Online Teaching exposes the Inequality between the Rich and the Poor

While moving lessons online may appear to offer the advantage of greater accessibility, that only applies to the people who can get online and COVID-19 has highlighted the depth of the digital divide and how complex and multi-layered that is. Online education may not be the most inclusive solution. Lack of supervision in on-line learning means the results for those relying on online lessons will vary depending on the home environment.

It is not just the divide between those who do and do not have access to the internet, but those who are and are not digitally-literate.

This might not seem to be such a big issue for the urban areas but it is a gigantic problem in the less urban and more rural areas of India.  School as an institution is more than just a site for formal education for the most vulnerable. It is a place where they can get health and food. The impact of COVID-19 on primary and secondary education has not only exposed the existing gap between the richer and poorer learners but has shown that this gap is likely to increase with every passing day.

In the case of higher education, colleges and universities have persistently relied on a classical Campus-Centric-Model. Simply put students and the faculty must converge to a central location where they engage with each other in classroom-based learning activities with libraries and related support services. The hosting campus may also provide housing, food, health and other support services. In recent decades, an increasing range of non-teaching services designed to attract and retain students has been introduced through big investments. Institutions have attempted to deliver a combined package which has included – instruction, support services and experience – in exchange for tuition and fees.

Over the years, remote learning platforms, correspondence courses, instructional television and, more recently, the move to online education have tended to be minor appendages at most institutions of higher education. Only handfuls have operated both in-person and significant online platforms targeting different market segments. Such a model has been remarkably resilient in responding to external challenges.

However, the onset of COVID-19 in early 2020 has put this Campus-Centric-Model under stress as never before. Campus classes were moved to online platforms as institutions closed abruptly in March. Courses and faculty conferences, career counselling and related support services were fully delivered online. Rather than serving a few non-residents with under-scaled remote formats, online learning courses were hastily cobbled together by ill-prepared faculty and staff. Despite the good intentions in responding to the pandemic’s assaults, the response did not go well.

As of date, the primary and secondary school-education has commenced entirely in the on-line mode. Very many government schools have not been able to offer online lessons in the absence of both hard and soft infrastructure. In case of higher education, most universities have deferred the start of the new academic year. In case of higher technical education, the on-going lessons have been fully moved to on-line model. With the exception of some premier management institutes the fresh students entering technical higher education have yet to start their lessons and the new academic year in any mode.

For the academic year 2020-21, it is uncertain, as to what proportions of institutions of higher education are committed to – entirely and primarily in-person instruction; entirely and primarily online instruction, mixed models of in-person and online instruction and those which remain undecided to their ‘open or close’ dilemma. Full online instruction will minimise or eliminate revenue streams, including room and board, plus all other non-instruction activities that comprise the campus experience. Full online instruction is a poor substitute for a rich residential experience. Students will be the first to demand refunds.

Lack of connectivity is going to be a critical question facing the post-COVID-19 India. Estimates show that more than 50% of students in India, from childhood to university, don’t have access to the internet at all. Teachers also need supporting as they need to move from traditional classrooms to virtual ones. The quality of education delivered digitally is being questioned in a number of countries.

Post-COVID India can expect the inequality in education to widen between different social classes.

(First published 21 Sept 2020)

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Restructuring MBA

It is now 60 years since the Ford Foundation and Carnegie Corporation report of the early 1960’s led to a new model for MBA programmes. This model widely adopted by top universities and still considered the conventional model for most programs today globally, introduced students to functional areas of business in their first year of study, whereas students then specialized in particular areas of interest in their second year. Just as a medical education without some kind of laboratory practice appears to ring hollow, the emerging MBA education model seemed unsatisfactory to the extent that it remained disconnected from real-world experience.

Whenever business schools or Management institutes, as they are more popularly called in India, have felt threatened by the heightened barrage of criticism over their irrelevance, they have taken ad hoc measures to counter this criticism, usually by adding new courses to their MBA curricula. While these types of curricular changes may appear responsive to the criticism that business schools have received of late, the fact remains that an MBA education as most commonly conceived of today fails to equip students with the skills, tools, and mindset that are required for them to succeed in both the current environment and the emergent future. Frequently, institutes have taken the “Social Butterfly” approach, attempting to casually expose students to as many disciplines as possible without spending time to develop deeper knowledge and understanding of the core disciplines. The result has been a widening of curriculum usually compensated by loss of depth in the core disciplines of business.

