Management Education

Dr. D. Mukhopadhyay
Industrial revolution is the cause and genesis of many modern inventions and discoveries and modern education what we see today in the field of Science, Technology, Commerce and Management is the resultant output of the same . Management of commercial undertakings became more and more complex when the local economies started to assume the shape of global economy in post industrial revolution era. Down the line, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States of America are the main influence and contributors in the development of Commerce and Management education what we see all over the world today. The contribution of F. W. Taylor and Henry Fayol in the field of industrial management may be considered to be the seed of modern business management what we see presently and contribution of them was revolutionary in the contemporary history of management. France, Germany , the UK and the USA are the major industrial powerhouses even today and they developed scientific processes to educate the managers in the arena of practical and application driven aspects of economic resource management such as accounting and finance, management control and operations and distribution and sales etc in order to make the managers capable to guide the commercial operations in time-honoured and efficient manner. It is worth mentioning that these practical trainings were imparted to the managers in vocational manners and the then vocational schools were known as ‘ ecoles de commerce’ in France, ‘
Handelschochschulen’ in Germany, ‘ schools of commerce in the UK and ‘ business schools ‘ in the USA. Educators of these countries used to discuss and debate on the differing view points about the conduct of management education in various conferences and conclaves in order to formalize and streamline the management education system as a scientific discipline of study.
It is important to mention that Europe is the original developer of management education . Edmund James and others at the Wharton of the University of Pennsylvania were aware of the German schools and studied them in details for developing the models of US business schools. Wharton and Harvard, founded in 1881 and 1908 respectively were found to be under the influence of German Camera-list education system. Camera-lists include economists, political scientists, lawyers and administrators. Business schools became recognized seats of learning in management and expanded worldwide since then having been stimulated by the growth of multinationals corporations and the investments of leading American private business schools. Most of the famous business schools in the USA are functioning under the umbrella of private management and endowments. For instance, Harvard Business School, Wharton, Columbia Business School, Stanford Graduate School, Chicago Graduate School of Business, Sloan, Kellogg etc all are run under the canvas of private management and hardly there is any stake of the Government. As far as India is concerned, the first business school namely Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management (IISWBM) came into being in 1953 in Calcutta and thereafter, Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, Calcutta and Bangalore and the rests came into being gradually and as on date there are sixteen Management Institutes run under the supervision and control of Government of India across the country. Besides these, there are University run Management Departments and about three thousand business schools offering two year PGDM under the administrative supervision of All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) who are found to be engaged in imparting management education in the country. It may not be out of place to mention that the Indian School of Business(ISB), Hyderabad, has emerged as one of the leading business schools under private sector category and it is ranked among the top twenty business schools in FT rankings. ISB, Hyderabad admits more than five hundred students every year in its one-year MBA Programme and it has very large number of visiting faculties from the US Business schools in the ranks of Wharton, Kellogg etc.
In India, Government of India is also trying hard to spread management education across the country and putting its praiseworthy efforts to make the workforce management literate and as a measure, Distance and Open University learning modes both at the centre and state levels are on the track of continuous encouragement. IGNOU , the people’s University, is catering to the needs of working executives to enhance their management skill though MBA (Distance) besides many State Level Universities who are in the jobs of imparting management education . India is the third largest education system after US and China and she has to shoulder substantial responsibility in imparting quality education in general and management education in particular. The eye-catching growth in the world economy and the recent significant shift of economic power from the so called most economically advanced countries to the developing countries in the East is creating new opportunities and challenges for business schools. Thus quality is the ultimate answer to the question of sustainability and survival under the environment of persistent competition. For getting listed in the FT (Financial Times) annual ranking of global business schools, it needs a balanced global view of business/management education along with increased recognition of cultural diversity through multinational and ethnic diversity in pedagogy and teaching methods and substantial use of quality materials and case studies. Today’s students demand for introduction of updated world class and global course curricula and model education based on flexible just-in-time learning and the blending of face-to-face campus-style learning with the aid of interactive e-learning technologies. Moreover, social factors like population ageing, two-income families and significant increase in life expectancy demand for innovative format of lifelong learning. There is a growing recognition that older employees do have retraining requirements besides having possessed significant and considerable amount of experience and commitment of workplace besides well-developed individual qualities and it is need of the hour to think of developing more flexible and customized management schools approaches. Demographic profile of the country is on persistent changing mode . As a consequence of impact of demographic changes, business/management schools are to keep in view the necessity of flexible curricula, upgrading the vocational skills and lifelong learning. The need for both vocational and professional education shall be on continuous rise exponentially. Today is the technology-driven age and its influence needs to be embraced. At this juncture, are we seriously preparing the students for manufacturing sector which is the backbone of the industrial anatomy of the national economy is worthy of note of interrogation.
