Bala V. Balachandran
Any top school in the global market is evaluated on the basis of its:
a. Innovative, current and relevant curriculum that is flexible and adapts to the market, always retaining the fine balance between Academic Elegance and Business Relevance. Distinction and differentiation are also very important to keep redundancy at bay.
b. Rich faculty database - represented as a universal set of knowledge creating (research-focused) as well as knowledge disseminating (teaching focused) luminaries.
c. Ability to offer continuous learning opportunities - the traditional Institution level classroom teaching will be the first level which will be continuously augmented through finite, time-blended continuing education by harnessing the power of IT to offer MOOC type courses. The pedagogy needs to be continuously enhanced to ensure maximum reach and coverage and at the same time, the curriculum should also add newer and relevant topics which will in turn allow the Executive Education and Learning to continue beyond the school premises.
d. Values and ethical culture - the way in which a school attempts to ingrain solid value systems and responsible corporate citizenship into its students - you may recollect that immediately after the sub-prime crisis in the US in 2008, there was much talk about the ruthless profiteering and capitalistic orientation of the western management education system and the need to also have the students internalise ethical and moral values.
e. Exposure to the global trend but with significant focus on the local practices too so that the specific cultural impact of the region is brought into alignment with the demands of the world at large.
f. State-of-the art pedagogy - which is slowly moving from only classroom instruction type to experiential learning type methods, and students are graded based on their actual experience. For example, at Great Lakes, the students who have opted for a course in share trading begin the first of the six weeks long course with the same amount of capital. The trading centre at our campus is equipped with Bloomberg trading terminals, which provides them with live information on stock prices and such. The goal is simple - to understand the market and make the most profit. The final grade for the course is based on the amount of profit each student makes. Through such experiential learning interventions, students are able to get a practical rendering of theoretical understanding of the subject.
g. Overall value proposition - a truly remarkable learning experience that also offers appropriate extra-curricular and industrial experiences, cultural, care-share and ethical development opportunities.
These are an indicative list of critical points that could make the difference between an ordinary and extraordinary school.
Other critical variables are the strength of the human resources that make up the school, its students and other stakeholders. Participative leadership where difference of opinion is encouraged and revolutionary thinking are rewarded are other hallmarks of good schools.
Finally, we must remember that excellence is a journey and never the destination. Reaching the top is one thing, but staying there is a different ball game altogether. This is where the intellectual capital of the entire school will make a huge difference - where disruptive thinking, innovative problem solving and cutting-edge research will all together decide whether you will stay ahead of the pack.
When the school is able to compete with ANYONE in the World, from ANYWHERE in the world, and for ANY RESOURCE in the world, they can then lay claim to GLOBALITY.