Should B-Schools Re-Think, Re-Create And Re-Invent Courses That Can Make MBA Relevant For The Next Decade?

Corporates look for talent who can hit the ground running from day one of their jobs and also expect the talent to learn all aspects of the business at a very fast pace. Tools of technology are changing the way business processes function.


Indian Business Schools still remain the preferred destination for companies, when they plan to recruit talent for their functional areas. Many companies fill their middle-level managerial positions by recruiting students who have a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from best Indian B Schools. Corporates look for talent who can hit the ground running from day one of their jobs and also expect the talent to learn all aspects of the business at a very fast pace. Tools of technology are changing the way business processes function. The new industrial revolution focuses on the usage of interconnectivity, automation, machine learning, and real-time data for decision making and problem-solving. Working along with machines and depending on dashboard created from big data for decision making and problem-solving is realty for many middle and top-level managers.

If one takes a sneak-peek into MBA curriculum offered by Indian B Schools, the MBA program will have subjects like Principles of Management, Organisational Behavior, Quantitative Techniques, Managerial Accounting, Managerial Economics, Legal aspects of Business, etc. One will find very few B Schools offering courses like Design Thinking for Problems Solving, Business Analytics with R, Data Visualization for Business Intelligence, etc. The MBA curriculum must help students to have a firm foundation so that they can stay professionally up-to-date while they take-up their corporate journey. While it is important to learn subjects like corporate strategy or financial analysis, it alone is no longer sufficient to remain competitive as business functions are continuously being reshaped. The new jobs profiles and job designations that have sprung up in the past few years is proof for the vibrant state of the business.

There is a pressing need for business schools to look ahead and design the curriculum as they are educating leaders and decision-makers for a fast-changing world. The disruption is happening more faster than ever before by the influence of digital technologies. Indian B Schools must ensure that they continually and consistently re-think, re-create and re-invent the curriculum for their MBA program. The focus has to be in line with the anticipated requirements and skills needed which can help them in surviving and succeeding in the next decade. So it’s not just ‘job and industry ready’ but it about ‘job ready and industry-leading’ that is expected from an MBA graduate. Hence accepting the mantra of ‘lifelong learning’ is the only way to remain relevant and succeed.

Corporate houses who recruit MBA students expect them to explore the unfamiliar business territory and also expect them to know about cross-functional business processes and the tools of technology which can help in rethinking and streamlining their business processes. A few Indian Business schools have made a note of these developments and have made changes to their MBA program curriculum. Going beyond the introduction of new courses and formats some B schools have ensured for learning to happen in an environment which is personalized, real-time. This has been possible with the usage of virtual reality or ‘Gamification’. At some renowned Indian B Schools experiential learning is not just a series of instructional videos, but rather personalized tools centered on each student. While some B schools are exploring new formats and teaching methods, the digital era has also made us appreciate the human side of business much more and we have learned. There are skills like leadership, Creativity, Effective Communication which cannot be replaced by technology. There is a pressing need for pedagogical changes which can help in teaching these skills that can prepare students to be relevant for the next decade. Businesses are getting global, at the same time getting closely knit with local cultures than ever before. In the present day context, one small cultural folly can set off a social media storm that can char prospects in a region. An MBA graduate today spends more time working in multi-cultural and geographically spread teams than ever before. By the time the present MBA pass outs of the best Indian B Schools make their way into the periphery of the C-suite, it will no longer be just leading homogenized teams and understanding competition but working with robotic assistants and understanding to work with men, women and machines at geographies different from their place of origin will an unsaid mandate.

A business school must consistently revamp their courses and curriculum to ensure the preparedness of MBA graduates which can equip them to work with team-mates from different continents and different cultural backgrounds. The industry does not articulate this need as on date, but they are beginning to realize the value which an empathetic and culturally aware manager brings to their operations.

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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