22 May 2022 14:51:25 IST

Why executives are flocking to an MBA

Executives during IIM Kozhikode’s 24th annual convocation last month

Debanjali Sen, an entrepreneur who set up her film production company in the latter half of 2019, was thrown completely off gear when the pandemic hit in 2020. A veteran in the advertising and film production industry for over 14 years, her entrepreneurial journey went through rather turbulent times with the film industry going into complete lockdown mode due to social distancing norms and she soon had to diversify into other areas such as designing to keep her venture afloat.    

Debanjali Sen, student of one-year, Post Graduate Programme in Management for Executives, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad.

Sen understood the need for broadening the canvas and exploring newer avenues and soon decided to sign up for an executive MBA programme. Sen is currently pursuing the one-year full-time Post Graduate Programme in Management for Executives from Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad.  

“This pandemic pushed us to think beyond and explore newer avenues. I have been running my own company since 2019 but within few months Covid hit and due to social distancing norms, shoots were hardly happening. It was then that I put my hands into different kinds of things. I have come to realise that we actually do not know our limits unless we try it,” Sen told BL on Campus.

According to Prof Viswanath Pingali, Chairperson, PGPX, IIM Ahmedabad, there has been a huge uptick in the number of applications for the programme in the last two years.

“There has been a nearly 40 per cent increase in number of applications on a year-on-year basis. Two things have happened in the last two years. Going abroad was not an option so people started looking at the domestic market while appraisals and hikes (for those employed) have been on the lower side. Whenever the job market shrinks people choose quality,” Pingali said, explaining the reason behind the traction in demand for such programmes from coveted institutes.

Growing batch size

IIM Kozhikode’s Executive Post Graduate Programme (EPGP) has registered consistent growth over the last few years, says Debashis Chatterjee, Director of the institute.

From a batch size of just 36 students in 2008, IIM Kozhikode’s EPGP has registered consistent growth over consecutive years culminating in an intake of 501 participants in academic year 2020 and 529 participants in 2021.

“The increasing interest to pursue executive education is a reflection of the aspirations of the young minds to keep oneself updated with the changing times, to sharpen skills and to be future-ready. The executive education programme is prudently designed, with its curriculum anticipating future requirements. The pandemic scenario redefined the education and a new model of executive education evolved which blended traditional offline learning with revolutionary online platforms.,” says Chatterjee.

The participants of the two-year executive education programme carry an average experience of over nine years. Market sentiments, hiring policies, pandemic-related factors and increasing motivation among the younger working population to enrich their knowledge have contributed to the growth of the programme in the last few years, he said.

“The executive education programme at IIMK does not offer a campus placement support. However, we regularly get positive feedback from participants that the course helped them approach problems differently, equipped them to perform more effectively in their roles and also helped them in their career advancement,” he adds.

Multifold challenges

According to Prof Rajesh Agarwal, faculty member for finance and accounting, and chairperson one-year MBA programmes, IIM Udaipur, once the pandemic had begun, enrolments initially experienced some drop on account of concerns relating to the quality of learning experiences through online education and possible negative impact on the placements.

IIMU took a lot of initiatives to make sure that the quality of the online learning experience was comparable to an on-campus experience. Likewise, the placement outcomes were significantly better than what was initially expected. Consequently, in the subsequent year the enrolments went up significantly. Economic revival measures of the government also helped significantly, he says.

“Generally speaking during an economic downturn, students prefer to upskill themselves. However, given the multifold challenges experienced during the pandemic, including sickness and job losses, it seems it may not have been a great driver. However, IIMU offers one-year MBA programmes in digital enterprise management and global supply chain management. Both these programmes are extremely relevant in the post pandemic world,” he points out.