Business schools: Future-proofing students

By: |
December 21, 2020 4:00 AM

Pandemic-led economic crisis means we’ve to train future managers differently

Going forward, companies will hire graduates who are adaptive, tech-savvy and possess creative problem-solving abilities. (Photo source: IE)

Post Covid-19, our world will be starkly different. The pandemic has disrupted the way people live and how workplaces function globally. Returning to the status quo would be challenging and a nearly impossible task. Companies have had to divert focus from long-term to short-term strategies to stay afloat. Business models are undergoing a sea change and employees have to pull up their socks and upskill to remain immune from lay-offs.

Even business schools are adopting techniques to future-proof their students. They are being trained in business skills that will help them thrive professionally in post-pandemic workplaces. Going forward, companies will hire graduates who are adaptive, tech-savvy and possess creative problem-solving abilities.

Due to the pandemic, many corporates had to withdraw summer internship projects. In many cases, summer internships shifted to the online mode. At the FORE School of Management, however, in spite of Covid-19, almost all students pursued internship. Although students prefer internships with big and established corporates, this year many opted for smaller enterprises and start-ups that aim at fulfilling the government’s atmanirbhar Bharat vision. This gave them an opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial and risk-management skills, and building creative solutions to deal with the pandemic.

Skills that employers will seek in future managers

In the post-Covid-19 era, businesses are likely to hire managers with soft skills. Skills like compassion and empathy will be more in demand as employers have seen what crises can do to people mentally and what an arduous task it is to manage employees who have heightened emotions in such times. So, empathetic leadership qualities will rise in priority on companies’ lists of most sought-after competencies in new management hires.

During the pandemic, companies that could immediately take their business online thrived. So, there will be a demand for managers who are skilful in tools and technology. This includes controlling machines and mechanical processes; inspecting equipment, material or structures; and specifying, drafting and laying out technical devices. In the foreseeable future, corporate employers believe that automation, machine learning, data analytics and artificial intelligence will be industry disruptors and individuals with these skill-sets will be high in demand.

Summing it up

Ironically, as the business world becomes more digitally-enhanced, recruiters realise the importance of human touch. In the post-pandemic world, employers will need leaders who are well-versed in soft skills so that they can help teams tide over stress and uncertainty, especially in such times of crises.

The author is director, FORE School of Management, New Delhi

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