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Change management: A key to success for B-schools

Current scenario of B-schools

Current scenario of B-schools

This is the toughest time for most Business schools in Nagpur. Everyone worked hard to promote their B-school to be Nume’ro Uno in the education sector. With the declaration of final allotment by DTE, everyone is awaited to see their payoffs. B school management left no stone unturned to churn out best out of their faculties to attract best talent. The fundamental economics asserts that the efficiency of market depends on the two basic forces of demand and supply. In our case the Nagpur is experiencing dynamism in terms of the demand for education especially a management education and a supply of education.

Economics of Demand and supply of management:
Demand side of management education

If one examines the demand side, purpose of student who seeks admission in B-schools is to secure job in hand. One cannot blame students for this expectation in fact it is the fatty salaries what top B-school advertise has adversely affected the perception of parents and students in the three-tier cities. Most of the students entering into Nagpur B-schools are those who failed to score high enough to get into top B-schools in India. Large crowd in Nagpur B-school are basically from the nearby districts of Nagpur. Being from vernacular medium and sometimes from technical background, they are required to be nurtured properly in soft skills so that they can withstand ups and downs of competitiveness in corporate culture in the two-tier and metropolitan cities. They queue up for admissions into B-school having local presence whereas their expectation of job remains unaltered. When the demand perception is constant, B- schools need to work harder on supply side.

Supply side of management education

It is important to understand that B-school is not a recruiting agency although it has active role of training and placement wing. Job is the end product and not the means. Jobs at campus are the outcome of multitudes of economic factors affecting employment scenario in the country. With current scenario of GDP growth rate of less than 6%, where fresh investment is drying up, it is difficult time for B-schools to project them as recruitment agencies and to bask onto past glory of recruiters. It is crucial to understand that the very purpose of admissions into the B-schools is still Job, there requires a strategic thinking on the part of B-schools what else they can offer to students apart from assurance of job and the typical Nagpur university syllabus based examinations on management theories. In one of the B-schools in Nagpur, it is rightly said that the ‘An importance of management education is not knowledge but action’. Let us re-think, Can we assure the job based on academics which relies on marks of three hours of examination in a class room? Certainly not, Can we ensure that merely calling companies for campus will ensure that students will get placed? B-schools in Nagpur are no way different than that of the other departments of various disciplines. Academic curriculum is an essential part of any B-school activity however it is not the sole medium to impart management knowledge.
It’s important to get back to basics of learning. We know that what we hear and see around since childhood is retained for longer duration than what we read in the books. In the management education too, what student sees and hears around in the B-school itself, create a learning platform for him or her. We can correlate the learning of B-School with that of sports personality like Sachin Tendulkar. Little master who scored 100 centuries on various pitches of international stadiums. His success in the form of runs is not the means in fact it is end product of long hours of practice in the net. The environment in the net practice is simple and without pressure of winning a match for your country. It is important to understand the psychology of winners-Sachin Tendulkar who could visualize the relevance of each and every ball he faced in the net is as important as he faced in the actual match. Similarly the B-school environment is like a net practice for students. B-schools success depends on the efforts they put in to make student realize the importance of each and every activity in the protected environment inside campus and its wider application in the outside world. B-school needs to redefine their roles and shell out those obsolete images of typical institution of one- to- many communication centres into laboratories of corporate environment. There is urgent need to create a simulated form of environment in B-schools, the way they are managed. Why are we critically analyzing the one –to-many communication exercises in the B-school classroom? The answer is simple rules of the game have changed.

Rules of the game have changed

It is because the technology has brought a radical change. Today internet /google have revolutionized the student-teacher relation. Information is no longer a monopoly of a faculty. Student can access to best of teaching on any topic on academic you-tube videos or online tutorials or Wikipedia. The faculties of B-schools need to redefine their role from tutor to mentor and from mentor into team leader in the simulated environment. Even the best B-school needs to rethink to survive. Sachin Tendulkar despite scoring 100 centuries requires a coach and hours of practice for hard hitting shots for sixes and fours because the rules of game of cricket have changed from the gentleman’s game of 5 days test cricket into 20-20 cricket of IPL and when the rules of the game changes everything comes to zero. Rules of the game have changed for B-schools in Nagpur

The principal or Director Designation has affected the perception of an expertise individual holding a post in the B-school. There is not only a need to redefine the designation from Principal into CEO of B-Schools but need to change his roles and responsibilities. He should be a target driven leader with a well-defined vision of the institution. Apart from maintaining administrative chores and bureaucratic control on staffs, CEO of B-school needs to think innovative ways of creation of healthy atmosphere of learning. Budding managers who carry loads of expectation from B-school in fact learn science of management from books and art of management by simply observing the style of functioning of their Principal as well as faculties. It is the creation of simulated environment in the campus to cater needs of business world requires out of box thinking.
Are we creating an uncertain world within the B-school campus or we tend to engulf ourselves with disciplined time-tables of academic curriculum is serious question? Time table is reflection of your commitment towards organized way of functioning and punctuality to save an important resource known as ‘time’. It is important of to understand pros as well as cons of time table. It sucks an element of uncertainty out of B-school curriculum and do not let students to understand fun behind working under surprises and management beyond time-tables. Business is not a smooth journey in fact it has multiple twists and turns around. It depends on the CEO of the B-school, how he creates the right balance between application of management knowledge under certainties and surprises.

