XLRI’s Two-Year Course Fails to Get Global MBA Accreditation But Don’t Count on XLRI to Tell You That

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Xaviers School of Management’s (XLRI) One Year Full Time MBA (PGDM-GM) is the latest course in India to get MBA accreditation by Association of MBAs (AMBA). The two-year course at XLRI that largely inducts fresh talent with little work experience, has not qualified as an MBA – it has been accredited as a Masters in Business Management (MBM) by AMBA. But XLRI is sweeping these facts under the carpet.

The Association of MBAs (AMBA) is the international impartial authority on postgraduate business education, established in 1967. AMBA’s accreditation service is the global standard for all MBA, Doctoral and MBM programmes in more than 110 countries. 

As per AMBA’s accreditation standards, an MBA course must admit students with 3+ years of work experience while an MBM can admit candidates with 0-3 years work experience. So students with less than 3 years of work experience are eligible to pursue an MBM only, not an MBA. 

While it is impressive that XLRI’s courses have got AMBA accreditation, what is not, is the attempt to gloss over the fact that it is only the One Year MBA at XLRI (PGDM-GM) which has received Full Time MBA accreditation from AMBA.

Those not familiar with the myriad B-School accreditation possibilities can find the nuances confusing.  While some accreditations (e.g. EQUIS and AACSB) are given to an institute as a whole, the AMBA is not. It is given only to a specific course. 

The Economic Times dated May 13, 2015 quoted Fr. E. Abraham S.J. director, XLRI as saying, “We are extremely happy to announce that our MBA and MBM provision has been awarded accreditation by AMBA’s International Accreditation Advisory Board. XLRI with its singular philosophy of Magis, i.e., pursuit of excellence in all endeavors, has continually focused on three inter-related areas: academic excellence, personal values and societal concern.”

It would be hard for any student or recruiter to decode this statement and understand that the two-year PGDM(BM) course has got MBM accreditation and the One Year Course has got MBA accreditation.  

To get clarity on the statement we got in touch with XLRI’s Chief Brand & Sustainability Officer Sunil Varughese. We asked which course at XLRI has been accredited as an MBA by AMBA? He replied, “All our courses have been accredited by AMBA”.

This is how the interview proceeded:

OneYearMBA.co.in (OYMBA): But AMBA accredits courses and not B-Schools and it awards MBA and MBM accreditation to specific courses. Which course at XLRI has been accredited as MBA and which as an MBM?
Sunil Vurughese (SV): Yes…so our two-year PGDM (BM) and two-year PGDM-HRM have been accredited as MBMs and One Year PGDM-GM and PGDM Part Time have been accredited as MBAs.

OYMBA: So the PGDM-GM, the One Year MBA has got Full Time MBA accreditation and the part-time PGDM a part-time MBA accreditation?
SV: Yes.

OneYearMBA.co.in (OYMBA): Will the global MBA accreditation for the One Year Course and global MBM accreditation for the two year course impact the positioning for your courses – will the two-year course now be positioned as an MBM and the One Year Course as an MBA?
Sunil Varughese (SV): Not necessarily. This is only for AMBA. In Indian market this won’t impact. Historically mostly freshers apply to two-year course so the two-year course will continue to remain an MBA in Indian market.

OYMBA: In that case why apply for AMBA accreditation?
SV: Foreign students look at it differently – with AMBA they will consider coming to India.

OYMBA: But don’t Indian students deserve to know the differences between the two courses? Shouldn’t they know which course is an MBA and which an MBM as per global accreditation?
SV: It will take time. The One Year MBA is a new product and market will take time to appreciate the difference of the talent coming from this course.

OYMBA: But are institutes doing enough on their part to clarify the differences to students and recruiters?
SV: Onus is on students. Students should check the websites. We will put up AMBA accreditation there. Due diligence has to be done by students. Recruiters can also judge the difference and are smart enough to see the difference between an experienced graduate and a fresher. We need to give the market more time. From our end, we have made the One Year MBA (PGDM-GM) a flagship course and are doing our best to clarify differences in one-on-one meetings with recruiters. Infact as opposed to IIMs, where placements are left to students, we have hired two placement officers for the One Year course.

OYMBA: But do you see a problem from a marketing perspective when two entirely different products, an MBA and an MBM, are both branded and positioned as MBAs? Most recruiters hire on the basis of set requirements. If the requirement is for an MBA, recruiters perceive anyone with the qualification as equally capable. With the vastly higher pay packages for One Year MBA grads vs the salary for hiring a fresher, the choice then often comes down to salary instead. Isn’t that a problem?
SV: The onus of clarifying the difference between MBA and MBM and following it in our nomenclatures has to be borne by all institutes. We alone can’t change everything – all institutes have to work together.

So is XLRI saying that only foreign students should benefit from pursuing an MBA that meets global standards? Are Indian students second class citizens who don’t deserve the best quality education? This smacks of a colonial mindset and borders on segregation and racism.  

During colonial rule, thousands of Indians lost their lives demanding freedom from segregation. It is ironical that Indian students are receiving step-motherly treatment in independent India. 

Their lives and careers hang in critical balance. With high fees ranging between Rs 16-25 lakh for the One Year MBA and zero effort to clearly market the One Year MBA and Two-Year MBM as two distinct offerings, B-Schools in India are playing with the careers of their alumni. Many of these students are middle class and have saved their salary over many years to pursue the MBA course – this apathy is sufficient to wreck lives. (Image courtesy shienelopez)

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3 Comments

  1. Abhishek Sharma on

    Its high time the industry recognize the value of pre MBA work-ex. Not only does it add to the peer learning during the MBA program, it adds a great deal to a person’s learning curve which otherwise a company would have to spend bucks on training. Indian B Schools(with 2 year MBa Programs) should take cues from other Global BSchools which lay great emphasis on pre MBA work Experience in order to create “fuller learned” graduates as they pass out.

    • valid point – for that B-Schools must come forth and educate their customers (companies) and they are abdicating that role entirely. In that sense they are working more like a corporate set up instead of an educational institute – protecting their existing investments and existing capacity instead of moving to new benchmarks and building capacity there.

  2. This is very true. Anyday public schools are better. Right questions and right conclusions.