A study of the educational backgrounds of 2010’s Fortune 500 CEOs showed that only 174 of the 500 CEOs have MBAs, while 59 have law degrees. About 200 of these CEOs have no graduate degree, and 19 of these CEOs have not earned any college degree including 15 who are college dropouts. (D. Bradshaw in Financial Times, 15 November 2009, “The Business of Knowledge”). A  UK Commission for Employment and Skills study estimated that, out of 4.8 million managers in UK, only one out of every five managers had any kind of management education. [B.Burnsed in US News and World Report, 3 January 2011, “Where the Fortune 500 CEOs went to college”]

Most Management Institutes in India have tried to replicate the internal structures of the first set of IIMs which had imitated the then existing structures of their American mentors of the 1960’s. The world has changed over the last 60 years and the Indian Management Institutes have come of age in their own right.

Time has come when business management should become a profession analogous to medicine or law. Such professionalization would be based on a recognized body of knowledge and a wider commitment to the public good.

In short, a new conception of graduate business education is in order, as the current model for MBA programs, in all its different varieties, is widely perceived to be failing to deliver. If Management Institutes fail to renew themselves, then new educational venues will assuredly arise and meet demands that the large number of existing Management Institutes are no longer able to satisfy for students.

COVID-19 crisis provides a good opportunity to Management Institutes to reflect on their internal processes and structures and carry out the ever essential corrections, modifications and redesign in order to remain agile, lean, efficient and effective.

A Core of Academic knowledge which is essential for Conceptual Clarity of Decision Domains in Business Management needs to be inculcated. Management of Business comprises of comprehensive, integrated and entangled decision making encompassing the academic disciplines which are identified as –

  • Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing
  • Operations
  • Survival, Growth and Sustainability

These are Core Academic Disciplines which a management institute should focus on and in-source the delivery of knowledge.

Since business operates in a context and there are academic disciplines which can improve the efficiency in decision making, Contextual Awareness and some dexterity in Decision making skills may help. These would be Non-Core Academic Disciplines for a management institute though they are, in their own right, large and core academic disciplines elsewhere. Non-Core Academic Disciplines, essential for Contextual Awareness and Decision making skills are identified as –

  • Accounting
  • Behavioural Sciences
  • Data Sciences & Information Systems
  • Economics
  • Geo-Politics and Socio-cultural Systems
  • Language & Communication
  • Legal Systems
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Statistical Methods & Operations Research

A management institute should focus on borrowing and outsourcing the best possible knowledge delivery in these disciplines but refrain from the lure of growing its own timber in these domains.

Typically, a 2-year MBA programme attracts younger, inexperienced, fresh from college graduates who have not likely had any prior experience or exposure to the principles and practice of business management. A postgraduate course like the MBA, for such students should follow a BUILD-UP model; wherein, building of context should precede building of concepts of business management.

In general, a 2-year MBA programme can be structured as 960 hours of contact; of which nearly two-thirds should be devoted to Core Academic Disciplines and only one-thirds should be devoted to Non-Core Academic Disciplines. A design template for such a structure is as below:

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Normally, a one-year Executive MBA programme attracts students with 5-7 years of experience at workplace, after a college degree. They come to the MBA courses equipped with direct or indirect experience and exposure to the principles and practice of business management. An MBA for such students should follow a BREAK-DOWN model; wherein, the prior experience is conceptualized and concretised holistically before being broken down to its parts and context. In general, a 1-year Executive MBA programme may be structured as 640 hours of contact.

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The MBA as most commonly taught is outdated and does not provide students with the knowledge, skills, experience, and mindset they need to lead organizations through the complexities and demands that largely define twenty-first century life. Hence, it is time for business school faculty, administration, and advisory boards to engage in some necessary soul-searching and self-examination, so that Management Institutes may collectively determine their future direction.

Management Institutes or B-schools need disruptive innovations in the MBA industry that comprise fundamental, nonlinear changes, something akin to personal computers replacing mainframes or Smartphones replacing personal cameras.

