AICTE should recognize one-year MBA and ensure quality

AICTE recently issued a notification related to Post Graduate Diploma in Management – PGDM (MBA) which requires the standard length of PGDM programs to be two years. (Here is a related article on the impact of notification on entrance tests.)

This is contrary to the increasing demand for one-year MBA programs, both in India and abroad. It also gives confusing message to students and institutions about what are the differences between recognized and unrecognized, one-year and two-year MBA programs. For example, Great Lakes Institute of Management (GLIM) received AICTE approval for its one year PGPM as “certificate” program in August 2010 and not diploma program.

At times when cost of MBA programs is increasing, one-year MBA offer a unique value proposition and a viable opportunity for individuals with significant work-experience. European institutions have been early adopters of one-year MBA and European Quality Link (EQUAL)–an association in the field of European management education–provides the guidelines for an MBA degree and accepts minimum length of MBA program as one year full-time. Even in the US market, which primarily follows a 2-year MBA model is becoming open to new one-year MBA programs. For example, Rutgers Business School and Daniels College of Business, University of Denver recently launched one-year MBA programs.

While demand for one-year MBA programs is increasing in India, quality has lagged behind. Success of ISB model has encouraged launch of many new programs and institutions where institutions are hiding behind the excuse of inefficiency of AICTE and “industry-recognition.” Some of these programs are very expensive and still offer inferior quality for a credential which is not technically equivalent to an MBA. Overall, this has resulted in the dilution of the quality of one-year MBA programs. AICTE is reacting to valid concerns about the quality of management education in India and also to the continued criticism it had been facing related to corruption and inefficiencies.

While AICTE’s intent is correct, execution is dismal. It is again taking a approach which inhibits innovation and flexibility. It ignores that institutional quality is a spectrum and dumping good and bad institutions in the same bucket does not help either set of institutions. Instead, it should have accepted the market/student need for one-year MBA programs and created high quality standards for the recognition of one-year MBA programs.

Any thoughts/comments?

Dr. Rahul Choudaha

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