Over the past few years, management education has undergone a major transformation to accommodate the changing needs of students as well as industry. Owing to the ever-evolving technology and dynamics market scenario, it is only natural that B-schools have to continuously reinvent themselves from time to time to stay relevant.
Ten years down the line, the businesses will become very technologically-advanced and operate in an even more volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment. They will expect B-schools to churn out students with skill sets that can meet the modern demands of that time. This will definitely call for a paradigm shift in the way B-schools design their curriculum the faculty impart education and manage to facilitate learning.
Let’s see eight factors that will drive the change in B-schools a decade later:
1. Interactive and immersive pedagogy
The traditional management education is still largely restricted to books and e-learning resources. In future, B-schools will focus on creating interactive and immersive pedagogy through:
Field study trips, networking events, global internships and foreign student exchange programmes for exposure to give students more hands-on learning opportunities.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) tools to conduct virtual field trips or campus tours; create gamification experiences to solve real-life business situations or future workplace environment; and interact with peers, faculty and experts beyond the classroom walls.
Hackathons to create collaboration among students from multiple domains to pitch business ideas and build a new product from scratch.
2. Blended learning
The blended learning is a combination of in-class or face-to-face and online curriculum. The core course content is usually delivered online, and students are expected to attend the weekend or after work lectures in person. The future of B-schools will see offering blended or hybrid learning options to working professionals, housewives, single parents or anyone who wants to pursue management education while meeting their work-life commitments.
3. Focus on experiential learning and applied research
B-schools will focus on creating opportunities for students to apply their academic learning in a real business context. This will not only enable students to learn soft and hard skills through experience but also capture the complexities of business world outside their classroom. The courses will allow students to work closely on a business project, either initiated by the B-school or in association with any organisation.
4. Greater collaboration and partnerships with corporate
The industry has often complained that management students are not job-ready and lack the necessary work skills. While part onus lies on the B-schools on designing industry-relevant curriculum, it can’t be denied that the corporate bodies also have to take initiatives. Going forward, corporate will play a more active role by:
Offering inputs on curriculum, organising special sessions or lectures with industry experts for students, increasing the number of industrial internships and visits for on-job training, inviting students to present their business ideas, offering consulting assignment to faculty along with students and organising faculty immersion programmes.
5. Creation of an entrepreneurship ecosystem
A vast majority of B-school students look forward to the placement season with great anticipation because it is a gateway to a promising career and also that it saves time and efforts on scouting a job on their own. The placements are one of the core attractions of any B-school, and its importance is unlikely to diminish in the near future. However, the future breed of students will showcase a great inclination towards entrepreneurship over employment. Hence, B-schools will make conscious efforts to nurture these students by creating an entrepreneurship ecosystem on the campus itself.
This ecosystem will comprise:
Intensive course or specialisation in entrepreneurship.
Networking with startups, large establishments, incubators and angel investors to mentor student entrepreneurs.
Organise business plan competitions and events for students to pitch their business ideas and meet potential investors.
6. Flexible curriculum personalised to student interests
Today, only a handful of management institutes offer niche programmes and specialisations. But, as student expectations change and industry requirements get more stringent, it wouldn’t be surprising to see future B-schools creating customised curriculum. Students will be able to select a programme that will be designed to suit their specific interests. These programmes will concentrate only on the discipline of their choice, develop in-depth knowledge and get more engaging where incorporating intellectual flexibility.
7. Building globally relevant understanding
Globalisation is the new localisation. The internet, social media and technology have enabled people to interact and transact without geographical barriers. Hence, organisations need global employees who can transcend countries and cultures. The focus of future B-schools will be on creating a pedagogy that teaches its students about global trade and economy and preparing them with the necessary skill set.
8. Building social sensitivity
B-schools will realise that the purpose of management education is just not to solve business problems and earn profits but do so in a way that it makes positive social and environmental impact. They will focus heavily on teaching their students the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), sustainable practices and ethics in business actions.
Ten years from now, B-schools will have to shoulder a much larger education responsibility than today. There will be no single core differentiator; rather it will be an amalgamation of all these changes that will make all the difference to the B-school offerings.
(The writer is with Symbiosis Centre for Management and Human Resource Development, Pune)