In the course of the pandemic, a fundamental change is taking place in business and management education. Currently, management professionals are playing a crucial role as world economies are on the path to economic recovery. As the role of managers has evolved, so have the skills of recent graduates. Management institutes now have a responsibility to quickly adapt to the demands of industry and the expectations of their students.
Regarding the growth of India’s economy, education and economy, S. Sreenivasa Murthy, Director of the IPE states: “If India has to make progress, then administrative institutions and industry have a big role to play. And what kind of graduates we have provide matters to the industry here. We at B-Schools are constantly looking for important aspects.”
According to India Skill Report 2022, management programs are the most in demand, however, just over half, namely 55.09 percent of MBA graduates are employable. Industry and academia join forces to provide students with more hands-on experience and industry knowledge.
Changed demand for qualifications
Strong soft skills make candidates stand out better when recruiting. Management students are expected to bring strong leadership and communication skills. Building these skills online has become a challenge, which in turn has become a more valuable asset for students.
MP Jaiswal, IIM Sambalpur, commenting on the new way of learning or moving to the digital world: “Interaction and other things will be very limited in this digital mode. Therefore, we must disrupt our learning pedagogy learning. When we talk about learning, 80 to 90 percent is the student’s job because they are the stakeholders.”
Students are also under a lot of pressure to stand out from their peers. Monica Khanna, Director, KJ Somaiya Institute of Management, Mumbai comments: “In today’s competitive environment, students need to be multi-skilled. As a B-School, we should provide them with the facilities so that they can choose the subjects they want. We need to think of them as unique entities rather than large masses.”
Ideally, students should be offered a range of subjects that suit their interests in order to better enable them to plan their careers. That being said, the only other major change in the education ecosystem is the shift to the digital world, which has resulted in more choices and easier learning for students.
Internships and induction programs
Internships have always been seen as a crucial cog in the MBA education wheel. While theoretical instruction lays the foundation, the application of knowledge completes a management student’s education.
While information is available at the touch of a button, in today’s skill economy, what counts for an MBA student is experiential learning. On the role of internships, Janat Shah, Director, IIM Udaipur says: “The application is very important. When we do a case study, our goal is to see if we can create that kind of environment. But you know, all this is still a limited environment. Your internship gives you the opportunity to be in a real environment and to work on a specific problem.
While completing MBA assignments can release a brief burst of endorphins, nothing beats the experience of successfully meeting a deadline. In addition, internships offer an MBA student the opportunity to learn under supervision. And the best part is that during these projects a trainee can actually find out which area works best for them.
Nasir Shaikh, CEO of the Lexicon Group of Institutes, agrees with a similar sentiment, stating that internships are an opportunity to understand the field and the future career path one can pursue. “Maybe you originally wanted to be a marketer, but suddenly you realize what you prefer. It gives you the opportunity to explore something,” he adds.
Internships also provide MBA students with insight into office dynamics and politics. Whether it’s knowing the soft skills or learning the dos and don’ts of the workplace, internships provide a solid platform. Students have the opportunity to network and build social capital, among other things.
And that’s where Gen Z expectations come in. Today’s youth is considered impatient when it comes to choosing a career. Career plans are meticulously laid out and growth paths can be set too early. This is where the human component comes into play, for which companies must have a pulse.
A classroom environment gives a student the opportunity to sharpen their intellectual understanding of management concepts. The secret to getting that dream job is action learning coupled with harnessing your emotional intelligence, and internships make it happen. The role internships play in a student’s life paves the way for their holistic professional development and, if done right, can often lead to a golden future.