Implementing this new model will not be easy, for it is replete with revolutionary change. Making this or any other new model viable requires dynamic leadership at the level of the management institute and the support of regulators, universities of which the management institute is a constituent, advisory and governing boards, and above all the faculty of the business school. The obstacle to innovation is the unwillingness of business schools to abandon their current programmes and attendant established practices of teaching, systems for rewarding the faculty, and pools of students that an institute attracts. Such change appears frightening to many within the academia.

In fact, the most difficult task would likely involve winning the cooperation of business school faculty, who often are comfortable with the inertia of existing arrangements. Nonetheless, the entrenched traditions related to faculty-department-structures and teaching norms will have to be challenged for the survival and growth of management institutes.

(First Published 18.06.2020)

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Preparing B-Schools to Outmatch Covid

Ironic as it may appear, like the ‘triple crown’ b-schools, COVID-19 is a ‘triple crisis’—medical, economic, and psychological. The basic coordinates of the everyday lives of millions are getting disintegrating. The coronavirus epidemic itself is clearly not just a biological phenomenon which affects humans. To understand its spread, one has to consider human cultural choices… economy and global trade, the thick network of international relations, ideological mechanisms of fear and panic.

But even horrible events can have unpredictable positive consequences. The pandemic may trigger the emergence of an alternate society, one that promotes global solidarity and cooperation. Countries and b-schools after lockdown can be transformed to be restarted in a new way.

The path to transformation may be found in the answer to an important question – ‘What is wrong with our system that we were caught unprepared by the catastrophe despite scientists warning us about it for years?’

Lockdown due to COVID-19 has brought nearly all educational activities to a standstill in management institutes. The post-lockdown scenario is expected to be different with some of the visible changes focusing on review of –

  • compulsory residential requirements
  • herding of students in classrooms
  • face-to-face teaching
  • peer-interactions
  • revenues and costs

This stoppage of activities may therefore be the time to prepare for the future. One way forward is to involve faculty members to put on the hats of consultants and prepare plans for the management institute for the post COVID era. Some of the consulting assignments which the management schools could entrust to their faculty teams may focus around (alphabetical listing and not priority based listing) –

  • Aggregated and standardized teaching
  • Distributed and customized learning
  • Economies of scale vs. scope
  • Even obligation on students, faculty and staff for living on campus
  • Innovations in curriculum and content
  • Innovations in models of content delivery and learning –
  • Preparation of standard modules of recorded content
  • Process re-engineering
  • Redesign of classrooms, libraries, Cafeterias and auditoriums
  • Redundancy detection and downsizing of bloated staff
  • Research track and Tutor Track
  • Residential campuses as communities and not just hostels
  • Restructuring – new hierarchies in ranks and designation
  • Risk Identification, mitigation and Management
  • Training of tutors for facilitating learning in small groups
  • Use of LEAN, cost measurement, planning and control

The ideas and possibilities are endless; solutions need to be worked out by contextualizing and evaluating the ideas. At the very fundamental level, management institutes need to manage what is called the 4F’s – freshers, faculty, funds and freedom. [see: Gupta, Mukul (1996) ‘Issues for the Managers of Management Schools’ DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.16047.36009]

If management schools cannot devise a plan for themselves to outgrow the pandemic, they should not aspire for corporate organizations seeking their advice and consulting services. If management schools cannot survive and outgrow COVID, they will lose their legitimacy to teach management.

(First published 01 June 2020)

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Coronavirus Agony for Indian MBA

Top students, who come to multi-crowned management institutes in India, are more than just a 20-year-old college student. They have been involved in a very active campus life while pursuing their undergraduate degree. They have set up clubs and groups; bagged scholarships and awards; pursued hobbies and interests; travelled and not to mention, most of them can speak at least 3-languages.

There are two cohorts of students who arrive at the beginning of each academic year at the management institutes. One of the cohorts is of fresh students who had been dreaming and slogging hard for over a year to enter a premier b-school and who finally aced the selection process by beating thousands of competitors to win an entry to their coveted management institutes. The other cohort is of the students who had experienced the management institute for a year, having been admitted in the last academic year, and then taken off for a mandatory internship of two months or so, at a popular business enterprise; and now returning to finish off their final year before they get the ever so weighty and mighty MBA.

