Achieving heights globally

Written by Moumita Chakrabarti | Updated: Feb 1 2010, 03:55am hrs
India has some of the worlds best management gurus in CK Prahalad, the late Sumantra Ghoshal, Ram Charan, Gita Piramal, Promod Batra, to name a few. For years, India bemoaned the brain drain. Yet, the past decade has witnessed a reverse brain drain. Given such favourable factors, why doesnt India boast the best management institutes in the world

Management education in India is akin to a jigsaw puzzle. A jamboree of pieces are all there on boardwhat we need to do is reorganise into a symmetrical whole. Thats the challenge facing management education in India. Heres how we could go about it.

Firstly, the objectives must be clearly outlined.

* Promoting an inventive, entrepreneurial spirit.

* Encouraging freedom of thought in a respectful, accommodative academic setting that values diversity.

* Ensuring a veteran faculty that provides a range of cultural insights and is responsive to the needs of students and their communities.

* Establishing and thereafter consolidating Indias global reputation as a premier management education provider.

The main challenge for Indian institutes is to attract international faculty and students. The Government of India must be more liberal and the rules for getting international faculty and students to Indian campuses should be clearly defined. To achieve the above objectives, we need to internationalise management education. This has multiple benefitsboosts education; improves quality and competitiveness; enriches the learning experience of students, and increases global and intercultural knowledge and skills in India. Internationalisation can be achieved in two wayssetting up campus in multiple locations, including abroad, which some Indian B-schools are doing, and internationalising the school from a single location. Globally, all top B-schools are predominantly single campus.

Since top management schools generally operate from a single location, internationalisation in such cases is usually achieved via collaborations with foreign institutes, as well as student and faculty exchange programmes. Collaborative research, joint publications, programmes and conferences, dual degrees, study tours, swapping models as well as best practices, global placements and international accreditation are other means.

International accreditation may include AMBA (Association of MBAs), EQUIS (European Quality Improvement System), AACSB (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), SAQS (South Asian Quality Assurance System) and others. International accreditation has definite dividends and the Management Development Institute, Gurgaon, is testimony to this. Indias first internationally accredited B-School, MDI was accredited by AMBA in 2006 and by SAQS in 2007. Not surprisingly, in all B-School ratings in the country year after year, MDI ranks in the super league Top 10. As per the World Economic Survey, management education in India ranked 8th in 2007, but slid to 12th in 2008.

Quality is a major issue in this search for excellence. As human resource development minister Kapil Sibal stressed, quality faculty should be a priority. To address this issue and internationalise management education in India, global students, global faculty, global curricula, global research, global programmes, global infrastructure, global mindsets, global governance and global placements are imperative.

There are many challenges in implementing global standards though. The language barrier is one issue, since all students are not fluent in English. Culturally-sensitive classrooms are essential to assimilate new faces faster. In this respect, punctuality and mannerisms are others issues we must be sensitive about. Judicious selection of material and activities is also needed, keeping in mind religious and political sensitivities, as well as gender issues. While incorporating a global flavour, pedagogy and adaptation of course contents must retain local cases, local relevance and local application. The campus commitment must shine strongly to make certain students, faculty, staff and administrators all act in concert and think as global citizens. Geographic and cultural divisions should all dissolve in a common melting pot with a global gold standard being the only common denominator. Finally, partnering with multinationals, foreign as well as Indian, for global placement of students is indispensable to develop global branding and embed Indian management institutions names into global consciousness. If we achieve these goalsand theres no reason why we cannotIndias reputation of yore enjoyed during the halcyon days of Nalanda University will be back with a bang.