Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Case Study : The #1 Study Method for a MBA

One of the important study formats in a MBA program is the case study format. Case studies have been invented at Harvard University in the 1920s and from then on they have dominated the MBA education system all over the world.

The Birth of an HBS Case Study :
When Harvard Business School first opened its doors in 1908, the case method of instruction was just an idea of the School's first Dean, Edwin F. Gay. Gay envisioned an approach to classroom teaching that would revolve around discussions of problems in business administration. In 1911, Arch Wilkinson Shaw began teaching a Business Policy course in which he presented to the class real problems faced by business executives. These presentations would become the first examples of the case method at HBS. HBS published its first case study, The General Shoe Company, in 1921, written by Assistant Dean Clinton Biddle.

The years have brought many changes in the way cases are conceived and produced, and topics have expanded as innovations have broadened the scope of business. Yet the case method remains the heart and soul of how business is taught at HBS. "It's action learning," says HBS senior lecturer Michael J. Roberts, executive director of case development. "As professors, we have to distill the realities of complex business issues and bring that into the classroom. Students, in turn, want to extrapolate from that narrow experience to the world at large. So, we have to pick good examples and maintain the relevance of them."

Eighty years after the first case was written, the case method is as much as ever at the center of teaching and learning at HBS. Roberts believes that the case method continues to be the most effective teaching technique because of its applicability to real management situations. "Those who practice business are in the real world making decisions that have real consequences," he says. "The case method is intellectually engaging for students because they acquire the knowledge, skills, and tools to deal with the kind of problems they'll encounter in their careers. Because they go through this inductive reasoning process to arrive at answers, the learning process is more powerful."
So What exactly is a case study?

Typically, an HBS case is a detailed account of a real-life business situation, describing the dilemma of the "protagonist"—a real person with a real job who is confronted with a real problem. Faculty and their research assistants spend weeks at the company that is the subject of the case, detailing the background of the situation, the immediate problem or decision, and the perspectives of the managers involved. The resulting case presents the story exactly as the protagonist saw it, including ambiguous evidence, shifting variables, imperfect knowledge, no obvious right answers, and a ticking clock that impatiently demands action.

Collectively, HBS cases cover every inch of the rich landscape of issues general managers confront—from finance and manufacturing to marketing and human resources, from the broadly strategic to the deeply personal, from companies and institutions small and large, from places around the globe. They also draw on the full range of knowledge and analytical tools business students must know to confront these issues, providing a rich context for their application. Though every case is different, nearly all center on one overarching question: What should the protagonist do? In their two years at HBS, students study more than 500 cases—500 chances to join with their classmates to test themselves against the rock-hard realities of life in business.

How does it work?
Every week, our MBA students pore over fourteen or so cases, which usually include a range of financial and other supporting data. After spending a couple of hours studying each case on their own, and conducting quantitative analyses as appropriate, they test their thinking before class in small study groups of four to six people.

Almost inevitably, class begins with a "cold call," a provocative question the professor poses to one specific student to open the case and ignite the thinking of the section as a whole. In the course of a year, every MBA student is cold-called at least once, and you never know when it will be your turn—a powerful incentive to come to class prepared.

From the springboard of this opening question and the response, the class collectively dives into a riveting eighty minutes of analysis, argument, insight, and passionate persuasion. In more traditional classrooms, practically the only voice you hear is the professor's. HBS professors aren't soloists, but rather conductors who every day orchestrate a stimulating rapid-fire discussion, playing off all ninety minds in the room to analyze and synthesize the situation. Since 50 percent of each student's grade depends on class participation, everyone is inspired to contribute.

Class rarely ends with a tidy solution to the protagonist's dilemma, but more often with a deep appreciation of the complex factors at play, a clear idea of how to apply appropriate techniques to analyze and assess the problem, and new insights into how to deal with the untidy uncertainties of real business.

HBS has developed 'sections' and 'study groups' to amplify the use of the case method.

