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Measure Student Performance While Working Collaboratively: Uday Salunkhe, Director, WeSchool

‘In the global context, while India does fall in the consideration set as an education hub, being a global centre of business education might take some time. However, the future does hold a lot of potential in making this a reality’

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LN Welingkar Institute of Management or WeSchool, with campuses in Mumbai and Bangalore, is a leading B-school that strives to “empower young minds with stellar education, and create enablers of tomorrow”. WeSchool Director Uday Salunkhe, in an email interview with BW Businessworld’s Priya Saraf, talks about the challenges facing business schools, among other things.

Why should students choose your school?
Aspirants looking to up-skill and upgrade one’s core competencies must explore programmes at WeSchool. Here’s why. At WeSchool, our efforts have been directed towards nurturing our students not just as managers but as global citizen leaders, who look beyond themselves and contribute to the society.

As a leading management institution, we are aware of the crucial role we play towards creating future leaders. We have a rigorous and innovative curriculum with an emphasis on collaborative learning. We emphasise on design led innovative management education that shapes vision and imparts requisite skills towards being a successful global citizen leader.

An AIMA vision document says that India should be the second best global hub after the US for B-school education by 2025. Is it doable?
The mission of AIMA continues to facilitate individuals and enable organisations to realise their potential. In the global context, while India does fall in the consideration set as an education hub, being a global centre might take some time. However, the future does hold a lot of potential in making this a reality.

To be the second best global hub after the US by 2025, there are various changes that need to be undertaken, be it regulatory and or an overhaul in the curriculum with the changing times. To bridge the gap between the industry requirement and the course curriculum, steps need to be taken in direction of research projects and co-partnered programmes.

Why do top Indian B-schools not figure in the top global B-school lists?
Top ranked Indian B-schools have been graded in QS University Rankings 2019 and Financial Times Global MBA 2018 Rankings. One must also realise the fact that some of the best B-schools in the world have Indian faculty.

However, institutes also need to have student diversity which can enrich classroom conversations and create healthy representation from various sectors. Management institutions must introduce courses/programmes that are capable of creating global business leaders.

How ready are Indian B-schools for Industrial Revolution 4.0?
B-schools are partnering with industry to introduce changes in the curriculum. There is greater need for practical and experiential learning as compared to theory. More students are developing their professional experience by taking up live projects and delivering solutions applicable to companies. Besides these, B-schools are adopting digital medium for classroom teaching, scheduling classes, taking faculty feedback and grading students online.

With entry-level jobs shrinking due to AI and automation, what plans do Indian B-schools have to place their graduates?

With artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation, there are new job roles within the organisation. The existing job responsibilities require the professionals to become aware of the latest technologies impacting their function in the company. The outlook for management education in context to technology is forward looking. Through new programmes like business analytics and research, B-schools are directing aspiring professionals to become technology inclusive.

What measures are Indian B-schools taking to create entrepreneurs instead of just job-seekers? What percentage of B-school graduates turn to entrepreneurship at the outset?
The percentage of the graduates turning to entrepreneurship is less compared to those looking at taking up jobs. However, B-schools are motivating the students to consider entrepreneurship as an effective option instead of summer internship. Today, campuses are helping the students to incubate their idea through special initiatives and inter B-school competitions. However, B-schools need to further develop and enhance with time to be able to sustain entrepreneurship clubs on campus. With so many existing success stories by Indian student-entrepreneurs we are sure to witness a more entrepreneurs.

Who do Indian B-school faculty members not publish as frequently as their international peers?
Research is an integral part of management education. However, there are only select faculty who have an inclination for research, depending on their area interest, incentive and expertise.

To drive interest in research, the ecosystem in each campus must define practises that lead to faculty and students undertaking more projects. The outcome of each research project needs to be measured in order to make it a result-oriented learning process.

Why do Indian B-schools not tailor their curriculum to meet local needs? Why is there always a ‘one size fits all’ approach?
While, there are MBA programmes in areas like Marketing, Finance and Retail, there are also customised programmes which focus on Business Analytics, Rural Management, Entrepreneurship and many more. However, there is more demand for MBA programmes with sector specialisation like Retail, Finance, IT in comparison to niche programmes.

What more should Indian B-schools do to create leaders, and not just followers?
To transform students as leaders, B-schools must offer opportunities for learners to project their capabilities in diverse environments. What B-schools can do differently is to measure student performance while working collaboratively in groups during their internship, projects, student exchange programmes and social cultural events on campus.

How different are women B-school graduates from their male counterparts, as their numbers remain abysmally low?

Women in management education are competitive and determined for a long-haul career in the field of their choice. While many are creative, there are also women who pursue entrepreneurship.

At WeSchool, a student project has become a healthy snack, packed with “nature’s gift— today run successfully by our WeSchool student from Healthcare Management Programme, Komal Kadaba, Co-founder, Nature’s gift —Nutrezy, alongside her mother Sukesha Kadaba, Co-founder, Nature’s gift —Nutrezy.  


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