How B-schools can enhance quality: Lessons from leaders
The quality of a B-School is generally based on three factors - student quality, academic processes, research output and placement. But hardly three to four per cent of the 3500-odd B-schools in India do well on all these.
Infrastructure is important, but faculty is key
Infrastructure, both physical and technological, remains the hygiene factor for basic academic requirements. Top academicians, however, suggest that this may help B-schools only in the short term. Instead, they suggest B-Schools to strengthen faculty involvement as long-term investment for quality improvement. Prof. M H Bala Subrahmanya, Chairman, Department of Management Studies (DoMS), Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore advises average B-schools to invest on high-quality faculty if they wish to move up the value chain. “It is important to realize the value of high quality faculty, apart from providing high quality physical infrastructure by Management Schools to their students,” he said.
Prof. MP Gupta, HoD, DMS-IIT Delhi, echoes similar sentiments when he says, “Invest in quality faculty and innovative courses & programs to bring out the best of them. Ultimately, your investments in these aspects will give you the platform to have higher resources and higher platforms.”
Another suggestion is on faculty development programmes and exchange programmes. “B-schools should also keep upgrading faculty quality through incentivising research, collaboration with faculty from other B-Schools of national importance, and if possible, providing international exposure,” says Prof. Kalyan K Guin, Professor & Dean, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur.
Utilise your strengths
Along with quality faculty, experts also advise B-schools to utilise their strengths by defining a well laid academic process and industry engagement activities. Faculty will have time on their hands as the regulatory framework suggests only 14 hours of core teaching for an Assistant Professor in a week in a class with student-faculty ratio of 15:1. Prof. Gururaj H Kidiyoor, Director In-charge, TAPMI says that B-schools should design their programmes in such a way that they engage their faculty on different aspects of academic processes. “The education sector is highly regulated in India and the challenge is to deliver within the regulatory framework. It is important to define a portfolio of activities for faculty that includes teaching, research, executive education, community service,” Dr. Kidiyoor says.
The depth of industry engagement also deeply influences the quality processes of B-schools. Experts ask B-schools to tap industry forces in their vicinity in all their academic processes - curriculum and faculty development; industry interface lectures; multiple short-term training programmes; and research activities. “Today, many senior executives with significant experience are willing to give back to academia, and creating a platform for a second career may be a way to strengthen faculty quality. Draw on the strengths of industries in their catchment and also partner with top schools for faculty development,” says Dr. Ranjan Banerjee, Dean and Professor-Marketing, SPJIMR.
Prof. Guin also suggests that B-schools must ensure that their students have exposure to both industry and their peers. He says that B-schools should make it mandatory for students to participate in at least two national and international competitions, research challenges, and similar activities during their studies.
Changing with time
With market dynamics changing rapidly, academicians suggest all B-schools to keep a close tab on changes that are required in their curriculum and pedagogy. They caution average B-schools to either keep changing their teaching-learning processes constantly or face the market force that may push them over. Newer and easily accessible learning formats (online) have now emerged, which again will further hamper the ability of the average schools to survive, if they don’t adapt to change, they say.
B-School directors also suggest that schools must understand the changing expectations of MBA aspirants, technological interventions, and changing mind-set of recruiters. “B-schools need to understand - how the students are changing, how the technology is changing, how environment is changing? What are the expectations of our key stakeholders like recruiters? What is the need of the society? Do we need more managers or more entrepreneurs?” asks Dr Atish Chattopadhyay, Director, IMT Ghaziabad.
What B-Schools must do
It is important for B-schools to keep aligned with their vision to establish their credibility. They say that Unique Selling Proposition of a B-School becomes its identity with time and helps it build quality perception. Some of the examples are: IRMA in Rural Marketing; MICA in Communication Management and IIFT (foreign trade).
Dr. Chattopadhyay says that IMT’s vision is to groom leaders who cater to business and society. “The second lesson is how you deliver that. This means how it is aligned with your curriculum, your pedagogy, your selection process and what image it represents to those who would like to come and interact with you; whether as recruiters, sponsors or researchers? All of these should align to the vision,” he says. Times are a changing, and if you don’t deliver on quality, the reality is that market forces will see to it that either you do or you just exit.
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