“We should teach how to develop business in Kazakhstan, not how to sell Coca-Cola in Amsterdam”

The first business education program was launched in Harvard University at the beginning of the 20th century. Since then there is continuously ongoing debates about the necessity and relevance of business degree in terms of career development and success in the field. Some people believe that business acumen is an intrinsic zest and it is impossible to teach how to “do business”, other argue that only with the necessary theoretical knowledge and practical experience provided by business schools, future business leaders can succeed in the scope of fast-changing business realities. Another issue is critique of unified character of graduate business education, even operating in the context of globalization, each country has its own unique traits which can be delivered through education. It is indisputable that, for instance, China has the different approaches in business related activities, in comparison with the United States of America and the United Kingdom. Thus, it is vital to take into account the specific business culture of each particular state, in the context of providing graduate business training.  Nevertheless, despite the fact of existing criticism, diploma in business remains to be one of the most popular qualifications all over the world for those, who eager to pursue career in the sphere of business and management.

In the context of business education one of the most popular and desirable degree is a Master of Business Administration (MBA). MBA is a unique degree program designed to fulfill the gap of professionals in business and management spheres and usually taught by the practitioners and knowledgeable business people with years of managerial and operational experience.

From one point of view, undoubtedly, an MBA degree has a significant impact on the future career success of the graduates in terms of salaries increase and career advancement (Zhao, Truell, Alexander and Hill, 2006). Also beside professional development, MBA programs help to enhance communication skills which seem to be very important competencies in the business community. MBA programs also an excellent networking platform for future business leaders in terms of collaboration and partnership.

Nevertheless, another point of view presents the criticism of the effectiveness of an MBA degree. Pfeffer and Fong (2002) examine the necessity of an MBA degree and its influence on graduates’ career success. More specifically, they argue that an MBA degree is not a guarantee of future career success and development. Moreover, the knowledge learned and skills developed during this program might not be relevant to the real situation in scope of business. There is also an existing tendency that consulting firms and bank, main employers of MBA graduates, started to hire people without business background and provide in-service trainings for them.

In Kazakhstani context, MBA programs are relatively new form of business education. First MBA programs were launched in the mid 90s and since then great work has been done to develop this sphere. Nowadays, there are several higher education institutions providing sufficient training and awarding MBA degree in Kazakhstan. The vast majority of those programs are designed in the strategic partnership with foreign business schools. In this context, the issue of lack of correspondence with the requirements of local market and business milieu, can be seen, as the consequence of weak programs’ adjustments to the Kazakhstani realities.

In one of the interviews, Asylbeck Kozhakhmetov, the pioneer of business education in Kazakhstan and founder and president of Almaty Management University has mentioned: “We should teach how to develop business in Kazakhstan, not how to sell Coca-Cola in Amsterdam” (Abenova, 2014). This caustic remark proves that business education should be adapted particularly to the country where future graduates are going to operate, even if some general business principles are the same worldwide, some national characteristics should be taken into account.

To sum up, development of business sector is one of the strategic directions in the state’s political course and it is crucial to have professional personnel who will be able to manage business processes. Despite on ongoing debates about the efficiency and effectiveness of MBA education, this degree remains to be the most popular and desirable among both future employees and employers all over the world, which means that as long as there is a demand, supply will occur in any ways.

References

Abenova, Zh. (2014, November). Asylbeck Kozhakhmetov: Constancy in development.                                      Business Life. Retrieved from  http://www.bizlife.kz/article/show/id/478

Pfeffer, J., & Fong, C. T. (2002). The end of business schools? Less success than meets                                       the eye. Academy of  Management Learning & Education1(1), 78-95.

Zhao, J. J., Truell, A. D., Alexander, M. W., & Hill, I. B. (2006). ” Less Success Than Meets the                             Eye?” The Impact of Master of Business Administration Education on                                               Graduates’ Careers. Journal of Education for Business81(5), 261-268.

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One thought on ““We should teach how to develop business in Kazakhstan, not how to sell Coca-Cola in Amsterdam”

  1. Aizhan, your first post is really awesome! Even though I do not have a partiality for business-related topics, I was really interested to read your post as it was explained in lay language and provided with thought-provoking ideas. In comparison to Kazakhstani context, I recently learned that in Singapore much emphasis is given to business education and the government encourages individuals to undertake the entrepreneurial courses no matter of their specialization. The government’s major belief is that if they prepare their citizens with global and entrepreneurial mindsets, they will be able to thrive in today’s competitive economy. In fact, they also send their students overseas to work as interns in different start-up companies and take courses in partnership universities. However, what is more striking about their context is that the society and private organizations support such endeavors of students heavily since this entrepreneurial spirit is like “under their skin” and they are united with the same goal of pushing their country on the global level. Thus, there is a close linkage between the government, industries and universities which allows the latter to offer students more opportunities to work within their own context and apply that knowledge they gained from the external experiences of studying abroad. These are probably excellent examples of how to do a double work at once: to effectively educate society in “the right direction” and improve the economic growth of the country.

    Liked by 1 person

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