FOR at least two decades I have been an active stakeholder with the B-schools. And I have always wondered how B-schools become elitist and irrelevant to its mission of producing entrepreneurs, business leaders and shapers of the economy. The selection process, curriculum, quality of faculty, pedagogy and the farce called placement are all oriented towards producing clerks for the new East India Company.
We have a B-School “Varna Dharma”. This operates through the placement power and the alumni patronage. To start with B-schools are now accessible to only the engineers and those who can crack the CAT code through expensive coaching classes, which cracks the selection code – a.k.a 3 Idiots. There is very little testing or verification of who would become a better business leader.
Then we create an artificial supply scarcity. We let the “Varna Dharma” take over for patronage of select B-schools with no proof that they produce better entrepreneurs or business leaders. Where the alumni patronage is not forthcoming, everything from beseeching to innovative paid placement is resorted to. Why should students who are otherwise bright but not proficient in English be excluded from management education? What does language have to do with entrepreneurship? I learnt to converse in English after my graduation, so too did Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Abdul Kalam and Rajaji.
What do you say when the Directors of IIMs respond to the curriculum change suggestion from the business, with such innovative changes like using Bhagavat Gita to teach business to a case study on Indian cricket captain MS Dhoni (@ msdhoni) to teaching CSR and Ethics. It beats my imagination on how one can teach ethics. This is a poor attempt, to be a copy cat of having seen Harvard put out a ludicrous proposition on teaching ethics, after the 2008 financial fraud by their alumni in investment banks. Life skills, leadership skills and management knowledge, on what business does 95 percent of the time, as a rule, is never given importance in the curriculum.
|"The war for talent has been taken to absurd levels. The muscle here is 'money' and 'quantity'."
Executive Director, ICICI Bank
Since the faculty likes high sounding topics, a bunch of these are recycled, trimester after trimester. If managing a business is a skill, why is there so much over-reliance on cognitive approach, with only an apology called six weeks of internship? Why is it not for, at least 6 months like all skill-based higher education – law, medicine, chartered and accountancy. Why is it so demeaning for the faculty to periodically intern in a chosen area in an industry?
How can some one with a PhD in CSR or Corporate Governance use it as a ticket to teach supply chain management or Economics? Is it that teachers need not re-learn and can teach the same moth-eaten notes year after year? Other than a couple of professors do we read any quality publication or articles from even the best B-school professors in India? How can people who are not questioning and exploring cutting-edge knowledge or practice be trusted to inculcate enterprise in their students?
The war for talent rhetoric has been taken to absurd levels. The muscle here is “money” and “quantity”. My heart goes out to all the young students who volunteer to handle the placement. Since the campus for many becomes a pursuit to obtain an employment visa, the placement weeks are characterized by gastritis bouts, migraine, sleeplessness, gnawing anxiety of not being bought by the right master and at the right price and above all the dread that a colleague might upstage him. Can you come to terms with Group Discussions and interviews at 5 a.m and 12 midnight? As long as B-schools confuse their core objective to be 100% placement by hook or crook they will remain a conundrum.