In a recent paper, Bloomfield (2015) states that a good professor achieves what he calls a three-part mission – research, teaching and service. He also states that a good professor will be able to: communicate effectively; craft constructive reviews and effective response memos; put philosophical insights to practical use; motivate students; share in the governance of the institution.
This begs the question – Where does real world experience fit in for a B-School Professor?
For instance, should a finance Professor teach finance without discussing articles say from WSJ / The Economist or provide examples from the real world. One of the major problems at least in the field of finance is the gap that exists between the theory and practice of finance. In recent times, B – Schools have been hiring rookie PhDs with a strong pipeline of research. It goes without saying that creating new knowledge is important and professors must aim to publish their research in top tier journals. This is also important if B-Schools are looking for international accreditation.
That said, its equally important that B-Schools hire faculty with some industry experience. The punchline is faculty must combine academic rigour with real world experience. Students require both perspectives and in fact students value professors who have real world experience.
At the T.A. Pai Management Institute, we are trying a new approach from this academic year – corporate internship for faculty without industry experience. TAPMI will give a term off for such faculty and will also assist faculty identify potential opportunities. A lot could come out of such an initiative. We want our curriculum to be as relevant as possible. Our faculty must be able to provide multiple perspectives to students and most importantly academia cannot be disconnected / disengaged from the real world. We operate in an extremely challenging and an ever changing world and employers constantly look for graduates who can deal with an uncertain world. If a B-School does not have the curricula that’s industry relevant or hire faculty who might be experts in their fields but the expertise is not a result of teaching senior executives, then they are probably disconnected from the world. Isn’t it counter-intuitive or counterproductive when senior business leaders or executives are taught by faculty who have no industry experience.
In sum, B-schools need to constantly innovate, be imaginative, hire faculty with work experience, not replace faculty without work experience with business managers and develop curricula that focuses on creating industry relevant graduates.