Eight changes B-schools must embrace in the next decade

The post graduation experience for a student has been roughly the same for the past two to three decades. All students have to do is find a college, decide on a specialisation, attend lectures, work on projects, get the grades, graduate, and start a career. For years, B-schools have built a pathway to a job. However, as costs continue to rise, and the percentage of graduates finding a stable job plunges, the value of real college education is often called into question by students as well as the industry.

One of the cornerstones of a good MBA school is its faculty. There is a need for the faculty to stay updated constantly to deliver relevant and meaningful learning to the new-age students.

The fundamental reason why the existing management education needs to undergo a paradigm shift is the ever-evolving market requirements. The industry seeks individuals with skill sets that can meet the demands of the present times. Hence, MBA colleges must reinvent themselves continually to stay relevant. Let us look at a few factors that will transform B-schools a decade from now.

  1. Interactive and Immersive Learning

Today, a large part of management education involves learning through textbooks and e-learning sources. This means students understand a concept by reading or hearing about it; but not by experiencing it. Various studies suggest that the best way to learn something is by doing it. In future, colleges are expected to focus on creating a pedagogy that promotes hands-on learning.

To do this, universities will have to organise networking events, global internships, use Artifical Intelligence and VR tools to conduct virtual field trips, create gamification experiences to address corporate challenges and more. With Virtual Reality, students can experience the most realistic learning situations without the constraints of reality, which includes logistics, risks, and real-time challenges.

  1. Blended Learning

As the name suggests, this type of learning is a unique combination of traditional/ face-to-face and digital curriculum. Soon, institutes will have to design a course curriculum which can be taught not only during lectures but also online. Due to this form of learning, working professionals, homemakers, individuals with other responsibilities would not have to worry about missing out on course content; as they can gain the same expertise anytime and anywhere. With this new form of learning, they can pursue management education while balancing their work-life commitments.

  1. Experiential Learning

As stated previously, an effective way to learn anything is by doing it practically; which is the essence of experiential learning. Very soon, business schools will focus on creating opportunities where students can learn about the corporate world and also know how to apply that knowledge in practical situations. Thanks to this method of learning, students can bridge the gap between theory and practice, accelerate their speed and capture the complexities of the real-world outside their classroom.

  1. Greater Collaboration and Partnerships with Corporates

According to a survey conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value, 60 percent of academic and industry leaders believe that the current higher education system fails to meet the needs of the industry. To address this challenge, it is imperative for companies and universities to work together. Moving forward, corporates will play an active role in offering inputs on course content, conducting informative sessions and industrial visits for students, increasing the number of internships and more. By doing this, business schools will be able to understand what the industry exactly wants and how to nurture individuals to meet those demands.

  1. Entrepreneurship Ecosystem with the Traditional Placement Model

The placement season in a MBA college is the most-awaited time for management aspirants. This is the time for them to land a good job and start their success journey. However, the future breed of B-school individuals is expected to be keen on establishing their own business rather than being an employee. To meet this requirement, colleges will create an entrepreneurship ecosystem, which comprises intensive courses, networking with angel investors, and events for students to pitch their business ideas and meet potential partners.

  1. Flexible Curriculum Personalised to Students’ Interests

Today, management colleges offer conventional options such as Finance, IT, HR and Marketing. As the industry evolves, so will students’ expectations and colleges will have to come up with a curriculum that is personalised to match students’ interests. This will help individuals pursue a career which might not exist today but can be relevant in the future.

  1. Focus on Internationalisation and Building Globally Relevant Understanding

The internet has brought us closer and allowed us to interact with each other without any geographical barriers. As we move towards being a global community, businesses will need individuals with a comprehensive understanding of world trade and economy. As a result, colleges are expected to create a curriculum which empowers students with a global understanding and a relevant skill set to excel in it.

  1. Building Social Sensitivity and Ability to Understand Sustainable and Ethical Practices

Today, management colleges essentially focus on teaching how to address business problems, improve ROI and create a more productive working environment. With time, B-schools will have to introduce a curriculum which is not just focused on earning profits but also making a positive social and environmental impact. This will focus on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), sustainable practices, business ethics and more.

With these changes, management education will be more relevant, advanced and inclusive ten years from now. Hopefully, it will not only meet but surpass expectations from students as well as the industry.

Authored by Dr. Pratima Sheorey, director, Symbiosis Centre for Management and Human Resource Development, Pune.

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