The Skill Landscape Of India- How Management Educators Can Contribute

One of the interminable requisites from business schools is that the students should be equipped with contemporary skills on day one at their jobs.

The digital transformation of business is accelerated in the world experiencing Covid Pandemic. The pace of automation is higher due to the changing demands of business and to engage all the stakeholders viz., customers, employees, suppliers, etc., in a remote operation mode.

A very peculiar expectation from businesses is to prepare the students for digital jobs. This capability will be redefining the higher education ecosystem in years to come.

One of the interminable requisites from business schools is that the students should be equipped with contemporary skills on day one at their jobs.

With India improving on the ease of doing business index and with entrepreneurship becoming popular, the requirement of employers is not only a certificate program but also relevant experience in the domain.

Integration of experiential learning projects, earn while you learn programs to promote work-based learning in the curriculum are required to remain relevant in the post-pandemic era.

The future leaders who have the power to create and manage robust organizations need to be trained with a cross-functional perspective.

Entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial activities are vital to a country's economy and growth. Business education in the present time is required to nurture entrepreneurial talent who has the skills required to lead their path to success. For realizing the goals of Atma Nirbhar Bharat, the academic programs need to be propelled with creativity and innovation. These are essential for entrepreneurship and fundamental requirement for capital generation and wealth creation.

Business education today must foster strong industry collaborations and partnerships. These collaborations will create tremendous research opportunities and bridge the gap between academia and industry.

Need and Urgency

The world is very optimistic about India’s unique demographic dividend. Young people under the age of 25 years constitute 46.9% of the country's population, as per the recently released Sample Registration System 2018, prepared by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India. This scenario is set to change with India’s population pyramid predicted to grow across the 15-59 age group in the next ten years. The current demographic advantage is approximated to last only until 2040. Our country, therefore, has a very narrow period to make productive use of its demographic dividend and to rise above its skill shortages.

The world is increasingly experiencing a shortfall of the skilled workforce due to the aging population. India thanks to the positive demographic dividend can fill this skill gap and also meet its own demand for skill.

The Pedagogical Model

Business education in the current landscape is required to provide the students with a virtuous cycle of learning by thinking, doing, and reflecting. The pedagogical model should encompass both the case and the field method to promote learning by thinking and doing. The amalgamation of the case and field method will bridge the knowing-doing gap. This will give ample meaningful opportunities to students to act as leaders and translate their ideas to practice. A well-planned academic ecosystem needs to be created where the students get the support of the learned faculty not only inside the classroom but throughout with mentoring on start-up ideas and career goals.

Higher education space has witnessed the hybrid approach during the pandemic times where some students are in-person and others remote. Business schools have to do their best to leverage the hybrid classroom and remote learning for management students, Global alumni, and Executive Education participants. It will require necessary up-gradation of infrastructure, fitting out its classrooms with monitors and technology, and a change of perspective of the faculty members. The remote instruction needs to be managed while maintaining interactive and engaging discussions.

Encouraging Women at Business Schools

The goal of gender equality is far from reached in business education, there are still fewer women at the business schools. The pandemic and economic downturn are predicted to have hit harder on the gender balance at business schools. Business schools must prepare women to tackle challenges of career interruptions and plateauing. The differences in gender that are pertinent to business rise from two dimensions one, associated with childbirth, and the other stemming from the different traditions and cultures across societies. The cultural and structural differences in society misrepresent the real costs of childbirth to women and organizations. Business schools should sensitize the students about the stereotypes and preconceptions against women. There are various issues in the domain like mentoring, relocation, compensation, and early identification of top performers amongst the female talent. These should be discussed and practiced in classroom settings. For successfully and meaningfully achieving the goal of self-reliant India, this pillar needs strength, and focusing attention here will be incidental for the all-around development of the nation. 

Entrepreneurship and Business Education

The activity in the entrepreneurial landscape in the last few years has increased the acceptance of start-ups as the catalyst to the growth of the Indian economy. Well-funded companies from the previous decade are entering a new phase of growth fueling the need for entrepreneurial talent. The entrepreneurial courses need to be tailored to give the students a solid foundation by imparting knowledge about the processes, finances, and context of entrepreneurship. They must intertwine the theoretical and the practical and offer outcomes that help the participants in their real start-up journey. The whole journey of entrepreneurship should be backed by relevant courses in idea generation, idea validation, solution testing, approaching the market, scaling, growth, and also venture exit and exit strategy. The practical and tactical tools will prove to be incidental for the success of the ventures and add to the aspiration of sustainable livelihood. 

The global economic trends suggest a rise in demand for business education in India. One big question remains- Will Indian business schools gear up for the challenges in a post-Covid environment?

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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