How B-schools are keeping pace with changing times

According to Professor Errol D'Souza, director of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM-A), the disruption has already started to happen.

By E Kumar Sharma  
Monday, September 10, 2018

Technological transformations are changing the way businesses operate and therefore there is a need for change in business schools, too, where the leaders who lead them are mentored. According to Professor Errol D'Souza, director of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM-A), the disruption has already started to happen. At a recent conclave in Hyderabad, D'Souza talked about the big changes taking place all around the world and said that they were impacting the education sector too.

According to D'Souza, B-schools are responding to the change in different ways. "Some are merging; some are doing only distance learning programmes but the schools that are at the bottom of the heap are finding it very difficult to survive. One of the reasons for this is the growth of automation and the availability of knowledge online," he said, speaking at the HR Leadership Conclave on "The Future of Work, Workforce and Learning".

He cited an anecdote to explain the implications of this change. "On a recent trip to China, I was quite amazed to see a factory setting with cobots (collaborative robots) and how this increased their productivity. Today, financial capital is not that scarce, especially for large organizations but human resource is in short supply," he said.

So what is India's top business school doing to keep in step with the changing management needs?

"Design thinking for instance, is now part of our curriculum, in both the long duration programme as well as executive education. A lot more emphasis is being laid in the institute on how to develop soft skills, so that people are better prepared to manage businesses in today's fast changing world. We have lot more courses around roles, identities, and ethics than we used to have earlier," D'Souza said.

He also stressed that business schools cannot wait for too long to introduce newer courses.

"If you have to survive, you have to introduce new courses, go with the tide. That is very important. We have a vision for the long run but change has to be now."

IIM-A revised 40 per cent of its courses last year and this will continue, he informed.

"At the end of the day, the key point is that you want your students to join the industry and be relevant. It also gets you excited as faculty, because you are dealing with something that is current and where people do not have the right answers. That is what management education is about. I may not have the right answer but I know what are the possibilities and I have to take a decision."

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