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Why Indian students are crazy about foreign MBAs

Reuters/Brian Snyder
Thou shalt study abroad.
By Madhura Karnik
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Never mind the Indian Institutes of Management, or the Indian School of Business. India’s MBA aspirants much rather go abroad than stay home to attend B-school—and it’s all about reputation.

A survey of around 10,000 students from across the world shows that 81% Indians (exact number of the domestic sample isn’t available) polled would prefer to go to a foreign B-school. In 2011, about 76% of Indian MBA aspirants surveyed were inclined to study abroad.

The biggest factor in favour of a foreign MBA is the reputation of education systems abroad, followed by the prospect of an international career. Here’s the entire list of reasons why Indian students prefer foreign MBAs:

The survey was conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), which conducts the graduate management aptitude test that’s required to join global MBA programs.

What’s wrong with India?

The size of India’s education industry stood at a huge Rs6.42 lakh crore ($96 billion) as of 2015-16, according to credit rating agency India Ratings and Research. This includes all sorts of institutes: play-schools, schools, colleges, coaching classes, vocational training centres, etc.

And although demand is set to increase, there are grave concerns over quality. Over 90% of all Indian MBA graduates, for instance, are not employable at all, according to a recent study by a major industry body.

Currently, there is a requirement of 200,000 schools, 35,000 colleges, 700 universities, and 40 million seats at vocational training centres in the country, India Ratings said in a report. But there is also a pressing need to sort out structural issues: the student-teacher ratio is high, research exposure is minimal, and innovation is missing.

In 2012, India had one teacher for every 24 students, the report said. This ratio is for the overall education sector.

“A high student-to-teacher ratio leads to the faculty being overburdened with teaching and assessment activities unlike their counterparts in better parts of the world, leaving them with less time for research and capacity building,” the report added.

Here’s how India fares in terms of this ratio compared to other developing and developed countries:

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