While the concept of education, as a public good has long been a foundational principle of international education development discourse, is graduate business-education really a public good? The easy answer is no, as long as by “public good,” we mean the same thing economists mean. There is no primary responsibility of public institutions in the provision and funding of MBA educational opportunities. In fact, the increasing diversification of actors and sources of funding for MBA education reflect the current trends of privatisation and marketization of MBA education in India.

Since it is not a ‘public good’ or a common good or a commodity, MBA is amenable to differentiation, positioning and branding. When it comes to the pyramid of MBA brands, five different levels distinguish each brand and its position on the pyramid.


This category describes premium US Brands and a few European brands of MBA. They are addressing a select few clients, much like grand pieces of art. Typically, these brands appeal to the wealthy such as celebrities, entrepreneurs, and other high-profile people. For some it is an opportunity to convert ill-gotten funds into a luxury good, an excellent degree, that burnishes their public images, legitimizes their family name, and positions their children to become reputable global elites.


Accessible luxury MBA, usually come in standardized formats, while they are still of high quality and high price tags, they are accessible for people wanting to purchase luxury brands. It is about giving customers a gateway to high quality MBA without the high expense of a Luxury Brand. These are aspirational luxury brands like most of the elite IIMs and a few of the elite non-IIMs.


Inspired by Accessible luxury Brands, they collectively have wider volumes of MBA seats. These brands are more casual and have a wider audience than Accessible luxury Brands. They have more retail availability, and regional dominance rather than national presence. Most of the elite University MBA programmes and a few of the elite PGDM institutions are in this business.


These brands essentially bridge the gap between high end and the street market. They target people who are not prepared to pay too high for a credible quality. Most of the non-elite University run regular and distance learning MBA programs and popular PGDM institutions are in this category. Some of them have local dominance as well.


These brands are at the bottom of the MBA Brand pyramid. These brands aim to reach as many people as possible by providing MBA at affordable prices. Most of the time, they claim to draw inspiration from Accessible luxury Brands but provide education that is made more cost-effective for the average consumer by cutting some corners. Lot of such brands are from University affiliated MBAs or non-descript PGDMs.


Published by

Mukul Gupta

*Educator, researcher, author and a friendly contrarian* Professor@MDIGurgaon

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