Theme 2018: MBA Pedagogy for 21st Century Business School
Evolution of IMC 2018 Theme

Indian Management Conclave (IMC) is a platform for leaders in business and management education to reflect on critical issues of our times. This paper gives on an overview of the theme for IMC 2018.

We started this journey a few years ago. First, we discussed and debated the Industry 4.0 Trends on Jobs and Careers. Then in 2017, we focussed on developing MBA curriculum for today’s times. This year, at IMC 2018, we are taking a step forward by discussing the Pedagogy for developing 21st Century Business Leaders.

A visual depiction of the evolution of IMC Theme is as follows:

Let’s start by reviewing the Industry trends and implications on Jobs and Skills.

Advent of Industry 4.0
As is well known, the first industrial revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in the period from about 1760 to 1840. The second industrial revolution came in the early 20th century, when Henry Ford mastered the moving assembly line and ushered in the age of mass production. The third industrial revolution was the change from analog, mechanical, and electronic technology to digital technology which began in the last 50 years. We are now at the dawn of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This Revolution, a period of digital transformation, will have a profound effect on businesses, jobs and by implication on management education. This Revolution is bringing to us advanced robotics and autonomous transport, artificial intelligence and machine learning, advanced materials, biotechnology and genomics. These developments are expected to transform the way we live, and the way we work. Some jobs will disappear, others will grow and jobs that don’t even exist today will become commonplace. What is certain is that the future workforce will need to align its skill-set to keep pace.

Implication on Jobs & Skills
Disruption in industry structures and business models is expected to have a significant impact on the employment landscape over the coming years. In a widely quoted paper by Frey and Osborne (2017) of Oxford Martin Institute, authors said that 47 percent of US Jobs face a threat from new technology: “According to our estimates around 47 percent of total US employment is in the high risk category.” They add further “Our findings thus imply that as technology races ahead, low-skill workers will reallocate to tasks that are nonsusceptible to computerisation – i.e., tasks requiring creative and social intelligence. For workers to win the race, however, they will have to acquire creative and social skills.”

Reports by think-tanks like World Economic Forum opine that rapid advances in technology will automate the routine jobs but put a premium on jobs that require Creativity and People Management. Future of Jobs Report by WEF says that by 2020, ‘Complex Problem Solving’, ‘Critical Thinking’, ‘Creativity’ and ‘People Management’, ‘Coordination’ are the Top 5 skills that employers will look for in 2020.

Rise of Anytime-Anywhere Learning
As technology is disrupting the business world, it is also impacting the education and learning domain in a big way.

Global digital education platforms like Coursera, Edex, Udacity and national platforms like Swayam,Talentedge, Upgard and many others are redefining the access and delivery of business and management education. While ‘traditional’ academic institutions continue to be the source of knowledge, these new platforms are offering a utopia – free (or almost free) courses from world’s leading authorities that are available anytime, anywhere for students and executives. According to a 2017 news report, Coursera had 26 million people enrolled globally, of which over two million are from India. It makes India the second-largest market for Coursera after the US. B-schools are also taking initiatives in this direction. Harvard Business School has set up HBX, where HBS faculty are delivering online courses for students. IIMB has set up IIMBx and ISB is collaborating with Coursera. Many other B-schools including XLRI, IIFT and MICA are working with these platforms.

How will these platforms alter the management education landscape in India? While their impact on executive education market is already clear, what remains to be seen is their effect on full-time MBA programs. In any case, as their reach grows, they are changing the mindset of students and executives, who are beginning to expect anywhere, anytime learning even from traditional B-schools.

In this backdrop, progressive B-schools will do well to rethink their Curriculum and Pedagogy for their MBA Programs.

MBA Curriculum, the theme for last IMC
Rethinking the MBA Curriculum was the next step in this journey, which was the focus of IMC 2017. Critics have long argued that the MBA program needs to build greater alignment between curriculum and managerial responsibilities. A research paper by Rubin & Deardorff (2009) makes this amply clear. “Relying on an empirically derived competency model from 8,633 incumbent managers across 52 managerial occupations, our results showed that behavioural competencies indicated by managers to be most critical are the very competencies least represented in required MBA curricula,” says the paper.

IMC 2017 theme paper reviewed various education models like KSA Framework, Dr Srikant Datar’s Framework from his book ‘Rethinking the MBA’ and the recent World Economic Forum model. We found considerable similarity amongst them. All models focussed on broadly three aspects: Foundation Knowledge in subject areas, Skills to do managerial jobs, being an ethical manager.