Prof. Dr. Uday Salunkhe is the Group Director of Prin. L N Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research (now WeSchool). His 20 years of academic experience coupled with his industry experience of over 11 years and Doctorate in “Turnaround Strategies for Sick Companies” has helped him lead WeSchool to be amongst the premier B-schools in India.
A degree in management is considered to be one of the most aspired academic goals which helps one develop required skills to be in managerial positions. The return on investment of time and resources in management studies have generated interest from students from different backgrounds. An MBA degree hones an individual to help businesses by assisting senior management, contributing strategic planning and crisis management and also business development. However, the last academic year has changed a lot of aspects of a MBA curriculum. Businesses are looking for agile individuals who can help them navigate through difficult business phases and at the same time grow in their own careers.
The education sector is underway an intensification of digitalization, a revolutionizing process that is changing the outlook for higher education. An MBA program is essentially a degree program designed to help the professional evolve their skills, as their careers evolve simultaneously. However, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were many structural changes in disseminating management education. Online classes have gained prominence across the world and it has helped institutions continue to complete course curriculum, conduct examination as well as help students get placed at their desired organizations. Despite colleges and institutes being on lockdown for a large part of the year, there was a significant increase in the need for teachers and teaching assistants and more robust teaching methods. The new wave of MBA 5.0 will also have to adopt new courses especially in areas such as Data and Business Analytics along with artificial intelligence, AR-VR in management and marketing tools in order to be more agile, make the learnings more personalized and compact for the students, implement new technologies in day-to-day learning and lastly focus on career mobility of students. Future of technologies are going to play a vital play in the future of MBA education. Business and Data Analytics will enable MBA graduates to understand complex business problem and solve them. To make businesses grow in terms of revenue, agility combined with entrepreneurial skills will help companies grow and it precisely comes with the adoption of AI, AR-VR technologies.
Due to the pandemic and travel ban across the globe, India is foreseen as the premier destination for MBA education in the near future attracting a large segment of students to study in the top MBA colleges of the country. The preferred destinations of students, especially from outside the US, are shifting quickly and dramatically. Hence, MBA institutes will have to re-design their curriculums to fit the needs of students, expand their industry experience beyond finance, marketing and consultancy and make students adept to newer fields of management education in healthcare, entertainment, big data and ML, Ai, AR etc. Along with refurbishing their curriculum, educational institutes will have to look into newer skill sets and inculcate these skills amongst students to make them industry ready as well as make them ready to withstand tough times in businesses of all scales. Organizations and recruiters are also looking for new talent with a broad scope of knowledge and with specific skill sets that helps to combine skills with technology and communication in order to raise the horizons of businesses and improve their current offerings towards other businesses and end customers. The evolution in the MBA education sector can be witnessed in the following areas:
Agility in learning: The pandemic has made students agile and allowed them to expand their horizons immensely. As MBA education was re-routed to an online mode, students too have transitioned into the virtual learning mode. MBA education helped students to prepare for a robust working environment in the corporate structure that is likely to see many changes. An online learning mode also enabled students to get adequate training in order to upskill themselves and to use various platforms required for their curriculum. Flexibility of using new platforms has helped students to improve their interactivity and adopted the medium of visual communication in order to understand the application of concepts. As learning has transferred to the digital medium, students have also become more empathetic towards their teachers as well as the industry they will be stepping in to become successful leaders and drive future corporates out of tough economic crisis.
Tech enabled education: Earlier, MBA education was heavily dependent on a classroom-learning structure but online learning has created a new category in education with better career opportunities and scope for the MBA profession in the future. Digital tools in online learning is ensuring application of knowledge amongst students. This is creating a new holistic learning environment that involves creativity and curiosity for both students as well as teachers. The driving force for this change has enabled students to learn remote working with the right tools. Remote working has made it possible to work from anywhere and pursuing an MBA degree in the new world order has given students the scope to explore various opportunity across the world in different roles and areas where they want a career in. Colleges are also helping students by organizing and coordinating for international internships virtually which is helping students get an edge over others. Technology enabled education has also helped students to diversify and try new outlets of management education which were earlier not available to them. While classroom learning immerses students into the subject, technology helps students to try new possibilities.
Career Mobility: Mobility in the management profession has opened many gates for students. Students can leverage their knowledge and expertise in different fields. Specialization by MBA grads in various subjects or courses as well as skills now have the opportunity to explore many roles in any organization. With managerial skills, students can diversify and look at consultation roles and become members of the board. New skills provide immense amount of exposure and credibility to students’ basis their experience across geographies and specialties. Mobility has also made way into different streams of specialization for management students. MBA grads can look at various sectors and industries as newer jobs need more marketing, consulting as well as implementation related roles. These new jobs are also adopting a digital route in their communications and day to day businesses resulting in new talent to possess digital knowledge for execution.
Personalization: Many believe that a management education is restricted and only allows students to excel in a few sectors. However, with the advent of the COVID pandemic MBA education has diversified into many sectors. Students can now create and select the sector or area of their interest to build a career in. Entrepreneurship has played a key role in personalization of MBA education. Students are diversifying into business generator and consultants which is expanding their management knowledge in terms of application.
The pandemic against all odds has helped to improve the pre-existing norms in the education sector, especially MBA. Online education, e-learning methods have helped to generate new opportunities for students and increase the credibility for students in national as well as international market. MBA 5.0 focuses on nurturing students to be global citizens through their talent and skillsets. When the world returns to normal, every student will now be equipped with advanced tools that can be implemented to any sector or field of work. The new combination of hybrid learning is here to stay as classroom learning cannot be completely substituted with virtual classes, it would rather be an enhancer in the post-covid education system in management studies.