The impact of the epidemic and subsequent changes has revived the debate over the relevance of management education and the need for a relevant global talent pool.
Although there have been a number of distinct changes in management education over the past few decades, nothing can compare with the rapid transformation that has been witnessed due to the Kovid-19 epidemic. With the ongoing impact of an epidemic, management educators are facing the dilemma of creating ready-made management graduates for the future who can meet the challenges facing business, customers and other stakeholders in different parts of the world, not even most students. Opportunity to set foot outside their home, on their local or international campus!
The purpose of management education is to equip graduates to be key players in the workforce who build short-term wins and long-term organizational capacity. It is hoped that the rigorous and transformative nature of management education prepares graduates to evaluate the complex and unknown challenges facing the business, tackle ambiguities by making sense, and inspire and lead talented individuals. The impact of the epidemic and subsequent changes has revived the debate over the relevance of management education and the need for a relevant global talent pool.
Management schools have long been known to serve three main constituencies – business, student and alumni communities, and faculty and staff. In common parlance, business comes before B-school! This critical stakeholder of the management organization has witnessed an unprecedented impact. The epidemic has pushed a reset button for most industries and businesses around the world. Most companies face the challenge of survival and many others are struggling to redefine their business strategies and responses. Three other megatrends are simultaneously affecting the business landscape – indicative technological disruptions, changing customer demand, and customer-centric demand due to globalization and new employment models, such as remote and hybrid work, work from home, or work from anywhere!
The ripple effect of this megatrend is greatly affecting management organizations as well. Most businesses are looking for graduates who demonstrate a combination of excellent technical and operational skills, including the ability to lead a dynamic workplace and a diverse, intercultural workforce. It is an unexpected expectation that management education will prepare graduates with a global mindset, social and cultural dynamism, who understand the nuances of a rapidly changing, global and regional business environment.
These changes demand that management educators fundamentally rethink the objectives and strategies of their programs. They need to keep in mind other changes, such as changing the student body and demographic mix. A large number of General Z’s admissions and a growing pool of highly motivated female participants in management schools are creating a diverse student organization. Finally, the advent of new modes of delivery, such as online, remote and mixed learning, has also influenced the whole student experience. Thus the question is how can B-schools meet the growing demand of global business leaders in this new normal environment? B-Schools can adopt a three-pronged approach to effectively provide value to all their stakeholders.
First, to create a learning experience tailored to the needs of each student by adopting a ‘High Touch Digital and Human’ strategy. Intelligent and effective adoption of education technology makes it possible to provide immersive learning experiences regardless of student location, making management education accessible to a wider pool of students. New EdTech solutions enable B-schools to manage student life cycles even in remote settings. Through automated transactions, B-Schools can then focus on further adding value, personalizing, and transforming human interaction for students.
Second, to create a ‘mixed immersion experience’ for students to realize and discover the complex nature of global business and culture. This immersive experience includes short trips to different campus locations, tackling regional or global business challenges through case studies and projects, interacting with global business leaders, and creating perceptions for diversity and business inclusion to engage with various alumni. Here again, B-schools can acquire technology-enabled learning through the use of AI, VR, and AR, and learning through gamification tools.
Ultimately, it creates a ‘global community’ that collectively addresses emerging challenges with a focus on innovation and concept. Such a community creates a multiplier effect by sharing the best practices and collaboratively creating subsequent practices! The purpose of these communities is to address the larger challenges that society faces, creating a sustainable and inclusive future for all.
Management institutes need to rise to the occasion and nurture resilient business leaders who can play a key role in shaping the future of global business, who can thrive in a variety of cultures and regions.