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WHAT THEY DON’T TEACH IN B SCHOLLS?

BY PROF.M.S.RAO, ACADEMIIC GUIDE, ICFAI UNIVERSITY, INDIA

ABSTRACT

Indian management education system, no doubt, survived and succeeded in


establishing its wings spread across all sectors in India. Yet there are number
of grey areas. We produce quantitative management graduates but not qualitative.
It is a matter of great regret to note. The article highlights, the strengths and
weaknesses of the present management education. It focuses on ‘what they do not
teach in B schools?’ in detail because the author has rich experience in this
field being a visiting faculty for ICFAI University as he takes classes for
management graduates (MBA). And also he is a permanent faculty in an engineering
college and he regularly takes classes for engineering graduates (B.Tech). He
found out various tools and techniques to improve upon the present method of
management education based on his 25 years of previous work experience that
includes business experience apart from his multiple academic qualifications in
management and other diversified fields. At the end, there is a clear-cut message
to bring out the best leaders and gurus in management from India across the world.

INTRODUCTION:

India has around 1400 Business schools accredited by All India Council for
Technical Education (AICTE) and produces management graduates seven times than
that of United Kingdom. But we could not produce the best business leaders and
managers across the world from our B Schools. We often glorify frequently about
our quantity of management education but not about the quality. Presently Harvard
University stands first in the top US list of B schools and INSEAD stands first in
the non-US list of B schools in the world. What is the official ranking of Indian
management institutions across the world? Unfortunately none of our B schools
stands in the top 100 list. What ails our B schools? It is high time we
introspected honestly and thoroughly.

B SCHOOLS AND MBA:

Every year nearly two lakh MBA aspirants take part in Common Admission Test (CAT).
Right now there are 1.25 lakh full time students and one-lakh distance education
students pursuing MBA. What makes them to be crazy after MBA tag? Is it because
it offers wider opportunities to grow professionally or to get fat pays and perks?
It is, in fact, a debatable issue. Especially after the opening up of Indian
economy in early nineties, many private players jumped into the bandwagon of
creating many B schools with money spinning attitude. It is very difficult to
predict how many institutions will survive and succeed and how many will go into
the dustbins of history. The institutions are in a great hurry to create managers
in quantity but not quality.

Students are also, in general, find it fancies to go for such courses so as to


have firm foothold in their career. Statistics reveal that IIM-A selects one out
of 400 aspirants as against the one in 20 aspirants of US B schools. Newspapers
and magazines also come out with screaming headlines about the prestigious degree.
Such headlines make the students crazier after MBA degree.

The MBA degree has its brainchild of American educational system and in early
fifties Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) have been established in India to
provide management education. Ever since, IIMs have become the official,
authoritative and commendable institutions in India. Although it is nearly more
than half a century, we could not produce Indian management gurus across the globe
and it is a matter of great regret to note. The business education system is
American in content and context and also by nature thus resulting in creating
critical gaps in the system.

MANAGEMENT EDUCATION IN ENGG. STUDENTS:

The present trend indicates that there is more number of people of technical
background (B.E and B.Tech) entering B schools. The MBA enhances career prospects
for engineering graduates. Engineers, by qualification, are sound technically and
can excel as technical leaders. But having an MBA becomes another extra lifeline
to scale the corporate ladder quickly. The combination of technical and
managerial skills will prove handy and make the people as an effective business
leaders and managers. It is because of these reasons the engineering graduates
need to pass in managerial subjects in engineering education to groom them as
effective managers.

The subjects like ‘Management Science’ (M S) and ‘Managerial Economic and


Financial Analysis’ (MEFA) have been added in the JNTU (Jawaharlal Nehru
Technological University) syllabus for engineering graduates. In Management
Science, the basic concepts on management like production, work study, statistical
quality control, material management, marketing, human resource management, SWOT
analysis, Programme Evaluation and Review Techniques (PERT) and Critical Path
Method (CPM) etc., have been briefly covered. In MEFA, the basics of managerial
economics, financial accounting, demand analysis, demand forecasting, demand
elasticity, theory of production, cost analysis, break even analysis, types of
capital, capital budgeting and all the fundamentals have been covered.

