Vice President addresses International B-Schools Leadership Conclave

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New Delhi: The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has expressed concern over the recent incidents of indiscretion, mismanagement and greed that ruined many business organisations and individual reputation as he stressed up on the need to incorporate business ethics and values as an important and integral element of management education.

Speaking at the B-Schools Leadership Conclave organised by the Education Promotion Society for India, here today, the Vice President asked the world community to reach a consensus on automatic sharing of information on economic offenders. Countries must have a system of extraditing economic fugitives, he added.

Talking about the significance of business education for developing economy like India, Shri Naidu stressed that trained human capital was the vital strategic input for creating wealth and the growth of GDP. He said that India’s youth must be provided be trained with employable skills so that they are fit to the modern day challenges.

Stressing that 4th Industrial Revolution has alerted the world business leaders to train their employs to meet the future challenges, Shri Naidu said that Indian businesses have also now realized that there would be a paradigm shift in the Indian job market in the coming years.

Saying that the country’s youth should not depend upon yesterday’s teachings to prepare for tomorrow’s future, the Vice President asked Business Schools to ensure that their graduates were well-equipped to take on 21st century challenges.

The Vice President wanted the institutions to formulate regulatory framework for MBA/PGDM Programmes that would support innovation, experimentation and entrepreneurship. He also wanted the business schools to setup new type of curricula to give new skill sets their employs so that they are equipped to take up new jobs that use futuristic technologies for problem-solving.

The President of EPSI, Founder & Chancellor, VIT, Dr. G. Viswanathan, the Director General & CEO, EFMD & EFMD GN, Prof. Eric Cornuel, the Sr. Vice President, EPSI, Dr. M.R. Jayaram, the Alternate President, EPSI, Director, BIMTECH, Dr. H. Chaturvedi, the Chancellor, Sharda University, Mr. P.K. Gupta, the Executive Secretary, EPSI, Mr. P. Palanivel and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

Following is the text of Vice President’s address:

“I am delighted to be in the midst of distinguished educationists and academicians from India and abroad.

Today, in the field of business education, we are standing at the cusp of change. The theme of this conclave sums it up quite aptly, “Business Education 4.0: Futurizing Indian Business Schools”.

I am sure, the galaxy of experts here from India and abroad with decades of experience and knowledge will provide new insights and come up with a roadmap on how Indian business schools must reorient their content to meet future challenges.

There is nothing new in the phenomenon of technology influencing human progress. Just look at the way the invention of the printing press revolutionized the transmission of knowledge in not so ancient times in terms of volume, speed and accuracy. Human progress had taken a giant leap by this technology intervention. There have been other instances like the invention of steam, locomotive, electricity and atomic power, which brought about tectonic changes in the way we lived and progressed.

On this occasion, I would like to dwell briefly on the significance of business education for our developing economy. It is quite evident that trained human capital is a vital strategic input for creating wealth and the growth of GDP.

India has a history of nearly 60 years of providing quality business education in our country, fuelled by our legendary IIMs in the public sector and by notable private management institutes like the ISB, XLRI, Jamunalal Bajaj, SP Jain, NarsiMonji, BIMTECH and others.

While the academic experts will seek to come out with appropriate tools suited for Business Education 4.0, I reckon that the critical challenges in business education are two-fold: (1) Learning from and adopting suitably the best practices followed globally. Here, the choice is between the Western, the Chinese or the Singaporean models, which are successful in their own right. We also need to look at the role of MOOC and other tools of learning which have become quite popular and in some cases integrated into management courses.

(2) The second is about addressing the challenges we face in India in this field–about creating models suited to our ethos and environment. That is, do we have a ‘Jugaad’ or a frugal engineering ‘model’ to tackle this problem?

It would be evident that the disruptive tools from technology have to be integrated with management subjects to formulate the new paradigm that you will be discussing in the coming two days. This would also have implications in determining the skill sets needed in the undergraduate and post graduate management areas. You have with you a bevy of experts with all the experience and brain power to work this out!

I feel that the 4th Industrial Revolution has already created ripples around the world and all business leaders are trying hard to prepare their organisations to meet the future challenges. Indian businesses have also now realized that there will be a paradigm shift in the Indian job market in the coming years. The new jobs will require new skill sets and also a new type of curricula in B-schools.

We cannot depend upon yesterday’s teachings to prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s future. Business Schools must ensure that their graduates are well-equipped to take on 21st century challenges. They need to have the knowledge and skills to tackle the grand challenges being created by Industry – 4.0.

I understand that the 4th IR will also require a rethinking in the whole learning experience in our universities and colleges, particularly in business education, engineering education and also in all verticals of professional and technical education.

B-schools are going to face big challenges arising out of Industry 4.0. They will have to prepare MBA students for jobs that do not exist and to use futuristic technologies for problem-solving.

Mission of a business school, will never be the same again. Schools should be creating future leaders and managers who are capable of doing new things.

Now, let me also talk about the role of EdTech (educational technology) to be played in Indian Business Education. Business education, worldwide, has been using the traditional lecture method and case study method for imparting lessons in management. Lately, simulations and other experiential methods have been used extensively.

Continuous improvements in functional efficiencies of smart phones, laptops and tablets have made it possible to learn “anytime, anywhere”. Disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, deep learning, machine learning etc are making it possible for learners to learn fast and effectively. Use of big data and business analytics will be playing an important role in making MBA graduates future – ready for leadership roles.

Last but not the least, I would also like to emphasise that the governance and regulatory model of Indian B-schools will need a new and fresh thinking. The old model of ‘Command & Control’ has now become almost obsolete.

The regulatory framework for MBA/PGDM Programmes was introduced in 1990’s which was based on the context of the business environment prevailing during pre-liberalisation period. It laid too much focus on physical infrastructure and inputs to these programmes. Post-liberalisation, Indian economy has radically changed from being a manufacturing economy to a global economy with dominance of the service sector.

Looking forward to the next five years or so, there is requirement of a regulatory framework which will be supportive of innovation, experimentation and entrepreneurship.

I would like to emphasize the need to incorporate business ethics and values as an important and integral element of management education. The recent incidents of indiscretion, mismanagement and greed have ruined many organisations and individual reputation.

Secondly, we need to also make family businesses more efficient and recognize the success elements behind well-run family businesses. Family has been Indian society’s sheet anchor and traditionally family businesses have provided continued service and contributed to societal development. Our students should study these models as well.

I have great pleasure in conveying my warm greetings and good wishes to Dr. G. Viswanathan, on his completion of three scores and 20 years. I have known Dr Viswanathan since long as a distinguished person in public affairs, as an MLA, as a Minister, as a Member of Parliament from Tamil Nadu and now as an iconic educationist who has established a world class technology institute at Vellore.

Dr G. Viswanathan has adopted number of villages in an effort to improve the quality of their lives. He has embarked upon making Vellore – a city of around 500,000 people – greener and cooler one by planting one million saplings.

To conclude, I would like to say that for preparing Indian B-schools to face the challenges of 4th IR and for developing them for Business 4.0, all stakeholders in business education viz. regulatory bodies like UGC and AICTE, B-schools themselves and recruiting organizations should join hands so that a future road map for Indian business education could be chart out.

I thank all of you for giving me an opportunity to share my views and thoughts on the core theme of the conclave.”