Students come to a management institute for assured career prospects (read campus placements), building new networks (different from their school and undergrad colleges), picking the jargon and grammar of contemporary business (not necessary the skills) a good social and community living which can put a chip on their shoulder and wider awareness (of 20 odd subjects and not much of a deeper understanding); most usually in this order of importance.

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COVID-19 disrupted the mandatory internship of two months for a lot of students in the second cohort while for the first cohort even the entry-tickets to their dream management institutes have been delayed or disrupted.

What if classes stay online next academic year due to COVID-19 – the first consequence of such a scenario will be that no one is coming or coming back to institute’s campus. For everything which students seek from a management institutes, the students have to be there and be present. The students will have to choose between graduating on time versus all the experiences and benefits they were expecting to have. They may find that once-lively classroom sessions and seminars are less engaging over Zoom and there may be practical complications that make virtual learning less than ideal.

Given an option, many students may like to take leave for a semester or a year. They may consider taking the online classes at the Number #1 b-school instead of Number #2 or Number #2 or their own school, if the Number #1 school so allowed them and simultaneously engage in some work which could pay them a little and add embellish their profile so that they could return even better credentialed to their management institutes when the classes resume face-to-face.

These experiences help explain why the Indian management institutes, a longstanding access point into adulthood and the middle or professional classes, is suddenly looking precarious. The pandemic has exposed the harsh economic reality of the Indian management education, and it could be a breaking point for students and institutes after years of growing queues of aspirants at the doors of premier management institutes, not to mention the debate over the benefits of a hefty price tag for their degrees. It is regrettable that most webinars and discussions are being setup to discuss the content of the MBA education post COVID-19 and very little is being debated about the processes involved. This may well be a symptom of the mental ailments caused by novel coronavirus which may be afflicting the leadership of management institutes.

In order to survive, many top management institutes need to prove that they can replicate the campus experience virtually— and many may not succeed.

 

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In search of your purpose – go within – B-schools

Now that having a social purpose is essential for those of the b-schools which want to sustain the confidence of their stakeholders and attract quality employees and worthy customers, more and more heads of schools are looking for ways to jump in. Busy with daily housekeeping, shrinking revenue streams, spiralling costs and crimped careers, some are turning to expensive “thought leaders” for advice.

But beware of those who create slick or tight slogans making a case for the issues your stakeholders care about; and why you should care about them, too. This is a backwards way of going about finding your school’s purpose.

Just because some of your more visible and extra vocal stakeholders such as your students or your target corporations care about certain issues does not mean these should dictate your school’s social mission. Even if you find a social cause and a not-for-profit organisation for a potentially glorified partnership, the campaign will not be effective if it does not stem from something true to who you are.

A far more efficient and authentic process to finding your school’s purpose is to first go within. Start by asking your faculty and your employees questions such as:

  • “Without quoting any brochures or marketing materials or official statements, what do you think this school is all about?”
  • “When was a time you were proud to work here?”
  • “What do you want your work to be known for?”

These types of open-ended conversation-starters often lead to emotional responses, and always reveal a foundational truth about an institution. This is the crucial first step in becoming purposeful. From this process, ideas about how to generate positive social impact will naturally emerge that will resonate with your stakeholders, precisely because they are authentic.

What happens if you proceed with purpose initiatives before understanding what your school is truly about? You could end up with failed, superficial campaigns that are a big waste of everybody’s time and money — or worse, alienate your target audience.

The other benefit of leading with purpose from the inside out is that fear of failure should not be a factor. If the cause feels true to your institution, go for it. Don’t over think. Be proud and confident enough to take a stand without worrying about the response.

Abide by the mantra of the old “ham honge kaamyaab ek din” [“We Shall Overcome” is a gospel song which became a protest song and a key anthem of the Civil Rights Movement. The song is most commonly attributed as being lyrically descended from “I’ll Overcome Some Day”, a hymn by Charles Albert Tindley that was first published in 1900. It was translated to “ham honge kaamyaab ek din” by Girija Kumar Mathur].

In other words, believe in yourself.

