Trends, insights and research to inform growth and innovation strategies in international higher education.

December 22, 2010

Indian Engineering & MBA Institutions: Growth Trends and Data

Number of engineering and management institutions in India have grown at an clipping rate of 19% and 16.5% CAGR in the period from 2005-06 to 2009-10 (AICTE). Likewise, the annual intake of students for engineering and management programs increased by 21% and 22% CAGR respectively in the same period.

However, Indian economy grew at a slower pace in this period. Indian GDP grew at a CAGR of 12% from 837 billion in 2005 to 1.31 trillion in 2009. This indicates that supply of students has outstripped the demand of the economy and hence there will be many more unemployed engineering and MBA graduates in the Indian labor market.

Further, given the lack of an effective policy framework and supporting professional standards, many institutions which started in last few years are of poor quality. Thus, the number of students in professional programs like engineering and management have not only been increasing at an unmanageable rate but also graduating with lack of skills. This is evident from many vacant seats remaining for engineering and management programs. In addition, there is a situation of credential inflation where people keep chasing degrees in the hope of finding better career prospects.


I believe that in next five years, a wave of consolidation is expected where some institutions will start closing down or merging due to their inability to adapt to the demand for quality and raising resources. Many others, which start gearing up for quality will survive and in fact, create a strong competitive advantage.

More engineering graduates, driven by underemployment or unemployment, will seek graduate programs abroad and hence education pipeline for students going abroad will continue to be healthy.

Feel free to share your thoughts/comments/experiences.
Dr. Rahul Choudaha
Read More »

December 13, 2010

2015: Arrival of the Gen-Q and Quality in Indian Higher Education

Published article on the arrival of Gen-Q in EDU magazine. To read the full article click here. Given below is my definition of Gen-Q:
Gen-Q are children born in late 90’s to the parents working in new-age industries like IT and telecommunications. Gen-Q will start going to college from 2015 onwards and will expect quality education.

According to NASSCOM, number of knowledge workers in Indian IT industry has grown eight-fold in ten years from less than 200,000 in 1998 to 1.6 million in 2007. Gen-Q are children of these new-age professionals and will start going to college from 2015 onwards and will expect high standards of quality. This demand for quality is already evident from the growth of international schools in India. For example, number of students in IB programs has grown at a CAGR of 25% in the five-year period from 2005-09.

Apart from expectations for quality, Gen-Q will influence Indian higher education in several other ways including demand for international experiences, autonomous decision making, acceptance of diverse fields and higher pricing of programs.

Arrival of Gen-Q in 2015 will trigger a major change in Indian higher education. This fast and sudden change, primarily driven by the demand side factors, will present opportunities and challenges for institutions. Survival and growth of many institutions would depend on preparing for this change and focusing on quality for long term competitiveness.

You are welcome to share your thoughts/comments/experiences.

Dr. Rahul Choudaha
Read More »

December 05, 2010

3 international partnership trends with Indian higher education institutions

Foreign collaborations with Indian higher education institutions gained a new wave of enthusiasm and excitement with the recent visit of President Obama. This included some major announcements including India-US education summit for next year. It was further propelled by high power delegations of foreign university leaders including the one led by Institute of International Education (IIE) and U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) and an international conference on higher education organized by FICCI.

Recently some major announcements related to academic collaborations also contributed to positive sentiments:
  • Carnegie Mellon with Shiv Nadar Foundation to offer undergraduate programs in mechanical engineering and electrical and computer engineering. Degree will be awarded by CMU.  
  • Indiana University with O.P. Jindal Global University collaborated on several fronts including research, exchanges, executive education, recruitment and conferences for business, law, and public and environmental affairs. However, all of these are non-degree awarding relationships.  
  • Strathclyde University with SKIL to start with a Master in Management program to be awarded by Strathclyde. Later they plan to offer 3-year BBA and 1-year MBA programs.  
There are three key trends shaping up in international collaborations with India:

  • # 1. Business management programs remain hot favorite:
Business management had been favorite for several interrelated reasons. Business management departments are more entrepreneurial in general and with the increasing importance of India in global economy, foreign B-schools are very much interested engaging with India. Some of the early models of success models namely, ISB and GLIM, have also created a wave of "me-too" kind of aspiration among new programs. Also, business programs command a higher pricing power and prestige and hence Indian partners are also investing more in this segment. However, business management segment is becoming commoditized and there are more opportunities of success and long-term differentiation in other segments including education and liberal arts.  

  • # 2. non-US will become more attractive:
Indians perceive US higher education to be of very high standards in terms of quality. Most Indians would prefer to go to a second-tier US institution as compared to a first-tier European institution. However, with the more aggressive outreach by some non-US institutions, perceptions are expected to shift. Recently, a delegation of Canadian universities led by Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) visited India and also Spanish universities consortia announced partnerships. UK universities had been early movers in terms of starting off-shore campuses in India. They were bold enough to not pursue the AICTE approval route or wait for passage of foreign universities bill. Leeds MET, Lancaster University and De Montfort University are already offering British degrees in India. Apart from competitive pressures, the budget cuts and immigration reforms, will push other UK universities to become more open to establish partnerships and off-shore campuses.

