Reinvent While You Are Still Successful

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The focus of management institutes must expand to creating programs for areas traditionally underserved by management education.

The focus of management institutes must expand to creating programs for areas traditionally underserved by management education.

Management is the art and science of getting things done through people and resources. Effective management is necessary for all arms of a progressive society, as politicians, bureaucrats, corporate leaders, activists, homemakers, educators, social sector leaders all have to ‘get things done through people and resources’.

Management education must be responsive to the current and anticipated needs of Indian society. So how does it need to evolve? Here are a few suggested directions.

Thought leadership:
 As Indian corporates make their presence felt on the global stage, there is a need to find new models of thought and practice that are rooted in the current context of India. This implies deeper industry-academia collaboration. Educators at top business schools must reach out to corporate leaders and build ‘non transactional’ relationships with corporate India. This in turn will lead to new models of collaborative research, theory building and research coming out of India that not only becomes a model for corporate India, but shapes thinking in the rest of the world.

Technology enabled learning: Fundamentally, technology offers ways to bridge educational inequity. There is a tremendous scope here for lesser ranked schools to build an online component in collaboration with top schools, and enhance quality at a lower cost. Premier schools must look at business model innovation to balance costs and access, and take their offerings to a larger number of students. This implies finding distinct positions for online and offline offerings.
Employability, not employment: As managers need periodic reskilling, the focus will move away from education for the first job, to education for continuous relevance and lifelong learning. This implies a larger number of programs for working executives at various career stages, and a greater use of hybrid models which provide time and location convenience to harried working executives.

Sustainability and value based education: Society can only improve when the haves are willing to sacrifice for the betterment of the have-nots. This implies the creation of a new type of management student: one who is grounded, value based and whose perspectives can span rural India, urban India and its connection with the world.

New ways of looking at the world: 
Newer problems imply newer approaches to problem solving. This in turn implies supplementing an emphasis on analysis and critical thinking with inputs in areas like design thinking and systems thinking. Further, bringing in perspectives from the social sciences and the liberal arts will equip students to look at the world through multiple lenses and create a new breed of ‘whole brained managers’.

Underserved segments: The focus of management institutes must expand to creating programs for areas traditionally underserved by management education. The family business sector needs better management, as does government and the social sector. There is a need to create preparatory avenues to bring women back into the workforce. There is a need to build a new generation of social entrepreneurs.

Finally, the next 10 years require a new breed of management school — one that is able to reinvent while it is currently successful. We need to recognise that profits and revenues are constraints in the objective function of educational institutes, and not the reason to exist. We need revenue and surplus for sustenance and growth, but revenue and surplus are not the reason for our existence, they are necessary conditions for us to fulfill as we try to make a difference to the thoughts and actions of the constituents we serve.

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. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.