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The management institutions of tomorrow

We live in times that are as complex as they are interesting. On one hand, a new wave of innovation is changing the way businesses are run. From robots to nanotechnology to 3D printers, the very idea of a shop floor is under some challenge. In services, we know that the biggest accommodation provider owns no property, the biggest taxi ride provider owns no cabs and some of the biggest content driven sites create zero content. This is not a changing landscape. We are walking on a different landscape; in some ways, it’s almost as if we’ve landed on mars.

How does a business school respond to this kind of fundamental change? How do we in India prepare our participants to navigate this new world? And more importantly, how do we prepare ourselves to teach management when the knowledge base of yesterday is less relevant today and likely to become irrelevant and sometimes even counterproductive in the business world of tomorrow?

Consider the S. P. Jain Institute of Management & Research (SPJIMR). Today, we sit pretty with a campus spread over 45 acres in the heart of Mumbai, the nation’s financial capital, we are consistently being top ranked among Indian B-Schools and we are expanding – in campuses, faculty numbers, academic programmes and MDP offerings. In any other time, this would be more than a full plate for an institute that is a non-profit but has risen dramatically in just about three decades to become an important player in the field of management studies and practice in India.

While we celebrate this journey, we also realise that in today’s times, this is just one part of the growth story. Size, footprint, academic standing, research – all of this enables us to reach out to more participants and more businesses. But we are also investing to grow at a different level by asking fundamental questions on the role of management schools in today’s context.

How do we do this?

We call it the SPJIMR way, a way that not only delivers knowledge and builds the skills but combines it with the biggest skill of them all – which is adaptability and learnability. For an example, our course on Design Thinking, which is human-centred approach to innovation, teaches participants the merit of eclectic teams, of fast and low-cost prototyping and skills that include empathising, listening and looking at issues and concerns from the point of view of users. By engaging with users, virtually getting under their skin, participants understand what it is to be faced with the issues as users see them. Courses like ‘Learning to Learn’ build in the participants a learner mind-set that prepares them to be life-long learners, to adapt to changing times and to learn from the changing environment.

We build on this with pedagogic innovations like our non-classroom learning initiatives that seek to prepare our participants not only for a bright and rewarding career but also for a life that is fulfilling, a life lived with a sense of purpose and meaning. Together, these ideas and initiatives can help prepare our students not for their first job but their last one – which, of course, will be decades down the road in an eco-system that we cannot fully see or appreciate sitting here today.

Courses like the Science of Spirituality, Abhyudaya, the Development of Corporate Citizenship (DoCC), the Assessment & Development of Managerial & Administrative Potential (ADMAP) and the Personal Growth Lab set participants on a journey of discovery. They begin to understand themselves better, interact and work in teams with a contributory mind set and develop as citizens who are socially sensitive and can appreciate the value of values.

For an example, under the Abhyudaya initiative, participants mentor for one full year a school child from underprivileged backgrounds living near our campus. After about a dozen visits to the child’s home, which often is in a slum colony, the MBA participant can emerge a changed person – humbler, more sensitive and caring. As a part of the DoCC, participants work with non-profits in the rural hinterland well before they do a corporate internship. At ADMAP, participants take decisions in teams as they run key initiatives and events on campus.

These and many of our other initiatives help touch upon areas that B-Schools have traditionally not looked at but which make a critical difference in our times. These include building curiosity, self-awareness, responsibility, the idea of sharing, working in teams, learning from adversity, listening and working with a sense of contribution for larger societal good. It packs in a broad approach that tells us that theory, frameworks and knowledge are important but they are only as powerful or useful as the individual and the attitude with which the individual uses them. The plane you fly should be well equipped but the pilot matters even more. Individuals matter, and we work to shape the individual.

This is the genesis of our ‘K-S-A’ (Knowledge- Skills- Attitude) approach, a philosophy that seniors at the Harvard Business School have described elsewhere as teaching the “Knowing, Doing and Being”. Teaching “attitudes” or the “being” component is the most challenging of all but it also the most rewarding and helps us send out to industry graduates who can stand out as a good example of the properties that make up SPJIMR – authentic, dynamic, grounded, innovative and socially sensitive.
For us, two simple words capture the essence of it all: courage and heart.

Our participants have the courage to reject the herd and to follow their dream, to walk a path that few others choose to take. They must demonstrate the courage to work boldly with the big ideas, with the powerful and the influential icons of our times but at the same time they know they can learn from tiny everyday experiences. They demonstrate respect not only for those at the boardroom but for those who never found a place at the table – the big and the small, the mighty and the not-so-mighty. This is courage, and it comes with heart to follow through on that courage.

The combination helps participants build for our changing times, times in which trust in business is low and questions are being raised about the role of big businesses in society. Coupled with tensions from rising inequality, the shifting of the levers of growth from the developed to the developing world and a new wave of innovation that might cut job growth, we are living through uncertain times. Managers schooled with the principles that lie at the root of “Courage.Heart” are the ones who can seize opportunities and build business models that will take us to a world that offers us growth that goes beyond GDP numbers, growth that is not only scalable but also sustainable, growth that not only meets the needs of consumers but respects the aspirations of a wide range of stakeholders.
This is the promise of the SPJIMR way and we like to think this is the way forward for the management schools of tomorrow. At SPJIMR, we are committed to building on this way as our small contribution to MBA education, and to our nation.

Jagdish Rattanani is Editor and Faculty Member,
S. P. Jain Institute of Management Studies & Research (SPJIMR)




Original: http://www.freepressjournal.in/education/the-management-institutions-of-tomorrow/1073406
By: Jagdish Rattanani
Posted: May 24, 2017, 11:08 am