Towards a 21st Century Management Education

“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have.

When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it.” — Steve Jobs

I had the privilege of attending ‘Parents Meet’ in a prestigious business school in India. It is a practice by some business schools to organize ‘Parents Meet’ where parents of students interact with faculty of educational institutions. One of my ex-students who was pursuing MBA after working in a company for 5 years invited me to interact with his parents in the ‘Parents Meet’. Although I was busy with my research work, I took time out and met his parents along with the parents of other students. It was a great experience to interact with parents as I found parents having lots of concerns about the future of their children and fate of management education. It was an opportunity for me to share my views on career and management education.

My student’s father asked me, “Sir, I came to know that there is no future for management education. Is it true? What should my son do now?” I understood his concern and replied that there is always future for management education. Only thing is that presently there is slow down for management education globally due to several reasons. Here are the actions steps to take to streamline management education in India.

  • Design course curriculum as per the needs of the industry. Don’t shell out students with outdated curriculum as they lose their relevance and become unemployable. The objective is to create employable and deployable students with a future mindset. Additionally, they must excel as entrepreneurs.
  • Encourage students to participate in practical learning and involve them to come out with their creative ideas. Mentor them with passionate experts to ignite their passion and add value.
  • Students must have fire to excel and they must show their keen interest to acquire knowledge rather than to acquire mere paper qualifications. They must learn that knowledge is king, not their qualifications. Qualifications serve as passports to corporate world, but they have to prove themselves ultimately in the workplace. Hence, they must emphasize on knowledge to survive and succeed.
  • Replace exam-oriented attitude with knowledge and practical based attitude.
  • It is essential to have the best faculty, good infrastructure, great libraries and dedicated nonteaching staff to create an excellent educational institution.

The management graduates need a specific mindset, skill set and tool set as per the present and future needs to grow as effective executives and global leaders. All stakeholders including educational institutions, industry, faculties and students must invest their efforts to enhance the momentum for management education. Any failure will result in shelling out incompatible students and collapse of companies in the long run. Hence, encourage innovative management education as per the international standards to ensure its relevance and sustainability.

Globally e-commerce is picking up rapidly and there is need for more entrepreneurs. There are plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs to start companies with low capital due to mushrooming online business. Currently there are a less number of women pursuing management education. In fact, women have plenty of opportunities to grab employment opportunities and also to excel as entrepreneurs.

It is high time Indian business schools changed the present management education. Indian business schools must catch up with global business schools and prepare curriculum keeping globalization and technology in view. Focus on niche and specialized areas. Create innovative courses and customize as per the present and future needs to enable students to be competitive to grow as global executives and leaders.

“If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.” — Woody Allen

Reinvent Indian Education System to Create Job Seekers and Job Providers

“A teacher who establishes rapport with the taught, becomes one with them, learns more from them than he teaches them.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Currently unemployability is very high in Indian students. It is partly due to defective Indian education system which emphasizes theory, not practical education. Undoubtedly, the present Indian education system shells out enlightened citizens but what is essential is to shell out students who are employable and deployable in the corporate world. Here are some of the challenges with the present education system in India:

  • Outdated curriculum.
  • Outdated teaching pedagogy.
  • Old school of thought.
  • Incompetent faculty.
  • Inadequate infrastructure.
  • Inadequate research ambience.
  • Prevailing perception that academia is a refuge of the rejects.
  • Expectations of students are very high.
  • Wide gap between the expectations of industry and the availability of educators in educational institutions.
  • Mismatch between the competencies and qualifications in candidates resulting in conflict between educators and students.

Here are some tips to address this issue: Compensate the faculty adequately. Encourage research in faculty to enable them to rise up to the expectations of students. Make Indian education system student-centric, not faculty-centric. Empathy is the key to understand the limitations of educators. Ensure academia-institute interface to build synergy to craft curriculum as per the industry expectations. Organize Faculty Development Programs (FDPs) regularly in educational institutions to equip the educators with the latest teaching tools and techniques. Provide internships to students to enable them to interact with industry to understand the real life challenges to ensure smooth transition from campus to corporate.

To conclude, a coordinated and collaborative approach from all stakeholders including educators, students, educational institutions, industry and NGOs (non-government organizations) is an imperative to enhance employability skills in Indian students. The primary objective of any education is for enlightenment and the secondary objective is for employment. Hence, emphasize both enlightenment and employment to create healthy citizens to build a strong nation.

"A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on a cold iron." — Horace Mann

About the Author
Author: Professor M. S. Rao
Author Bio: Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D. International Leadership Guru. He is the Father of “Soft Leadership” and Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants, India. He is an International Leadership Guru with 37 years of experience and the author of over 40 books including the award-winning ‘21 Success Sutras for CEOs’ URL: He is a C-Suite advisor and a sought-after keynote speaker globally. He is passionate about serving and making a difference in the lives of others. His vision is to build one million students as global leaders by 2030 URL: He advocates gender equality globally (#HeForShe). He was honored as an upcoming International Leadership Guru by Global Gurus URL: He serves as an Advisor and Judge for several prestigious international organizations including Global Leadership Awards in Malaysia and Middle East Business Leaders Summits & Awards in Dubai. He coined an innovative teaching tool―Meka’s Method; leadership training tool―11E Leadership Grid; and leadership learning tool―Soft Leadership Grid. Most of his work is available free of charge on his four blogs including He is a dynamic, energetic and inspirational leadership speaker. He can be reached at:

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