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Why Do Institutes Need To Incorporate Problem-Solving Skills In MBA Courses?

The problem-solving ability need not necessarily come from the MBA curriculum alone. It can be imparted by adopting some strategies, read below.

If we look at the MBA curriculum offered by Indian B Schools, then the number of subjects that equip students with the ability and skill to solve problems will not be more than 5 percent. On the contrary, when corporates hire MBA graduates, they fundamentally look for problem solvers who can work in cross-cultural teams. While the MBA curriculum in B School focuses on functional areas and impart knowledge and skillsets needed to survive and grow in the corporate world, they must necessarily concentrate on instilling problem-solving skills in the students.

MBA graduates must have the skills to negotiate, identify the root cause of problems, and the ability to solve problems. The career for an MBA graduate could be in any industry and in any functional area. Still, all of them unquestionably expect them to have management, organization, and problem-solving skills. If an employee has the ability to solve complex problems at ease, then he/she becomes an asset to the organization.

The business processes and the corporate world is never filled with streamlined tasks or easily processed information. In many areas of areas like conflict management, innovation management, sales, technology, operations management, and human resource management have a plethora of problems that are not covered in any textbook. The management graduates of today will be facing issues that are not even in the 'known' radar of businesses. With the impact of Industry 4.0, artificial intelligence and machine learning having its impact on all functional areas, the ability of an MBA graduate to solve problems and the problem-solving skill has become particularly important, and those graduates who have a track record of solving issues within their team and office are regarded with esteem and respect.

The problem-solving ability need not necessarily come from the MBA curriculum alone. It can be imparted by adopting some strategies given below:

Encouraging students to participate in Case competitions: There are several case competitions that are open to students pursuing their MBA in premier B Schools. Some of these competitions also have a wild card entry, where a student from any B School can participate in the same. B Schools must encourage and support the students to participate and give solutions to the cases that are provided by the corporate. This can help in honing the problem-solving abilities of the student that pursues his/her MBA.

Making students take ownership: Many B Schools still depend on their faculty members to take charge of events, placements, or even extracurricular activities of the Institute. In some premier B Schools of this country, the entire responsibility falls on the student team. This allows them to face and solve problems that come while they work in teams. This can help in ensuring they learn problem-solving skills by 'doing 'rather than just reading about them or learning about it in the classroom environment.

Data Driven decision making: Problems that will be faced by corporates in the future will need complex data to be analyzed (both structured and unstructured). Hence imparting those skills and making them learn tools of technologies that can help them analyze and understand the dashboards used by such tools can be of immense value while they make decisions and solve problems.

Experiential Learning: Experiential learning is the process of learning through experience, and is more accurately defined as -learning through reflection on doing. When the students are made to learn through experience, then they remember and understand those teachings in a better fashion. This prepares then to be better problem solvers while they face real-time challenges that they face when they enter the corporate world.  

Create Scenarios where they are forced to ask compelling questions: Asking questions after contemplating is of paramount importance for knowledge creation and problem-solving. Humans have an inherent ability to ask questions and also the desire to know. This is sometimes 'killed' by the education system, and the desire and ability to question exponentially decreases from high school to post graduation. Asking compelling questions helps problem-solving as it allows the brain to play out different scenarios and broaden the decision-making process. Rather than evaluating students only on the ability to answer, processes must be evolved where they are rewarded for asking out of the box questions, which can help them to 'look at things from a different perspective.' This can immensely help the problem while they solve business problems, as they will be able to ask the right questions and reach the root cause of the problem.

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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