Demand for Specialised MBA Graduates on the Rise Here
‘Specialised courses make sense for those who are looking to update their skillsets and competencies’
Varuni Khosla & Brinda Dasgupta
New Delhi | Bengaluru: When Bharti Airtelsetoff tohirefreshmanagementgraduates this year, besides premier B-schools it also visitedMumbai’sNationalInstituteof Industrial Engineering, which offers specialised programmes in areas such as industrial engineering and industrial management.
The country’s top telecom operator has increaseditsfocusonhiringyoungtalentinspecialised spaces, said Srikanth Balachandran, global chief human resources officer at the firm. “We gauge the aptitude of the student and sift out the ones we need for our area-specific roles in primary stages using contests and online registrations. We also hire from campuses like NITIE,” he said.
Airtel is not alone. While full-time general MBA remains the most considered programme type among recruiters, there is increasing demand for specialised management graduates, and a host of management schools across the country now offer specialised courses in areas ranging from logistics and supply chain management, to oil and gas management.
Accordingtouniversitiesandbusinessschools, specialised programmes make sense for those who already have some specific expertiseandarelookingtoupdatetheirskillsetsand competencies to grow in the chosen area.
“Verynicheprogrammeslikethese—forinstance, the one in consulting management — will help a student specialise in how to deal with clients, reports and various bench-marking skills very much from the start,” said NitishJain,presidentatSPJainSchoolofGlobal
Management. The institute offers specialised degreesinlogisticsandsupplychainmanagement and consulting management.
Utpal Ghosh, president at University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, said, “The MBA segment is getting overcrowded at several levels, and institutes and students are looking to find differentiators. A lot of students are looking for sector specialisations at an early stage.”
The university offers specialised management courses in oil and gas, aviation, infrastructure management, ports and shipping, and power. Chinese multinational Lenovo is among the companies looking to hire candidateswithspecialisedMBAdegrees.“In the last year, our requirement for them has shot up in the areas of analytics business in India,” said Rohit Sandal, HR director of the PCmakerinIndia.“Wealsohaveamarketing hub which does creative work for our Europe and US offices. These kinds of roles can be filledwellbyspecialisedMBAgraduates,”hesaid. Lenovo is considering visiting specific campuses to recruit those with degrees in analytics, communications and marketing next year, Sandal said.
Adarsh Khandelwal, director at admission consultancy and coaching firm Collegify, said arisingnumberof studentsinthepasttwoyears have approached the firm “with plans to pursue specialist MBA programmes”.
WeSchool, or Welingkar Institute of Management, offers specialised MBA degrees in areas like rural management, retail management, sports management, and healthcare management. “We are soon planning to roll out a specialised MBA course in sports management, and have been in extensive talks with some top institutes in Australia to discuss how this can be taken forward,” said Uday Salunkhe, group director at WeSchool. “Right nowwearefocusingongettingourecosystem ready, we will probably roll it out as a shortterm course and thereafter make it a specialisedMBAdegree.”
Chennai-based Great Lakes Institute of Management, too, offers a specialised programme in business analytics.
Some experts, however, feel that the rush for specialised MBA will lose steam in the years to come. Dishan Kamdar, deputy dean of academic programmes at The Indian school of Business, believes that in the long run students will only opt for generic MBA programmes.
“At the end of the day, you want to become a leaderfromamanagerandaspecialisedMBA maynotallowyoutohonethat,”hesaid.“This (demand for niche MBA) is the current trend and the need for the general MBA graduates will still exist,” Kamdar said.