Industry 4.0 & MBA Education: What industry really wants, and how B-schools can reshape curriculum, reveals IFIM-NHRDN study News Desk |
January 21, 2019
As Industry 4.0 Trends transform every business function, Indian industry is adapting ferociously. It’s high time that B-schools rethink their curriculum. A study by AACSB accredited IFIM Business School, Bangalore & National HRD Network (NHRDN) has researched 300 business executives and prepared a blueprint of what the MBA Curriculum should be for the Industry 4.0. What are the key findings? presents a comprehensive report.

Powered by rapid technological advancements, the Industry 4.0 or Fourth Industrial Revolution Trends are transforming every business function - be it manufacturing, services, sales & marketing or HR. As Indian industry adapts ferociously to these trends, B-schools must rethink their curriculum or face the ignominy. A study by AACSB accredited IFIM Business School, Bangalore & National HRD Network (NHRDN) has researched 300 business executives and prepared a blueprint of what the MBA Curriculum should be for the Industry 4.0. The study identified 10 expectations from Indian MBAs and suggestions on how to serve these needs.

The report titled ‘Curricula 4.0 - Creating Future Managers’ was released in Bengaluru on January 8, 2019, by Dr Tom R. Robinson, President and CEO, AACSB; Management Guru Dr Jagdish Sheth, Dr A. Parasuraman, Professor of Marketing at University of Miami, USA, Mr Dhananjay Singh, Director General – NHRDN and Dr Atish Chattopadhay, Director, IFIM Business School.

What MBA Skills does Indian Industry really want for Industry 4.0 Era
While there has been a lot of international literature and reports on Industry 4.0 trends and MBA education, little is known about how these trends are changing the expectations that Indian industry has from MBAs.  

IFIM-NHRD study reveals 10 Industry 4.0 needs

  1. Learning orientation and analytical mindset
  2. Integration of data, communication and technology
  3. Solution orientation and problem solving
  4. Dealing with change and uncertainty
  5. People and team orientation
  6. Innovation and creativity
  7. Social sensitivity and cross-cultural orientation
  8. Managing self (self-awareness and self-development including wellness)
  9. Entrepreneurial and business orientation
  10. Globalization

Commenting on the relevance of the study, Dr Atish Chattopadhyay, Director, IFIM Business School said, “This is the first time that a Business School, in India, has taken such an exhaustive initiative to reach out to 300 industry executives to find out the skills required for Industry 4.0. The ten needs identified for industry 4.0 along with the insights, will go a long way in aligning the future of business education with the future of work.”

Complimenting IFIM for the initiative, Tom Robinson, AACSB International's President and CEO, added, "I am pleased to see AACSB-accredited IFIM Business School deeply engaging business in this initiative to shape future management curricula.”

Mapping IFIM-NHRD study with WEF report and Dr Datar’s book
How do these requirements map with international studies? IFIM Study also maps these gaps with respected studies by Harvard Business School’s Prof Srikant Datar’s book ‘Rethinking the MBA’ and World Economic Forum’s ‘Future of Jobs Report’.

Industry 4.0 needs from IFIM study
Unmet needs from ‘Rethinking the MBA’
WEF skill dimensions
  1. Learning Orientation and Analytical Mindset
  1. Integration of Data, Communication and Technology
  • Oral and Written Communication
  • Complex Problem Solving
  1. Solution Orientation and Problem Solving
  • Organizational Realities: Power, Politics, and the Challenges of Implementation
  • Service Orientation
  1. Dealing with Change and Uncertainty
  • Risk, Regulation and Restraints - Understanding the Limits of Markets and Models
  • Judgment & Decision making
  1. People and Team Orientation
  • Leadership Development
  • Co-ordinating with others
  • Negotiations
  • People management
  1. Innovation and Creativity - Entrepreneurial Orientation
  • Creative, Innovative thinking
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Critical Thinking
  • Creativity
  1. Social Sensitivity and Cross-cultural Orientation
  • The Roles, responsibilities, and purpose of Business
  1. Managing Self (Self-awareness, Self-development including Wellness)
  • Leadership Development
  • Emotional Intelligence
  1. Business Orientation - Multidisciplinary Approach
  • Integration
  • Cognitive Flexibility
  1. Globalization
  • Global Perspective

