'Learning from Peers is a Key Trend in Business Schools'

Nidhi Bahl updated on : 28 Dec 2015

Planning to take up an MBA course? Dr. Mahua Guha from IIM Rohtak shares her valuable insights on this popular programme

MBA, IIM Rohtak

Dr. Mahua Guha from IIM Rohtak has answered some of the most important questions pertaining to the field of MBA.

Q. Can you highlight some of the key trends with respect to teaching and learning being offered at business schools?

A. The digital revolution is playing a key role in teaching and learning within business schools. Students are more tech-savvy. Hence, teachers allow more distribution of online resources such as e-books, online videos and supplementary online materials to cases.

Learning from peers is a key trend in business schools. Many of the times, there is not a single answer to the questions asked in class. Different perspectives allow students to arrive at different solutions to each question.

Q. What are the major challenges in MBA education in India that you think need immediate attention?

A. Many students still come for an MBA because of peer pressure or parental pressure. They have no work experience and find it difficult to adjust to the learning that occurs between peers. There are fewer international students in Indian business school classrooms. Further, some business schools have become mere placement centres for corporate job aspirants. Only a very few business schools in India are into innovative programs, such as entrepreneurship. 

Q. Industry and academics walk together to make students employable. How do you think the programmes/curriculum offered at B Schools in India are making students job ready? Pls. elaborate on this.

A. Summer internships allow students to face real-life employable situations. In addition, the case teaching method employed in business schools prepare students to deal with problems and their solutions in simulated real life problem scenarios. Simulation tools and games also allow students to get equipped with real-life business situations. However, there are still many more things that need to be done. There is ample scope for including real-time projects for students. Also, there is a need for collaborative projects with diverse students, such as collaborative projects between Indian business school students and foreign business school students.

Q. Which MBA specialization has the maximum takers considering the market demand and industry requirement?

A. Marketing. There a lot of companies that come to campuses for placements in order to hire MBA graduates for various marketing job roles. Sales and marketing elective courses are therefore the highest subscribed.

Q. On what factors must a student base his/her choice of specialisation?

A. This should be driven by the student’s interest in a particular area and his or her ability to develop skills in that area. For a student who is from a Commerce background and has interest in Finance job roles, it is best to go for Finance specialization. If he or she has an interest in Operations Management, then it may be difficult for him or her to suit the academic background to the needs of a specialisation in Operations Management.

Q. How is an MBA degree different from a PGDM course?

A. A university grants an MBA whereas an institution grants a PGDM. Majority of the content, curriculum and course of an MBA and those of a PGDM are the same. However, sometimes the curriculum of PGDM programmes in reputed institutions such as Indian Institutes of Management are revised more frequently than that of MBA programmes.

Q. Among the new age courses in MBA, which one do you think has the maximum potential?

A. 'Strategy in emerging markets' is a course that has the maximum potential as a new age course. Research on emerging markets, such as China and India are the latest trends in business schools all over the world. Even industry practitioners all over the world are interested in finding out about how businesses are different in emerging markets.

Q. What would you suggest? Doing the general MBA course one time or to taking up different management courses over the years as per industry requirement? Pls. elaborate.

A. I would recommend a course depending on the requirements of the individual. A general MBA course one time ensures a holistic learning by the individual. However, depending on the specific requirements of the job in hand, an individual can take up different courses over the years, such as: project management courses, team building courses and so on.

Q. Explain the importance of work experience for MBA aspirants?

A. An MBA classroom is suited for peer-to-peer learning. This learning is enhanced when students have prior work experience. Diverse work experiences of students enrich the classroom discussion.

Q. Apart from the entrance exams, pls. explain the importance of others factors that play a role in the admission process of a reputed B School.

A. A written essay gives an idea about the communication skill of a prospective student. It also gives an idea about the general knowledge that a student has acquired. In addition, a personal interview reveals a lot about the attitude of the candidate, the domain knowledge of the candidate and communication skills of the candidate.


Dr. Mahua Guha completed her doctoral degree in Strategic Management from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA. During her Ph.D, she taught students an introductory course of Strategic Management. She has also presented her research papers in prestigious international conferences.

Prior to her Ph.D, Dr. Guha had completed her MBA from Lancaster University, UK. Dr. Guha did her post graduation from IIT Kharagpur and her graduation from Jadavpur University, Kolkata. In addition, Dr. Guha has years of experience in IT consulting and software product development. She has worked as a systems consultant for management consulting projects. She was also a product development manager.


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