The objective is, “To Know” or at best “To Know More”.
The Business School curriculum is different from the other disciplines of knowledge. The focus of learning a subject like Physics or Philosophy, Chemistry or Psychology, Biology or History, Geography or Economics, Engineering or Medicine, lie in understanding the domain and probing deeper into the domain as one advances through graduation, post-graduation and research. The objective is, “To Know” or at best “To Know More”.
In contradistinction, the focus of learning in a B-School is, “To Do” or “Action”. The action-oriented domain is universally called, “Management”. A B-School graduate is expected to know what is to be done and also he would have the skills and competencies required to do himself or to get things done. Management is all about getting things done for meeting the desired objective.
The discipline of management emerged during the first world war when there was pressure on the manufacturing industry to produce more for meeting additional requirements of wartime needs for arms, vehicles, clothing and other liveries. Factories were taken over by Army and organizational principles of armed forces were brought into factories to enhance productivity and efficiency. The science of management was born out of the art of war. The scientific principles of management were written down and a new academic discipline was born.
A management graduate learnt the skills of planning, budgeting, staffing, executing, coordinating, supervising, monitoring, controlling and leadership. But this was the curriculum of a controlled environment with focus on production, productivity and quality in a market with assured demand.
After the Second World War, the Management curriculum evolved as the demand-supply situation in the market changed. The Governments stopped regulating production and supply and the customers started dictating the price. Money supply from Government stopped for doing business and one had to borrow or raise capital from public. Thus managing finance and marketing became important. The curriculum of management had thus been changing to meet business and market needs continuously.
Human Resource Management too evolved as a distinct discipline of Management getting out of the role of pure administration. Concepts of human psychology had got integrated into people administration quite early but it has matured now to a level where talent development and competency building hold the keys to success.
Technology management has been growing as a new field of specialisation in management with the development of new technologies very fast. It is only the curriculum of a Business School that can keep track of such changes and equip students with the right kind of competencies to manage not only business but organisations of any kind be they in any sector. The focus of B-School is on action and results, and therefore the education there is most valuable for employability.
(The author of this article is Dr SK Mahapatra, Director, Jaipuria School of Business, Ghaziabad)