‘Being human’ component means understanding moral principles to create a balance between career and commitment to organisation, adaptability, a positive attitude towards work, and integrative thinking approach.
Indian employers expect three things while hiring students from premier business schools: knowledge component (facts, frameworks, theories), practice component (doing and execution) and ‘being human’ component (values and ethics, commitment, attitudes and beliefs towards work, optimism and empathy). Business schools in India are strong on preparing students for analytical skills. i.e. knowledge component, but are poor in practice and ‘being human’ components, which are the heart of practical management in India. Employers expect certain functional roles to be filled by fresh MBA graduates along with hands-on approach to work. This indicates that while designing curricula, business schools must focus on their current strength in the knowledge component, while augmenting stress on practice and ‘being human’ components. Practice component means executing policies effectively by recognising organisational realities. It involves teamwork, people management, perspective building. It can be done through ‘action learning labs/track trips’ focused on specific areas like analytics, sustainability, entrepreneurship and innovation, or type of company or geographic region to facilitate hands-on experience away from the campus to build real-world critical thinking skills in order to sense opportunities and define problems in the corporate world.
‘Being human’ component means understanding moral principles to create a balance between career and commitment to organisation, adaptability, a positive attitude towards work, and integrative thinking approach. It can be done through immersive programmes that focus on themes like effective teams, ethics and social responsibility, leadership and corporate accountability, social innovation, etc. This is where the challenge for business schools lies. These components are not easy to develop in a classroom setting and call for experiential learning. Recruiters in the initial years expect from MBA graduates to handle functional roles like client-customer handling, business development and intelligence, markets, branding, digital marketing, social media, job rotation and cross-functional training, sales, operations, etc. This implies a practice component. Those recruited from IIMs are assigned strategic roles, like being placed as executive assistant manager to senior business leaders and are expected to help them in strategy formulation and work as a resource team for them. Generally, MBAs are expected to play supportive roles to middle-level management who formulate policies and set directions. Their mail role in initial years is execution and implementation by recognising organisational realities.
The ‘being human’ aspect gets reflected in the workplace after 5-6 years of experience when MBAs reach middle-level management and work as leaders. They must be sensitive enough to the social impact of business and ethical standards that are expected from them by their employer in strategy development and execution. The new roles and skills that the Indian corporate world now demands from MBAs require a different kind of curriculum on the above three components, and business schools need to rebalance their curricula on ‘practice’ and ‘being human’ component, if they are to re-establish the value addition they offer to corporate world. They must balance all three components in developing holistic business managers.
By: Anupam Narula
The author is marketing faculty at FORE School of Management, New Delhi. Views are personal