Indian Management Education at the Crossroads
By Prof. Sudipto Bhattacharya, Once upon a time MBA used to be one of the most coveted degrees that top corporations used to seek from academia which would drive corporate reorganization, product innovation and marketing as well as implementation of new styles of leadership. The management grads were a symbol of a new culture and anyone serious about a career in business management aspired to earn those three letters – MBA.
But with time, as it happened with many other branches of knowledge, the sheen of the MBA degree with conventional specializations seemed to be waning away. In my opinion, MBA programs should change and innovate constantly addressing the changes in the macro-environmental factors of business thus opening up plethora of options for niche management programs or specializations. Focus should be on Co-operative and rural management, Real-estate management, Healthcare management, Event and leisure management, Travel and Tourism management, Hospitality management, Sports management, etc. and interdisciplinary programs like Heritage management (Civil engineering, Architecture and management), Information Technology Management (IT and Business Management), Public Policy Management (Sociology, Political Science, Economics and Business Management), Environment and Biodiversity management (Biosciences, Environmental law and business management), etc.
MBA courses should address Global Issues
The MBA courses should address more global issues like International relations, Cross-cultural management, Globalizing Economies and Political Diplomacy, Managing business in emerging economies, etc. The intake for B–schools should look out for students with different academic backgrounds and from diverse cultures, preferably forming an international crowd which fosters cross-cultural hybridization of ideas, beliefs and social order. This will ease the transition of the students from institute to a workplace which has already emerged into a global one with nationalities from across the world.
Both the MBA and BBA program from VIT Business School, VIT, Vellore and Chennai addresses the issues of Global Career building. The school boasts of a pan-India student community besides Chinese and African students as well as few exchange programs in collaborations with foreign universities of repute. The international immersion program equips students with cross-cultural sensitivity and many of them choose to complete a dual degree with University of Michigan, the partnering university in the USA.
Disturbing trend which has emerged in Management Academics
A post-graduation degree for certain branches of graduation study doesn’t offer much as far as employment is concerned. Though at times a MBA degree can be a savior for job-seekers but the specific competence requirement for pursing the course is some exposure in the professional world. Once MBA aspirants with work-experience come to study the program, they can understand and relate to the application of the various management concepts dealt in the class. The learning becomes more holistic in nature. Though VIT University’s Business School is an equal opportunity educational service provider, but in the course curriculum emphasis is more on learning from the fields, markets and real-time businesses.
How can a teaching-learning process be complete without due emphasis on the paradigm shift in the classroom ambience?
The technology-enabled classroom with dialogue, debate, discussion and delivery should be a vibrant and market driven one. The learning should not necessarily be through lectures but can engage learners in experiential learning mode. Simulation, scenario building, management games, project-based learning, etc. are gradually becoming the order of the day. The management academic deliveries should not be confined in the four walls of the classroom and should be even taught in small groups at shopping malls to study buyer/shopper behavior, seller’s unique selling propositions, economics of scale and scope, brand positioning, co-branding, etc. Industrial visits and interactions with corporate captains can lead to an insight into financial management techniques, managing human resources with diverse attitude, skill and knowledge, quality management in production, lean manufacturing, etc. Course curriculum should be embedded with team working, stress and time management activities which will result in business-ready professionals.
Courses focusing on Family Business Management and Entrepreneurship should be offered as separate programs.
Definitely one of the best options still for the seasoned MBA grads after substantial work experience or scions of business families is entrepreneurship, which promotes the cause of economic development and inclusive growth. B-schools housed in campuses of Universities with Engineering and Technology programs should have Incubation Centers for Techno-preneurship, Bio-entrepreneurship, etc. The national-award winning VIT-TBI (VIT-Technology Business Incubator) at VIT with resource pool from various engineering and bioscience school adequately supported by entrepreneurship educators and mentors from Business School creates congenial ambience for entrepreneurial ideas to implementation.
Emphasis should be on developing high human values, ethics and environmental concerns
The last word in any business management course is that it should give due emphasis to developing high human values, ethical and moral standards and environmental concerns arising out of different business processes among the learners. VIT Business School engages students in socializing with tribal and under-privileged and orienting students to inclusive development of the immediate society.
About the Author : Prof. Sudipto Bhattacharya, PhD, Associate Professor – International Business, Entrepreneurship & Strategy Area, VIT Business School, VIT, Vellore. He is a Certified Start up Mentor from London Business School and Certified Entrepreneurship Educator (with Honors) from STVP, Stanford University having 7 years of industrial experience followed with 14 years of varied experiences in teaching graduate &post graduate business programs. He can be reached at [email protected]