The author is working as a permanent faculty in an engineering institution and the


students asked on the very first day about the reason for inclusion of these two
subjects in their academic curriculum. The author took pains in explaining the
same since he had industrial and business experience besides academic management
qualifications. Everybody is a manager whether at home or in office or in outside
because everyone manages one way or the other many things in daily life. Learning
management concepts at the academic level supplement the natural and practical
skills in day to day managing.

MANAGEMENT EDUCATION IN NON-PROFESSIONAL DEGREES:

In India, there is a strong need to encourage students of Arts, Commerce, Science


and Computers to go for MBA courses. And also inclusion of management subjects or
topics or concepts in these areas will enhance their exposure to the field of
management so that they can gradually develop an aptitude for management. When
these non-professionals degree holders go for placement they find fully equipped
to face the day to day challenges at their work place. In fact, the strength of
non-technical graduates outnumbers technical graduates. As a result, there will
be steady and strong growth of appetite for MBA qualification. Ultimately we can
expect more number of managers from all fields of study.

WEAKNESSES IN PRESENT MANAGEMENT EDUCATION:

Henry Mintzberg is one of the strongest critics of MBA degrees. He found out many
defects in the present management education system. The present system does not
encourage entrepreneurial skills and abilities. It does not lay stress on
ethical part of education. It is not able to inculcate or cultivate industry or
sector specific skills. There are set of skills required for each sector, segment
and industry. The inability to focus on the same became a major area of weakness.
Real industrial problems are neither thought nor taught. It is not able to cater
to Indian type of education and on the contrary, it began to believe in aping
American method of education, which at times found to be highly irrelevant and
superfluous. It does not focus on Total Productive Maintenance (TQM) where teams
are forged and motivated to contribute their best without any egoistic
considerations. It is devoid of multicultural experience. It is highly
commercialized and commoditised. It is like a shop where goods and services are
offered in exchange for money. Of course, no qualifications can be provided
without money, as it is essential to ensure circulation of the entire
organizational set up effectively. The degree of commercialization and
commoditisation has become rampant. It is filled with antiquated, outdated and
condemned pedagogic and teaching skills and needs to be overhauled thoroughly and
immediately.

STRENGTHS:

The present management education survived for nearly five decades in India and
struggling to expand beyond national and geographical boundaries. With the boon
of rapid changing technology and communication, the educational system is
undergoing drastic changes although the pace is slow. The students in B schools
develop the ability to network and grow fast. The alumni links serve as strong
launching pad.

WHAT THEY DO NOT TEACH IN B-SCHOOLS?

B schools teach the theoretical concepts and aspects, which will help the people
to get tuned with the corporate terminology right from the school itself and also
the meanings of the related concepts. The tools and techniques, which were taught
in school, help them equip to take over the managerial/leadership roles in the
corporate world. In fact B schools’ objective is to groom the business leaders
for tomorrow.

It is always an well-admitted fact that there is vast chasm between theory and
percept. The B school product when he finds himself in the hot seat in the
industry, he finds himself suffocated as he finds vast gap in his dreams and
realities. He needs to get his hands dirty in the real organizations, which he
might have fantasized, from a totally different perspective.

The ability to deal with the people can not be taught in B schools and even if it
was taught, it is very difficult to implement, as there would be so many
bottlenecks. B schools only teach how to do but the corporate world only, indeed,
teaches the practical way of learning. It is like learning how to swim, i.e.
whatever the person learnt such as tools and techniques by way of theoretical
explanations in school, he can only learn when he gets into the deep waters of the
corporate world.

Traits like diplomacy and tactless and emotional intelligence can be learnt only
by practical experience. The books and B schools have certain limitations. The
efficiency and efficacy can be learnt only by involving oneself in real like
situation. However the case studies one might have come across by way of thorough
reading in school, the real life is total different from fantasized reel life. In
a nutshell, a person comes from reel life to real life.

The concepts like brainstorming, reverse brainstorming, lateral thinking, vertical


thinking, out of the box thinking, emotional intelligence, change agents, mind
mapping, morphological analysis, six thinking hats, synectics, Type A personality
and Type B personality could be better be understood and felt in the real
corporate life.
B schools equip tons of information, data, knowledge, and case studies, which can
help to get tuned with the real problems in the organizations to some extent. But
it can not be summed up altogether that they produce the best managers in the
industry.