Sections are intended to maximize one of the strengths of the case method: Every student is also a teacher. A great part of what students learn at HBS comes from listening to the dozens of contrasting analyses, opinions, and perspectives of their sectionmates, a diverse constellation of exceptionally talented people from an extraordinary range of personal and professional backgrounds. After years of experience, faculty have set the size of a section at about eighty to ninety students, a number that allows them to bring this rich diversity to bear on case discussions while encouraging the proper level of vibrant interaction.

For those used to solitary nights in the library, the emphasis at HBS on study groups may come as a surprise, but they are universally described by MBA students as key to their success; a personal and intellectual resource they couldn't do without. Offering a miniature version of the diversity in a section as a whole, a study group is a place to clarify difficult concepts, test ideas, ask "dumb questions," learn new ways of attacking a problem, and sometimes just to relax.

Is this method effective?

The HBS approach to the case method of teaching may represent the most demanding, engaging, and provocative way to learn about the skills of leadership, short of actually serving as a CEO. But does that preparation lead to significant results in the real world?

Perhaps the best measure is the extraordinary success of our alumni. HBS graduates have gone on to positions of leadership in an exceptional range of entrepreneurial firms, established companies, governments, and nonprofit organizations in countries across the globe. And many of them have maintained that their experience with the case method at HBS has been crucial to their success, giving them the knowledge, the skills, and confidence to deal effectively with the wide array of difficult decisions they have faced throughout their careers.

I would like to add that the case method has been successful all over the world and hence can be considered one of the most important "education innovations" for the MBA.

Some resources on case studies :

Monday, November 29, 2004

Courage to Succeed

To dream anything that you want to dream,
that is the beauty of the human mind.
To do anything that you want to do,
that is the strength of the human will.
To trust yourself, to test your limits,
that is the courage to succeed.

Bernard Edmonds

Saturday, November 27, 2004


The International English Language Testing System is compulsory for educational and immigration purposes to the common wealth countries. For my MBA in Australia the universities have accepted the TOEFL and GMAT scores however the Australian high Commission requires the student to write the IELTS.

The IELTS consists of 4 sections. Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing. I assumed that this would be similar to the TOEFL examination but it turned out to be better. Let me explain.

The TOEFL is more of a examination of english language testing similar to the ones for school kids of VIII standard or so. The IELTS on the other hand checks for your capability to understand and communicate in the english language at the university level.

For example, the Listening module consists of people talking in various normal settings but in the common wealth accent, which makes sense.The Reading module also tests subjects which are more suitable for people in the 25 yrs+ range. The writing module is the most interesting. It has two tasks. The first task is to interpret a graph and write a short report to the university professor. The second task consists of writing a argument on a particular topic.

The only problem I have is the cost of the test. It costs INR 6,000 (convert) which is a lot of money for a english exam. I guess this is another way of making money. Some 130 aspirants wrote with me. (that's a lot of money)

In India this is administrated by the British Council and IDP IELTS Australia.

I did my IELTS very well. The results will be out in a week.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Application and Visa Update - 2

As I metioned earlier, I am waiting for a offer letter from UniSA. Unfortunately, I am yet to recieve the offer letter. I met one of the Professors from UniSA in September in Mumbai and after the interview he offered me to join the MBA program. I submitted the application and was should have received the offer letter in 2-3 weeks which ended on Oct30, 2004. I have contacted them for a update through IDP. Still need to get a update.

In the meantime the World MBA Tour is in India. One of the colleges which I had shortlisted before Brisbane Graduate School of Management, Queensland University of Technology is also participating in it. I visited them at Bangalore Fair and managed to convince the Professor at the forum to interview me for the program.

I will be meeting her to fasttrack the process and also convice her for a scholarship for the MBA. I just hope it happens and I get to join QUT. Wish me luck!

Update : The interview went positively and I will get an offer from QUT. The scholarship will most probably come too!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

A Path with a Heart

The MBA journey (that is what it is, a journey not a destination...Follow on to know more) is something which I have taken after a lot of deliberation. It is important to realise to a few things before we take any step in life. But, the most important part of the decision we need to remember that "is it a journey you will enjoy" or you are taking the decision for some perceived benefit from the destination.

