Business Schools must lead industry

Business Schools must lead industry

Proliferation of data does not mean proliferation of knowledge. Similarly, proliferation of educational institutions does not mean expansion of standards.

Proliferation of data does not mean proliferation of knowledge. Similarly, proliferation of educational institutions does not mean expansion of standards. As the market takes over higher education, private capital moves into sectors where there is a demand. The economic liberalisation and globalisation unveiled a romantic world of business. Young India is obviously glamourised by this emerging world of entrepreneurship and business dynamism.

Thus, management schools mushroomed across the nation, luring lakhs of students to pursue Masters in Business Administration (MBA). This haphazard growth of so-called business schools is often leaving thousands of young men and women in the lurch as they turn out to be unemployables.

The management education in India is plagued by a host of deficiencies. The images of Harvard or IIMs at home continue to draw the Indian youth towards the management schools. But, all that glitters is not gold. The half-baked products inundate the market even as the economy awaits efficient managers.

Like many other professional colleges, business schools lack professional leadership who can lead the industry. A good professional is not inclined to teach. Dynamic integration between educational institutions and industry is vital especially in colleges that are mandated to produce business managers. Industrialists often show scant regard for sharing their experiences with budding managers.

The academics are often criticised for their conservatism to change the curriculum, while the industrialists love innovation as they have to compete in a world of fast-changing product life cycles. The supply of management graduates overwhelms the demand, while the quality is in serious short supply. Technology can be suitably deployed to overcome the problem of scarce teaching resources. The business schools can prove their relevance by focusing on research that can change the destiny of businesses.

Professional institutions including business schools often face the dilemma of choosing between skill formation and knowledge generation as their core mandate. In the process, many end up doing disservice to the both. The gap between the real world and the academic world dissuades the young and aspiring professionals away from academic pursuits.

The market prefers performance to education. The challenge before academics is to prove that education can bring in tangible improvement in performance. This requires theory to emerge out of practice and enrich the practice. Business management is an aptitude. Aptitude is key to excellence.

But, management schools with no foolproof mechanism to exactly gauge aptitude are compelled to enroll a large number of students who swell the business schools due to the attraction of the profession rather than an aptitude for it. The teaching-learning process should, therefore, be radically restructured to inculcate an aptitude.

The India Skills Report 2015 states that employers are looking for skills like domain expertise, entrepreneurial abilities, integrity and values, learning agility, interpersonal and communication skills, problem-solving capability, adaptability, leadership qualities etc.

These skills are essential in a world of business defined by competition, information explosion, innovation, short life span of product life cycles and customer empowerment. Management schools have to reinvent themselves to brace up for the challenges imposed by the fast-changing business ecosystem.

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