Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Challenges for B-schools in India: Some Thoughts

Author : Prof. Shekhar Chaudhuri
Director and Chair Professor in Strategic Management, Calcutta Business School
Former Director, IIM Calcutta; Former Professor of Business Policy, IIM Ahmedabad
Management Education, across the world has experienced phenomenal success over the years. The growth of B-schools in India also has been very significant from the early nineties till the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century. However, since the beginning of the global recession in 2008 management education has been facing difficulties. Over the last several years the placement scenario for MBAs from less known private B-schools and even the newer IIMs has not been very encouraging. As a result many B-schools have had pull down their shutters.
B-schools in India are currently facing several challenges among which are; (a) need to create and maintain excellent infrastructure; (b) need to recruit, motivate and retain high quality faculty; (c) need to make the teaching-learning process more case – based; (e) need to provide international exposure; (f) need to provide opportunities to students to develop special skills in several new areas where the B-school may not have faculty members, etc. The MBA Programme, worldwide, has become very standardized, and, as a result, B-Schools finds it difficult to differentiate their programmes. If one looks at the course outlines of similar courses offered by different B-Schools one would find it difficult to locate any significant differences. In order to provide the students an excellent learning experience B-Schools are trying out various methods. All this requires money and as a consequence the cost of MBA education has been rising. For those schools which have already created a strong brand name the higher fee charged to students may perhaps be justified; however, other schools that are still in the development stage have to make up front investments. Therefore B-Schools require deep pockets.
Another development on the horizon is the much awaited IIM Bill. The passing of the IIM Bill by Parliament is likely to pose an existential challenge to the not so well known private B-Schools. So far these schools did not face any problem in offering PGDM programmes as the oldest B-Schools, the IIMs at Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Calcutta were also offering PG Diploma programmes. However the smaller private B-Schools are likely to face difficulties in marketing diploma programmes. Many may decide to get affiliated with existing universities.
In this context I would like to briefly mention the initiatives taken by Calcutta Business School in response to the challenges discussed above. We have designed our PGDM curriculum so that our students become “industry ready”. We also want our students to develop an “entrepreneurial mindset” with a “global perspective”. Given the enormous spread of internet usage and other technologies students know a smattering of various management subjects which becomes an obstacle to the learning process in the class, faculty members have to continuously innovate to not only remain abreast of the developments in their fields but also have to experiment with different methods to hold the attention of the class.Therefore at CBS we give considerable importance to “experiential learning” which helps to keep the students engaged with the learning process. In many courses “projects” are given to students to help in development of application orientation and a managerial focus.
Some of the initiatives that have been or are being implemented at Calcutta Business School are:-
  • Dual Specialization
  • Institute sponsored International Study Tour
  • Outbound Leadership Practicum in the Himalayas
  • Rural Immersion Programme
  • Compulsory course on “Creating and Managing New Ventures”
  • Case Method of Teaching
  • Three “for credit” courses for developing communication and soft skills.
  • Industry Practicum
  • Foreign Language
Our objective is to provide a learning environment that helps our students develop analytical and problem solving skills, action orientation and leadership capabilities.

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