The MBA as we all know is a course which we embark on for a specific reason. The reasons range from,

1. I need a better job.
2. Since everybody is doing it I better do it.
3. I want to enter a specific field.
4. I want to be the CEO/Vp of a organisation.
5. I want to educate myself to be able to be make a difference.

The MBA is not an end, it is a small part of a bigger journey which you have started and it is a tool which will help you "live that journey better".

There are many Why's? for doing an MBA and my Why? is :

I do not see an MBA as an education to manage a business but a "set of codified knowledge" which will help me to create, run and manage varied institutions which will help to bring about change in the society.
Atanu Dey writes a wonderful blog post about the Path. He quotes from Carlos Casteneda's The Teachings of don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge:

Anything is one of a million paths. Therefore you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path; if you fell you should not follow it, you must not stay with it under any conditions. To have such clarity you must lead a disciplined life. Only then will you know that any path is only a path, and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you to do. But your decision to keep on the path or to leave it must be free from fear or ambition. I warn you. Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself and yourself alone, one question. This question is one that only a very old man asks. My benefactor told me about it once when I was young, and my blood was too vigorous for me to understand it. Now I do understand it. I will tell you what it is. Does this path have a heart? All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. They are path going through the bush or into the bush...In my own life I could say I have traversed long, long paths, but I an not anywhere. My benefactor's question has meaning now. Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn't it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn't. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.
I can very well relate to this. If you did check my profile, you would know that I worked in ADP, a US based MNC and the largest payroll administrator in the US, in their brokerage services division in Hyderabad for four years managing outsourced projects of the top Investment banks in the US and Europe. Those four years brought me experience, money, a good working environment, one of the best workplaces in India and a great organisation culture. My assignments were successful and it provided me a chance to work in the US of A for a short while. However, something was missing. It was not correct. It did not make me happy and at the end I started cursing my life.

This took a very different turn when I met Rajesh Jain. Rajesh was dotcom millionaire from India who wanted to make a difference to society and the millions of Indians in India. This resonated with me perfectly. I was always wanting to work on something which would make a difference to the teeming millions in India. It does not always mean to eradicate poverty. It could mean things like providing a services at a affordable price so that they can benefit from it. In fact, it can be as small as selling an ice cream for Rs. 1 so that many of the poorest children can enjoy the joy of licking an ice cream.

(In the meantime I started meeting other people who were walking on similar paths and who helped me clarify my goals, my ambitions and my need to live a meaningful life. Some of them are, Robin Good, Bala Pillai, Sepp Hassberger, Edward Hugh from the Living Network, Andrius Kulikauskas of Minciu Sodas)

Rajesh introduced me to Atanu. Atanu is a razor sharp, highly motivated Indian with an extra large dose of empathy who lived a large part of his life in California, USA,. He developed this idea called Rural Infrastructure and Services Commons which if implemented would change the face of rural India and thereby India as a whole.

If I can distill my short experience in the world and put it down : The second most important part of a decision to work, is the "people" you would work with. The first, obviously, would be the work itself. I wanted to join Deeshaa and work with the people whom I would respect and love working with coupled with a great project. There was one caveat though, it was a risky and tough decision to make.

There were a couple of reasons for this. One, I was joining a start up which had a high probability of failure and two, I needed to relocate to the city of Mumbai (Bombay) from the safe haven of Hyderabad (small city, native place, parents, friends). To top it all, I was married. But, the decision had to be taken. Anyway Safe is Risky.

My experience in this one year has been tremendous. I met and worked with one of the most wonderful people I know. The city of Bombay changed my wife, myself and our relationship to the better. A lot of intuitions and thoughts got confirmed and I learnt a lot more about life.
In short, I grew and I loved the work I was doing. In fact, the whole experience made me a stronger and a better person.

I cannot write about the changes I have experienced as a person, but I do want to list some of things I did in this last year.
WorldisGreen.com : My blog on rural India. A one of a kind blog which helped me learn a lot about rural India, its problems and the possible prescriptions. It also connected to lot of people I would not have connected to and it gave me a good online presence.

Deeshaa Network : The Deeshaa group is 11 months old (started on Dec 12, 2003) with a membership of 220+ members from all over world who want to see a better India. I plan to take this forward and connect to more people.