B schools do not teach entrepreneurial skills and risk taking abilities. They
teach about soft skills and communication skills, which can best be experimented
in the battleground of corporate life and can be perfected. If the tools of
efficiency are taught in B schools, the tricks of effectiveness is learnt in
corporate world.

B schools do not talk much about building relations. Whatever the little so
taught becomes too little in the practical life. In real business, it is always
the products or services, which speak in volumes to the customers initially and
the subsequent transactions, depend on relationships to a greater extent.
Ultimately it is the satisfied customer who turns again and gives business.
Therefore, much of the business solely depends on building relationships, which is
again missing in B schools. B schools do highlight on evolutionary approaches but
not revolutionary. But the practical business mostly talks of revolutionary
approaches.

To lay more stress, if ‘what B school teaches’ is one side of the coin then the
other side of the coin is ‘what one learns in organizations’. And the coin will
have complete value only when these two are clubbed together. The combination of
two sides creates a complete corporate personality.

FILLING THE CRITICAL GAPS:

There is a strong need to lay stress on the Indian-industry oriented management


education. This does not mean to do away with the American methodology of
concepts and teachings. What is now needed is glocal approach i.e. the
combination of global and local approach.

The visiting faculty usually teaches in more than one institution and teaches more
than one subject. As a result their approach is short term oriented and less
focussed. Where as the permanent faculty works under one roof in the same system
and subjects resulting in staying highly focussed in his approach. These people
tend to have long term orientation and it pays off heavily for the students.

There is vast chasm between the salaries of academic and non-academic professions.
At the industries, pay and perks are heavy and the best brains are naturally going
to non-academic line. This does not mean totally that those who work in academic
profession do not posses brighter talents and skills. There may be a segment of
brains that would like to work in academic line because of their taste for
teaching. The vast gap between these two in terms of salaries needs to be
narrowed down and addressed. Sometimes, the teaching faculty may work outside on
part time basis to generate more income. This again contributes in less
concentration in teaching.

Recruiting the faculty who possess diversified academic back ground, experience
and expertise will bring quality of education as these people can combine their
multiple skills learnt from academic field along with their industrial or business
experience. Similarly industries must come forward to encourage the trainee
management graduates to do project work in their organizations which will enhance
competency and confidence.
The present management education refers to many case studies related to other
countries. Although it is good to have a feel of the case studies of foreign
land, there is an element of nativity lost in teaching. It is necessary to
generate our own case studies and explain the concepts or topics with native
examples for understanding and enhancing the qualitative education. It is like,
when you in Rome do as Romans do, but not as Greece do. The need of the hour is
to create glocal mindset in the minds of management graduates.

Indian B schools must evolve its own tools and techniques in teaching and tune its
B schools as the battlegrounds to create global management gurus.

CONCLUSION:

AICTE has a pivotal role to play in streamlining and overhauling Indian management
education system with many checks and balances. Late Dhirubhai H Ambani and Laxmi
Niwas Mittal have become corporate legends not by doing MBA but by business acumen
and right application of available resources. MBA helps in enriching the minds of
the business managers and leaders. MBA does supplement and does not substitute
business acumen. Sound academic background with strong business and industry
insights along with stimulated and simulated case studies can bring out the best
results in quality of management education in India.

MESSAGE:

The best business managers and leaders can be created only by a successful
synthesis of academic theory and business practice or industrial experience. The
business education should be based on practical or simulated and effective case
studies. If the educational infrastructure is sound then one can expect a strong
superstructure in future. Imagine an India with a population of a more than a
billion can produce how much number of Jack Welchs’ and Peter F Druckers’.

T H E E N D

(The author, Prof. M.S.Rao, is working as an Academic Guide in ICFAI University


taking classes for management graduates and is also taking classes for engineering
graduates in an engineering college. He talks over All India Radio on various
topics. He is a professional trainer in soft skills, communication skills,
personality development, motivation, and equity investments. He can be reached at
email: profmsr7@yahoo.com).

H.No: 6-18-188, New NGO’s Colony, Nizamabad-503002, INDIA.