THE WIMWIAN

 

– Dr. V Barla (PGP 1982)

 

The best review on the subject the writer saw of late was from  Scott DeRue, the dean of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business which we duly acknowledge in this article.  The worldwide evolution of MBA/PGDM fulltime program seemingly taking newer and newer Avatars by the time.

 

Leaders like Harvard B-School in this landscape are bringing fresh action and the experiential learning to management education. That is the leading edge of where business education is going bringing various worlds together.

 

Cornell has a new campus in New York City where the MBA takes place in what they call a studio atmosphere where MBA’s and Engineers and Designers are Co-creating by working in the same spaces. Cornell Tech campus which is on an island right off of Manhattan, not only a beautiful campus but also they are bringing students and faculty from different schools together. They’re also bringing companies so that students and faculty can embed themselves in the work of those companies. So, they’re learning as they work. That is a remarkable experiment that they’re running, that is going to pay dividends for generations to come.

 

Further, there are a number of schools that are in this space. If we take what Yale is doing, for example, the Dean there, Ted Snyder and what he has been able to do in developing a global network of schools where students from different schools, from different parts of the globe, are able to work together on real-time projects. A wonderful advancement and not only bringing the experiential side of business education together but also creating these diverse teams where students can learn to work virtually with people from around the globe. The opportunities it presents, as well as the challenges, is because that is where business is going. A remarkable experiment indeed!

 

 

Then The University of North Carolina is using virtual reality, to take students through a sort of a field case study where they have to make business decisions in an emerging market in Africa.

 

Wharton is leveraging the breadth of the University of Pennsylvania in dual degrees and their students pursuing multiple degrees, but just simply having the opportunity to work across that campus whether engineering or otherwise. This is something that we see at some of the leading schools. And others are following in doing many of the same things both in terms of the global project work.

 

Ross School of Michigan just unveiled projects which are consulting projects for students. They work in 22 countries in 98 different cities for two months, full time. Not as an internship, but as a core part of their education. Ross School’s vision is that every student who walks through their doors has the opportunity to start real companies, to run actual investment funds with real capital and really managing actual business functions in businesses embedded in their education. So, they  actually started building businesses inside the business school. Thus , these are examples from Ross School, but there are schools around the globe that are redefining the standard of business education by bringing the learning together with the doing in really powerful ways on the field or shop floor.

 

Ross School students actually immerse themselves in that business and across four different functions whether it’s marketing, revenue management, supply chain operations, the digital e-commerce side of the business. Ross tudents are actually with Shinola exec’s managing and leading that business, working in teams. The unique aspect of this that makes it different than just a pure on the job learning or internship, if you’re in the marketing function of Shinola’s audio business Ross  have marketing faculty embedded with students. They are actually teaching  those core concepts as students are doing it in Shinola’s business. And then  immediately getting feedback on what’s working, what’s not working, both from Shinola and the customers in this case. One can’t replicate that in whether it’s an internship or just an on the job experience. It’s that merging of the two worlds that is going to be really powerful in the future.

 

One can consume most of the web-based content online largely in  “free from”, or at least low cost from a number of different providers including Michigan and Harvard and Stanford and Wharton and many others.

 

Niche B-Schools in India

 

At Madras Christian College , MCC Boyd Business School headed by the author, we do not plan to teach books of Philip Kotler , IM Pandey, Prasanna Chandra Gupta or Rangarajan . The students learn it all by MOOCS or other online content and faculty are available to help them through informal channels they mutually chose. What we do is to develop academic papers from the shop-floor or department of the student’s favorite organization . Such papers are in the nature of the hot spots in the market such as Bank NPAs , CSR , Family Business , Women Entrepreneurship , Sports Management and the like . We have no profit motive. We have education as the motive . We do not give general MBA . The general classroom MBA is dead. The new MBA is  all happening at the workplace with teachers and students participating in leaving a very minimal presence in the classroom. Corporate arrangements are being made accordingly.

 

Where MBA is BA while “ M” is lost

 

The MBA degrees being printed by many university departments ( save the very few good ones) in India are reduced to a rag as the students of these degrees do not get jobs and go for clerical cadre in Govt or private , do small trading or few even become terrorists to tide over their economic problems. The private colleges affiliated to a university are interested in Govt scholarship funds and run the campus as a real estate venture to develop the property  and raise the market value of the land they got cheap . The students lose their originality after coming to such college campuses in their most volatile years. Their teachers do the marketing and admin work to chase admissions as per the dictates of their boss who pays them salaries. Of course there a few centers  of excellence too.

 

 

And The Future

 

The bad Universities and Colleges mentioned above should be closed by Govt , Court action or Market Reaction . MBA / PGDM in India must be brought back to its original glory of 1960`s when IIMs started revolutionizing this landscape. Such programs should be allowed to be run or patronized by Corporate Companies only like Nirma , Kirloskar, Realiance , TATAs , Birlas etc.

 

On the syllabus front emphasis must be on doing business than learning Math or  Quant beyond what is required for daily business . Teachers should be from Industry largely while a few theoreticians can supplement. The faculty rating must be based on how they help the industry to flourish than how many Scopus indexed papers they publish when it gets too theoretical.

 

Let`s hope for the best.

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