BPODigest.com : I met some wonderful people (Ram Dhan, Sri Hari, Anand....) with whom I launched India's first Interactive portal on Outsourcing. The portal was officially launched by the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, Y S Rajashekar Reddy.

The point is : If you follow the path which has a heart then you are guaranteed to enjoy the journey irrespective of the fruits of that journey.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Application and Visa Update - 1

I selected the International Graduate School of Management, University of South Australia in Adelaide for my MBA. I am waiting for the "offer" letter. It should come anytime now.

On the VISA process, I have finalised the financial parameters (my uncle and aunt are sponsoring me) and I will be applying for the VISA in the second week of december.

I will be writing the IELTS on Nov 27th.

IDP - Informative & Dependable Practioners

The University selection process is generally considered to be the most important aspect of the MBA. The Australian Universities were totally unknown to me before the start of this process. This is when I visited IDP India.

IDP is a non-profit organisation started by the Australian Universities to help internation students join the universities. It is present in many countries all over the world and provides its educational consultancy services free of cost. Yes, you heard it right, FREE. You can also take the IELTS tests at IDP.

Unlike agents who charge students for their services, all IDP services are free as IDP is owned by the universities themselves.

The following services are offered free of cost :

  • Information: On courses and institutions of Australia
  • Counselling: Individual counselling to students and their parents

  • Applications: Assistance in the preparation and submission of applications

  • Forms: Application forms for any course and institute are available free of cost from IDP
  • Application Submissions: Your applications will be submitted to universities directly by IDP, thereby saving time and cost for the applicant.
  • Visa Submissions: Assistance in the preparation and submission of Visa applications. An application through IDP reduces the chances of your visa application being rejected.
  • Pre departure Seminars
  • Accomodation: Arrangement of accommodation and airport pickup in Australia

When I first heard about it I was very impressed. It was a masterstroke in Marketing by the Aussie Univ's. Thing for second. Australia invests billions of dollars in higher education every year for the benefit of their own economy. At the same time the revenue earned by the way of domestic students will not be enough to pay back the entire sum. There are many benefits for internation students in Australai. It is a English speaking country and the govt. maintains very high standards of education. (For more check out my post on Why Australia?). How does it recoup the money spent?

Look at where the international students go mainly- the
US and the UK. One of the major sources of revenue for the US and UK universities are 'international students'. They are well established and well known in the whole world for the quality of their education. The other important fact is that most of these students use education as a way of entering the country. The first step in many if you want to immigrate.

Lets look at some of the numbers from Open Doors 2003, an annual publication which reports on the international students scenario in the

India is the leading place of origin for international students (74,603, up 12%), followed by #2 China (64,757, up 2%), #3 Korea (51,519, up 5%), #4 Japan (45,960, down 2%), #5 Taiwan (28,017, down 3%), #6 Canada (26,513, unchanged), #7 Mexico (12,801, up 2%), #8 Turkey (11,601, down 4%), #9 Indonesia (10,432, down 10%), #10 Thailand (9,982, down 14%), #11 Germany (9,302, down 3%), #12 Brazil (8,388, down 7%), #13 UK (8,326, down 1%), #14 Pakistan (8,123, down 6%), and #15 Hong Kong (8,076, up 4%).

Asian students comprise over half (51%) of all international enrollments, followed by students from Europe (13%), Latin America (12%), Africa (7%), the Middle East (6%), North America and Oceania (5%).

The most popular fields of study for international students in the
U.S. are business and management (20%) and engineering (17%).

Funds from home: International students contribute nearly $12 billion dollars to the
U.S. economy, through their expenditure on tuition and living expenses. Department of Commerce data describe U.S. higher education as the country's fifth largest service sector export.

Open Doors 2004, reports similar statistics except that for the first time since 1971/72 the number of international students enrolled in U.S. higher education institutions decreased by 2.4% in 2003/04 to a total of 572,509. It also says that,

The overall decline in international students enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities has been attributed to a variety of reasons, including real and perceived difficulties in obtaining student visas (especially in scientific and technical fields), rising U.S. tuition costs, vigorous recruitment activities by other English-speaking nations, and perceptions abroad that international students may no longer be welcome in the U.S.