Your institution’s or school’s purpose will not be found by commissioning a thoroughly researched white paper or creating a complicated strategy document; but rather, by unearthing what it already is. It will emerge organically from an honest interrogation of what you’re truly about, what your people are about, and what feels easy to stand behind. From there, get to work putting the idea on its feet by designing real-world engagements and activations. Then evaluate to see what worked, and what can be improved. But don’t ever digress from the core of who you are, as that is your institutional purpose.

Action driven by purpose creates impact. Devoid of impact, all vision statements are illusions or delusions.

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Perceptual Authenticity of B-Schools

Business schools train their students in specialised fields: management and economics. Over time, their alumni often reach high positions in the business world. Higher visibility of a b-school is often a result of the age of the b-school coupled with its presence in the media – whether earned or bought.

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More often than not, increase in visibility of a b-school is also triggered by unpleasant incidents like questionable administrative overheads; mal-practices of teachers and students like plagiarism; moonlighting and conflicts of interest between private consulting and research by the professors; allegations of misconduct by alumni in management positions; offenses against academic and social integrity; and so on.

Of the 3000 plus legitimate (within the legal framework) b-schools in India, some 300 of them have visibility beyond their location.  The legitimacy is provided by the approval to their existence being granted by AICTE, an institution with deficient capacity, suspect calibre and lack of imagination at least in so far as the Business-Management education is concerned.

AICTE_FPM1

Many among these B-schools have been making “me-too” investments in topics such as ethics, sustainability and responsibility. Naturally therefore, these values have begun to act as elements of their own public self-description. It is only fair that both the public and the media check these schools and their representatives, especially school leadership and professors, against these self-imposed high standards.

Positive news from the private sector has become rather a rare phenomenon in the last few years. In the media, top managers are often presented as technocrats maximising their company’s wealth and their own earnings. A failing top manager is an easy prey for the journalists. The rhetoric of ethics, sustainability and responsibility is not lived up to in research, teaching and practice, and b-schools can easily – and rightly – be reproached with paying lip service to key values of the 21st century.

Most of these “top” b-schools operate in a space that is remote from social realities of the country. They function like closed entities. They try to set high admission thresholds for students and thereby promote “elitism.”

Barring an exceptional few, most of these B-schools have been in a rat race of seeking accreditation from “Gora sahib” agencies. In confirming to the expectations of such accreditation agencies, many b-schools are insanely chasing “internationalisation” as called for by and others which is taking its toll. For “internationalisation” a b-school is expected to have a considerable share of international students, international professors and even international administrative staff. This raises a social and political question whether a b-school should chase “internationalisation” when contact between “normal” citizens of the region, their students and graduates, and the b-school is rather limited.

These are not merely theoretical propounding.  There are interesting cases like the Management Development Institute in Gurgaon which is a pioneer in seeking and succeeding in obtaining the AMBA accreditation from UK. While the b-school is third time reaccredited by AMBA, it has suffered deterioration in its domestic accreditation by the National Board of Accreditation (NBA).

Most IIMs are chasing international Accreditations like the EQUIS, AMBA and AACSB but none of them is willing to be subjected to NBA. Within the domestic system, they are the “Bada Sahibs” who control the NBA, dominate its policies and systems but never undergo self-tests. And then there are the coveted b-schools like the FMS or the IIFT or DMS-IIT which seek no accreditation, domestic or international, yet succeed through protecting their social legitimacy.

Many of the B-schools of high visibility are capable of handling normal questioning from the media. They may not be prepared for a serious problem, very often starting with a single and sometimes minor issue, in which social and public media identify a narrative pattern that can lead to scandal.

If a business school has an excellent national and international reputation, delivers relevant results in research, and attracts talented students, it will be able to cope with negative headlines over a certain period of time. However, bad news can severely harm a weak brand. Given the right light, more public scrutiny should increase the social legitimacy of b-schools.

