How Management Education Is Changing Post Pandemic

B Schools should give top priority to develop strong digital infrastructure with high-speed internet to run the courses in online mode.

Management education had been the most sought program for students after graduation in India. Students join the MBA program with aspirations of updating managerial skills and fast career growth. COVID-19 pandemic has caused huge disruptions in management education across all countries in the world. Business schools have moved from offline systems to online systems. It has given flexibility in terms of scheduling the classes, capacity expansion, engaging industry experts, and international professors. Despite some benefits of online systems, it has some adverse impacts also. Students are not able to get experiential learning. Placing students for summer internships and final placement is another challenge for most of the B schools during this phase. As most of the activities are being done in online mode, therefore ensuring the security of data will be another challenge for B schools. During COVID-19, fewer students may prefer to go abroad for higher education. B schools may exploit this opportunity by bringing their programs and courses at par with the best global B schools.    

To overcome this challenging phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, B schools need to make some structural changes. First of all, B schools should give top priority to develop strong digital infrastructure with high-speed internet to run the courses in online mode. Return on investment is major criteria for the selection of institutions by students. In the present business environment of uncertainty and economic slowdown, B schools have to justify the hefty fee taken for management education. Courses and programs have to be designed as per prevailing industry requirements. Courses of all programs should have some content on the digitization of processes, sustainable operations, data analytics, supply chain management, and sustainability goals set by United nations. B Schools should form partnerships with tech companies to run technology-specific electives or programs. Courses should improve the decision-making ability of students while handling complex problems during an uncertain business environment.  Institutions should encourage their students and faculty to work on live projects by associating themselves with the industry. Overall, practice-oriented management education should be given the thrust. To make changes practical, B schools should limit their admissions such that each student is ensured good exposure and placement in the companies.  

In an online teaching environment, the role of the teacher will be of facilitator and guide as students can get access to knowledge from various online repository themselves. Along with being the subject expert, faculty will be required to be technology-friendly (making interactive PPTs, animations, using simulations, presentations, case discussions, and tests, etc. in online mode). The institute must provide the latest technology gadgets such as digital pens, pads, touch screen laptops, streaming facilities, fast and reliable internet, etc. as basic requirements for the faculty. B Schools should also invest in running online short term certificate programs for meeting industry-specific requirements.  As online programs may help in getting economy of scale and reducing the cost of running programs, tuition fee should be calibrated considering the needs and expectations of students. Even hybrid programs comprising of online and classroom teaching have huge scope in India. 

For making these changes in management education, Chairpersons/Deans should be encouraged to benchmark their courses with global top B schools. International Professors and industry experts should be associated with collaborative research, invited sessions, and designing of course curriculum. Institutions should facilitate this change by adopting a simplified procedure and continuous assessment of students and industry requirements. In the end, innovations in course curriculum and programs to enhance the skills and employability of students will be deciding factors for the success of management institutions. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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