Have B-schools Evolved Their Curriculum Adequately?

Businesses should prepare for 2030, where the ‘Future of Work’ and the newest form of ‘Division of Labour’ is not between classes, but between machines & humans. With technology at the helm of specialization, the requisite skill trajectory leans towards general management


Changing academic curriculums and evolving business requirements have been a constant for decades. The relationship between B-schools and companies is also quite fluid. Pedigree versus experience is an ongoing tussle for recruiters. In my experience, hiring needs should focus more on attitude than skills.

Having said that, one ponders, what is the skill set of the future? With AI/Robotics and other yet undiscovered developments; there is bound to be a prominent change in corporate hiring trends. Time is apt for a metamorphosis in management education in India as much as elsewhere. Business seminaries will have to respond with speed and meet the emerging requirements of global businesses by revamping classes and tutoring methodologies. The “future of work” has arrived says a recent report released by the World Economic Forum. Their research says that by 2025 robotization and the new division of labour between humans and machines will disrupt 85 million jobs.

As pessimistic as we may be, ‘Strategic Thinking’ as opposed to ‘Process Automations’ cannot be mechanized and certain tasks will always require a value judgement. As per “The Future of Jobs Report”, skills gaps continue to be high, as in-demand skills across jobs change in the next five years. The top skills and skill groups that employers see as rising in prominence in the lead up to 2025 include groups such as critical thinking and analysis as well as problem-solving, and skills in self-management such as active learning, resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility. Businesses should prepare for 2030, where the ‘Future of Work’ and the newest form of ‘Division of Labour’ is not between classes, but between machines & humans. With technology at the helm of specialization, the requisite skill trajectory leans towards general management.

It is no longer the ‘fastest finger first’ but what is the impact that each B-school candidate can make on the financial & environmental sustainability of the organization.

The ‘Great Resignation’ has shown us the need for swift hiring & the value of retention. Having defined the desired skill-set for future hiring; it is now important to decipher if B-schools have evolved their curriculum adequately? With digitization, work-from-home and increased flexibility, are B-schools offering the true management capabilities required?

Traditional Approach

Conventionally, a typical MBA candidate is taught finance, marketing, economics etc; the real takeaway remains discipline, respect for timelines and the importance of quality deliverables. B-schools have for over a decade been promoting specializations and now have to deal with changes brought about by the pandemic. Honestly, most recent graduates may be the best witnesses to intrinsic changes and build their approach towards work in the future.

From a leadership perspective, the need for flexibility is as important as the willingness to return to work. While MNCs have to accommodate candidates unwilling to relocate due to reduced space and location requirements, no rules can be prescribed as we are unsure of future developments.

New/ Evolutionary Approach

In my perspective, adaptability should be of prime importance to B-school curriculums across India. Simulation for management learning must be garnered to increase intuitive decision making for personal career growth as well as overall organizational growth. The primary question in any metaverse will continue to be ‘what difference have I made today?

While individual contributors have been doing well in this hybrid work culture, B-schools must focus on collaboration, teamwork & leadership skill development. A new culture needs to be adapted, where cameras are on, minutes of meetings are detailed, closer checks on quarterly/ monthly updates to accelerate productivity.

Way Forward

From a macro-view, B-schools erstwhile have promised placements; these placements need to be more conducive to both candidates and hiring conglomerates. Between the what and how one must include a qualitative lens that hints towards readiness towards change. The challenge clearly for business schools is to prepare their graduates with employable skills for an increasingly digitalised economy. Education systems have to be relevant for the future ecosystem and B-schools are expected to promote skillsets that are needed by employers for a smooth transition from school to a digitalised workplace. It will be important that technology and innovation are combined to generate case studies and solutions so that new attitudes are stimulated to meet the challenges of a global digital economy. Technology is no competition to human beings, but a bridge to put the human factor at the centre of future success. Investment in the development of technologies at multiple levels will be necessary for curious mindsets to develop problem-solving abilities and thus be able to compete in an inter-connected global marketplace. As in the past, business schools are expected to bring together technology and ideas for developing responsible leaders who can see through businesses and economies grow in a highly volatile future.

(The given article is attributed to CK Sharma, Business Head, DS Group and has been exclusively created for BW People website)


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