Anand Alby Kurian, faculty, Management Development Institute, Singapore, gives his insights on the current and future of business education, in an exclusive interview with Patricia Mascarenhas
Is there an increase in the number Indians opting to study in Singapore?
There are about 100,000 international students who are studying in Singapore. The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education (OBHE) Report of 2012 indicates that 3,000 Indian students travelled to Singapore during the year for educational purposes. This number is growing by 20% annually.
What is the present scenario of the business industry globally and what is the future of it?
The picture of the global economy may not be the rosiest but it's not too negative either. If we say that China is slowing down, that just means that they will not have the meteoric growth of the past few years. Having said this, we must also remember that, in the inter-connected world that we live in, the boom and bust cycle could be a part of our lives in times to come. This means that when we are on a down turn, there is no great need to be despondent. We must tighten our belts a little, and prepare and equip ourselves fully to take advantage of the up-turn that is to come.
With problems such as unemployment, currency fluctuation etc; the popularity of management education has dropped. Could you comment on its future?
During a down-turn, some students and parents may contemplate forsaking management studies. But that will prove to be a rather expensive mistake in the long-term. When the economy is back to being buoyant, who are the people who will take advantage of it? Those who have equipped themselves with skills to ride the wave, and there is no doubt that the MBA degree has proved its worth many times over – all over the world, and in many different conditions.
Tell us about MDIS tie up with Bradford University for the MBA? What does it aim at?
The 15 month programme is strictly meant for professionals who have at least three years of supervisory work experience. It stresses on the holistic, overall development of the student. The ideology behind it is to facilitate a programme for professionals with a certified MBA degree from Bradford University (Triple Accredited). Triple accreditation ensures that you are going to a school which has a top quality MBA curriculum that has been reviewed by business education experts, and that meets industry requirements.
What measures are being taken to boost the presence of Indian students in MDIS?
Since MDIS is blessed with many experienced and highly learned Indian scholars leading the faculty, the Indian connect definitely does exist effortlessly. Well, Singapore has a very special place in its heart for India. As you know, Indians are the third largest ethnic group in Singapore; there have been Indians here ever since the establishment of the country in 1965. Tamil is one of the four national languages; announcements on the local trains (the MRT) are done in English, Chinese and Tamil!
Advise to youngsters?
There are great opportunities that await the MBA student who keeps his/her eyes, ears and, most important, his/her mind open in the years to come! The global village, that all of us work in today, offers us an almost unlimited range and scope of opportunities. Earlier, the MBA graduate thought in terms of jobs across the country; today, he/she must alter his/her mind-set and think in terms of employment across the world. If he is an entrepreneur, he must cease to think of his own country as his only marketplace. There is a world market now for his products – borders have blurred, governments have pulled down trade barriers and he can sell wherever his customer base exists.