It is important for this CEO to have right mix of human resource with right qualities to create such environment. There should be right mix of experienced and fresh faculties, a mix of academicians and industrial experience and also right mix of faculties who ensure syllabus driven teaching and someone who is mentoring though simulated environment of case studies, student development program, formation of quality circles among students so that they learn the importance of delivering right result within right time.

Management is not an enforced form of learning. It is the simpler rules of management we tend to practice through our habits and gradually these habits become part of your sub-conscious mind. It is the well defined responsibility of CEO and his team to inculcate the right managerial practice to shape unorganized habits of students who comes from diverse socio-economic and cultural background. On this note, B-schools in Nagpur pose with more challenges to transform weaker students into more confident workforce. In top B-schools like IIMs, faculties may have lesser challenges to groom brightest minds in the country. It not a difficult to transform habits of 120 new entrants in a single batch into sub-consciously trained productive workforce unless we create a right environment to learn and ensure they emulate right working of their faculties and Principal.

Relevance of induction program in the B-school

As we have said suppliers need to redefine their role as suppliers of education similarly we need to change the perception of those who demand management education. Student needs to undergo induction program. Induction should not be merely one day program of introduction of the glory of college, academic degrees of faculties and past achievements. In fact the induction should be a one week program which explains the objectives of management education and ensures that B-schools are not typical graduate courses or recruiting agency. Students must ensure that they should have well defined goal and action plan to put themselves in the simulated corporate environment of on-campus life and also to apply it in real problems of society. It is not so important to have series of medals and cups of inter-collegiate competition for B-schools to send positive signals about greatness of college. It is the contributions of centre of learning in solving critical problems of society in dynamic environment bring acclaim to B-school. This contribution can be achieved through continuous efforts of sustaining right managerial environment and transforming budding managers into full fledged managers who can shoulder responsibilities of vagaries of business cycles.

Role of professionalism in the changing environment

Most of the B-school in Nagpur are owned and managed by the popular politicians and business tycoons of Vidarbha. The appointment of director or principal in such institution needs to be done professionally without any bureaucratic interference of management. Our expectation of Director to be CEO is difficult to imagine if his own selection in this matter is unprofessional. Commercialization of management education opens up doors for unethical practices and unprofessional mannerism in the education sector. The hefty fees charged by management institutions should deliver invaluable input to students and also proper compensation to faculties to retain right talent in the education sector. For a betterment of society as a whole, it is crucial to ensure that B-schools are not transformed into profit-houses of politicians and business tycoons.

The B-schools need to be managed in the utmost unbiased and professional manner. Family relation or community ties should be secondary factor in the creation of right mix of talents. With the increased inflow of the foreign direct investment in the education sector, foreign universities would deliver the best of education at affordable cost to students in the two and three tier cities. The adamant and unprofessional nature of functioning politically owned B-schools would face stiff competition in the near future and may face adverse consequences of their continuance with obsolete style of functioning. In Nagpur even reputed institutes had to shun the operation of their courses owing to inability understand dynamics of the market.

The role of Management institutions to resolve managerial issues in the backward regions of Vidarbha

There is urgent need to assess whether management institutions are paying back to society. Most of the new B-schools are located in the far flung locations in the newly developing Nagpur Metro region. Local handloom industries or self help group are in need of proper training and guidance on marketing of their products. These institutions may focus on the changing needs of the nearby villages or SMEs and conduct workshops and seminars to come out with solutions for regional problems. It is important to extract best out of theories and see if one can apply them into practice to answer burning issues. The Vidarbha region is rich in resources but impoverished in the matter of Agricultural and industrial growth. There is a need for introspection to understand relevance of the B-schools in terms of their contribution in changing lives of the people. B-schools in Nagpur may ponder on the issue of cluster approach to focus on regional problems. Cluster will consist of 4 to 5 MBA institutions which will be targeted on the issues of Labour management, Forest resource; Agro based industries, Tribal development, Gender equality and economic growth and so on. Clustered approach will reduce cost on the part of single institute and will create joyful environment among institutions. With the changing time B-schools in Nagpur may stop blind imitations of B-Schools located in the rich areas. There is a paucity of knowledge in the backward region and thus there is a necessity. Necessity is the mother of invention and invention is an outcome of creative activity. B-schools may contribute positively though creative participation of students and faculties. Creativity is a virtue to survive in this environment. A pay back to society approach would open gateway for those creative thoughts. This would indirectly fetch recognition for B-school in the region.

With this note, one can conclude that in the competitive market mechanism, market participants are takers and not the makers. Those who can foresee they change and change with the changing time will survive. Survival is also a success in the changing environment.

Abhishek Bhasme
He is a Research-assistant at Department of Business Management; RTM Nagpur University and faculty at C.I.B.M.R.D Nagpur. He can be contacted at abhishek.bhasme@gmail.com

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