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Creating Gen Next Leaders

Management institutions are learning that not all lessons can be taught in the classrooms

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Management education, an essential part of every organisation and business, plays a key role in equipping our future managers with the crucial skills needed to face the challenges of the dynamic business world. The pandemic is speeding up the working environment. As organisations reinvent their strategies and operations in the wake of being overturned by the pandemic, B-school leaders are learning a significant lesson: one cannot be prepared enough for the future and not all lessons are learnt in classrooms.  


21st Century Skills 


The world is evolving and becoming more digital and mechanised. With numerous professionals stuck at home, organisations are scrambling to find digital solutions that benefit customers and employees. From virtual gathering rooms and video conferencing to keep their work process secure and the workforce strong. 

Rishikesha T. Krishnan, Director, IIM Bangalore believes that the skills which a leader of “tomorrow-land" needs to possess, are as follows: impeccable decision-making skills; being aware of the psychological barriers which creep in, particularly referring to the confirmation bias’; possessing the art of deciphering weak signals; and lastly, the importance of collaboration. 

The education institutes today espouse an outcome-based education and 70 per cent of the curriculum involves learning on the field. Having the right skills for the future is paramount for future leaders. 


Developing Entrepreneurial Skills 


Building social capital, peer-to-peer learning and physical classes are crucial to management education. For budding entrepreneurs, management institutions play a crucial role in developing business acumen. With a shift to virtual platforms and online learning, a lot of peer-learning and practical experience has been lost. Learning happens in many forms and the social aspect has been missing during the lockdowns.  

The nature and purpose of management education have grown over the decades. Before the pandemic in 2020, the 2008 economic crisis was a major turning point, bringing forth questions on the relevance of B-schools, the coursework and how well management students were prepared to handle a financial crisis. In 2020, the question arose again, how well were management graduates equipped to handle a crisis and how well could they adapt to a new work structure? 

One of the major changes witnessed over the pandemic is the rise in startups. Whether it was due to lay-offs, or the gaps in the market for tech companies, the pandemic fuelled start-ups. Entrepreneurship has become a sought after career path for many young people and professionals of the industry, alike. Therefore, students are turning to business schools to better guide them on this. Even organisations expect candidates to bring intrapreneurship skills. Management institutes are now providing specialised courses on entrepreneurship, which can be a major asset for gen next generation leaders. 

Rajesh Chakrabarti, MDI, Gurgaon points out that while their job, as an institution, is to be environmentally and socially conscious, they also have a responsibility towards meeting the student's expectations. Most students who pursue a management degree expect placement at the end of their degree. This cannot be taken lightly, nonetheless, students must be made ready for a variety of career prospects.  

Vishal Talwar, Director, IMT Ghaziabad reiterates this sentiment, stating that as management institutions they want to "move beyond being viewed as people who can provide successful placement". Entrepreneurship requires more nurturing than what virtual platforms can provide. While entrepreneurship is a desired skill, most students are likely to seek work experience fresh out of school. 


Future Of Management Education 


Management education is seen as elitist in India. Young women and men are fascinated by management education not because they need some education, experience and exposure to create something wonderful and hence helpful to society but are generally motivated by the positive consequences associated with management education. 

21st century India experienced a massive change in its educational structure. The process of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation has not only replaced the conventional approach with a more efficient professional approach; but also introduced new-age courses in line with industry demand which has more economic value in the present time. Management education has got a new dimension with this evolving time. 

"The market and the fundamental change that needs to happen is about the change in metric that we are using. And the change in the metric that needs to happen here is that we need to go beyond the metric of GDP, it maximisation to a metric wherein we really say that it has to be about how are we really impacting societies," says Amit Kapoor, Chair, Institute for Competitiveness, Visiting Scholar and Lecturer, Stanford University, underlining the future of management education. 

There is also a need that our dependence on foreign techniques and literature should be reduced and management teaching should be based upon practical experiences deriving power from Indian ethos. Management education needs to be made value-based, rather than money-based. 



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