Yes, There’s A Need For Constant Overhaul Of Curriculum: Errol D’Souza, Director, IIM Ahmedabad
Directors are more involved now in meeting regulatory requirements, in raising funding for the institution and in ensuring that the faculty are focused both on teaching, as well as research.
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B-school education is facing challenges on many fronts. Interest has increased in management education where people undergo training after having acquired work experience. So rather than have two-year programmes, there is more interest in one-year programmes. That’s a challenge that educational institutions are trying to reorient themselves towards.
The second challenge is that there is more continuing education. Corporates are demanding training through the life cycle of a person in the organisation which means that the school has to be continuously contemporary, as people come in at different stages of their involvement in the organisation. So they would come in from junior management to senior management teams, and we even have sessions with CEOs. That basically means that the demand for actual new knowledge has increased, but in different parts of the education system.
Do we produce enough leaders? I would say, it’s hard to say what actually results in a ‘final leader’. The only thing that we do is, encourage them to take risks, which is what leaders do, but within a responsible framework.
On global rankings
Yes, Indian B-schools should figure in the global rankings, but there are reasons why we are not there. I would list three. The first is the lack of diversity not just for students, but for the faculty as well. The rankings treat diversity in terms of nationality and many B-schools definitely the IIMs do not admit foreign students as per the law put in place for them. So we get a “zero” number there.
Secondly, the (criteria of) freedom to actually pay differential salaries to faculty according to their performance – we get zero here too. Schools abroad differentiate in terms of performance and they actually get better ranked because of that.
The third factor is the salary increase that schools abroad show after the programme. We tend to, at least at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A), have a very high starting salary but growth in salary three years later which has a large weight in the rankings is not as significant. So schools in the top global rankings give starting salaries that are lower than those that we get, but growth rates in their salaries are much higher.
On updating curriculum
Yes, there’s a need for constant overhaul of curriculum. I can’t say for other business schools, but we at IIM-A, make it a point to have HR conclaves in which we ask for feedback from chief HR officers of various firms on the type of skills they are looking for. And then we go back and rework our curricula, partly to address that.
I say partly, because some of the stake we have in a curriculum is also our view of what the future of work would be, which need not be the HR managers’ (criteria).
A curriculum has to be forcibly revised every three years but even in between those three years, every faculty has a right to change up to 20 per cent of the curriculum if they’re seeing a change, which they think needs to be addressed in a classroom. So we encourage faculty to innovate on the curriculum continuously. But in many schools that is not happening.
The B-school director’s role has evolved a lot over the years. Directors are more involved now in meeting regulatory requirements, in raising funding for the institution and in ensuring that the faculty are focused both on teaching, as well as research.
(As told to Prerna Lamba)