'The writing on the wall is clear; business school content will have to be aligned with current initiatives and corporate needs," advices Prof. Dr. Uday Salunkhe, Group Director, WeSchool.
Excerpts from an interview with Prof. Dr. Uday Salunkhe, Group Director, WeSchool...
Q1. What in your opinion is the trends that are impacting B-Schools at the beginning of 2016 and beyond?
- Large Corporates are increasingly opening up to B-Schools beyond the IIMs - this is based on unique aspects of the B-Schools as well as in an attempt to be more realistic with respect to employee costs and the challenge of managing the aspirations of young graduates from the top schools such as the IIMs etc. As one finds more and more examples of young MBAs quitting their lucrative corporate careers after 3-4 years to join the risk taking brigade of entrepreneurs jumping into spaces that were hitherto unexplored, the hiring patterns in B-Schools are undergoing a major change, becoming more and more competitive where the recruiters are pushed to look beyond IIMs.
- As the business learning market space for customized solutions is growing, the B-Schools will have to leave no stone unturned to forge better links with the industry-business-service sectors, learn to adapt quickly to changing market trends and diversify to take advantage of the growing markets.
- Start-ups in technology, e-commerce as well as other domains are creating new opportunities for B-Schools. New initiatives of the Government such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Start-up India’, ‘Digital India’, ‘Smart Cities’ will create employment opportunities in several sectors as well as boost up the entrepreneurial spirit of the young MBA graduates. The ‘Start-Up India, Stand-Up India’ initiative that PM Narendra Modi unfolded on Jan 16, will be another great stride in this direction that I am looking forward to. The writing on the wall is clear; Business School Content will have to be aligned with Current Initiatives and corporate needs.
- Digital transformation is spreading across all domains - new technologies such as iOT, Google Glass, Cloud, Analytics are creating new possibilities for businesses and making the young as well as established entrepreneurs look at newer ways of handling their operations.
- MOOCs is making on-going, any-time, anywhere learning a definite possibility - The launch of 4G services in the coming months would only enhance the possibility of learning on the smartphone a reality. This may challenge conventional brick and mortar education as skill based learning would become more prevalent.
Q2. In what way has technology and globalisation have impacted management education? What kind of methods have you adopted to cope up with it?
A. Most of the above trends indicate that every business will have to constantly evolve /re-invent itself - this implies that MBA graduates and hence the B-schools that prepare them for such careers must ensure that they become versatile, quick learners, hands-on, innovative and entrepreneurial. With the pace at which change is taking place, innovation is mandatory. However, creating a platform for the youth to know and experience innovation that connects with change and growth not only for corporate but for societal development is much needed. We need to mentor our students to have creative mind-sets that are ready to take risks and experiment.
At WeSchool – Nurturing a diversity of leaders through inclusive education with Innovation, Leadership and Entrepreneurship is the ‘Mantra’ and the manifestations are:
Global Citizen Leader (GCL) programme we believe that beyond academic input the role of the B-school is to give its students an opportunity to test their above abilities. This is done by consciously designing experiences for them - these could be in terms of working on real life innovation challenges taken from corporates. During the last 4 years, for example under the Global Citizen leadership projects, nearly 400 WeSchool students took up real life challenges from about 70 organisations both in the corporate as well as social sectors. This gives them the ability to lead self, work with others, innovate and develop leadership skills.
Our associations with MIT Media Lab for collaborations like ‘Design Innovation workshop 2014’, ‘Redefining Diagnostics (ReDx) 2014/15’, and ‘Kumbhathon’, ‘Humanising Metropolis ‘ with International Council of societies of Industrial design (ICSID) ,the tie-up with MIT Mentoring service etc. help provide opportunities for students to work on challenges in hi-tech areas. The Maker Space, the 3D printer, the Innovation lab and several other such facilities provide an opportunity for students to not only conceptualise innovative solutions but also to prototype and realise them. One limitation which B-Schools have faced so far is that they can ideate and create business plans etc but the facilities created at WeSchool go beyond that helping our students in taking them to the level of execution and implementation.
Seeing their innovative ideas actually take shape and can become successful ventures and support social cause makes the entrepreneurial dream a reality for the youth.
Q3. Which will be the focus areas in the sphere of management education in 2016?
A. I think each B-school will have choose a focus area which helps it to leverage its strengths. Some particularly in Mumbai may focus on Banking or capital markets while in other cities it could be more related to Business Analysis (IT), Analytics, Consulting, Information Security etc depending on the nature of career opportunities in that region. Thus the focus can be vertical industry or horizontal capabilities.
WeSchool is strongly positioned to leverage horizontal opportunities - its pioneering work in Design Led Innovation/design thinking, Business Analysis, IT Consulting, Digital Business, etc has created a plethora of career opportunities for our students over the past decade and I am sure that this will continue to grow in future. The new experiences such as the projects related to Smart Cities, GCL etc. will only help in enhancing these opportunities. The new addition of SAS and analytics to our Programs has already created new avenues for growth - in the form of marketing analytics, health care analytics and analytics in the BFSI segments. WeSchool’s unique program in Business Design and innovation provides opportunities for students to design their own career path since it does not have any fixed specialisation boundaries.
WeSchool is also strongly positioned in the verticals - BFSI, Capital markets, Retail, Rural and Healthcare have seen tremendous traction in recent years due to depth and breadth of knowledge and skills which are imparted to the students and strong pull from this sector.