The Devaluation of Engineering and MBA Degrees in India’s Job Market
May 11, 2024

India’s top engineering colleges, like IIT Bombay, are struggling to place over 30% of their students in the ongoing placement season. This raises questions about the worth of engineering and MBA degrees in the changing job market, where companies are increasingly seeking specialized skills over traditional degrees.

Table of Contents

Engineering: The Closest Thing to Magic? ✨

Engineering has a certain allure, often likened to magic, for its ability to transform lives and create marvels. Many individuals have witnessed engineering’s power to turn rags to riches and propel individuals from debt to prosperity, effectively encapsulating the essence of magic.

📉 Troubling Placement Figures at IITs

India’s prestigious IITs, renowned for producing top engineering talent, are facing a concerning trend in placement figures. IIT Bombay, one of the leading campuses, is currently grappling with a situation where approximately 36% of its students are still awaiting placement opportunities. This equates to over 700 students out of the 2,000+ who participated in the placement process. Notably, this is not an isolated incident, as similar challenges have been observed in previous years, indicating a persistent issue.

The Paradox of Educated Unemployment

In a surprising paradox, the more educated an individual is, the harder it becomes to secure a job. This phenomenon, known as educated unemployment, is a perplexing trend in today’s job market. The data reveals an unsettling truth: while graduate unemployment stands at almost 30%, individuals with higher education face an 18% unemployment rate. Astonishingly, those who are unable to read or write experience a mere 3.4% unemployment rate.

Evaluating the Cost and Return of Engineering and MBA Degrees

When considering higher education, it’s crucial to weigh the cost of obtaining a degree against the potential return in terms of future earnings. Let’s delve into the financial aspects of pursuing engineering and MBA degrees to better understand the investment and the anticipated outcomes.

Engineering Degree: Financial Considerations

Engineering degrees in India come with an average cost of approximately 8 lakh rupees, equivalent to $9,500. On the flip side, the average starting salary ranges between 15,000 and 30,000 rupees per month, roughly translating to around $200. However, it’s important to note that these figures are contingent on various factors such as the economic climate, the reputation of the educational institution, and the individual’s proficiency.

MBA Degree: Financial Assessment

On the other hand, pursuing an MBA involves a substantial investment, with the average cost exceeding 15 lakh rupees, approximately $18,000. The anticipated return on this investment is an average monthly salary of around $480. It’s essential to recognize that an MBA is a postgraduate qualification, requiring prior expenditure on an undergraduate degree before pursuing further education.

Comparative Analysis: Degrees vs. Alternative Employment

Comparing these academic pursuits with alternative career paths, such as that of a flight attendant, sheds light on the stark differences in course fees. For instance, the average cost of a flight attendant training program ranges from 50,000 to 2 lakh rupees, with the upper limit amounting to 2 lakh rupees. This comparison prompts reflection on the potential return on investment in different educational and vocational avenues.

The Oversaturated MBA Market

Are MBA degrees losing their value in today’s job market? With over 230,000 new MBAs entering the workforce annually, the market is becoming increasingly saturated. This influx of candidates has led to a decline in the demand for MBA graduates, subsequently impacting their earning potential.

The Impact of Supply and Demand

Similar to any commodity, the value of a degree is subject to the principles of supply and demand. As the number of MBAs entering the job market continues to rise, the competition for lucrative positions intensifies, resulting in a downward pressure on salaries. This oversupply of MBAs has created a scenario where companies have the upper hand in dictating compensation packages, often offering lower salaries due to the abundance of qualified candidates.

The Growing Challenge of MBA Admissions

The surge in MBA aspirants is evident from the substantial increase in candidates taking the Common Admission Test (CAT). The 30% surge in CAT candidates from the previous year underscores the escalating competition for admission into MBA programs. This trend further exacerbates the oversaturation of the job market with MBA graduates, amplifying the challenges faced by individuals seeking to establish a rewarding career post-graduation.

Advice for Students: Focus on Employability, Not Degrees

In today’s dynamic job market, the focus has shifted from traditional degrees to employability. Companies are seeking individuals with specific skill sets rather than general qualifications. This shift in hiring preferences means that students need to prioritize developing practical, in-demand skills that align with industry needs.

Here are some key considerations for students:

  • Identify Industry-Relevant Skills: Research and understand the skills that are in high demand within your target industry. Focus on acquiring and honing these skills to enhance your employability.
  • Professional Development Opportunities: Seek out internships, apprenticeships, and training programs that offer hands-on experience and skill development. Practical exposure can significantly boost your market value.
  • Networking and Mentorship: Build a strong network within your chosen field and seek guidance from experienced professionals. Networking can open doors to potential opportunities and mentorship can provide valuable insights for career growth.

Identifying and Developing Emerging Skills

In today’s rapidly evolving job market, it’s imperative for individuals to identify and cultivate emerging skills that are in high demand. By aligning with industry trends and focusing on skill development, individuals can enhance their employability and gain a competitive edge.

Relevance of Sustainability Skills

With a global shift towards sustainability, there is a growing demand for professionals equipped with sustainability skills. Individuals proficient in sustainable practices and environmental conservation are poised to capitalize on the increasing opportunities in this burgeoning field.

Significance of Machine Learning

Machine learning has been identified as one of the fastest growing job sectors by the World Economic Forum. The continuous emergence of AI models underscores the escalating demand for individuals skilled in machine learning, presenting lucrative employment prospects in this domain.

Importance of Cyber Security Expertise

As the world undergoes digital transformation, the need for cyber security professionals is paramount. With the proliferation of digital technologies, the demand for cyber guardians to safeguard digital assets and information continues to surge, making cyber security expertise a valuable skill set in today’s job market.

Creating Specialized Institutions for the Future

In response to the evolving job market, the establishment of specialized institutions dedicated to developing in-demand skills is imperative. By offering specialized courses and tailored curriculums, these institutions can equip students with the expertise required to thrive in emerging industries and technological advancements.

Embracing Change: Degrees Going Out of Fashion is Common

In the current job market, the devaluation of traditional degrees is not an isolated incident. It’s essential to recognize that the evolving landscape of employment opportunities and industry demands often renders certain degrees less favorable. This trend is not unprecedented and should not instill panic; rather, it calls for adaptability and a proactive approach to skill development.

 

Closing Remarks

In conclusion, the shifting dynamics of the job market have sparked a critical evaluation of the value and relevance of traditional degrees, particularly in engineering and MBA domains. As the demand for specialized skills continues to rise, students are urged to prioritize practical skill development and industry-aligned expertise to enhance their employability and thrive in the evolving job landscape.

 

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