There has been similar increase of numbers in the Uk too.

BBC reports :

There has been a big increase in the number of students taking post-graduate courses in the UK.

In the past seven years, there has been a 20% increase in the number of post-graduate students, taking the number to 500,000 today.

Numbers have risen fastest in the new universities, a report from the Higher Education Policy Institute suggests.

More than a million students visit the
US and the UK every year and generate $12 billion dollars for the US while also being the fifth largest service export for that country. Another fact relevant to this discussion is that 51% of the students are from Asia.

The five
main English-speaking destination countries – the USA, the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Australia's strength's lies in its proximity to Asia and also its positioning in the last 5-7 years as a 'affordable' destination. Australia has lesser recognition than the US and the UK in terms of visibility for parents and students and also basic information about the education and visa process.

For example : In
India we can find a lot of people who have studied in the US or the UK and get first hand information about the same from them. This is not the case for Australia, New Zealand or Canada.

The IDP Education Australia solves this problem by being able to provide excelent un-biased services free of cost. This makes it easier for students/parents to approach the organisation and ultimately select
Australia as their favoured destination for education.

Australia has recognised these opportunities and they have been fairl successful in their goal.

The following statistics speak for itself.

Australia's Exports of Education Services

For the financial year 2003/04, the total value of Australia ’s education exports was $5.622 billion. This incorporates the value of education provided to international students in Australia , plus the expenditure of those students while they are in Australia . It does not include the value of education provided to a student through distance education.

For the 2003/04 financial year, the value of Education Services has grown 14.8% from 2002/03, compared with 18.3% growth in the previous year. This corresponds to an increase of $726 million.

Education Services and non-monetary gold are the only commodities in the top 10 to experience growth in consecutive financial years.

Education Visa growth

In 2003, there were 110,504 student visas issued offshore for study in Australia

The top 10 citizenships for visas issued offshore in 2003 were:













South Korea
















Hong Kong
















Total All Countries




The total enrolment of international students at Australian universities in Semester 1, 2004 is estimated at 192,460. This represents an increase of 10.2% from the 174,584 students in Semester 2, 2003 and the same percentage increase over the 174,676 students in Semester 1, 2003.

The number of onshore international students as a proportion of the total student population in Australian universities compared to the total onshore student population was estimated at 16.3%. This is up from 14.4% in Semester 1, 2003.

The comparitive cost of living (PDF) has been incresing in
Australia and now it stands second within the five main english-speaking destinations. For the Full Time MBA the total costs are still the lowest within the group.

IDP has proved itself as a effective and professional organisation.

Note : What started as small note on IDP has transformed into the analysis of the export of education services. I do think this note will be helpful to prospective students.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Why Australia?

I highlighted the need to do an MBA for me now lets have a look at Why Australia?.


The Commonwealth of Australia is the sixth-largest country in the world (geographically), the only one to occupy an entire continent, and the largest in the region of Australasia. Australia includes the island of Tasmania, which is an Australian State. Its neighbouring countries include New Zealand to the southeast; and Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and East Timor to its north. The name 'Australia' comes from the Latin phrase terra australis incognita ("unknown southern land", see Terra Australis). The word "Australia" is pronounced by locals as either @"streIlI@ or @"streIj@ (SAMPA), əˈstɹeɪlɪə or əˈstɹeɪjə (IPA). [Wikipedia]

The Environment

Australia is a beautiful country. This is a known fact. A survey conducted by the Economist for the top cities to live in the world for expats, five cities from Australia were part of the top 10 cities. Considering that there are only 7 major cities in Australia this is major acievement. Australia has has also taken great pains in increasing its population by the way of planned migration after world war II the population increased from 7 million to its current 20 million. Considering that cities like Bombay or Shanghai or the Indian state of Assam have similar populations it is not much. In fact that makes all the difference for Australia. With a density of 3/km2 , it is one of the most sparsely populated regions of the world.

