Reinventing management education

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The top few schools today do produce world-class managers but, overall, the potential of management education is far from realised (Illustration: Asit Bagchi ) The top few schools today do produce world-class managers but, overall, the potential of management education is far from realised (Illustration: Asit Bagchi )
SummaryThe top few schools today do produce world-class managers but, overall, the potential of management education is far from realised

Major global corporations and some of the world’s best known business schools today are led by high profile managers/executives of Indian origin. The need for governance and management skills to lead India out of myriad problems into its rightful place in the global context is desperate.

However, management education in India presents a sorry picture of wasted potential—tremendous talent availability but a terrible state of affairs in practice. In terms of developing new managers and management skills, only 4 or 5 institutions in India offer international quality management courses. The rest hundreds of management school offerings are largely mediocre. Lakhs of aspiring and competent young people face disappointment and disillusionment at the lack of suitable management education and fitment in India.

The need for well-educated managers and entrepreneurs with managerial skills is obvious. There is a critical need for improving management of public institutions and services. India’s development is slowed considerably due to poor project implementation. Further, the inability to operate organisations at reasonable efficiency means gains from implemented schemes fall short. Also, poor understanding of global developments translates to constant fire-fighting to minimise impact of global events rather than anticipating and benefiting from global opportunities.

Management education was initiated in India during the 1960s when IIMs at Calcutta and Ahmedabad opened their doors. The top few schools today do produce world-class managers but, overall, the potential of management education is far from realised. The problem, principally, is that management education is primarily viewed as a passport to job placement. The top institutions attract excellent students as well as faculty. This translates into good brand image and placement of graduates. The lower-tier schools are caught in a vicious circle of lack of faculty, lower student interest and corresponding problems with placement. The focus of media is mostly on salaries at yearly placements. One gets the impression that the sole value of management education is to provide jobs with high salaries. The value and potential of management discipline, however, goes much beyond what is currently perceived. The value of management education has to be viewed in the correct perspective if the country is to

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