that you would like to go for.
Relevant Work Experience
First things first, Internships in any academic field is the perfect option to provide first-hand work experience in the relevant field of one’s choice. And MBA courses or management education is no exception to this.
If we look at things from a pragmatic approach, majority of the top B-schools in India admit students with past work experience. The idea behind this approach is that candidates with work-experience bring with them the innate understanding of the workplaces and know how things actually happen in an office or professional environment. This is another reason for removing internships from MBA courses as it doesn’t help candidates who already possess work-experience.
But, what these B-schools very happily ignore is that the work-experience brought to the table by students is not necessarily relevant to the field or area they want to specialize in. If a candidate is from IT background and use to code for a living, their work-experience won’t really help them when it comes to marketing or people management skills. In such cases, past work-experience adds very negligible value to their MBA courses.
On the other hand, MBA internships provide the necessary relevant experience to the students in the MBA specialization field that has been chosen by them. They help them develop the necessary skills and learn the different tricks of the trade related to that domain.
Choosing the MBA Specialization
While the first reason justified training of MBA students depending upon the MBA specialization; the second one deals with the choice of MBA specializations itself. In many cases, MBA aspirants decide their specialization on the basis of their perceived interest in a particular field. Similarly, some of the decisions about the choice of MBA specialization is also driven due to factors related to job market and hiring trends.
But, management science being a tough and competitive field; picking a specialization on such vague terms might not bode well for the students. Therefore, many B-schools give the opportunity to pick MBA specialization only after their first year internship. During their internship, MBA students get the first-hand experience of understanding the work-culture in different industries and the way work is done in them.
Interns get hands on feel of 'real' jobs in their chosen fields of specialization, and this experience comes with no direct responsibility. This helps MBA interns make the correct choice with regards to the specialization or the job role they would like to opt for. There is no replacement for this hands-on experience and therefore MBA internships are a must for every MBA student.
Finally, coming to the most important advantage of MBA Internships i.e. Networking opportunities. During MBA internships, students from different colleges and backgrounds meet each other and connect professionally, expanding their professional network. In addition to this, they also meet and connect with top leadership of the companies they intern at and meet professionals working there. This further strengthens the network giving them the best asset they have at their disposal after walking out the B-school. Building professional networks and nurturing them is one the key advantages of MBA Internships and can help them on their career not only right now but also in the long run.
These are the three key reasons and advantages of MBA Internships that cannot be ignored or overlooked while deciding the future of teaching pedagogy followed by MBA Internships. MBA Internships have been a very successful tool when it comes to developing the right skills and getting the relevant hands on experience for the job market.
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