New pedagogical tools to test the restrictions of current Management education pattern and build new patterns.

Rahul Dasgupta, Trustee, Globsyn Business School.Management education, like every other education domain, is under tremendous pressure from the industry to stay relevant in today’s internet-dominated economy. The three major restrictions that Management education pattern faces come from three of its most important stakeholders – students, institutions and governance. While students are focused on their exit with a high-paying job and not on the knowledge and skills to be acquired during their time in a B-School, most management institutions are keen on only delivering the ‘curriculum’ to equip the students with the required knowledge to get a job. Doing so they miss out on enabling them with skills – cognitive, inter-personal and intra-personal – required to operate in today’s corporate environment. The governing ordinances for Management education stresses on the academic qualification, without giving much importance to the industry experience of the faculty. While academic qualification is important, industry experience of a faculty helps bring in relevant experiences and cases to compliment the curriculum delivery to a cohort.

The approach to tackle these restrictions should be respective to the three stakeholders and in some cases, also the influencers. India is still a country where career paths of youngsters are influenced by their parents. Both students and their parents, even in the post graduate education level, should be counselled and educated to give importance to the acquisition of knowledge and skills over the high-paying job. Any academic institute, that has been connected to the industry for a significant amount of time and has dealt with a vast number of corporates, will certainly vouch for the fact that there are fewer number of ‘relevant’ graduates when compared to the job opening available with the corporates.

Institutions, irrespective of the rank it secures on the league table, mostly still depend on the curriculum and pedagogy that was developed during their formative years. Furthermore, the corporate world today evolves at a much faster pace than what it did two years ago, which makes it more challenging for the B-schools to stay relevant. In this world of high end technologies, where the concept of geographies and offices have transcended all walls and boundaries, academic knowledge alone does not make a student ‘relevant’ for the corporate world.
Therefore, B-Schools should continuously innovate to ensure their pedagogy and curriculum stay pertinent in the 21st century. Avant-garde activities, exercises and role-plays need to be an integral part of the curriculum to ensure that the students develop the necessary skills to be truly prepared and pertinent for the industry.

Deep knowledge of a subject is required to deliver an academic curriculum. But, when we are talking about management sciences, which is more behavioural than writing lines of codes, maintaining books of accounts or ensuring smooth movement of the conveyor belt, bringing in live experiences or cases into classroom, enables better application of the subject. While governing bodies mandate the academic qualification of the faculty in a B-School, industry experience to compliment the knowledge should also be mandated to better employ innovative academic delivery mechanisms.Fortunately, the statutory body and the national level council for technical education in the country has started taking small steps to bridge this skills gap by introducing mechanisms like ‘Flip Classroom’, which they are proposing every institute should adopt. Let me explain the concept of a ‘Flip Classroom’ for you to understand why a faculty with industry experience will be marginally better than those without any industry experience. In a ‘Flip Classroom’ scenario the traditional classroom setting is 'flipped' or interchanged, where students are required to acquire the basic knowledge of the subject out of classroom and come to class prepared to participate in the experiential and case-based learning facilitated by the faculty. This would ensure better retention and application of the knowledge gained.

Today, when a recruiter decides to hire an MBA graduate, they actually look at the activities, exercises and role-plays undertaken by the candidate, that go beyond the traditional forms of education. Students should be exposed to various out of classroom activities involving running virtual organizations, building business ideas, elderly care, specially-abled care, underprivileged education, conducting healthcare camps and other myriad of social activities. These activities help students imbibe leadership and intrapreneurial skills, become dedicated and compassionate managers and be technologically bent, which makes them truly ‘ready’ and ‘relevant’ for the current industry.

Another ensuring factor that the recruiters take into significance while deciding on whether a student is ‘ready’ and ‘relevant’ for the current industry or not, is his appreciation and knowledge of emerging technology platforms. During his MBA years, a student should be continuously exposed to emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Blockchain and IoT through various academic interventions and delivery mechanisms in his B-School. This will subconsciously align him to be an agile professional who is equipped to adopt and operate on such new-gen platforms of today's technology driven business environment. While on one side we provide Lecture Sessions on emerging technology subjects, we also rely heavily on technology to streamline various systems and processes that you would come across in an education institute.

All of these above recommendations and initiatives in terms of pedagogy, curriculum and delivery mechanisms, would allow management education patterns to evolve and make way for greater ‘stakeholder integration’.