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Management Trimurti (Trinity) or Trilogy

MANAGEMENT Trimurti (Trinity) or Trilogy

  • MANAGEMENT IS OMNIPRESENT – Nobody needs a licence to practise management
  • MANAGEMENT IS NOT EASY – It is much more difficult than merely understanding it
  • MANAGEMENT IS THE CONNECTOR – of interests of business and society, and government

 

THREE TRAJECTORIES for Management Education

  • CONTINUALLY EVOLVING – experience to insights to social capital;
  • Becoming MORE EXPERIENTIAL – constant practice, reflection and feedback;
  • SUITABLE DRIVING FORCE for positive change in business and society

 

THREE HINTS for LEADERS of Management Education

  • EMBRACE DIVERSITY in all its forms.
  • Build and leverage PLATFORMS THAT CONNECT people, organisations and ideas.
  • Provide LEADERSHIP FOR THE INDUSTRY as well as management education

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Inspired by: Dan LeClair, “Where is Management Education Going” Global Focus: EFMD Business Magazine, October 2019

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B-Schools in Delirium

B-Schools offer two kinds of education programmes, broadly, the public programmes and the corporate programmes; though they can take various forms. Public programmes are standard offerings usually leading to the award of some documentation of proficiency; a certificate – duration based, functional or skill based; a diploma – undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate or functional or skill based; or a degree – Bachelors, Masters or Doctoral. Subject to certain norms and requirements, anyone can enrol. Corporate programmes can be standard or customised; for managers drawn from within a corporate entity or from across many corporate, usually theme based; for enhancement or augmentation of some pre-existing knowledge, skill, experience or just adding a sheen to the monotony.

It is no surprise that people in b-schools are living out some kind of delusion. There is a huge gap between what they think they are doing and what the consumers of their service believe they are providing. For example, in public education people often talk about “building skills” and “delivering learning” when in reality most students are just there to get a cushy job through placements, a coveted degree or a diploma certificate and have as good a time as possible while doing so. If nothing else, the astonishing numbers of students who do not bother turning up to lectures, unless forced to do so through compulsions of mandatory attendance, suggests as much; together with the vanishingly small amount of information they retain.

In corporate learning and development b-schools like to imagine that they are “building capability” and “improving performance”– even “delivering the business strategy”. But should they listen closely to their customers, they will find that the corporate entities see the role of b-schools as managing risk through regulatory training and providing the occasional break from work.

This basic mistake which b-schools are making in almost all of their public and corporate education and training programmes is – chucking information at people that they don’t much care about.

So, what should the b-schools be doing instead?

The answer is actually quite simple.

To understand the answer, there is a need to understand that people use either the experiences or the resources or at times both, the experiences and the resources to deal with what they care about.

Resources are typically the sort of things they use when they do care about something – for example when they use Google to solve a problem or a spreadsheet to store data and sort it into information.

People store their reactions to their experiences (rather than the experiences themselves) and use these reactions to re-create the experience in a process which could be called as “recollection”.

Challenges describe the things people are concerned with doing. People learn through challenges. There are challenges people already have and there are challenges which may be coming ahead.

When someone already has a challenge, resources are the best solutions since they will use these to address the challenge. They cannot put the challenge on hold, spend time to gather experience around that challenge and then deal with it using the acquired experience.

But there are cases where people are not yet sufficiently concerned about something; for example sustainability or disruption or inclusivity; and therefore do not seem to care so much about. They may consider such things as challenges, not for them, but for others. In such cases, b-schools need to design experiences that will change how people feel about something as well as give them a chance to practise their response.

For example, most corporate offices conduct “mock-fire-drills” to train their staff and most staff take such drills casually. This happens for two clear reasons – first, the fear of fire is just blocked off using an attitude of denial – “this doesn’t happen to me” and the “mock” is not real enough to evoke fear but is a mockery which evokes flippancy. Making “mock” as real as possible is expensive and risky. By creating a VR (virtual reality) experience in which people have to escape a burning building, they might be sensitised to the importance of learning proper procedure.

Instead of designing courses, b-schools should be building resources and designing experiences. Instead of dumping content, b-schools should be delivering development, engagement and performance.

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*Inspired and adapted from – Nick Shackleton-Jones, “The training delusion: the man who thought Play-Doh was for cleaning walls” EFMD Global Focus_Iss.3 Vol.13, pp. 35-38

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The ‘Slow Death’ Of MDI in Gurgaon

Every year, more than 20000 bright, young people used to aspire to get admitted into one of the many graduate management programmes of Management Development Institute in Gurgaon. Every year, more than 2000 middle and senior managers from the public and private sector businesses used to throng the portals of Management Development Institute in Gurgaon for updating their knowledge and skills through recapitulating, reflecting, refurbishing and renovating thereby reinventing themselves through Executive Education.

