Foreign business schools on Indian soil. Is it kill or cure?

The news that India is considering passing a law to allow foreign business schools onto Indian soil  has deans and other b-school professionals licking their lips. This has long been the holy grail with Indians consisting of the largest number of applicants to virtually all of the world’s top business schools. After all, India has an educated, anglophone population, a rapidly increasing middle class and, if all projections are to be believed, such as a recent McKinsey survey, a huge deficit in terms of numbers of educated business leaders. Here comes the MBA to the rescue…

China has allowed overseas schools in for years, realising its own indigenous shortfall in terms of business education and correctly took the decision to allow the overseas schools in. As a result, Chinese schools have started raising their own game and there are twice as many top 200 schools in China than there were a few years ago.

With a very decent and well-regarded set of business schools already (the Indian Institutes of Management at Ahmadebad, Bangalore and Calcutta – the ABCs – as well as the Indian Business School and SP Jain School of Management) India seemed to want to protect its schools for years. And why not? But the danger of being left behind looms large and it’s interesting to see the Indian government considering going the route of most of its Asian competitors and bringing the big guns – in international terms – in.

But a few questions remain. How will India select which schools to allow into the country? Are there a lot of international schools leaping over each other to promote themselves to the Indian politicos? What do India’s current schools make of the potential intrusion into their territory? Will it be welcomed as it could make them raise their game, and even press harder for international accreditation? Or will it kill them off, especially if the foreign MBAs are competitively priced?

Watch this space, I’ll be keeping a close eye on this one.

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