Research your way up the ladder

With ease of accessing information and dynamic workplace culture, it is imperative that students posses the skills of research and problem-solving.

Today, research-based pedagogy has become relevant, especially in the context of management education, because the focus lies on the holistic development of students. For, it’s here that they become competent managers. 

Modern B-schools provide a stimulating environment for students having an inclination towards management studies. These institutes not only provide a platform for students to put forward their ideas but also facilitate nurturing their talent and help them convert these ideas into an affirmative action.

Better focus

B-schools are now focusing on nurturing the originality of thoughts in young minds to develop lateral thinking and get prepared in advance to face the challenges of the corporate world. Here the role of research-based pedagogy becomes important. By research, we don’t mean only academic-oriented research needed to write articles, but also the modern pedagogy which cultivates thinking, imbibes the habit of questioning the obvious and finding out better alternatives.

B-schools focus their efforts on making students job-ready. In today’s dynamic and diversified corporate scenario, it is imperative for students to understand that they are expected to come up with innovative solutions to problems in the context of the professional or academic scenario. The most competent strategy is to be able to master the art of researching. 

Nowadays, learning is highly student-centric. The bottom-line of management education does not lie only in educating the future managers. The very task of B-schools in web 2.0 generation is to tailor-make managers to make them adaptable to real-time problems. This can be done by providing them with their own set of toolkits of management principles and practices which can be customised to suit the needs of their employer. All top B-schools are continuously striving towards changing the contents and delivery modes. It is equally imperative to strive constantly to make management education more content-oriented. The classroom lectures should also constitute some research-based implications of the pre-defined curriculum so that the students can connect with the concepts associated with the contemporary research-based practices.

Currently, a lot of emphases is given to the quality of accreditations received by universities. These international or national accreditation bodies ensure that the standards are met as per the requirement and there are no discrepancies in adhering to the norms fixed to impart education. These bodies give a lot of emphasis on the content associated with the contemporary research practices. Hence, it has become unavoidable to inculcate the research-based teaching. 

What are the main concerns of B-schools today and how can research orientation help overcome these challenges?  The constantly changing environment and the open access of all kind of information at digital domain strengthen the masses and hence everywhere consumerism is reaching the zenith. However, the following are the major touch points 

The wide gap between what is being taught and what is being practised: Even if all B-schools constantly strive to modify their syllabus as per the needs of corporate, there is a significant gap between the teaching in a class and the practical requirement of corporate. If we induce the methodology of teaching in such a way that it improvises the habit of a research-based solution, the students would be equipped in a better way.

Ease in accessing information in this digital era also poses threat to business owners and managers as they may face customer complaints and grudges coming in on social media every moment. Managers have to be ready to face even the most difficult customers and deliver what they expect. The very essence of research encompasses the fact that we are providing them with the bandwidth to apply their thinking and intelligence in coming up with innovative solutions and thus increase their suitability to cater to current job demands.

Companies which are recruiting managers are not patient enough to orient the new employee but are generally in a hurry to take out the desired deliverables from them. This creates a wide gap between the expectations of a recruiter and the abilities of a candidate. Companies are going global and at every step, there is a special need of orientation to the newly hired employee. On the contrary, companies are getting too competitive and un-empathetic towards the new candidate. If we inculcate the habit of research-based practice from the very beginning, students have a strong chance to imbibe it and put to use when exposed to a new environment in the corporate world. 

What lies ahead 

The sure shot path to success for management education is to provide students with the skill set of how they can use research to reach the most optimum solution pertaining to a problem. That is why all B-schools in the world are focusing on the development of research-based activities amongst students. 

 In the global scenario, teaching methods are becoming complex and diverse in nature, and that is the need of the hour. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) standards allows the PhD research fellows to enhance their academic knowledge through experience in practice and build on their experience through scholarships. Scholars are moving readily between academic and business settings. Companies have been bringing in PhD students to analyse data and develop models to solve business problems. 

B-schools are now following the regime of making research as their base for imparting education constructively, to improve the quality of students and that’s the only way to salvation.

 (The author is director, Jaipuria
Institute of Management, Lucknow)

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Research your way up the ladder

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