Top B-school students lag in practical intelligence: Report

Report by Aspiring Minds - ‘Practical Intelligence’ in Top B-Schools in India, highlights quality of management education in India

July 17, 2013 2:55 IST | India Infoline News Service

MBA Graduates from top B-schools lag behind in practical intelligence, as indicated by the report 'Practical Intelligence in Top B-Schools in India’, an empirical quantitative study on students in Top B-Schools in India. We see a large difference in the scores of management graduates and those experienced in the industries on a test of practical intelligence and situation handling, The major area of concern is client management and work management skills.

Aspiring Minds, India’s largest employability solutions company released ’Practical Intelligence in top B-Schools in India’ report highlighting practical intelligence of fresh MBA graduates from top B-Schools of the country. Based on evaluation of students in top B-schools using Aspiring Minds ’Situation Judgment Tests (SJTs), the report indicated that these students are significantly lower in practical intelligence than business managers with 3 to 5yrs of experience in corporations today. This is significant since top corporations across the country recruit their key management talent from top b-schools.

“Our top b-schools provide talent to leading organizations in coveted roles. Industry has deployed a variety of tools and mechanisms to evaluate these candidates whose cognitive and language skills are already the country’s best. Our study talks about how these students are doing in practical understanding of management in workplace. The study has been done using state of art situation judgment tests which are established to predict practical / real life understanding of concepts,” said Varun Aggarwal, CTO and COO, Aspiring Minds.

Key highlights of the Report:

1.MBA graduates score at par with business managers with respect to team management, but lag behind in work management and client management. The percentile difference in practical intelligence between business managers and MBA graduates is seen as 22.3% in work management and 17.75% in client engagement.

2. The overall percentile difference in practical intelligence of top b-school MBA graduates and business managers is17.3%. Business managers are seen to display better and more consistent performance in all areas of practical intelligence

B-schools need to mature enough to rise above the MBA literature and make an attempt to sharpen the practical intelligence of their students. Practical intelligence can help students to successfully tackle real-world situations and their complexities without staggering in their approach. Failure to teach the students more on the necessity and advantages of sustainable business approaches leaves them unprepared to face the business challenges of real-life situations.

Work Profile/Area MBA Graduates Business Managers

z-Scores Std. Dev. z-Scores Std. Dev.
Work Management -0.51 1.03 0.07 0.96
Team Management 0.02 0.92 0.02 0.91
Client Engagement -0.3 0.96 0.15 0.98
Overall -0.33 0.92 0.11 0.86
Figure 1: Comparison of z-scores and standard deviation of MBA graduates and business managers across work profiles/areas.

Situational Judgment Tests were conducted on 230 fresh graduates in 3 out of the top 10 B-schools in India to study their mid-level managerial skills and to gain insight into how these tests were responded.
The SJTs conducted on the fresh management graduates was very context specific. Responses on 7 major aspects of business intelligence, i.e., Judgment, Commercial Savvy, Risk Taking Ability, Decisiveness, Ability to build leaders, Marketing & Communication and Personal Effectiveness were studied under three broad work areas:
1. WORK/OPERATION MANAGEMENT: It involves time-management, task prioritization and resource allocation to achieve optimized results.
2. TEAM MANAGEMENT: It involves managing and coordinating team activities or inter-team management to get the desired results.
3. CLIENT ENGAGEMENT: This area of management involves dealing and interacting with clients or customers to build a mutually beneficial long-term relationship

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