Revamping the MBA curriculum

Today, engineering, pharmaceutical and medical graduates pursue a postgraduate management course for any one of the two reasons — they want to shift or want to sharpen their skills to succeed in their own profession with the help of a management course. Today, there are about 4,500 business schools offering a masters programme in Management.

However, the major concern is ‘quality’ management education. How many business schools in India stand up to the global level? How many enjoy the status of international accreditations — AMBA, EQUIS and AACSB? How many institutions have strong corporate connections? How many have updated their curriculum after the global slow down? Only a handful.

We cannot develop the leaders of tomorrow with the existing curriculum and traditional classroom teaching alone. There is a widening gap between MBA programmes and the business world. If MBA graduates want to meet industry expectations, then there are real needs for the MBA institutions to understand today’s fast changing business-world and need to take a fresh look at MBA programmes.

 Due to globalisation and global slowdown, business games in the industry are changing rapidly. There is a need for global leadership, cross-cultural understanding, entrepreneurial spirit and innovation. International accreditation agencies like AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS focus on these parameters to realise the strong bond between management programmes and the business world. In India, international accreditation is still new to B-schools and only a handful of premier institutions have applied for international accreditations. International accreditations help business schools to re-invent their MBA programme and lead the change, focusing on internationalisation and an updated curriculum to maintain the pace with industry.

International accreditation creates an opportunity for schools to work closely with the industry and alumni, thus bringing schools closer to ground reality and establishing a strong corporate connection. In the coming years, many institutions in India need to reap the benefits of international accreditations.

Developing responsible business leaders

It is imperative to revisit the MBA programme curriculum to cope with this kind of business environment. Two aspects are important while reinventing a programme: Learning within the boundaries of a business school and learning beyond the boundaries of a business school. Learning within the boundaries normally takes place through classroom input or interaction. This learning basically helps students understand concepts and theories of management. For effective learning within the boundaries of an institution, main antecedents, research-based faculty, innovative pedagogy, a digital library and other knowledge infrastructure are the deciding factors. For instance, in case of innovative pedagogy, the theatre technique may be one of the best ways to teach a module in the course and create interest amongst students.

Today, learning beyond the boundaries of a B-school has become important than classroom input within the institution. This encompasses global component like summer schools or a study trip abroad for about a week or two, intensive industry internships and spending a term abroad in a world-class business school for specialised courses.

These are very important to link theory with practice. Also, spending a term abroad alongside of 50-100 nationalities, definitely provides a cross-cultural experience and understanding, global exposure and networking opportunities. These parameters are very important to shape management graduates as global leaders.

Another approach to adding value to an MBA programme is by conducting Business Thought Leadership Series (BTLS). BTLS, conducted by CEOs, management thinkers and management gurus certainly add more colour to an MBA programme.

Thus, today’s changing business world needs global leaders who can make a difference. There is a need to adopt a holistic approach to developing MBA students in sync with the ever-changing managerial and leadership scenario in this borderless economy. Therefore, it is very important, for management institutions in India to reinvent MBA programmes through strong corporate connection, building a strong research base, achieving the status of international accreditation and going global.

The writer is the Dean of Strathclyde SKIL Business School, Greater Noida.


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