Future of Management Education in India

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Let us look at the emerging themes in management education along with the underlying factors and triggers

1. Undergraduate Management Program from premier B-Schools
The supply for engineering education was augmented over the last 2 decades but there are not so many engineering jobs. The cream from engineering college are now picking up their first jobs in IT sectors and then lurching forward to management education.

This pattern will change when the premier B-Schools in Post Graduate education, who have shied away from Under Graduate programs wake up to the market demand.

Premier B- schools have the following concerns/ issues with the students selected for the Post Graduate program

a. Students do not have basic knowledge of multiple disciplines like Accounts, Economics, Statistics and marketing and hence go thru a highly compressed learning in the induction stage. This creates a huge stress on the resources as well as the students. There is a requirement to deliver too much in too short a period that some of it is not fully assimilated.

b. The educational system at and till the under graduate level emphasises learning by rote not by application. Management education is delivered thru interactive case and discussion method of learning. Understanding different perspectives and peer learning are very critical. Students go thru learning (Pre-class preparation) and assessment shock when they join management schools. If they are put thru the interactive learning mode at the undergraduate level, they will be off to a flying start when they move to the PG level.

c. Another fall out of our educational system is the lack of opportunity to develop relationship, leadership and communication skills. Undergraduate management education can play a critical role in developing the personality, communication and articulation capabilities and create a platform for robust learning at the post graduate level.

It will also fundamentally change the demand for under-graduate programs across all disciplines.

2. Online/ Virtual delivery
Virtual learning facilitated by online delivery and Learning Management system opens the door for mid-career learning.

The delivery creates huge flexibility in terms of

a. Modular Learning

b. From anywhere/anytime

c. Learn at own speed with opportunity for referring to additional reading material and exercises

There are multiple online business models where normal content is possibly free while premium content or certification comes at a price.

Premier B-schools are exploring and experimenting with the opportunity thru Virtual Interactive learning programs. The acceptance by corporate is a bit muted as they are not sure what level of credibility should be attributed to the programs.

Premier Management schools can infuse the much-needed rigor into the process of learning, assessment and delivery and provide their stamp of certification for corporate acceptance. Alternately a central body for final assessment/ certification can facilitate recognition of the program.

Registration to Online learning is likely to grow exponentially and more Corporate acceptance/ recognition.

Short duration programs:

Corporate who dithered at losing man-days of productive work force and high cost of travel/stay/ programs are likely to embrace Virtual/ Online delivery of management education.

Premier B-Schools will be able to replicate the regular on- campus short duration programs to the Virtual/ Online mode while retaining the rigor.

The number of executives trained is poised for an exponential increase with the break-thru in cost/time/flexibility. Mid- career refresh without a large break in work allows executives to learn new /trending skills/subjects and also plug the gap in their knowledge based on their specific industry/market context.

3. Partnership with industry
Corporate expectations from students graduating from management schools and what educational institutions deliver is at variance primarily on account of following factors.

a. Management education institutions teach concepts with examples drawn from several sectors or otherwise sector-neutral.

i) It is very difficult to deliver sector specific/intense knowledge in a general management program given the multiplicity of sectors and limitation in expertise.

ii) It can also be argued that if the focus is on the conceptual/ analytical dimensions, we cannot dilute it by layering multiple sector focus.

b. Management education institutions discuss problems/challenges in the larger organisation/ market context with a bias towards evaluation and decision making. For example students study situations relating to pricing, positioning, branding etc. and these are typically in the domain of Senior Management and these are not decisions taken at the junior management level.

c. Students are confronted by sector-specific/ company specific challenges/issues at the macro level and their job demands operating knowledge/ skills for his function.

i) The student neither knows the specific sector nuance nor does (s)he have adequate operating knowledge that his job demands.

Corporate continue to lament that the students are NOT READY finished products. This large gap between demand expectations and supply delivery is likely to get bridged with Sector specific curriculum — Custom designed for one sector and not multiple sectors.

In this article we have focussed on emerging trends taking into account the expectations of the 3 important customer segments of Management education institutions —-prospective students, corporate executives and corporate employers. Institutions that anticipate and have the conviction will create the future.

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Surya Mahadevan
Prof. Surya Mahadevan has 30 years of work experience in FMCG and Telecom sectors. He played leadership roles managing large brands such as Tata, Reliance, Aircel, Loop, Maltova, Viva and Amul.

He has worked across Sales, Marketing, Retail and Customer Service functional areas and in his last assignment before joining TAPMI, he was responsible for Mumbai Circle Telecom operations as Chief Operating Officer at Loop Mobile.