Indian MBA institutes have come a long way from the late 1990s and early 2000s when they had suddenly become all a rage and we had MBA colleges mushrooming all over the place.
But how do they fare in comparison to foreign MBAs? More pertinently, if you are thinking of undertaking an MBA program, where should you look – at India or abroad?
First of all, for there to be a valid comparison between two entities, we need to define them properly. ‘Foreign’ is a very vague term, because it includes everything that is not Indian.
MBAs all around the world differ a bit from each other though the core remains the same (as it should). The UK MBA is different from the American one, which in turn is different from the Australian MBA.
Furthermore, one can only compare like with like. There’s no point in comparing the best of the Indian MBA institutes, like the IIMs, with low-ranked MBA courses abroad. Similarly, comparing Stanford or Harvard MBA programs with that of an average MBA school in India is preposterous.
So for the sake of this post, let’s assume that we are comparing the good Indian MBA programs with the good ones abroad.
So, which ones are better? And how are they different from each other?
There are no easy answers but this post will give you enough information so that you are able to make a wise and informed decision for yourself.
Indian MBA Programs
Indian MBA programs, at least those in good institutes, have evolved considerably over the years and are now very good. They have excellent faculty members, challenging courses, and great employment opportunities at the end of it all. (There is a reason the Indian Institutes of Management are ranked so high in the world!)
However, this is only confined to the best institutes in India, and all of them are very difficult to get into, though not very expensive (by global standards).
The not-so-good MBA programs in India, which are relatively easier to get into, will not make much of a difference to your resume, seeing as an MBA qualification has become too common now. You need something that will help you stand out, which passing from the top-ranked institutes in the country will do for you.
If you see yourself getting into any of the IIMs next year, you should ideally forget all about foreign MBAs or how awesome they are. But in case your chances of getting into a premier institute in India are limited, you might want to explore the foreign option.
Where Foreign MBA Programs Score over their Indian Counterparts
Foreign MBA programs teach you everything that the Indian ones do, plus have additional benefits to them. Listed here are just a few of those:
Good Research Facilities
Some libraries in the UK and the US have millions of books available for their students and staff to consult, borrow, and read. On top of that, these universities also give you subscriptions to a number of the best academic databases that contain thousands of journals and papers from around the world. It’s a great way for students to access the best and the latest in research to support their assignments with.
Truly speaking, universities abroad are heaven for those who love their research.
It is no secret that the developed nations of the West have been attracting the best brains from all over the world for many decades now.
This brings a diversity and richness of thought to those societies and that reflects in all their fields and industries. The field of education is no different. It has immensely benefited from these bright minds and that shows in the quality of teaching at the highest level.
While Indian institutes also boast of world-class faculty now, the overall scenario lacks the diversity found in the institutes abroad.
Combined with the emphasis placed on research and the excellent research tools given to each and every student, MBA programs abroad have a well-rounded touch to them as compared to the Indian programs.
Another factor where foreign MBA programs score over the Indian ones is that they are recognised all over the world. That is one of the biggest reasons for choosing a UK MBA, for instance, over a Pune MBA. Regardless of where your future job takes you, you will find that an international MBA degree on your resume will always reflect well on you.
International Cultural Exposure
This is another excellent point in favour of gaining your MBA degree abroad. None of the Indian cities or institutes have anywhere near the international exposure found in universities in the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, or even New Zealand.
Studying abroad broadens your mind considerably, gives you tremendous confidence, and prepares you for any challenge ahead. This is especially useful for those aiming for management roles. And this is something that can only be gained by moving out of one’s country, and by definition, moving away from one’s comfort zone and from people with similar patterns of thinking.
The Cost Factor
Good MBA programs are universally expensive, but it gets a lot worse when you look at the depreciating rupee and the usually costly MBA courses in the U.S. Plus, you will have to factor in the cost of living abroad as well. All of which may leave you with huge loans to pay off.
As a rule, undertaking an MBA course should always be a very well-thought out decision, simply because these courses are not just expensive but also very intensive. If you don’t want to take on more costs than absolutely necessary, you might want to go for an Indian MBA. And besides, a foreign MBA is also no guarantee of landing a good job in the uncertain economy in the West.
We would like to say that both the Indian and foreign MBA programs have their strengths. Foreign MBA courses should be preferred by those who are looking at the global stage for their future. Ambitious young sparks who dream of living in NYC, London, or Sydney, and are confident of drawing six-figure salaries in a few years’ time.
If, on the other hand, you are very clear that you want to work for the best companies but at the same time you want to be based in India, we suggest you try to get into any of the best MBA institutes in the country. That will serve your purpose equally well.