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BW Businessworld

Re-invent To Stay Relevant

B-schools need to work closely with the local governments and the industry to design, develop and design relevant skill development programmes

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B-schools need to work closely with the local governments and the industry to design, develop and design relevant skill development programmes

ONE of the major Challenges of the B-schools in India and the rest of the world is to remain relevant for the society in general and businesses. To remain relevant, business schools need to reinvent themselves to meet the emerging challenges confronting the nation and organisations: both for-profit and non-profit organisations. One such challenge is the desire of the present government to make India a $5-trillion economy by 2024.  This means the Indian economy needs to almost double its size in the next five years. It will trigger an expansion in all fields of economy and result in an increase in the requirement of trained managers.  It presents an opportunity to B-schools to rise to the occasion. But are B-schools ready to meet this challenge? Several business scams, the ever-increasing gap between the industry and the academic world, falling quality of students and lesser number of good faculty opting for business schools are a matter of serious concern.

The advocates of B-schools argue that the purpose of these schools is to build and upgrade the quality of human capital in the management field. According to the E&Y report, by 2022, 9 per cent of the working population would be employed in new jobs that do not exist today; 37 per cent would be in jobs that have radically changed skill sets, and 54 per cent would fall under unchanged job category. Business schools need to clearly work out strategies to address all three categories of people. For meeting the need of the unchanged job category, faculty should be encouraged to work closely with the business organisations to understand their present work and requirements. Efforts should be made to bring in changes in the course content to align the teaching with the current needs of the business organisations. Alumni may be involved to design, develop and even deliver the courses where ever possible. Faculty members may be motivated to undertake research to address the current problems of the business world, participate in the activities of the industry associations, and policy-making process of the government.  

While consolidating its ability to serve the present needs of the industry, business schools cannot ignore the fact that they have the responsibility of creating knowledge for future needs and even to play an active role for creating the corporate future. Business schools should work to explore newer forms of business organisations, look for alternatives to the corporate form of organisation,  work towards creating better labour laws, develop tools and solutions to leverage technology to improve the work-life balance.

Another challenge for the business school to remain relevant is to recognise the demographic changes that countries are witnessing. India is currently is at very critical stage of a demographic transition. To achieve the same, India needs to pay special attention to skilling and reskilling its workforce keeping in view the changing nature of job profile. B-schools need to work closely with the local governments and the industry to design, develop and design relevant skill development programmes.  

B-schools should also make all efforts to leverage technology to improve the academic environment, increase the access, and reduce the cost of education. These schools have to make deliberate efforts to revise and revamp the portfolio of courses and make them relevant for the technology and  knowledge-driven business world. AI, mobile, social media and IoT are driving data complexity in the corporate world. Business schools cannot ignore such development any more.  

One of the important critiques of the existing models of running business schools is that they are currently valued for their cash generation abilities than their academic contribution.

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.

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India's top b-schools 2019

Fr. Antony Uvari

The author Vice-Chancellor, Xavier University

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