Interview: Dr Uday Salunkhe, Director, WeSchool
WeSchool’s Director, Dr Uday Salunkhe tells Ashish Jha that top B-Schools will raise the bar of excellence to surmount the shrinking number of management aspirants
Q. What are the key challenges for management education in India today? What are the key unconventional opportunities for fresh MBA/PGDM graduates?
A. The talent that comes out of the campuses should hit the ground running. There have been headlines stating that only a small percentage of the graduates are employable - this is worrisome for me.
Secondly, the spectrum to choose from should be wider. Conventional verticals should not limit the career aspirations of the young talent that has unconventional mind-sets, is immensely talented, highly ambitious and raring to go places.
Unconventional opportunities include - Rural Management, E-Business, Retail, Healthcare, Media, Family Businesses and entrepreneurial ventures. Going by the way things are unfolding, training and exposure in renewable sources of energy is another area that is gaining ground.
Conventional verticals should not limit the career aspirations of the young talent that has unconventional mind-sets, is immensely talented, highly ambitious and raring to go
Q. Many of the management institutes were shut last year. Also, the number of Management aspirants has come down. How big a challenge is this? How will the scenario evolve in the next 3-5 years?
A. I don’t see a reason to be worried on this front. The challenge is of raising the bar year after year and yet accomplishing these; maintaining the excellence you are known for. Talking of next 3-5 years I think the top league will adapt to the dynamics of the emerging economic order, will offer more career options to their students. Excel or exit will be the new imperative.
Q. Any initiative you have taken to enhance batch diversity in terms of gender, work-ex, academic background, region etc.?
A. Our selection process has parameters that take into account most of the above mentioned elements. It has never been an issue in our classrooms. We have a very healthy male-female ratio. At WeSchool, merit is the only criteria. Merit is important and female students compete heavily with their male counterparts in all matter academic - case study writing, research, presenting papers as well as non-academic - participation in competitions, attending national and international conferences, sports, debates, arranging management festivals.
Moreover, most of our General Secretaries and Placement Secretaries are girls.
Q. What are the ways to overcome faculty crunch?
A. As WeSchool offers a range of diverse courses, getting top-grade faculty is a challenge. Apart from remunerative packages that are best as per industry standards, WeSchool offers its faculty the freedom and environment to work on emerging/future trends, exposure to new developments nationally and internationally, opportunities for research as well as undertake consultancy projects and we leverage all this to attract the best faculty in the country.
A mix of accomplished visiting faculty from our collaborating universities abroad and industry play a vital role in mentoring the academic programmes by development of innovative curricula and pedagogies, teaching, simulation experiences and research at WeSchool.
Q. Apart from case-based learning and ‘hands-on’ exposure, is there any other mode of learning that has caught on recently?
A. Definitely these are the two most widely used approaches and have their own strengths and hence stood the test of times. Besides these, modern pedagogy includes team projects, immersion programs and mentored study. B-Schools have been using these to optimise learning among their students. Team projects not only strengthen and test your core constructs but also train you in people skills.