Have you noticed any increase/decrease in number of applicants interested for full-time B school programs, owing to rise in online business certifications?
In terms of number of applicants interested in full time B-school programs obviously we have noticed a decrease. One of the factors is a rise in online business certifications. But there are other factors too. For example, the number of B schools across the country has almost quadrupled in the last 20 years; students even at an undergraduate level are looking at business schools in the west as viable alternative destination to their Indian counterparts, etc. Recently, Liberal Arts education has dented the traditional market for business school programs.
How can a business school create the most value for students and employers?
We have to appreciate that the employers are the primary customers for any business school and employers want industry ready graduates. So any B-school can create the most value for students and employers by producing graduate students who are industry-ready, both in terms of competence as well as attitude. To my mind, this is the sole purpose of any business school
Are Indian B-schools able to create closer connection between educational theory and practical problem-solving?
Worldwide, the jury is still out if B-school’s curriculum is aligned with what the industry wants. The educational theory and practical problem-solving, though appearing to be disparate, are actually the two sides of the same coin. Any good B-school creates a close connect with the industry and aligns its educational program to the needs of the industry by taking certain initiatives like curriculum review by industry experts, guest lectures by the practitioners, student internships which are guided and proctored by industry professionals, and so on. There are many B-schools which are forward looking and are taking these initiatives to make themselves relevant to their primary customer that is the industry.
Are graduates from the top B-schools really much better than us (Tier II B schools)?
Frankly speaking, Tier 1 and Tier 2 Institutions are differentiated on the basis of the difficulty of entry criteria. Students after their program when they join the corporate world, though initially there might be some difference in terms of entry levels, over a period of 2 to 5 years this difference just evaporates and the only criteria that is important for a student’s onward journey in his or her career is sheer performance. So there is no difference between a Top B-school graduate and a Tier 2 B-school graduate in terms of their career growth or contribution in a medium to long term perspective.
Are Indian B-schools promoting creation of open-minded graduates who are able to operate within the country and also appreciate the qualities of different individual cultures and mindset of foreign organisations? If yes, how?
Ever since globalisation and internationalisation caught up with the Indian industry, graduates coming out of Indian B-schools have also been made aware and alert to this phenomenon. Most of the courses B-school offers have a global or International component. In fact, any large Indian company operating in India actually functions like a global company due to its scale and diversity of workforce. Indian graduates have already proven themselves as global human assets in mindset and work culture.
What piece of advice you would like to proffer for the youth that helps them in career building?
B-school curriculum is one of the finest and most balanced curricula that an educational institution can offer. A student must study hard to imbibe the culture, the attitude and the mindset of a Global Citizen through the curriculum. One must not also ignore Liberal Arts subjects because it is through these subjects that a well rounded personality is developed. The world needs managers who are not just thinkers but also doers and feelers.
Is there anything else you wish to talk about that we didn’t cover in the questions above?
Research is very important for adding to the book of knowledge in any discipline. Business or Management Research is unique in the sense that it is practice driven, so any research that a B-school undertakes has its roots in the corporate. Faculty members with deep connect with the industry are better suited for doing research in the discipline of business. Industry must also encourage B-school professors to work with them and find solutions to their problems. It is through such collaborative effort that Indian B-schools will emerge as thought leaders like the Ivy League schools of the West.