Faculty Crunch in B-Schools – Part I

20 05 2008

 

In a recent article published in the Economic Times, Exceutive Director of Tata Sons, R..Gopalakrishnan has bemoaned the poor quality of management teaching and teachers in India.

 

The boom in management education is there for all to see. The number of B-Schools in India is now over 1500. New B-schools are springing up every year. New campuses of old schools are being constructed. The premier institutes are adding seats partly to meet the demand and partly to comply with the OBC quota requirements. Besides, in addition to the two-year MBA a large number of general and specialized one-year Executive Education Programs are being launched by many institutes.The demand for faculty in B-Schools is going through the roof..

 

Let us look at the supply side constraints.

 

As Mr Gopalakrishnan said, B – School faculty in today’s world  should be formed by a  mix of proven talents drawn from both  the indusry and academic institutions. Simply because the B-Schools themselves will have to engage in both research and consultancy apart from teaching to stay relevant to the fast changing demands of their customers – the students and their clients – the industry.

 

But how do you attract and retain such professionals?

 

 Less than 50 Fellows and Ph.Ds are awarded per year in India. To add to the scarcity, many of them are attracted by corporate jobs or Post-Doctoral scholarships abroad. 

 

In the absence of such professionals, B-Schools are adopting a variety of strategies. The Government funded institutes like IIMs, do not wish to compromise on their research objective. They are settling for Ph.Ds in Economics, Sociology, and Psychology with a good research track-record. The institutes in metros have a small core faculty of Ph.Ds and are using a mix of visiting faculty drawn from industry and other institutes to make up for the gap. The private institutes which are run more like placement companies for fresh MBAs, settle for young MBAs with limited  industry experience.

 

 Teachers with Ph.D.s may be good in research, but there is no guarantee that they would be good in teaching too. Besides, they usually lack industry experience. Visiting faculty with a flair for teaching may provide students real-life examples, but they cannot contribute to either research or consultancy. MBAs with limited or no experience can neither provide perspective on real-life situations nor are they on the cutting edge of research.

 

The supply of management faculty can be increased by bringing in practicing managers with 10 to 15 years of experience. Even if there are a number of persons interested in making a transition to  an academic career, the gap in salary offered between  the industry and the academies is too big a barrier.

   

So how does one break this impasse?

 

As someone, who has had the privilege to be on both sides,  the industry and the academia, I would like to share my views on this daunting issue in my forthcoming posts. 

 

–  G. Mohan.

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2 responses

21 05 2008
sumit

It’s interesting.

I think this problem could be solved by strengthening the industry academia relationship

The industry should generously allow faculty to conduct research(even sponsor it)Probably this is the price the industry has to pay in order to ensure quality teaching at B-schools.

As far as I know many big names in the management teaching field (world wide)are products of this practice… They have worked extensively and closely with the industry(sectors of their choice) for a long period of time as researchers.

May be because of this practice USA or other developed countries have produced better faculty.

The example quoted by you is also a product of this practice.

Yes of course good pay will attract good brains.

sumit

26 05 2008
T.S.Ramakrishnan

Mr.Mohan is correct. The same problem exists in other fields like engineering education too. It is easy to comment upon the poor quality of teachers but getting and retaining them is really a big and challenging task. Higher education say Master degree and Doctorate degrees are very much tiring and hence even the cream of the student community prefer graduation and in the worst case post graduation like MBA and take up jobs. The essence of the problem is “Money alone cannot bring motivation and competence but competent and motivated people look for green pastures”. This is the reason for shortage of quality teachers in any field let alone management education.
TSR

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