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Future of Management Education

By Prof. Abhishek Nirjar, NMIMS

Management education has grown and evolved over the past few decades in India. While it
has grown in terms of quantity with a large number of universities and business schools
mushrooming across the country offering management programmes. While this has been an
important development as it has contributed to establishing a critical mass for producing
qualified management professionals for the corporate sector. Barring the top 50 institutions
there is a question mark on the quality of delivery of the remaining. There are very few
schools that have or aspire to provide the kind of education that would qualify as high-quality
education.
The future of management education depends on a number of important factors. The first and
foremost of all is the globalisation of management education. Indian Schools have to work
hard to establish themselves as ‘global’ institutions of repute. This would certainly be a
tedious task and needs a lot of planning and seamless execution. The other two important
factors are that Technology has like all other fields has also begun to invade the education
sector in a big way. So there is a lot that will happen with the use of technology in
management education. At the same time the fact that with this information boom and the
pressure that executives are facing in order to deliver a good performance on their job is
forcing them to consider qualifications and competence enhancement programmes that are
shorter in duration and do not demand physical presence for the full duration of the course.
This factor has a significant impact on the future. So while the prospective recipient of
management education has and is undergoing significant change in aspirations, temperament
and expectations, those in the domain of providing these programmes are faced with a set of
challenges that they have to deal with. The curriculum design and delivery modes, and the
faculty and their competence areas are the biggest challenge. In recent times there has begun
a debate about the extent to which the curriculum is relevant to the needs of the industry and
are B Schools producing employable professionals? The answer to this is no. The age old
model of the 2 yr. MBA/ PGDM in terms of what is taught and how it is taught is losing its
relevance. There is so much of technology being introduced in the education and training
domain, business analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence etc., are emerging as
important domains of knowledge and application that have gain paramount importance in
business education. All this has led to a strong need for a fresh look at the curriculum, the
delivery mechanism and the assessment while focussing on enhanced employability. All this
calls for a radical shift in the overall concept of the MBA/PGDM. While the curriculum
renewal requires industry participation, somewhere it also needs to look at the manner in
which core and electives are organised. The age old functional domains of Marketing,
Finance, HRM, Operations, Strategy are witnessing blurring of boundaries and it seems
appropriate to state that the future lies for those who demonstrate a high level of competence
in not one or two rather multiple functions. At the same time knowledge of technology tools
has now become imperative for all.
The manner in which courses are delivered will witness a sea of change. Long hours in the
classroom will become a story of the past. B-schools of today will need to shift their focus
from simply providing bookish knowledge or use of case method of teaching to commencing
giving due consideration to the learning style that the current generation has. This generation
is tech savvy and with overflowing access to information they need to be addressed with a
different approach to teaching. Faculty will have to focus on providing value-add sessions.
The curriculum will need to be designed in such a manner that a portion of courses are
undertaken by the students through self-learning mode using online resources from Harvard,
etc. and blend it to the high value add sessions by the faculty in the classrooms. This calls for
the faculty to be not just up to the mark with value adding know-how and learnings which
can come only through industry exposure. Somewhere there is a need to reduce the number
of hours in the class and pay more attention to facilitating learning for the student through
other mechanisms. Live assignments, written reports in the form of problem solving
consultancy work should be included so that students develop the competence to address a
practical problem, do an assessment and propose a solution through it. Assessment of
learning can take different routes which does not end in a written end-term examination
always. There will be a significant use of technology in assessment in the times to come.
To put it all together, the future of management education will witness a transformed
curriculum, a mixed delivery mechanism, unique assessment methodology and competence
development programmes of varied duration and levels.