Making MBA Relevant To 21st Century Professional

With the given market dynamics, corporates today are looking for thought leaders, innovators, and disruptors.

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn” - This quote by Benjamin Franklin has become immensely relevant to management education today. The craze for management courses in India is unending and every year thousands of students aim to get into B-Schools of their choice to pursue a career in management. However, the curriculum and the style of education has not evolved to match the 21st century market realities which often curtails the employability or the quality of employment of MBA graduates. While existing businesses are building new markets to keep up, new businesses are emerging simultaneously to mutate and foray the existing market trends. We can’t help but be swept away by these expeditious waves of changes. But the concern remains - are we equipping our future leaders to face these corporate world dynamics?

With the CAT season dawning upon us and the management aspirants vigorously gearing up for the D-day, the need for B-Schools to diffuse aptitude & skills as well as the right attitude to face and strive in the corporate world arises. How can we make our MBA programs relevant?

The future proposes an array of global challenges and opportunities like climate adaptation, energy and water scarcities, poverty, technological advancements, artificial intelligence and many more thought-provoking and demanding activities. All these changes require new modes of thinking, new behavioral skill sets and a simultaneous realization of the financial potential, with a strong eye to environmental impacts, social concerns, governance issues, and the repercussions business operations may have on local communities.

With the given market dynamics, corporates today are looking for thought leaders, innovators, and disruptors. To assist in propelling this innovation, it presses concern on business schools to innovate as well - to create market-ready individuals, carefully trained, who possess the right attitude along with the skills to tackle and strive in the 21st-century market realities. 

The real-world problems of an organization or its competitors could be a world away from each other and could be all the more different from what is being taught in the classroom. The focus of B-Schools requires to move from just providing students with their first jobs towards giving them a long-term career and helping them excel in the corporate world. 

At a juncture when the traditional ways of management are no longer enough, B-Schools must reshape their curriculum to meet the developments of the business world. As the responsibility of bridging the gap between raw talent and professionalism lies with them, initiatives and courses that build design thinking, analytical skills, and decision making are imperative in the curriculum. 

Comprehensive and exclusive education to management aspirants can be provided by giving them experiential learning that has a practical approach and keeps students involved. Experiential learning opportunities encourage students to work alongside corporates, so they can identify and solve problems that arise in the companies. The curriculum of management courses must be developed with insights of industry practitioners and updated with existing market trends.

B- Schools should constantly upscale their teaching practices to deliver targeted and practical knowledge to students that will challenge them to achieve their potential and create opportunities for their future success with the support of committed mentors and industry experts. There is a need to involve key stakeholders - faculty pool, industry partners, and recruiters in this process to gain comprehensive oversight of the objectives and establish how they can transform students into future leaders. Only then, would they stay market relevant?

The world is changing, and the future holds many more challenges. Innovation in teaching patterns and experiential learning opens a new window to MBA education by making the students aware of the challenges that leaders and managers face in an organization every day. Under the guidance of faculty and teaming up with fellow students, alumni, and their corporate mentors- students can turn classroom knowledge to corporate actions. 

This article was published in BW Education issue dated 'Nov. 20, 2018' with cover story titled 'BW Education Issue Nov-Dec 2018'

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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