New Model for B-Schools

Posted: August 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

If we were to ask physicians to name the central purpose of their profession, it’s likely they all would answer, “To save lives”. If we asked scientists the same question, they would probably respond, “To make new discoveries”. And if we asked educators, they would say, “To teach the next generation”.

But if we ask the same question to consumers of the above services what would be the response. Let’s take students in a B-School, what would be the answer you expect if we ask them the purpose of a B-School. It’s likely that there would be varied responses. Some might believe their purpose is to impart knowledge about various business processes and value chain and prepare them for the corporate world. Others might emphasize on placements in corporate houses.

The MBA degree today is considered as a key to the gates of opportunities in the corporate world. Like a green signal for the new business world. Hi-tech development, improvements, and the growing privatization all have completely transformed the business grounds. Along with all this, the business plans and pedagogy are also constantly changing very fast. Besides, in every phase the competition is getting more and more difficult. As the business is changing and the level of competition is also increasing the companies are forced to hire employees having done their MBA from the most competitive college.

But the most important question here is that, why only MBA graduates? Why an MBA graduate is preferred the most and is considered an asset for the employers?

There may be many courses available in good colleges and universities across the world, but what skills and abilities an MBA student will possess, you will not be able to find the same in other candidates. They are more compatible and will be able to give the desired result in a lesser period of time. An MBA Student is considered to have multi-tasking skills, along with excellent interpersonal skills, quick thinker, complete knowledge of the present and the past market, awareness about the latest things happening in business across the world and has a strong control over the financial issues. An MBA graduate is also considered to have excellent understanding skills and strong will power to make the impossible, possible.

To get the insights about the corporate world it is very important for students to get practical knowledge about the processes, culture, problems, meetings etc of a company. The theoretical world taught in classrooms and the corporate world has a wide gap which can create problem for a young manager joining a company. To reduce this gap various tutoring methods are adopted in B-schools. These are:

1. Case Study

2. Role Plays

3. Management Games

4. Dummy business

5. Simulations Games

These are methods in which faculty members try to impart two-way knowledge to students rather than just lecturing them which is a one-way process.

But if we consider the feedback from the corporate world about the young managers joining the companies, there is a general consensus that “MBA graduates need to learn that theory does not apply to the real world, there are much more variables and the mistakes in decision making can make or break businesses”.

What I propose is a different B-School model in which students learn which they work. The B-school would be an organization in which the students would be placed in different departments and would be working as regular employees under their mentors. The model can be considered as a Medical School in which students studies as well as they are on regular duty in hospital. So students are able to get hands-on-experience in the company.

The program length would be 2 years and the activities should be divided as below:

S.No.

Activity

Time (Months)

Remarks

1

Classroom Teaching Period

4

Classroom program. Basics of all the field of MBA to be taught, so that students would be able to understand the business processes of organization they would be placed in.

2

Placed in Company as Regular Employee

6

Students would be allotted different departments and mentors, under whom they would be working. This would be in rotation basis. Students would work in each dept. (Marketing, Finance, HR, General Management, Strategy etc) on a rotation basis. And this period is basically for general overview of all the depts. Fortnighly evaluation would be done on the understanding of student by the mentor and a faculty member.

3

Classroom Teaching Period

4

Students would select their Specialization. And focus would be to impart knowledge in the specialized area. Half the number of subjects would be compulsory subjects to impart knowledge about other streams as well.

4

Placed in Company as Regular Employee

6

The student will be placed in the area of specialization for proper understanding of the work and to understand the application of theory into real world.

5

Final Project and Classroom teaching

2

Students would have to submit a final report on their learning in the company. And they would be taught the subjects of their choice as a part of their specialization.

The parallel activities of engaging students into various academic & social clubs should be similar to current practice.

The probable advantages of this model are:

1. Practical exposure of students in corporate world through which they would be able to understand the business from practical aspect and not only theoretically.

2. Students would be able to decide their career path in more informed manner as they would have worked in different departments and know their strengths.

3. Alignment of their skills with industry requirements. Companies coming for placement would have more confidence in the knowledge of the students and can directly put students in live projects in their companies. No further training requirements.

4. Understanding the business by observation. A platform to make mistake and learn from them.

Though this model has many perceived benefits, but implementing this model would have many operational difficulties which needs to be discussed further and sorted out. Infact this would be a radical shift from present model in India and anywhere in world in Management Education, so acceptance of this would take time and there would be reviews on both the sides for this model. But I believe this is the way forward as the management education will evolve and the focus would shift to practical knowledge rather than bookish theoretical knowledge.

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Comments
  1. Ankit Goel says:

    Your article has a good start with questioning to engage reader in an evaluation and seems fair enough to describe the loopholes that a management degree from certain institutions has. You could have been more clear to set the context of your discussion in terms of location of these institutions which I believe is India. You do bring out the qualities of a management graduate in a lucid manner along with a good research question but can’t relate a turn in your discussion to model from the why to what. Not sure if you managed to answer the why later in discussion but did bring up the what in a crisp format. It seems really promising but how did you arrive on this goes missing somewhere. A quick reference or comparison to other models, if any, would have really added the spark. One one end, your model does dictate to engage real world but doesn’t it take away the academic purview out of hands when you have added nearly 1 year outside the campus. Can existing experience of a graduate be more weighted to brush up existing skill through practical academic learning rather than the competitive qualities?

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