WORLDWIDE B-schools have been vehemently criticized both by the academia and corporate executives. Several scholars like Mintzberg, Bennis, Bhandarker, Datar and many others have raised concerns about the relevance of the B-Schools in grooming the right kind of future leaders.
Critics of management education have gone to the extent of attributing the global financial meltdown to faulty management education. Values like honesty, integrity, religious orientation and aesthetic orientation were significantly lower at the exit stage (from the B-Schools) as compared to the entry stage (into the B-Schools.). In contrast, students’ disposition towards power and position, money and material things significantly increased at the exit stage while compared to the scores at the entry level.
This clearly points to the need for drastic reforms in the orientation of management schools in grooming future business leaders. The challenges facing emerging corporate leaders are myriad in nature. Besides creating wealth, these leaders will have to:
- Be socially responsible
- Balance business goals with developmental goals
- Be ethical and transparent in an environment rife with suspicion about people in high office
- Become wealth creators for the nation rather than only for themselves
- Balance cognitive analysis of opportunity with emotional sensitivity to the human factor in the situation and
- Connect horizon with ground realities
In a nutshell, they must demonstrate the capability to look beyond (gaze into the future), look around (be aware and connect with the surrounding context) and look within (understand, reflect and manage self).
I am putting down my thoughts in the form of a reform agenda for B-Schools and business education
- B-Schools need to become more holistic, focusing equally on creation, dissemination and application of knowledge. This strategy will enable B-Schools to create knowledge which could in turn help the corporate world in resolving their issues and problems
- They should enhance their corporate connect since they primarily exist to meet the needs of the corporate world
- They should have an appropriate mix of faculty, both from the academia and the corporate world. At least 25% of the sessions in all the courses should be handled by the corporate executives
- Corporate executives must be involved right from area-level to the board-level in managing the B-Schools
- B-School graduates must spend some time in the rural areas where 60% of India’s population lives. This will sensitize them to problems and opportunities at the bottom of the pyramid
It is high time the pedagogy moved from cognitive learning to holistic development of graduates through multiple methods of learning like theatre, outbound, literature, films and role plays, yoga and meditation. This will help in the holistic development of graduates which no doubt, is the core objective of all education.
To effectively play the role of leaders management graduates need to move from the preponderant cognitive power to emotional and spiritual power, from being career seekers to wealth creators, from self centricity to social connectedness, from hedonist orientation to focus on the greater good. Management schools must therefore re-examine the curricula, pedagogy, delivery systems and governance so that they can groom such graduates.
The writer is Director General, IMI, New Delhi.