Thursday, 10 December 2015

“What They Don’t Teach You in Business Schools?” ―Professor M.S.Rao

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: first reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the bitterest.” ― Confucius

Globally business schools are often accused of shelling out unethical leaders whenever global companies collapsed. Some business leaders often blame that business schools don’t keep pace with the rapid changing global business environment.  And the business schools often blame business world for not associating and interacting with them. Who is to be blamed in this regard? This article underscores bridging the gap between the business world and business schools through empathy, understating and mutual respect.  

What Business Schools Don’t Teach?

Most students opine that business schools don’t teach what is essential in the business world. It is true to some extent. Business education is not a technical education to do experiments in laboratories to test and verify the theory and formulae. Business education is learnt by the management graduates mostly by trial and error method in the corporate world. You cannot become a crackshot unless you lose some ammunition. The students must get exposed to the industry to gain experience to grow as successful managers and leaders. They must explore, experiment, fail, fall and bounce back to grow as successful leaders. Additionally, the students who intend to pursue business education or management education must have work experience to reap its rewards. It enables them to relate theory taught in the classroom with their practical work experience. Unfortunately, in India most students pursue MBA or management education continuously without having employment experience. The ideal concept of Indian education is from KG (Kinder Garden) to PG (Post Graduation).

Business Schools Serve as Platforms to Management Graduates

Business schools serve for management graduates as platforms to explore the corporate world. They cannot make these graduates as full-fledged managers and leaders overnight. They teach something of everything, not exactly everything of something. They teach various subjects opted by the students. They impart business education to students with theoretical concepts backed by case studies of successful leaders. It helps students get into the shoes of the situation, explore various options and make decisions accordingly. In fact, the real knowledge comes to management graduates only in the corporate world as they experience realities and understand the real challenges to gain their confidence.

Business School versus Business World

There are a number of other challenges for the existing gap between the business schools and business world. Business schools prepare students based on outdated curriculum. However, the industry expects the students to be plug-and-play employees who must be productive on the very first day in the corporate world. Additionally, the qualified management graduates find it challenging to adjust to the corporate realities as what is taught in the classrooms is totally different than what is experienced in the workplace. Presently the teaching pedagogy in business schools is mostly faculty-centric, not student-centric and industry-centric. The curriculum in the business schools doesn’t keep pace with the latest trends, times and technologies resulting in a huge gap between the corporate expectations and campus realities. Hence, to bridge the gap between the business schools and business world, both industry and institute must interact regularly to find out the expectations to deliver goods accordingly. There must be periodical visits by management educators to the industry and the industry experts’ visits to the business schools. It helps bridge the gap between the business schools and the business world. It helps students understand and appreciate the expectations of the industry and mould accordingly to grow as successful managers and leaders.

Bridge the Gap between Academia and Industry

The educators in the business schools must be a blend of industry, teaching, training, research and consultancy experience. It helps them integrate their knowledge in various spheres and share with students successfully.  Additionally, it is essential to encourage specialized courses to prepare the management graduates to become master of their trades, not just jack of their trades.

Both business schools and business world are two sides of the same coin for management graduates.  The greater efforts must be made by business schools to bridge the gap between academia and industry. To conclude, instead of blaming business schools, it is better to empathize with each other, understand the limitations of others and rise up to the expectations to ensure quality management education.  

“You can teach all sorts of things that improve the practice of management with people who are managers. What you cannot do is teach management to somebody who is not a manager, the way you cannot teach surgery to somebody who’s not a surgeon.”  ― Henry Mintzberg

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Professor M.S.Rao, India
Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants India
Recipient of 10th International Prestigious Sardar Patel Award―2015
21 Success Sutras for Leaders: Top 10 Leadership Books of the Year (San Diego University) Amazon URL:

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1 comment:

  1. A very good article on management education in India. This article reflects your passion to management and your energy and experience as an educator.
    Kindly post more articles on executive education also.