Dr. Lakshmi Mohan, Head of ITM Business School, Navi Mumbai, shares her ideas on management education in today's world
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan, head of the ITM Business School, Kharghar holds a doctorate in Education Administration, Masters in Human Resource Management, Masters in Education Management and MA in Literature. She believes that when ideas are born and mindsets are changed, work of substantial development takes place. She is recipient of the Apeejay Karmaveer Chakra in 2014 for inspiring youth to contribute towards society. In 2015 she received an award from Higher Education Forum for the “Best Emerging Female Director of a Business School”. HTCampus, in an exclusive interview with Dr. Mohan, has tried to get some FAQs related to management education answered for you.
Q. You have been in the field of education for a long time now. How has your journey been? Please elaborate on your experience.
It has been two decades in the field of education and my journey has been progressive as an educator, leader, innovator, reformist and edifier. Not a day dawns without new learnings specially with changing trends in the industry that demands educators to be well equipped with newfound wisdom. The journey has left me with the learning that education is for life, way beyond reading books and giving examinations, preparing oneself to face challenges at work place and balancing life, thus making education an endless journey by itself!
Q. An MBA degree is the most sought after choice among the youth nowadays. Why do you think students are attracted towards pursuing a career in management?
PGDM or MBA is most sought after choice not just with students but with corporates too. Industry would prefer an MBA to a graduate and considering employability and growth prospects, students are attracted towards pursuing a career in management. If the student completes his management degree from reputed colleges like ITM, he is sure to get his first job that fetches him a position in the middle level management coupled with lucrative package.
Q. Management is an applied science. How do you think it can help the students develop industry ready skills?
Management is a blend of science and art. Universally proven principles, experienced case studies, cause and effect relationship makes management an organised body of knowledge thus revealing its scientific attributes. The practical application of knowledge, creativity, various styles and display of skills gives management the artistic and skillful attributes.
While the students benefit through abundant knowledge and conceptual understanding, they learn to apply their knowledge in analysing case studies, preparing projects, making presentations and plethora of practical learnings.
Live projects enable students to get a glimpse of the corporate world, so knowledge is tested with application. Internships as rigourous as five months which ITM offers, provide great exposure to the students because while they intern with the company, they are provided a faculty guide and company guide and many of them even bag a pre placement offer because corporates are impressed with their performance. As a management student, industry ready skills are a focus and the curriculum is redesigned to suit the industry needs every academic year.
Q. MBA market has changed in the last few years. What are your thoughts on the same?
MBA was first offered by Harvard Business School in 1908 and today its rise is unstoppable, as it is a sought after program. While there were very few colleges offering this program, today thousands of colleges have joined the bandwagon. All said and done, industry prefers an MBA which has further elevated its importance. Today MBA is designed to suit the industry needs and thus newer areas of specialisations have been introduced like digital, big data, financial markets, entrepreneurship etc. MBA or PGDM will continue to have its prominence in education.
Q. With increasing demand of MBA education in India, management colleges are mushrooming like anything. So, on what factors must a student base his/her choice of an MBA college?
“You do your MBA only once, so make it count” - ITM's popular quote. With thousands of schools offering MBA, one can bridge the confusion by taking into account the following while selecting the college:
Accreditation, Affiliation and Recognition: The college must have necessary accrediation like AIU, NBA or other ranking agencies . The program must be affiliated to University or AICTE and must have recognition of the industry. ITM being AICTE approved and with other accreditations and proven records of performance, is recognised as a premium B School.
Updated Curriculum: The learnings must match with industry expectations and this is possible only if schools update their curriculum based on industry requirements. Some colleges run outdated curriculum that poses a serious threat to employability of the students , so it is necessary to have clear understanding of the curriculum followed for MBA/PGDM Program of the college. For instance, ITM has a five months industry internship for better understanding of the corporate culture unlike a two months that is generally offered by B Schools.
Placement and Alumni: Check the placement records which will give an idea of the industry connect that the college enjoys. Understanding of the alumni strengths will give you an idea of the value your MBA degree holds. 25 years existence in the education industry has gifted ITM with alumni at senior levels in the corporate like CEOs, Presidents, CFOs at top notch companies.
Faculty and Intellectual Resource: Be watchful about the composition of faculty as your learning is a lot dependent on good teaching. Learning resources like well equipped library, lab etc. are also essential points to be kept in mind while you lookout for a college. ITM has a blend of well read faculty with industry exposure and excellent learning resources, including a language lab, online and offline library etc.
Location, Infrastructure and Fees: There are other parameters that must govern your decision. Location must provide you industry connect, must be economical for stay so that it doesn't pinch your pockets too much. Fees must not be way high of the ROI.
Rankings: This is another way of checking the reputation and quality of an institution. But be sure about the authenticity of the ranking providers. ITM is ranked among the top 50 MBA colleges in India.
Q. What should a student keep in mind while opting for a specialization/elective course offered by the B-School?
Today with a wide range of specialisations offered by B Schools, one is left confused when it comes to making the right choice of specialisation. But it is important for a student to keep in probe the following:
- Is his interest aligned with the specialisation he wishes to take up?
- Does industry recognise the niche area he is opting to specialise in?
- What is the ROI after completion of the program?
Q. How does ITM Business School prepare students for the world of employment?
ITM Business School continuously works towards bringing industry to classroom through industry expert guest lectures, industrial visits, five month long guided internship by Faculty guide and Company guide, innovative pedagogy and management simulations. No stone is left unturned to groom the students to suit the corporate environment. Infact all our courses are designed by Board of studies which has industry stalwarts from every area of specialisation. Some of our courses are through tie ups with industries that send their experts to teach the students.
Apart from this, attitude is developed through Insight Training and finesse for corporate transition happens through career management program. This is too brief an account of the extent to which we work to develop our students for relevant profiles because what we do infact is too vast and extensive to be explained!
Q. Is prior work experience essential before pursuing an MBA? What should a student keep in mind to make his/her MBA application a strong one?
It is good to have some work experience. But there are many who opt to do an MBA immediately after their graduation as this keeps the tempo for pursuing higher studies, lest they may get too absorbed with their job to find time to break for an MBA. MBA prepares one with attitude, skills and knowledge and all these are required for success in the career. MBA is all about practical application and this can be made strong with leadership skills, proper grooming, analytical ability, creativity and the plethora of learning accumulated during the two year's program.
Q. Which MBA specialization is most preferred by the students at ITM Business School? What could be the reason behind its popularity?
At ITM Business School, there are various specialisations like Marketing, Finance, IT, HR Operations, IB, Retail Management, Financial Markets and many more. We have students opting for all specialisations but the traditional Marketing and Finance specialisation stand as the most preferred one. This choice is more driven by placements as we have more opportunities for marketing and finance students in comparison to other specialisations.
Q. There are a number of new fields within MBA that are being introduced. Which accordingly to you has the maximum potential?
If you are talking about specialisations or niche areas, each one has its own importance. Big data, digital marketing, entrepreneurship, real estate, retail etc. also call for certain interests and criteria required of those students who wish to pursue. There is potential in these, as today companies look at expertise in niche areas and these specialisations could provide the same.
Q. What are the major challenges in MBA education in India that you think need immediate attention?
Major challenges lie in:
- With thousand of B Schools mushrooming, quality check has become an issue
- Quality of Faculty is a challenge because many do not possess industry exposure but have to teach industry based curriculum
- Placement is a problem for many colleges that go un-recognised by industry. Also placement is hit miserably as students are not groomed and skilled to become employable.
- Curriculum in many colleges stands out dated . With changing industrial trends it is important that the curriculum goes through proper re-vamping.