By Dr. Richa Arora, Group CEO and Director of Regenesys Business School
The changing landscape of professions in the world call for a pressing need for specially designed education system to help students cope and prepare for a promising future. This metamorphosis is not limited to streams like Arts and Science or Media studies and Information Technology. Global business schools are under the microscope more than ever for what they have to offer considering the high standards and expensive courses that are designed along with the level of return on investment that is promised. This new age of management has an impact on both business in the real world and the sustainability of business schools that are supposed to cater to the business.
Is management and business on the opposite ends of the academic system?
In a way yes, but they are also interdependent and mosttimes run parallel to each other. While management degrees focus a lot on organising and planning, a pure business degree is broader and then allows for specialization. But the lines between the two have blurred with the changing trends and demands of the job market.
So, what has changed today when we still keep saying- business as usual? One of the major transformations that business and any other profession went through is digitisation. It is not just drawing up fancy presentations or interactive excel sheet; but B-school is now training students in turning to social media, hosting web pages and blog sites, empowering them with LinkedIn and helping them work on interpersonal skills. It is not enough to walk in for an interview with a degree. What the new age recruiters look for is a personality that can not only crunch numbers and make fancy spreadsheets but is abreast with the current trends.
Major factor that is changing the structure of business schools
Another major factor that is changing the structure of business and management schools alike is the high level of specialisation, stepping into market niches and innovative career paths. The one size fits all notion seems to have taken a back seat as most B-schools and management institutes have a component of choosing electives wherein students can specialize in various sectors like finance, marketing, international management, mergers & acquisitions, purchasing, luxury management, analytics and other streams. This helps students to build overall skills and then narrow down to more specialized zones. These structures go way beyond mere choosing electives. The concept of executive MBA is known to many. It caters to mid-level professionals helping those who want to enhance their existing skills to step in the classroom with like-minded people. Part-time MBA’s are not new and are quite sought after as they allow professionals to continue with their day jobs and work on a degree in the evening.
Many institutes offer shorter courses and collaborative courses that run for a longer duration depending on your requirement. Such flexible programs take out the elitism from management and business degrees as youth from a challenged socio-economic background can aspire to climb the corporate ladder while supporting themselves and paying for their tuition. Offering an internship component in the middle of the program is another way of helping students gain real experience without having to wait for the end of the program.
Along with the structure, there is a huge attitudinal change in the way management schools perceive education and aspirations of students. These courses provide holistic approach towards skill development, making the students job ready. There is a lot of positive focus on the holistic culture wherein students are encouraged to look at business models and work on multiple projects. Many of these institutes have seen promising business models and at times have been the founding space for successful ventures as well.
Institute’s management seeing transformation
If we are talking about change then it is not just evident in the structure of courses or the career paths of alumni, but a lot of the institute’s own management is seeing a transformation. There is a growing trend of hiring management professionals to not only teach but also other administrative and management positions in these institutes. This works for the students as they get a blend of academics and professionals to garner guidance and direction from but also works for the schools as they attract a growing network that helps in attracting potential recruiters and funding.
When we are talking about the future of learning and skill building then we cannot separate the global from the local. Today’s youth is looking for an all-round experience and value for their investment of time and capital in education. This has inspired many institutes to look at exchange programs, international partnerships, multiple country programs to broaden the learning horizon. Students opt for dual degrees or international MBAs wherein they acquire multi-disciplinary education and exposure to the education system of different countries while doing the same program, respectively. This has been a major point of attraction for students who hope to do some part of the program in the country and still get a global exposure. Such degrees are highly considered in management and business sectors and are something that a lot of mid-level institutes are already implementing.
Change is the only constant
The transformations that business and management schools go through seem never-ending and rightly so as the world continues to change at exponential rate. Each of these institutes compete with each other by working on offering new and innovative learning experiences. There was a time when such degrees were new and the degree-holders had a lot to gain from this added qualification, but a lot of skeptics were anticipating a point of excess supply to match the limited demand. It seems like that point is yet to come as markets continue to change and new professions continue to branch out due to the technological boom. These institutes will continue to remain in business as long as they keep transforming and stay abreast with these rapid changes, providing aspiring youngsters with updated skills and options.