Bridging the gap

Mar 10 2014, 03:46 IST
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SummaryThere is a crucial need to shape management education curriculum in accordance with global changes so as to improve the competitiveness and employability of the Indian workforce

American academic administrator Henry S Bienen once said, “The world keeps changing, so what becomes important is to provide people with continuous learning, and in a heterogeneous country like India, a lot of different institutional forms need to be developed to meet the needs of a highly differentiated population.”

Today, management education in India stands at crossroads. The traditional university structure of educating and training tomorrow’s business leaders has become redundant and other means of providing meaningful, relevant, industry-oriented education will supplement the current processes in the increasingly diverse and technological global economy. The process of globalisation not only demands drastic changes in the traditional educational approach but also stresses a need for introduction of new-age employability skills that have more economic value in today’s time. Thus, there is a crucial requirement to shape the management education in accordance with the global changes to improve competitiveness and employability of the Indian workforce.

We all know that competitive advantage can be sustained only through continuous improvement. Organisations also prefer to identify people from within the existing employee pool who have the potential to take on higher responsibilities and develop their capabilities. It is generally seen as a better technique from both an employee retention point of view and makes better economic sense.

Till now, the accepted method of developing these skills and capabilities has been to use short-term training programmes to add new skills, using management development programmes or distance learning programmes to build capabilities.

Unfortunately, short-term programmes tend to disrupt business momentum and are generally available as one-size-fits-all approach that offers no customisation and has limited industry relevance. There is no other alternative either that can deliver the requirements of organisations, has complete relevance for specific industry verticals and delivers all this without affecting everyday business.

When we look at business management education formats in India, we realise that while business needs have changed, most business management education formats and curricula have not kept pace. There may have been progress made by some fine institutions scattered here and there, and online options, but the change is only incremental and still not completely appropriate.

There’s a learning to be shared: Management education formats that are relevant during economic upswing cycle are not relevant during the turf. It’s not just post-recession sentiments but both business schools and corporates need to take a close and hard look at their offerings.

Managing multiple aspects of a job requires different sets of

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