Talking about what the comparison with the two international studies reveals, Dr Chattopadhyay says, “Learning Orientation has emerged as a distinct need owing to multi-generation workforce within an organization, requiring reskilling at various levels. Similarly, Communication is not just a combination of oral and written communication but needs to be integrated with data and technology. The study brings in a completely new dimension Wellness as an element of self-management, hitherto not talked about or revealed by any of the past studies. The other important insight revealed by the study is that Solution, as reflected in service mindset and execution, assumes more significance than strategy. The study clearly indicates that there is a need for reorientation of the curriculum, pedagogy of teaching-learning and introduction of a new category of faculty, for example, yoga or gym instructors as part of the mainstream.”

Key Findings and Possible Curriculum Interventions
So, what are the lessons from this study for Indian B-schools? How can they reshape their curriculum to prepare their student’s better for Industry 4.0 era? The study gives the following recommendations, that are aligned with each industry need:

Industry 4.0 needs from IFIM study
Potential Curriculum Interventions
  1. Learning Orientation and Analytical Mindset
  • Decision Making Sciences
  • Modular Programs for Practitioners
  1. Integration of Data, Communication and Technology
  • Being comfortable with technology
  • Digital Business and Strategy
  1. Solution Orientation and Problem Solving
  • Execution is more important than strategy
  • Strong practical focus and real-life projects
  • Skill orientation / Technical skills
  • Service mindset
  • Effective Solutions through Institutional Projects
  • Industry Internship Program
  • Proficiency in Business Tools
  • Management of Service Process, Quality and Productivity
  1. Dealing with Change and Uncertainty
  • Innovation Incubation
  1. People and Team Orientation
  • Cross-cultural Communication
  • Negotiation
  • Outbound Leadership Lab
  1. Innovation and Creativity - Entrepreneurial Orientation
  • Research to be a part of the curriculum
  • Abstract thinking applied to strategy
  • New product marketing
  • Appreciation of consumer centric design
  • Design Thinking
  • Research Incubation
  • Innovation Incubation
  1. Social Sensitivity and Cross-cultural Orientation
  • Social responsibility and sustainability
  • Empathy
  • Social Immersion Program
  • Cross-cultural Communication
  1. Managing Self (Self-Awareness, Self-development including Wellness)
  • Ability to re-invent oneself
  • Greater accent on soft skills
  • Introducing sports and gym for physical fitness and yoga for inner engineering
  • Personal Growth Lab (PGL) including psychometric assessment
  • Self-Development guided by industry mentor
  • Oral & Written Business Communication
  • Wellness and Fitness
  1. Business Orientation - Multidisciplinary Approach
  • Integrative Course on Behavioral Science and Business Economics
  • Courses in functional areas like Marketing, Finance, HRM
  • Integrative Course in Business Strategy
  1. Globalization
  • Projects and courses at partner international schools
  • International Students in class

Research Methodology of IFIM-NHRDN Study
The study was conducted over six months in 2018, involving about around 300 senior managers across 13 industries such as IT, Consulting, Education and Manufacturing, who shared their opinions on what according to them should be the right skill set for future leaders. This was followed by a series of roundtable discussions, across the country, comprising heterogeneity of CXOs and the academia to further understand the unmet needs - present and future. The findings will be implemented into a ‘next-gen’ MBA curriculum.

The study was jointly conducted by National HRD Network and IFIM Business School, Bangalore. National HRD Network is an association of HR and business professionals with 30 chapters, which together have over 8,000 members in India.

Established in 1995, IFIM Business School, Bangalore became only the sixth management institute in India to receive the prestigious accreditation from the AACSB International and is currently among the eight AACSB accredited B-schools in India.

Based on the study findings, IFIM is busy updating its own curriculum for upcoming Batch of 2019-21. IFIM offers four 2-year MBA equivalent programs -- PGDM, PGDM (Finance), PGDM Marketing & PGDM (International Business). Recently IFIM announced 100% Placements for its 2018-20 batch with record salaries. IFIM Admission process is currently open. Read more details. IFIM is also offering merit-based scholarships to deserving candidates.

Stay tuned to for more updates on IFIM Bangalore