Emerging Global Trends in Management Education and the Indian Opportunity

27 09 2016

Business schools have at most two years to prepare young college graduates for a career that is likely to last thirty five more years or so. Think for a minute what the world was like thirty five years ago!

Five complex, interacting key features viz.  being networked, flat, flexible, diverse and globalized have been changing the nature of business organizations rapidly across the world. Business management education has little choice but to respond these changes.

The emerging trends in management education are nothing but responses to reduce the chasm between the learning needs of the students and the teaching delivered by MBA programs hitherto.

Five major such trends are:

  1. The emphasis on the whole person development with social and ethical responsibilities becoming central issues. No quality MBA curriculum is complete today without core courses on sustainable development and ethics. Moral humility
  2. Unlike degrees in law, medicines or accountancy, the MBA qualification is transferrable across the borders. Exposing students to diverse cultures and knowledge systems in campuses spread across continents is becoming a norm for top-tier business schools in the world now.
  3. The practice of blended delivery through both classrooms and online platforms too is acquiring momentum in premier b-schools worldwide. For example, HBX, Harvard Business School’s online initiative is now fully integrated in their pedagogy design.
  4. Flexibiity in management education is emerging in the form of both customization of the curriculum and introduction of increasingly more number of interdisciplinary courses. Students in leading b-schools are now offered a wide array of electives to customize their education to reflect their personal goals, ambitions, capabilities, and risk tolerance. Corporations too can get courses designed by b-schools to meet their specific needs with respect to their key employees. Likewise, there is a growing recognition of the fact that in business, opportunities do not appear with neat labels attached to them – we need cross-fertilization of ideas from multiple disciplines to exploit them. Both pedagogy and course content in progressive b-schools have begun to address this reality.
  5. Entrepreneurial orientation in top b-school curriculum and culture is a reflection of the new business reality. To create value at any level of any business today requires risk-taking, innovative mindset. More so if students themselves turn into start-up entrepreneurs.

From the Indian perspective, although the country can boast of the fact that currently it produces more management graduates than any other country in the world, in terms of setting global standards of excellence in management education; we do not have many trendsetters yet.

We, however, have a significant business and societal opportunity in developing a different kind of b-schools which will serve as a springboard for a new generation of business leaders who are sensitive to the socio-economic challenges faced by our country.

Particularly rewarding would be the initiatives which imbue the bright, eager minds with the necessary knowledge, skills and attitude and transform them into young entrepreneurs with ‘new-to-the-world’ product or service offerings.

Forward looking b-schools by bringing together intellectual, human and venture capital together under one roof may create a confluence of economic opportunities which in turn can create employment opportunities for multitudes.

– Rajib Sarkar




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