Executives prefer self over firms to sponsor MBA courses

Written by Diksha Dutta | Diksha Dutta | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 19 2012, 07:30am hrs
With India Inc cutting corners due to economic slowdown, specially on sponsoring professional mid-career courses for its middle and senior management, there are growing instances of executives preferring self-sponsored courses in order to ready themselves for global opportunities. Experts said the executives also prefer to fund their own courses in order to retain flexibility in job shifts.

Sample this: The 2010-11 batch of IIM, Kozhikode, in executive post graduate programme had 158 self-sponsored candidates and the number jumped to 341 for the 2011-12 batch. There have also been instances where the company-sponsored candidates for the same programme saw only a marginal increase from 36 to 38 candidates during the period. C Raju, faculty for quantitative methods and operations management at IIM, Kozhikode, says, In some cases, companies want to sponsor education programmes, but candidates do not want to take them up. Reason being they want to change jobs after this exposure and when their education is sponsored by the organisation, they feel tied up. Executives want to shift their corporates and verticals after executive MBAs.

IIM, Kozhikode, is not alone. Similar trends are also visible across MBA institutes like MDI Gurgaon, Eruditus Executive Education and others. From 60-65% of the executives being company sponsored for MBA and allied courses two years ago, the figures have now reduced to 30-35% with bulk of the executives managing their own funding for these courses, said a number of specialised placement and HR firms.

From an industry perspective, Uday Sodhi, CEO of Headhonchos.com, a job search portal for senior professionals and top management jobs, explains the statistics, Two years ago, one-third of the executive MBA candidates were sponsoring their education themselves and two-thirds were being sponsored by the companies. But today the trend has reversed, two-thirds of the programmes are sponsored by executives themselves. He further adds that companies are facing slowdown and even executives who already have an average of 10-year work experience are realising that they need to invest in programmes themselves to gain higher positions in other organisations and sectors.

Even the oldest institutes believe that executive MBA is now more of a self-driven initiative. Ashok Kapoor, the dean of executive graduate programmes at MDI Gurgaon says, The 27th batch of our executive management programme, which enrolls executives with average 10 years of work experience, has 50% of the self-sponsored candidates. This programme had started with the concept in which none of the candidates were self sponsored. He said there is a similar programme for executive education in the power and energy sectors, which now has its seventh batch running at MDI. For the first five years this programme was completely sponsored by some other body for candidates and had funding from the ministry of power too. The fees were between R7 and 8 lakh for this. Today this programme has more than 70% candidates who have sponsored it for themselves, he adds.

Interestingly, the most expensive executive MBA courses are too seeing more sponsorship by individuals themselves and companies are shying away from the spend. Chaitanya Kalipatnapu, director, Eruditus Executive Education says, We started an executive programme in partnership with INSEAD last year in August and a lot of it was more individual engaging rather than the companies sponsoring it. The fees for this is R16 lakh and two-thirds of candidates enrolled in this course have sponsored their programme themselves.