Management skills now need to be specialized and industry-specific, and this calls for a strong partnership between the industry and academia
P Dwarakanath currently serves as the Head of Group Human Capital at Max India Ltd. He has also served as a Director of Human Resources at GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Limited. He is a Past President of NHRDN.
This exclusive interview is a precursor to the 4th NHRDN-People Matters B-School Ranking 2016 to be revealed in the month of September 2016.
When we look at the global rankings of Indian institutions, they lack far behind from the global compatriots. Referring to the QS World University Ranking, India only has five B-schools in the top 200. What can be done by Indian institutes to compete globally?
It is unfortunate that institutes from India don’t get global acclaim and feature in such lists. But that can be changed. To begin with, we need to improve our quality of education. Sometimes, I think the curriculum is too academic and not contextual. We need to contemporize and customize it to the Indian context. Further, the curriculum should include a stronger industrial interface. In addition, B-schools need to have the right faculty, who have an experience in both academics and corporate. I also think that the quality of students should not be based on the quantitative assessment only, but the soft skills and leadership potential should also be considered. Thus, I feel that the process itself needs to undergo a change.
Will the integration of the industry and academia help improve the quality of education and make students job-ready? How do you see B-schools innovating in this aspect?
A. I feel it is very important to have synergy between academia and the industry. Management programs are becoming highly specialized. Every industry’s context is increasingly getting different from another – healthcare management is different from hospitality management, hospitality management is different from financial management and so on. Unlike the days, wherein students would do general management and learn about core management functions; today, this has been further specialized leading to a need to acquire specialized skills; and this is where the collaboration between industry and academia is very important. Exchange programs, apprenticeship, project-based training and working together as a team are some of the things that can get students to experience the industry and also get a context of what is happening in the industry.
An ASSOCHAM study states that B and C category B-Schools are producing unemployable pass-outs. What do you think can be done to change this?
In the recent times, we have seen management schools mushrooming in every nook and corner. Some of them tend to be more commercial rather than focus on quality of students, education, faculty training and research. Since both the intake as well as output of these institutes is not of high quality, employability is bound to be a challenge. The only way to handle this is to be more stringent with respect to the accreditation process.