Australia is also a great tourist destination with attractions like the Great Barrier Reef, Sydney and the bushlands in Queensland. Australia is also famous for its horse races. The Melbourne Cup carries with it the largest prize amount in the world.

The Economy

Australia is also a well managed & developed economy. Australia has a per capita income of $26631 making it the 19th largest in the world or 14th largest when meausured in terms of PPP. Australia has also a very stable economic growth in the last few years and is generally not effected by the external world very much. Add to it the inflation levels and a very strong social security it is definitetly a good place to live in. In terms of Economic Freedom it stands 10th place in the world. Economic Freedom gives us an indication of the ease of starting and running a business which favours well for Entrepreneurs.

Since the recession "Australia had to have" (P. Keating) in the early 1990s, the Australian economy has not suffered a recession or "trough" in the business cycle in 11 years. Even the downturn of the early 2000s did not affect its consistent GDP growth. [Wikipedia]


Australia has a diverse set of people.

In 1901, 23% of Australia's population was overseas-born. Since the end of World War II, Australia has experienced large yearly increases in population due to a combination of high fertility and high levels of migration. In 1947 the proportion of the population born overseas was 10%, and by 1991, this proportion had increased to 24% (table 5.37). In 2001 the number of overseas-born Australians was 4.5 million, or 23% of the total population. Over the past 100 years, the range of countries of birth has increased substantially. [Year book Australia]

Australia is also ranked a high third in the Human Development Index.

Higher Education

The first Australian university was the University of Sydney, founded in 1850 in New South Wales. Three years later the University of Melbourne was established by the Colony of Victoria. By 1912 a university had been founded in each State: the University of Adelaide in South Australia in 1874, the University of Tasmania in 1890, the University of Queensland in 1909 and the University of Western Australia in 1911. The decades since World War II have seen a substantial expansion of Australian higher education. [AEI]

There are forty-three Australian universities. They are both teaching and research institutions. A full range of academic and professional disciplines is offered with awards ranging from associate diploma to doctorate being offered.

Many universities have a multi-campus structure, with each campus specialising in a particular discipline. Regional universities, some offering specialised courses, provide a full tertiary experience with students residing on campus and participating in local activities.

The standard, design and diversity of education offered by Australian universities are among the most effective in the world. On average, an undergraduate degree lasts from between three up to six years for a double degree with honours. [IMMI]

It is estimated that over 180,000 students from about 140 countries chose Australia as their preferred overseas study destination in 2000. [StudyinAustralia.gov.au]

Note : For International Students, check out the study in australia site and also the Dept. of Immigration.


Distinguishing Australia from many other countries is the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). The AQF is a national system of learning pathways covering 12 different qualifications and linking universities, vocational education and training, and school education.

The AQF allows students to move easily from one level of study to the next and from one institution to another as long as they satisfy student visa requirements. Recognition of prior learning (RPL) enables students to receive credit toward a qualification for knowledge and skills gained through previous study, training, work and life experience. Even if students partially complete an AQF qualification they are issued with a Statement of Attainment.

Once the status of existing qualifications is established the AQF means students can choose from appropriate level courses anywhere in Australia. The AQF also provides more flexibility in career planning and encourages continuous learning to help you through any career and lifestyle changes you make in your lifetime.

Why study an MBA in Australia?

There are two fundamental reasons for studying an MBA in Australia:

· Australia offers internationally recognised MBAs at prestigious universities;

· Australia offers a host of other advantages for students.

To appreciate the significance of the first point, it is necessary to explore briefly the meaning of the term 'good MBA'. At one extreme, it is possible in some countries to acquire an 'MBA' certificate through the mail by spending a few hundred dollars. Such 'MBAs' are obviously not worth the paper they are written on, and any employer duped into hiring such a person would soon learn their mistake and act accordingly. At the other end of the spectrum are MBAs acquired on the basis of diligent study and participation over a period of at least 16 months, within a rich learning environment at an internationally-recognised management school within a prestigious university. The difference between these two experiences lies in the changes that they effect within the student.

