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Securing an MBA seat is not important, skill acquisition that matters!!

Ajit Rangnekar, Dean, Indian School of Business
More than 934 colleges and about 1 lakh seats - these are the basic numbers of business management education in AP and Telangana. Every year, about 1.2 lakh aspirants are appearing for ICET Exam, the entrance exam for MBA and MCA programmes, and 70 per cent of them are opting for MBA. This means every aspirant can get MBA seat without any difficulty. Despite such demand, the skill level of the management graduates from these colleges is a serious cause of concern. By and large, this is the scenario across the country.

Commenting on the present scenario, Ajit Rangnekar, Dean, Indian School Business, the most reputed B-school of India, pointed out that securing MBA seat is not important any more, but acquisition of skill set that matters. finds out more from him…..

Need of new era leadership
In today’s fast changing business climate, India needs new era leaders who can understand rapid changes in the business conditions, increasing competition and impact of continuous advancement of technologies. These leaders must be able to gaze the changes and make apt decisions that can grow their businesses. Companies are on constant search for such leadership material. The prospective students of management shall first familiarise themselves with the expectations of businesses and develop their skill set accordingly during the two-year span of their programme.

Method of college selection
To select a college, most of the students are depending on surveys and rankings being released by different organisations. However, one must be really sure about the soundness of methodology of these surveys/rankings and overall trustworthiness of the organisation before trusting their veracity. I think it’s better if students can visit the college in person and learn more about credentials of faculty members, infrastructural facilities and placement record. Investing such a care would help them to make informed decisions about a crucial career decision.

After joining the programme
It’s always better to join management programmes after gaining a few years of work experience. This helps the student to relate their ground-level experience to class room teaching; so that he/she can understand the concepts better. Management students should not confine themselves to boundaries of classroom. They must participate in group discussions with their fellow students, analyse case studies, join group projects and take up individual projects. Undergoing multiple modes of learning will equip students with right skill set. Keeping this in mind, we, at ISB, have diversified our teaching curriculum. We have designed a special curriculum with help of faculty members of world renowned B-schools such as Wharton School, Kellogg School of Management and London Business School.

Case Studies hold the key
Analysis of the case studies is the most crucial part of management learning. Case studies explain the problems faced by different companies and possible solutions that were arrived at. These real-time case studies shall be given importance in management teaching. More the case studies students analyse, better they become. Besides understanding the solutions provided in the case studies, students should try to find out their own solutions, as many as possible. For this, again they can take help of learning methods such as group discussions, faculty interaction and journal reading. Students analysing real-time scenarios as many times as possible will help them arrive at most fitting solution that would given optimal result for that problem. This is a thumb rule for every management student.

Shortage of quality faculty
Faculty members play a key role in equipping students with right set of skills, which are being expected by the companies. But, most of the B-schools are facing the shortage of quality faculty. In management sphere, teaching is losing its sheen thanks to today’s salary policies. Management education institutions and the industry are not encouraging the research. Indeed, our education institutions are losing interest in academic research. Students are showing rather no inclination towards research due to attractive packages that are available in corporate world. Academic research and teaching are neither well regarded, nor well paid. Research is being perceived as a long-term activity and this factor also dampening the interest levels among students.

To turn this situation around, there must be more incentives for research in management education. Expansion of our economy indeed needs more number of efficient B-schools. To overcome the shortage of quality faculty, the doctoral positions should be increased in management education. The government shall extend its maximum support to develop global standards in management research and improve the quality of management education.

Research Question and Solutions
To address the lacuna of quality research in management education, more research opportunities should be created. Incentives must be increased, grants shall be provided by industry players for research projects, research milieu shall be nurtured, faculty members shall take up consultancy works for private firms and the government should encourage our B-schools to compete on global stage.

Attitude of B-Schools must change
B-school managements’ attitude has the major role in shaping the students to the specifications of the companies. They shall conduct themselves in such a manner that students, faculty, industry and government shall feel assured about the quality of management education. In order to build such trust, the B-schools shall be in constant touch with different sectors of the industry, must be honest in explaining students about the gap between their expectations and the ground reality and shall maintain the quality of teaching. B-schools shall be more careful than the past because today more students are joining management programmes.

Need for modernisation
We need to modernise our management education keeping the changing the global and national requirements in mind. As part of this, B-schools shall encourage students with foreign institutions of high reputation, they shall encourage their faculty members to enter into teaching and research collaboration with them and courses of international relevance shall be included in the curricula. Maximum attention should be given to student development, because reputation of alma mater is nothing but the achievements her students.

ISB – Diversified Learning
Though our management programme duration is one year, we are training our students in all aspects of management education by balancing different components of our curriculum. ISB’s one year programme is a fine blend of class room teaching and research orientation. Besides that, we impart the skills that are in demand in market through our special programmes such as leadership development programme, planning of entrepreneurial venture, experimental learning, independent study programme, corporate interactions and international study programme, among others. Due to such diversified and mixed learning, ISB students acquire important leadership qualities that are highly sought after by the businesses.

Besides academic curriculum and special programmes, our Career Advancement Team helps the students in developing their attitude and personality according to requirements of the companies. We also have 13 in-house professional clubs and a Career Services Group which further help them to update their knowledge and skills.

Our smart work is paying off. We are receiving increasing number of applications every year, from both Indian and foreign applicants. Last year, our foreign applications have grown by 20 percentage points. In 2001, we have started with the strength of 126 and today we have about 770 students in different programmes.

Towards gender equality
Of late, gender representation in management education has become a matter of discussion. We have paid special attention to this issue and increased the admission positions for women aspirants. Today, we have about 216 women students in our campuses at Hyderabad and Mohali. This is 28 per cent of total student strength, which made us the top gender-sensitive B-school in the country. We indeed would like to continue this distinction.

More incentive for research
At ISB, research is a very important component. Recently, we have started “Faculty Integrated Research Project”, in which students will collaborate with faculty members to take part in their ongoing research. This would enhance their understanding on the area concerned. Besides this, we have also started ‘Fellow Programme in Management’, which is a PhD equivalent degree.

Programmes for all
We have designed education programmes to cater the needs of every strata of management ladder, ranging from fresh graduates to in-service executives. As part of this project, we have started PG Programme in Management for in-service executives, PG Programme in Family Business for graduates with no experience and Young Leaders Programme for fresh graduates, which will guarantee them seat in PGPM programme in future.

One school – two campuses
Last year, we have opened a new campus in Mohali as per our ‘One School - Two Campuses’ policy. Our Mohali campus consists of four research centres. An important aspect of this endeavour is two connect both the campuses in terms of programmes and teaching. Thus we stand next to a very few institutions in the world, which have achieved the ‘two campuses’ distinction. In our one school-two campuses policy, we give equal importance to both the campuses in terms for teaching and placement opportunities.

ISB...towards a glorious future
Our objective is to provide world-class management education in India. As part of this, we are increasing number of our faculty members, encouraging them to conduct high-quality research which will appear in international journals, revising our curriculum time to time according to the global requirements, encouraging diversity in our student batches, attracting quality students from abroad and improving infrastructural facilities. We are looking forward to produce socially relevant and efficient managers who can put India on world map prominently.
Published date : 12 Sep 2014 05:58PM

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