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BW Businessworld

Reimagine Learning For The New Order

The new MBA curriculum should focus on developing these skills and prepare students for a rapid pace of change where agility and flexibility is the norm

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Technology changes, growing aspirations and assertion of individuality are today disrupting the world. Lifecycles of products, business architecture and business processes are short, as they are being uprooted by a stream of innovative ideas. New business models are more efficient, adding more value to the customer. Gaps in products, delivery models and services are the raison d’ etre of innovations and startups, many of which are technology enabled.

The new world order puts a premium on ideas and the individual’s ability to execute them successfully. Many of these startups face difficulties in scaling up their operations and hence, carry risks. Those able to scale and minimise their risks, get the pot of gold. These startups challenge established companies and global brands. Much of the new employment generated at these startups, as in large companies, are taken away by automation or changing business processes.

Technology is influencing life in a manner hitherto unknown. Automation of business processes has, for instance, made it possible for the customer to transact business from the comfort of his home or workstation. Social media has altered the way we communicate.

These changes have transformed organisations into technology organisations, irrespective of their business. The new organisations question the wisdom of traditional organisation structure. The new organisations are agile, work and succeed on the basis of networks and are based on design principles, like shared purpose, self-organisation, empowerment and equity. People in these organizations work in an autonomous and coordinated manner. This obviously requires leaders to let go’ without losing control or direction.

Management theory too will hence, have to undergo significant changes. The faculty has to adopt new technology and develop insights into the changing world. They will have to educate graduates to be comfortable with risks and uncertainty and develop their cognitive and behavioural skills to manage rapidity of change in their life time. This will help enhance their employability. Students also need to be prepared to mine data, analyse it and make meaningful pictures of customers and their choice behaviour.

The World Economic Forum identified ten skills that can help individuals succeed in this new world order: complex problem solving; critical thinking; creativity; people management; coordinating with others; emotional intelligence; judgement and decision making; service orientation; negotiation and cognitive flexibility.

Add to these, the skill of Risk Management. It is imperative here to reorient the Risk Management course from Financial Risk to Business Risk. The new MBA curriculum should focus on developing these skills and prepare students for a rapid pace of change where agility and flexibility is the norm.

Hence business schools need to redesign their programme curriculum. The focus has to be on development of entrepreneur, change leaders, skills of creativity, cognitive flexibility, judgement and decision making, complex problem resolution and managing diverse teams working in an autonomous manner. The open source software has already democratised innovations. It is imperative for the business school to join this process of democratisation of innovation and learning process.

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.

Dr Rajan Saxena

The author is Vice-chancellor & Distinguished Professor of Marketing, NMIMS

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