A good MBA will develop the individual significantly, including their capacity to work as an effective team member, to lead others, and to be effective in interpersonal relationships through enhanced self-confidence, communication, presentation and negotiation skills. In addition, his or her capacity to diagnose the changes required to achieve business success and the power to implement these changes will be increased dramatically. By contrast, a poor MBA will effect none of these changes within the individual, and thus individual performance will be poor.

Australian MBA Programs

Particularly within its capital cities, Australia possesses a large number of MBA programs which meet the above criteria for providing a good MBA. Very early in its history, Australia inherited the British academic tradition of rigorous inquiry and adherence to high academic standards. Australia's oldest universities in particular are internationally-renowned for their very high standards of research and teaching.

Currently, a total of 55 Australian universities offer MBA programs. The prevailing model at the better institutions is the 'Harvard style' MBA, which provides around 16 diverse business related subjects, delivered over a period of 16 months to 2 years of full-time study. The shorter (16 month) program is delivered by institutions who have adopted the trimester system as a means to reduce the opportunity cost of an MBA to its students. Students may also study part-time, and most choose to do so. [Transworldeducation]

Why MBA?

The Master's in Business Administration is one of the most sought after degrees in the world. The degree originated in the great capitalist country, USA and has now spread its wings far across the entire world. The course brings knowledge, experience, value and above all a good take off point to a career.

The business world some 50 years back was not as complicated as it now. Most of the best managers "climbed up the ladder" and there were no "lateral entries" back then. In fact Managers itself was not a common term among many of the biggest corporations. One of the most professionally managed big business of that time, General Motors was built by managers like Alfred P. Sloan and so was General Electric but they were seldom called 'managers'.

In fact Management as a discipline was invented by Peter Drucker by the way of his seminal study of General Motors in the "Concept of the Corporation". This was the first book which explained what management was and how it was creating the biggest change in society by creating and managing large organisations. Drucker went on to provide the benchmark of Management and management or business books by the publication of "The Practice of Management". He then took a step forward a wrote about the Manager or as he later changed the much abused word to "Executive" in "The Effective Executive".

Through time the schools of Harvard, Columbia (where Buffet graduated from) and later Stanford etc began to define the study of management and the skills need for the manager.

The need to better create change in the society through organisations has become the major tools of the 21st century. The concept of management, which until the 1970s was restricted to large businesses, has started flowing downstream to small and medium enterprises. This was best explained by Drucker in his book Innovation and entrepreneurship. The definitive guide to entrepreneurship and its main tool - Innovation.

The concept of management went through another major change when it was started applying to as varied institutions as the hospital, the university, the community center, the church, the government. Every institution is now in the ambit of management which in effect would mean the entire society.

Due to the rapid growth of population, resources and requirements we have created varied institutions to effectively manage ourselves. The way to accomplish this is the organisation and the tool - Management.

From where I see, I do not see an MBA as an education to manage a business but a "set of codified knowledge" which will help me to create, run and manage varied institutions which will help to bring about change in the society.

Books mentioned or related to topics in the post :

An Aussie MBA

I am Suhit Anantula from India.

I am on my way to join a MBA course in Australia. This weblog will chronicle my journey from Why an MBA? , Why in Australia? How? and all through the two years.

Why a Blog?

I had started blogging from Feb 2003. My blog World is Green was launched in Dec2003 and from that day I have been a die-hard blogger. I have learnt immensely from blogging and also have developed a good network of people. Another added advantage is the ability to build a brand : You!.

The important lesson has been focus. A blog focussed on a particular theme is more useful to the writer, reader and the occasional visitor. The concentration of connected information in one place provides a much needed understanding due to its wide variety of posts through time. Hence, the need to start a blog for my MBA.

One of the main responsibilities for blogging is the need to continously blog and at the same time not making it a burden on oneself. The day it starts becoming a burden to me I will stop it. Till then, I will continue to devote myself to it.

As an aside, a note on the blogging software. I use wordpress for my Rural India Blog. At the same time I have decided on using blogger for this blog. One of the main reasons has been the simplicity of using Blogger. The other important thing to note is that I do not need the ability to categorize information in this blog (which blogger does not provide). So I am guessing I will be happy with using blogger.

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