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The Future Of Management Education

Marketing and HR have become data-centric and quantitative necessitating management education to become interdisciplinary, integrated and data-centric, as opposed to experiential and judgment centric

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In the last 10 years, several technological innovations have disrupted management practice and propelled it into a spiral of rapid change. These disruptive innovations have been driven by a combination of the ability to capture digital data everywhere, fast computing power, and high-speed data communication networks. This has brought the erstwhile fringe technologies of artificial intelligence and machine learning into the mainstream of management practice. Structured and unstructured data of all forms can be analysed to gather insights, make strategic decisions, as well as predictions for the future.

This has given rise to the broad field of business analytics as a core discipline of management education. It has broken down the silos of marketing, finance, operations, human resources, with data being the glue between them. Marketing and human resources have become highly data-centric and quantitative, which was earlier the reserve of finance and operations. This has necessitated management education to become more interdisciplinary, integrated and data-centric, as opposed to experiential and judgment centric.

The other more recent disruption in management practice has been caused by the pandemic. This has taken the physical proximity of teams completely out of the equation. Once the success and power of remote working have been tasted, there is no going back to the old ways of management practice. Digital collaboration, as opposed to physical collaboration, is the new management mantra. This has to make its way into management education. The limitations of the expertise of teachers in a given management educational institution will no longer be a roadblock just like the expertise of the team members in a particular office location is no longer a roadblock.
Digital Teaching To The Fore: 
High quality contemporary digital teaching content is now readily available and this applies more to management education than others because of the intensely rapid changes taking place in management practice. The flipped classroom model that has earlier been proposed as an alternative learning model is now ripe to go mainstream, particularly in management education. Learners will pick up theory and concepts from high quality curated global digital content and then be exposed to applications in a local context in the traditional classroom.

The rapid change in management practice has increased the rate of obsolescence of skills. This necessitates an accelerated cycle of learn-unlearn-relearn for all management practitioners. Management education has a key role to fill this need of continuous education for practitioners that goes beyond the scope of the traditional degree programs. Management education must be ahead of the curve on these new practices and be in a position to facilitate their learning for the people who need to practice it on the ground.

The future of management education will, therefore, stand on three pillars. The first is the need to become interdisciplinary and data-centric. The second is to adopt the flipped classroom model of relying on curated digital content for theory and the classroom for applications. The third is to evolve to be up to speed on the cutting edge developments, to disseminate that to learners in degree programs as well as practitioners in continuing education.    

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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Himadri Das

The author is Director-General at IMI

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