Over the last 5-years the number of applicants to the graduate programmes is down barely 8000 and the Executive Education participation is down to a measly few hundreds.

While Management Development Institute is constantly increasing the number of Professors among its faculty through inbreeding and “gratis promotions” in the garb of career advancement; the competitive forces in the business education space have hammered the institution out of any reckoning in teaching, engagement, relevance and impact. The loss of favour is unprecedented, thereby triggering a sinking whirlpool of morale and commitment of the faculty and staff.

There has been a relentless subversion of transparency, objectivity, fairness and ethical behaviour in decision making resulting into a crackdown on legitimate processes and conduct directed mostly against the majority of honest, competent and fair academics. As part of this campaign against legitimate work and legitimate academics, several initiatives and innovations have been closed.

The world grows through the contribution of the majority of progressive people but is brought down to its knees by a few terrorists. Majority is never able to rein in such minority. Likewise, institutions are built through the contributions from the majority, but they drown due to caustic selfishness of the minority.

Management Development Institute in Gurgaon is being subjected to ‘slow death’ by the handful of illegitimate appointees on the faculty who owe their legitimacy, allegiance and identity to one former Director of the institute who has not been able to come to terms with his superannuation.

If a gangrenous limb is not amputated, the death is imminent. Same is true for Management Development Institute in Gurgaon. If these malignant tumours inside are not excised and expelled, the death of the institution is a certainty. The road to such death is like the “boiling frog” story.

[The boiling frog is a fable describing a frog being slowly boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if the frog is put in tepid water which is then brought to a boil slowly; it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to or be aware of sinister threats that arise gradually rather than suddenly.]

Is Management Development Institute in Gurgaon slowly getting into hot water?

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Remaining Relevant in the World Obsessed with Disruption and Obsolescence: Challenge for Business Schools

In formulating strategy, shaping communications and improving their impact in the world, B-Schools, must answer two big questions: “What is important to our domain?” and “What is important to the world?”

B-Schools should ask, “What is important to the world?” And in asking this question, B-Schools must adopt broader timeframes, usually next 10-15 years at the minimum. Any existential challenge for humanity must be among the top priorities for any B-School. No B-School should end up with a short-sighted view of what will challenge its future — its students, its staff, its access to resources, and the societies in which it operates.

B-Schools must always delve deep enough to work with sufficient perspective and avoid serious blind spots. In today’s highly specialized environment, preventing blind spots requires a much broader inquiry. For example, a huge chunk of the value created by sustainability (and a big portion of the entire enterprise value in most sectors) lies in submerged value which normally represents around 80 percent of sustainability’s value contribution — or four times the apparent value. B-Schools should not overlook ‘submerged value’ — the dozens of hidden, unmeasured secondary and tertiary economic gains from sustainable practices, such as voice from their neighbourhoods, former students (alumni) and ex-employees, (willingness to talk to others about the B-School), staff loyalty and engagement, ordinary citizen’s emotional connection and the “clock speed” of innovation and operational improvement.

B-Schools miss dependencies — domino effects that can radically change the answers to the question, “What should this B-School work on?” Many of these dominoes are not immediately obvious. For example, a standard materiality assessment may not uncover the connection between gender inequity and media consumption — or even suggest that such a connection exists. Yet a complete assessment would reveal that, “If someone needs to stay home to care for the family or infirm household members, this will most likely be a girl,” thus preventing her from going to school and exacerbating gender inequity. In this case, day time tv viewing and consumption of media by the younger female audience would go up.

B-Schools miss time delays. Some issues have consequences that are years out but must be worked on far sooner than that. Delays are also frequently overlooked because materiality analysts don’t ask the right questions, such as the obvious: “How soon can our project achieve the desired results?”

[This is based on the results and outcomes delivered by the author as the head of top-ranked business schools, in India (2012-14) and in South Africa (2005-06). In either case, the path to accomplishment had hurdles and speed-resistors set up only by the internal stakeholders due to their inertia in breaking into a run from the usual crawl and their lack of foresight.]

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