The industry needs not just managers but also innovators and problem-solvers—those who can analyse data and use technology to make accurate decisions and predictions.
By Prof Rajiv R Thakur
At a time when businesses are becoming increasingly dynamic and competition in the marketplace is greater than ever, innovation and intelligence must be the driving factors of change, and the onus for the same lies in the hands of able business leaders. This calls for transforming the way MBA education is imparted. While there is focus on national and global rankings, such as the NIRF and the QS, as also accreditation such as the AACSB, academics seem to have been given a rather assumed status.
For instance, QS parameters have academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty/student ratio, citations per faculty, international faculty ratio and international student ratio as aspects for measurement. But the focus of leading institutions is towards the latter three, with research being the most prominent.
The NIRF also drives institutions’ focus towards research. On the contrary, in a country like India, academics (reputation) are assumed to be given in rankings and accreditations. Thus, it is of primary importance, considering the employability of the youth, and B-schools should not shy away from this fundamental objective.
In the past decade, business analytics, data science, operation management, international business affairs and Industry 4.0 have become pivotal to organisational growth. Thus, MBA courses need to move away from the customary offerings of HR, marketing and finance.
The industry needs not just managers but also innovators and problem-solvers—those who can analyse data and use technology to make accurate decisions and predictions. Thus, B-schools should give the highest level of importance to a unique practice-oriented teaching-learning. The process is highly interactive, experiential and multidisciplinary. B-schools must focus on imbibing analytical skills, innovation, creativity and experiential knowledge in students. For this, the curriculum must be in-sync with the market demand. Also, community initiatives and innovation drives should be an integral part of daily learning routines of students.
A suggested way for holistic development of students (future managers) is a multiple participative pedagogy with the following elements intertwined:
1. Classroom: Classrooms upholding cross-disciplinary learning with integrated coursework including project-based and peer learning;
2. Mentorship: Besides erudite professors, students should also be taught by experienced professionals and industry leaders;
3. Exposure: A comprehensive and on-ground experience on varied topics in research lab format can give students an edge in global market insight;
4. Industry: B-schools must train students in analytical thinking, data-based business intelligence and entrepreneurship practices;
5. Holistic development: The ultimate pedagogical outcome should be 360-degree development that makes students able managers and leaders.
The author is director, Delhi School of Business