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Curriculum improvement and a paradigm shift: The ground reality of MBA education

Old institutions such as IIT and New B-schools such as Woxsen School of Business offer new curriculum additions as they aim to improve MBA employability numbers

According to a study conducted by ASSOCHAM, 93% MBA graduates are unemployable and this clearly reflects a significant gap between the academic knowledge and industry requirements.Living in an age which witnessed the decade old economic crisis and financial bell curve of leading multinationals, the future crop of managers needs an advanced level of exposure, and before that, a substantial transformation in the textbook knowledge.

This can be backed witha study by ASSOCHAM, which statesthat only 7 per cent of management graduates are employable from the total annual number produced by more than 5,000 colleges in the country. Considering the statistics, a paradigm shift is certainly on the cards and the current approach of B-schools with reference to management curriculum is under scrutiny.

How sustainable is the current approach?

The current curriculum runs in tandem with the conventional setup centered on core specializations in management education. With individual focus on respective domains such as marketing, finance, operations, etc, MBA students are restricted to the in-depth knowledge of their specific niche. In addition, the current approach lacks the use of innovative pedagogical methods and learnings from the experience of industry veterans that contributes majorly to the widening of the gap.

Result? The management professionals, when in real business world, face frequent bottlenecks in an industry substantially filled with entrepreneurial ventures and technological development.This is well reflected in the data by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) that recorded only 47% MBAs placed in 2016-17 along with a 45% decrease in campus placements in more than 200 B-schools.

Analyzing this gap, it will not be an understatement to say that theabsence of an updated curriculum as per the current industry demands along with the imbalanced quotient of practical application makes the current approach decreasingly sustainable by the minute.

The need of the hour

MBA was introduced to improve the economic growth and capitalize on the newfangled market opportunities. That said, here are the four necessary changes required in the curriculum that will help make the students industry:

  • Focus on including the theory, case studies, and experiences of industry veterans that highlights the role of technology and entrepreneurship in management
  • Enhancing the exposure towards learning about the management of startups and fostering entrepreneurial growth with mock problems and simulations respectively
  • An increased number of development programs, one-on-one interactions, brainstorming sessions, simulation scenarios, and research papers
  • Broaden the perspective of business management to a global level with international affiliations and student interaction programs

The initiation of aforementioned solutions holds immense potential to improve the employability of future managementprofessionals. And although this is a steady process that is expected to be implemented in every Indian MBA college, here are the four B-schools and their initiatives that give them a head start in this direction:

Indian School of Business, Hyderabad

  • AMPBA: The Advanced Management Programme in Business Analytics features a mixture of classroom and online classes. The exhaustive nature of the program will see students involved in classroom learnings, group projects, and guest lectures.
  • BTM:In association with Coursera, Business Technology Management course by ISB develops a specialization in 5 different courses and an online Capstone project. This enables the professional to handle complex hurdles associated with data, IT project management, and market strategy.

SP Jain School

  • BDVA: The Big Data and Visual Analytics program teaches a number of technical skills including Python, Jenkins, SPARK, React.js, etc, to improve data based decision making and discovercustomer patterns for product improvement.
  • Fintech: The Fintech program is a 9-month weekend course designed to develop expertise in Fintech business, competitor analysis, develop global business models, and learn applications of AI, ML, and other next-generation technologies.

Woxsen School of Business Hyderabad

  • PGDM – Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Business Analytics: A dedicated MBA course that offers a blend of management fundamentals and business sciences with emphasis on the use of data analytics in the improvement of management decisions.
  • Trade Tower: An initiative to develop the entrepreneur instudents as Trade Tower offers funding and incubation money up to Rs 1 croreto the startup idea that is approved by the faculty, professionals, and Woxsen School of business stakeholders.
  • International Immersion Programs: Every MBA course at Woxsen School of Business offers a visit to leading B-schools in the world so as to help studentsunderstand the global management intricacies and strengthen business fundamentals

IIT, Kharagpur

  • BAP: The 2-year Business Analytics program is jointly offered by IIT Kharagpur, IIM Calcutta, and ISI Kolkataso that the student gets to learn technology, management, and data science from the respective leading institutes.

All that said, the Indian management education has identified the loopholes in the curriculum and appears to be rigorously working towards executing the required changes. Provided that the MBA colleges across the country are successfully able to implementnew programs and revised curriculums, the next set of ASSOCHAM or AICTE could certainly showcase a remarkable improvement.

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