It may not sound irrelevant to state that the forthcoming economy shall be driven by a science and knowledge based perspectives and the new industrial era is supposed to be revolving around the convenience of sciences and life sciences such as Physics, chemistry and bio-sciences and this shall demand integration between management schools and the science faculties. Understanding of science and technological change would go hand-in-hand beyond the possession of computer literacy and skills and it needs to have a general understanding of scientific temperament and principles. Currently, these aspects are included in the curricula of technology management programmes offered by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rochester Institute of Technology etc in the USA. It may be recommended that these issues may be brought into curricula of the management schools. Sooner we practice, better it is. The influence and impact of globalization on the management schools cannot be overruled in any circumstance. Today Economic power is not concentrated in the hands of one or few countries but it has spread across the world. The growth of trading blocs such as ASEAN in Asia, NAFTA in America, BRICKS among Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa and EU in the Europe are changing the geopolitical equation by leaps and bounds. Students are to be given enormous capability to have global competencies and skills so that they can enjoy competitive advantages. The most important attributes the students of management schools need among many are flexibility, cultural sensitivity and integrity. Strategically speaking, the management schools are to impart the knowledge of internationalization and global capabilities and the same must be included besides making provision for cross cultural components in the course curricula. According to the researchers, India is likely to be the third largest economy after US and China in near future and business schools should have adequate preparation for churning out management graduates well in advance to take care of Indian economy. There is no substitute for having global management education because the world economy is going to emerge as a global economy and India has to play a prominent role under such situation. India is expanding her economic market rapidly too.
The investment in education sector is driven by both governments and private enterprises. India needs to have many more ISBs which have already earned global reputation and the ISB alumni can be seen to have occupied the responsible seats of decision making and corporate administration in the top rank multinational companies across the globe. Moreover, management schools are to recognize that demographic factors such as age, cultural background, ethnicity etc are to create niche for young entrepreneurs. There should be adequate focus on the role of small and medium sized enterprises for having desired rate of economic growth and development. It has already been mentioned elsewhere that business schools should have focus on linkages between technology and management education in order to meet the challenges of the global economy.
The business schools on the abovementioned background need to have result oriented strategies to meet the requirements of the forthcoming global economy. Indian business schools need to revise the syllabi periodically, appoint fulltime faculty armed with updated theoretical knowledge and familiarization with the requirements and needs of the industries. The faculty must have capability to pursue research besides strong class room interactive session taking skills since the business schools should have provision for paying incentives as motivating amenities besides normal pay and allowances to the faculties. Teachers must get and be provided with an environment for free thinking, exchange of thoughts and ideas, encouragement for innovations and sharing of knowledge among the fellow teachers.
Today, a management graduate comes across competition locally and nationally but tomorrow the picture of the same shall be quite different. Knowledge is the strategic resource that acts as the pivotal force for value creation. Thus tomorrow’s management students need to be equipped with both theoretical as well as practical knowledge.
(The author is Professor of Management, School of Business and Dean-Faculty of Management, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, Katra)