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Peter Tufano, dean and professor of finance, Said Business School, University of Oxford, speaks to Ruchi Chopda and Shashank Venkat on financial education amidst the current economic scenario.
Q- How can international students, specifically Indians, leverage the Euro zone crisis to their advantage?In business, both booms and busts give rise to opportunities. The current economic malaise will create opportunities for international students who are well-trained and creative. The exact form of these opportunities is not as clear. They could lie in finding new ways to channel capital across borders, starting new ventures, or simply being able to do "normal" jobs in an increasingly global world.Q- Have the fundamentals of financial education changed post the current economic crisis?The fundamentals of a solid financial education have not changed markedly in the wake of the current economic crisis. A solid education should focus on tradeoffs between risk and return, appreciate how the rules of the game influence economic performance, and understand how institutional arrangements can influence incentives. Economic crisis over the last 15 years have focused attention on the extreme interconnectivity of markets, the extent to which incentives matter, and the compact between society and business. Curriculum is adjusting to these realities. For example, our Master's of Law and Finance Programme probes how laws, regulations, institutions, incentives, and markets interact to fund governments and businesses.Q- How are universities across UK coping with the fall in applications vis-a-vis non-affordability of education for local students and tightening of visa norms for international students?I can't speak of general trends in UK higher education, but there is a dip worldwide in MBA applications. We are closely examining our programmes to ensure that best business education is delivered. The opportunities and challenges facing business are quite complex and students need education that goes beyond simple skills training. By tapping into the depth and breadth of expertise across the University, we can address these needs. For example, our Oxford 1+1 MBA Programme allows students to craft a two-year Oxford experience that combines depth of study in an area such as the environment or computing or contemporary India with the breadth of our highly ranked MBA programme.Q- The "Week of Action" has seen thousands of students protest against rising costs of higher education. Your views on how a middle path can be reached?Higher education is expensive to provide. A vibrant higher education sector must continue to generate new ideas and insights in the form of research, which is also costly. There are some initiatives that can lower the cost of teaching, for example through online learning. If we want to make education available more broadly, we need to borrow-either in the form of government funding, or through government or private fellowships or loans-all of which would be repaid in various ways through a more educated and productive workforce.Q- According to a recent survey by Times Higher Education, Asian universities are increasingly challenging the domination of US and UK. What according to you are the reasons for this?Higher education is increasingly becoming global. For example, international students comprise over 90% of Oxford's MBA programme. This diverse class enriches the student experience. But this trend also means that students from US or UK will look elsewhere to study. At the same time, the growth of the Indian and Chinese economies creates great demands for business training and domestic schools. They have created excellent programmes to meet this demand. This suggests that rankings will be much more fluid than in the past. For business education as a whole, this is a largely positive trend-competition will force us all to work harder.
Courtesy: Times of India
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