The large skew in the quality of students and management Education Institutions makes it very difficult to give a definitive answer but in this article, I will touch upon a few key points.
Let us begin with some concerns with the students selected for the Post Graduate program. Students do not have basic knowledge of multiple disciplines such as Accounting, Economics, Statistics and marketing and hence go through compressed learning in the induction stage. This creates huge stress on the resources as well as the students. There is a requirement to deliver too much in too short a period that some of it is not fully assimilated.
The educational system at the undergraduate level emphasizes learning by rote, not by application. Management education is delivered through an interactive case and discussion method of learning. Understanding different perspectives and peer learning are very critical. Students go through learning (Pre-class preparation) and assessment shock when they join management schools. If they are put through the interactive learning mode at the undergraduate level, they will be off to a flying start when they move to the PG level. Another major problem of our educational system is the lack of opportunity to develop relationship, leadership and communication skills.
Undergraduate management education must play a critical role in developing the personality, communication and articulation capabilities and create a platform for robust learning at the postgraduate level. Now to the skill sets. Today’s employers are demanding varied skill sets. We know that the employability of B School graduates is at an all-time low. Some reports show that almost 80 percent of the graduates are unemployable.
This is a serious problem and if this isn't arrested quickly we will have a situation where there are hundreds and thousands of graduates but not being able to meet the requirements or expectations of the industry.
Today’s recruiters want industry relevant graduates. That said, why is the employability so low? One argument is that B Schools aren’t really keeping up the pace with the industry – that is, the curriculum is not being updated at regular intervals. The requirements of the industry are changing at a rapid pace and we must design our curriculum accordingly. In an interesting article published in the Sydney Morning Herald, a few key skill sets were identified. The skill sets range from being creative to be a team player. In addition to having an excellent grasp of the domain knowledge recruiters look for excellent verbal and written communication skills, be a team player, demonstrate leadership skills, clarity of thought, positive attitude, ability to work in a team and individually, be ready to embrace change, critical thinking, excellent analytical and quantitative skills and interpersonal skills.
In closing, the theoretical underpinnings taught in B– schools (whilst very important) is not sufficient. B– Schools must pay a lot of attention to what we call job readiness skills so that graduates can be hired by the real world where most of the students aspire to enter.