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Acing The Technology Game

With new technologies making their way, B-schools are breaking down the learning process, adopting updated curriculum and training faculty

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Industry 4.0, a digital amalgamation of information and communication technology, began eight years ago but only in recent past, it has been incorporated into the daily operations by corporate India. The technology associated with the fourth industrial revolution like artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics and more are making their way into corporate India. This is resulting in the demand by the corporates to hire skilled graduates apprehending such technology. 

The World Economic Forum report on ‘The future of Jobs’ brought forth the fact that the fourth Industrial Revolution including developments in various fields will cause massive disruption to business models along with labour markets over the next five years, with extreme change projection in the skill required to develop the country. 

To fulfil the urgency of the industry, Business schools are preparing their students for the upcoming demands. Even, the Government of India is acting on the industry’s need by transforming management education. 

Indian Regulatory body, AICTE is offering various elective courses, both long and short in top 200 management institutions that will boost the student's confidence to take up the technical tasks coming ahead. They are also helping the institutes to set up faculty development programs, academies in different parts of the country. Various faculties are invited to train the institute that motivates them to adopt the same in their schools. 

Dr Anil Sahasrabudhe, Chairman, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) believes, “Industry 4.0 technology is crucial not only for employability but for creating new jobs in the corporate sector. The fourth revolution of Industry has trotted education 4.0 and the preparation must begin from educational institutions for the futuristic trends and construct education 5.0.” 

Education 4.0 is the metamorphosis of education 3.0. It is a shift from the self-determined learning process with educational theorist to a school of thoughts that encourages a non-traditional way of imparting knowledge. 

Adoption of Industry 4.0 at IIMs 

One of the leading management institutes, IIM Ahmedabad is forcibly revising the curriculum in every three years. Meanwhile, if the faculty is seeing a change that needs to be addressed in a classroom, we encourage them to innovate on the curriculum continuously.  

Professor Errol D’ Souza, IIM Ahmedabad said, “Even though the change is rapid, every change evolves from a base. It is important for people to be curious to work in teams, to communicate, to understand the systemic issues and to think out of the box. This will continue to be valuable traits that people must be going forward. Development in domain knowledge is something, which a faculty is responsible for and is also an area where students, at the end of a course, evaluate them at IIM Ahmedabad.” 

Whereas in much newer IIM at Indore, they are trying to break down the learning process into the set of knowledge, skill, attitude and adding the practice of that knowledge is helping the learner to prepare for industry 4.0. 

“This industrial revolution is essentially about the management skills, which includes critical thinking, decision-making, especially in critical circumstances, ethical decision making and negotiation, contract management, communication, sense-making, as mentioned in various reports on future of management education, ” said Professor Himanshu Rai, Director, Indian Institute of Management Indore

Further, he said, “The changes are inevitable and corporate India shall get ready for the changes that are coming. The industry should partner with educational institutes to adapt to those changes. Institutes need to acknowledge what the future is going to look like and then acknowledge that they need to change.” 

An approach by Private B-Schools 

Apart from IIMs, private institutes have made headway to encompass Industry 4.0 technologies into their curriculum with courses like data analytics, analytics, Internet of Things, algorithm development, sensors, design thinking, 3D printing to revamp their program and impart the best knowledge and education. 

In response to the demand of the corporates, private business schools in India are also absorbing their needs and accordingly updating their curriculum to educate the upcoming recruits. Dr Atish Chattopadhyay, Director, IFIM Business School, Bengaluru elaborates more on this by saying, “Our B-school has made the first move to develop a model curriculum to push the management schools to nurture young professionals facing the Industry 4.0 ready world. In terms of preparing the apprentice for the same, IFIM Business school has collaborated with various international universities to provide exposure to their management students with updated technologies.”  

The recent survey on Curricula 4.0- Creating future managers by NHRD and IFIM Business school was conducted to understand future requirements. The survey depicted that the preference of the companies hiring from the Business schools has shifted from grades to skills. They are looking for applicants who are more acquired with skills considering that the grades have become their second priority in such case. 

The outcomes of the survey will be used to formulate the curriculum in a better manner and is intended to propose the changes to the Ministry of Human Resource Development. 

Although, the industry is in search of graduates who can work in the changing corporate setups. Technology usage has improved work efficiency among corporate India. Presently, there is a wave of new technology like Artificial Intelligence, Nanotechnology, Data Analytics and more. Data analytics has been integrated with various management programs. However, Artificial Intelligence has always been there and hasn’t subsumed much. The only seen difference is that it has now been acknowledged as a separate sphere altogether. 

Now, the students are coming to management school with some previous exposure to a few of these technologies associated with industry 4.0 that helps them to understand more. Although, AI, machine learning is more of stream-based branches whereas Data Analytics is opted by most management students as seen in various B-Schools. 

Today, around 50 to 80 per cent of management students are opting for these courses at private institutions which exposes them to these technologies.  

Professor Nakul Gupta, Assistant Professor, Information Management Area, MDI Gurgaon said, “The advent of Industry 4.0 revolution has given birth to pervasive technology that facilitates machine to machine communication. Management schools are offering elective courses to choose from, as studying these skill-based courses are going to help in their placements as well as corporate life. Various consulting technology companies are looking for recruits with added skills to give them high ground. Furthermore, it benefits the current novice and future placements simultaneously.” 

Limitation at Private Schools and Solution 
Talking about the fall shorts in this ace technology, Dr Samiksha Ojha, Dean, School of Management Studies, Ansal University said, “Students are eager to learn the particular technology as they are more adaptive, but the problem lies on the teacher’s part. Faculties are facing an issue while teaching the upgraded course using such technology. They are unequipped with similar technologies that are currently available for their students.” 

Offering a solution to this problem, B-schools can ace their game by adopting the updated curriculum and training their faculty. Dr Sahasrabudhe said, “These are the two essential steps to achieve education 4.0. Such changes happening in the management schools are going to benefit the industry. With training, students can innovate and absorb the flux. Thereby, it will influence business interests to grow not only in India but globally as well.” 

Future Approach 
To understand the future work, IIM Ahmedabad organises HR conclaves where they ask for feedback from the chief HR officers of various firms that what is the kind of skills they are looking for? This step helps them to recognize the industry demand and in revising the curriculum partly because that part of the curriculum is designed in the opinion of what we believe the future is going to be. 

Just like IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Indore is also using a similar methodology to revise its curriculum to make it relevant to the demands of the industry. Industry and academia will need to work together to co-create the future. 

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