A recent study by ASSOCHAM reveals that only seven per cent of India’s management graduates match industry expectations. Lakhs of MBA graduates come out of business schools every year in the country. Apart from the IIMs and a few other management institutes that have intelligently assimilated industry experts and relevant practices, most of the over 5,500 B-schools are unable to stand up to the challenge pertinent to employment requirements of the industry.
Quality in management education has taken a back seat to the needs of running a business. Ninety-three per cent of MBA graduates end up either unemployed or earning between Rs 8000 and Rs 10,000 a month. Most B-schools forget that they will lose their relevance if they fail to connect the dots between industry needs and B-school outputs. The institutes need to find ways to bring real-world experiences into their education system. One way of providing this ‘experiential learning’ is to increase the time frame of student internships and make them learn while they perceive, practice and observe corporate functions in action.
Institutes need to be closer to the industry now, more than ever before. With processes and technology changing the face of businesses, students need first-hand information from professionals and industry leaders. For example, parts of the marketing course should be taught by a marketing professional, finance by a financial analyst or investment banker. In fact, professionals from the industry are spending more and more time training, providing mentorship, giving lectures, and as visiting faculty in educational institutes. There are several technologies at the fringe that are likely to become important in future. These include artificial intelligence, the Internet of things (IoT), search engine and social media optimisation and marketing. Curricula have to be adaptive to accommodate these facets and organisations have to be more accommodating.
Skilling the talent
Indian management graduates need to be a cadre of professionals with sound technical and behavioural skills, who are creative, adaptive and tech-savvy and have the ability to think critically. Mentors, can help in sharing their expertise and wisdom with gen-next industry leaders to keep them abreast of changes, teach them flexibility and importance of teamwork. In order to build professional skills, think-tanks such as the Centre for Communication and Critical Thinking and the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation should be encouraged to become a fundamental part of all the B-school learning.