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BW Businessworld

Need For Relevant Pedagogy

Indian management education will have to reorient itself to achieve a balance on three other aspects to address current realities

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Indian management education is bracing itself to address the global VUCA phenomenon (Volatility, Uncertainty, Change and Ambiguity). In fact, current market demands are transforming the way management education is imparted with more market oriented practices and pedagogy to prepare students for the uncertain and challenging times being adapted to.

While schools like the Indian Business School (ISB), have introduced disruptive approaches like the one-year programme and the visiting faculty model aimed to provide a global experience to its students, more and more Indian B- schools are now innovating on the way they impart management education. All of them have started embracing technology for better delivery of content and spreading their presence and many have struck alliances with overseas universities to bring in global practices. However, this alone is not enough.

When the world is looking for a new economic growth engine and India, with its robust growth rate and market potential, looks well set to play that role, the Indian management education sector needs to become more relevant. More importantly, it needs to gear itself up to make its students relevant to the new market demands.

Accordingly, there are three basic nuances that B-school managements need to understand if they are to make the cut. For starters, they will have to teach their students to reinvent themselves, to be not just quick learners, but also problem solvers par excellence. Secondly, they will have to design solutions for providing continuous education, as the world is more dynamic than ever and their students will have to relearn frequently. Thirdly, they will have to realise that the market for human capital and management expertise transcends borders that are more porous now. In other words, to be relevant, the sector will have to learn to work better by forging industry linkages, working across boundaries and by being context driven in what it teaches to its students.

At a different level, Indian management education will have to reorient itself to achieve a balance on three other aspects to address current realities. Firstly, management education has for the past century or so, been driven by Western thought and practices while market reorientation has thrown up new and more relevant possibilities. It is time we brought a balance between Asian insights, which are valued all over the world, with the best of Western insights to provide relevance to management education.

Secondly, management education in India has tended to be more theoretical than elsewhere. Industry is more dynamic than before with new innovation and business models overtaking management theory developed in a different period. There is a need to push for more relevant pedagogy by balancing between theory and practice by bringing in real world lessons from industry into the classroom in close collaboration with corporate and government agencies.

And finally, management education also needs to adopt a multi-disciplinary perspective while imparting academic and executive programmes in tandem with a research oriented approach. Real challenges and opportunities are rarely focused on a single discipline. Effective management of innovations, mergers and acquisitions, application domains (e.g., verticals such as healthcare or the financial sector) require integration of ideas from strategy, finance, marketing, operations and organisational behaviour.

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.

Rajendra Srivastava

The author is dean & Novartis Professor of Marketing Strategy and Innovation, Indian School of Business

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