Reinventing Management Education in India
“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.” —Steve Jobs
I had the privilege of attending “Parents Meet” in a prestigious business school in India. It is a practice by some business schools to organize such an event where parents of students interact with faculty of educational institutions. One of my ex-students who was pursuing MBA after working in a company for five years invited me to interact with his parents in the Parents Meet. Although I was busy with my research work, I took time out and met his parents, along with the parents of other students. It was a great experience to interact with parents as I found parents have many concerns about the future of their children and the fate of management education. It was an opportunity for me to share my views on career and management education.
My student’s father asked me, “Sir, I came to know that there is no future for management education. Is it true? What should my son do now?”
I understood his concern and replied that there is always future for management education. The only thing is that presently there is a slowdown for management education globally due to several reasons noted below. Here are the actions steps needed to streamline management education in India:
- Design course curriculum as per the needs of the industry. Don’t teach students outdated curriculum as they lose their relevance and become unemployable. The objective is to create employable and deployable students with a future mindset. Additionally, they must excel as entrepreneurs.
- Encourage students to participate in practical learning and invite them to share their creative ideas. Mentor them with passionate experts to ignite their passion and add value.
- Students must have fire to excel, and they must show their keen interest in acquiring knowledge rather than acquiring mere paper qualifications. They must learn that knowledge is king, not their qualifications. Qualifications serve as passports to the corporate world, but they ultimately have to prove themselves in the workplace. Hence, they must emphasize knowledge to survive and succeed.
- Replace the current exam-oriented attitude with a knowledge- and practical-based attitude.
- It is essential to have the best faculty, good infrastructure, great libraries, and dedicated nonteaching staff to create an excellent educational institution.
Management graduates need a specific mindset, skill set, and tool set as per the present and future needs to grow as effective executives and global leaders. All stakeholders—including educational institutions, industry, faculty, and students—must invest their efforts to enhance the momentum for management education. Any failure will result in in incompatible students and the collapse of companies in the long run. As such, India must encourage innovative management education as per the international standards to ensure its relevance and sustainability.
Globally e-commerce is picking up rapidly, and there is a need for more entrepreneurs. There are plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs to start companies with low capital due to mushrooming online business. Currently there are fewer women pursuing management education, but there are employment opportunities for them, especially as entrepreneurs.
It is high time Indian business schools changed the present management education. Indian business schools must catch up with global business schools and prepare curricula with globalization and advancing technology in mind. Focus on niche and specialized areas. Create innovative courses and customize as per the present and future needs to enable students to be competitive and grow as global executives and leaders.
“If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.” —Woody Allen
Reinvent the Indian Education System to Create Job Seekers and Job Providers
“A teacher who establishes rapport with the taught, becomes one with them, learns more from them than he teaches them.” —Mahatma Gandhi
Currently, unemployability is very high among Indian students. It is partly due to a defective Indian education system that emphasizes theory, not practical education. Here are some of the challenges with the present education system in India:
- Outdated curriculum
- Outdated teaching pedagogy
- Old school of thought
- Incompetent faculty
- Inadequate infrastructure
- Inadequate research ambience
- Prevailing perception that academia is a refuge for those rejected by the corporate world
- Expectations of students are very high
- Wide gap between the expectations of industry and the availability of educators in educational institutions
- Mismatch between the competencies and qualifications in candidates resulting in conflict between educators and students
Here are some tips to address this issue:
- Compensate faculty adequately.
- Encourage faculty to research in order to enable them to meet student expectations.
- Make the Indian education system student-centric, not faculty-centric.
- Realize that empathy is the key to understand educators’ limitations.
- Bolster the academia-institute interface to build synergy and craft curricula to meet industry expectations.
- Organize Faculty Development Programs (FDPs) regularly in educational institutions to equip educators with the latest teaching tools and techniques.
- Provide internships to students to enable them to interact with industry to understand the real-life challenges and ensure smooth transition from campus to the corporate world.
A coordinated and collaborative approach from all stakeholders—including educators, students, educational institutions, industry, and NGOs (non-government organizations)—is imperative to enhance employability skills in Indian students. The primary objective of any education is for enlightenment, and the secondary objective is employment. Hence, emphasize both enlightenment and employment to develop healthy citizens to build a strong nation.
“A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on a cold iron.” —Horace Mann
Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D.is the father of “Soft Leadership” and founder of MSR Leadership Consultants, India. He is an international leadership guru with 38 years of experience and the author of more than 45 books, including “21 Success Sutras for CEOs” (http://www.amazon.com/21-Success-Sutras-Ceos-Rao/dp/162865290X). He is a C-suite advisor and global keynote speaker. He is passionate about serving and making a difference in the lives of others. His vision is to develop 1 million students as global leaders by 2030 (http://professormsraovision2030.blogspot.in/2014/12/professor-m-s-raos-vision-2030-one_31.html). He advocates gender equality globally (#HeForShe) and was honored as an upcoming International Leadership Guru by Global Gurus (http://globalgurus.org/upcoming-leadership-gurus). He developed teaching tool Meka’s Method; leadership training tool 11E Leadership Grid; and leadership learning tool Soft Leadership Grid. Most of his work is available free of charge on his four blogs, including http://professormsraovision2030.blogspot.com. He can be reached at: email@example.com.