I Foresee Robots Teaching: Nitish Jain, President, S P Jain School of Global Management

BW Education held its Wednesday Wisdom - "The Future Business Schools- What Will It Be?" in association with BW Businessworld.

We are living in a stormy and unprecedented time and business schools too, like any other industry, are not immune to the uncertainties. The year 2020 has posed some grave strategic questions for business schools and to have a discussion on the same lines, BW Education held its Wednesday Wisdom - "The Future Business Schools- What Will It Be?" in association with BW Businessworld. The power-packed session was moderated by Dr Anurag Batra, Chairman and Editor In Chief, BW Businessworld & Exchange4Media. 

“Change is the only constant” was the opening statement of Dr Adya Sharma, Director, Symbiosis Centre for Management Studies (SCMS), Pune. Talking of the differentiator that sets her school apart, she said, “We implemented a multi-disciplinary approach way back in 2012. It is a nightmare sometimes, but is important that the student learns what he or she wants to”. She also highlighted collaborative online international learning where the students can both learn and work on projects together with international students.  

Dr Anil Somani, Executive Chairman, FOSTIIMA Group of Institutions shared his opening comments by saying, “Just like demonetization changed the economy, the COVID has brought the same change in the education industry with the demand of technology.” The soft-skill development, the networking, and knowing what the industry wants is what needs to come into the B-school. Learning beyond the classroom to broaden a student’s horizon is most important. 

Dr R K Jain, Director, Symbiosis School of Business Management, Hyderabad said, “We need to bring excellence into the course. The management program designed to cater to manufacturing and service. The change was overdue and we didn’t move forward, but the crisis has now forced us to consider the change.” Every aspect needs to be re-thought and re-designed. The B-schools of the future will not face issues with technology, and the incorporation of AI will boost experiential learning. The B-schools of the future will be sharper, more focused and will have a better mapping with the industry.  

“The concept of B-School was all about an industry-driven school and we did face certain challenges when everything shifted online”, stated Professor Dr Joseph V Thanikal, Associate Dean and Director, RICS School of Construction. He further said, “Internship that is meant to do in the industry was a challenge, but we converted it into desktop research and it was a great opportunity which was very successful.” He also spoke about the curriculum and gave his thoughts on how the B-schools will not be on the cloud because it is important to physically visit the industry.  

Navneet Sharma, VB Padode Chair Professor of Business Responsibility and Dean, VIjaybhoomi University highlighted a few points to provide his opening comments, “If you ask me the top 3 casualties of the Corona, MBA degree is going to be in the top 3. MBA degree has critical disconnects. The disruptions can happen in 6 to 12 months now, and the second thing is that the learning must go beyond the classroom. We are bringing in a liberal professional curriculum at Vijaybhoomi University for the same.” 

Nitish Jain, President, S P Jain School of Global Management, divided the process of teaching into the next 5 years and post 5 years. “In the next 5 years, video conferencing will take a huge leap”, he said. He spoke how SP Jain has developed a new technology called ELO which is meant for online teaching unlike Google Duo, or Zoom that is meant for office purpose. He further added, “I foresee robots teaching post 5 years, and we at SP Jain are researching on the same.” 

“I see a future where we have to jump into a hybrid model of teaching”, said Dr Biplab K Biswal, Director, Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies & Kirloskar Chillers Private Limited. He spoke how work from home is delivering as well as offices. “We are planning to stick to a hybrid model where teachers will come to the classroom, but stream it online.” On being asked what kind of sectorial jobs will be in demand, how the teaching methodology needs to change and what changes need to be adapted in the curricula, he said, “The curricula need to change and we need to collaborate more with the industry”. 

Dr Laxman K. Tripathy, Director, Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies, Pune, stated, “If I divide the students who pursue MBA in two parts, most of them only look for a good job. What really matters is attitude skills because the real challenge lies in changing a student’s attitude and for online teaching that is a big challenge.” He also highlighted how difficult it is to deliver online to the students who live in the interiors and rural areas. “Instead of looking at it as a challenge, we can look at COVID as an opportunity”.  

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