  • # 3. non-degree collaborations will emerge stronger:
The recent announcement by Indiana University received good media attention, however, it is a non-degree collaboration involving exchanges. This trend is expected to pick up where institutions will attempt to forge partnerships as a signal of quality and campus internationalization. This also presents a good learning opportunity involved on both sides with limited risks and investments. This trend will be more dominant with among leading US universities who want to engage with India but want to be cautious about their reputational and financial risks involved. Yale's India initiative is also along these non-degree level partnerships and offshore campus is not an option.

The Economist cited a study by the British Council and the Economist Intelligence Unit and noted that "the biggest new market for western universities is likely to be India." Undoubtedly, India offers immense opportunities, however, the last mile problem remains in terms of execution challenges and sustainability.

Any thoughts/comments/experiences to share?
Here are some related postings:
Failure of foreign campuses: Recognize the importance of student-decision making
Approaches for identifying international partners

Dr Rahul Choudaha
Read More »

December 01, 2010

Guru Mantra: Angel Cabrera, President, Thunderbird

Dr. Angel Cabrera
Thunderbird School of Global Management

Thunderbird President Dr. Angel Cabrera is a world-renowned global leader and management educator whose work and expertise has been recognized and tapped by top international organizations, including the World Economic Forum, the United Nations, and the Clinton Global Initiative.  Dr. Cabrera has been an outspoken advocate of corporate social responsibility and managerial professionalism, and in 2005 he inspired a student-led initiative that resulted in Thunderbird becoming the first business school in the world to formally adopt a Professional Oath of Honor, a commitment to social responsibility and professional ethics taken by graduating students. Also in 2005, the school established Thunderbird for Good, a philanthropic effort to provide business education to entrepreneurs in developing countries. Since then, hundreds of women entrepreneurs have been trained in Afghanistan, Jordan and Peru.

Rahul- Thunderbird had been offering Global MBA on Demand since 2006 and the School plans to seek private capital to more aggressively focus on online programs for reaching to a global audience. What challenges do you foresee with the model and what are your priorities in next couple of years?
Dr. Cabrera- Our experience with the Global MBA On Demand and the Global MBA for Latin American managers demonstrates that we can deliver world-class education by using technology within a collaborative, hand-on learning philosophy.  Under the new Vision 2020, we are committed to expand the learning opportunities we offer around the world via new technologies and business models, including raising private capital as needed if it helps us scale up more effectively.

In our current plans we foresee a for-profit model in the non-degree programs, as they do not entail some of the accreditation challenges that limit what can be done in the degree-granting space. By using private capital we expect to more aggressively extend our presence in key markets around the world, as well as to scale our current portfolio of on-line certificate programs.  Meanwhile we will continue with our efforts to grow our blended degree program options within the traditional non-profit academic structure.  Pursuing both approaches at the same time is consistent with our mission and the key priorities driving the development of our strategic plan for 2010-2014: strengthening our differentiation, innovating for scale and impact, engaging emerging markets and building a community of learning and practice.

Rahul- You have extensive leadership experiences in institution building earlier as dean of IE Business School and now as president of Thunderbird. In your experience, what are the top two critical success factors for building an educational institution of high repute and impact?
Dr. Cabrera- Number one: to be crystal clear about the institution’s educational mission and values.  Thunderbird’s mission “to educate global leaders who create sustainable prosperity worldwide,” and its view of global leadership as a multifaceted combination of a global mindset, an enterprising spirit and global citizenship values set it apart from any other business school in the world.  Understanding who you are and how you provide value to the world is the single most important step any leader must take.
Second, to create a culture that fosters innovation by continually asking how to better deliver on one’s mission.

Rahul- Thunderbird has dominantly positioned itself as a leader in international business education. How important are international partnerships in the School's mission and strategy? What are the opportunities and challenges in building sustainable international partnerships?
Dr. Cabrera- We view Thunderbird not just as a place, but rather as a global community of shared mission and values.  We have consistently pursued an educational agenda based on the idea that international business can and must contribute to creating a more peaceful and prosperous world.  Our consistency around our mission and values is probably the reason why Thunderbird is considered leader in the international management education space.

In our model, multi-cultural partnerships – with private companies, government entities, and other institutions of higher learning – are an integral part of our identity.  In building sustainable partnerships, whether in business, government, or academia, the key is an alignment of interests.  Thinking carefully upfront about how to create benefit for all parties is very important to long-term success.  Equally important is a global mindset which allows one to understand different conceptions of trust, value, etc.  By better understanding your partner’s perspective you can better position your relationship to drive benefit to both sides.
Read More »


Get in touch with Dr. Choudaha for speaking opportunities, consulting engagements, and media inquiries.

Follow by Email


Blog Archive