May 07

The B-school brain drain game

BusinessWeek reports that India’s best and brightest business school students are no longer flocking toBusiness
the Kellogg’s, Wharton’s and Darden’s. Why? Because India’s top b-school’s have at least caught up with, if not surpassed, our creme de la creme. Why should India’s best minds relocate to Philadelphia when they can stay in New Delhi?

To add further insult to injury, America’s top B-school recruiters such as BCG and McKinsey, are shelling out massive bucks to newly-minted Indian MBAs (how does a starting salary of $360k sound to you?).

I’m not surprised Indians are staying home. Having represented quite a few business schools over the years, I’ve always been struck by the internecine warfare and naval-gazing that abounds on our top campuses.

I’ve witnessed faculty turf wars that make Antietam look like a skirmish in comparison. I’ve heard corporate recruiters bemoan the lack of real-world experience, communications and team skills demonstrated by recent US b-school grads. And, I’ve listened to faculty, administrators and management spend hour after hour debating tactical, incremental curricula change.

I’m hoping Duke, UCLA and Tuck don’t emulate Detroit and become the GM, Ford and Chrysler of their industry.

America needs its business schools to remain the very best. It goes far beyond mere image and reputation; this is a global competitiveness crisis that needs to be addressed now.

It’s clearly time for America’s B-school deans to do some cramming and figure out a solution. Otherwise, we’ll all be left behind.