Expanding Talent Pipelines: The Pursuit of Nontraditional Candidates in Management Education and Practice
The three key areas of improvement that B-schools need to make to expand their talent pipeline are enrolling students from underrepresented communities, boosting their gender ratio, and selecting students from various educational and skill backgrounds. For example, despite the rising numbers of commerce and humanities graduates in MBA programs, engineering graduates still top the chart. Similarly, the gender ratio is skewed, too, although more female candidates are seen on campus compared to previous decades.
In terms of educational background, companies have woken up to the fact that an employee corpus of varied academic training brings about an enhanced social capital that contributes tangibly and intangibly to the venture's performance. For example, in a managerial role that doesn't necessarily require a specific technical skill, a humanities expert's interpersonal skills and cultural and gender-sensitive abilities might be the ideal choice for establishing a healthy work environment. At the same time, the technically-savvy mind of a STEM graduate in a creative job can add a method to the madness.
key areas of improvement that B-schools need to make to expand their talent pipeline are enrolling students from underrepresented communities, boosting their gender ratio, and selecting students from various educational and skill backgrounds.
In other words, in today's world, where people easily upskill online to switch careers, educational diversity in candidates contributes to the essential soft skills that can only be mastered with thorough training. By concentrating on selecting candidates from a vast pool of academic backgrounds, B-schools would offer the industry the high-value, multi-dimensional leaders that the market today demands.
Globalisation and implementation of DEI policies have ensured that workplaces no longer look the same. Now, across every dream company of the candidates, the crowd at work not only seems increasingly international but diverse in terms of gender and personal background. Moreover, the corporate calendar is now marked by company-organised celebrations of different religious and regional festivals, as well as events of socio-cultural importance, such as Women's Day and Pride Month. Therefore, if one looks at B-school as a grooming space for the professional world, the more diverse they are, the better they are at making the candidates ready for the melting pot that the companies today are.
"Alternative experiences such as volunteering, involvement with a start-up, and entrepreneurship could be some novel yardsticks to measure the calibre of the candidate."
To get the best and the most diversified cohort, B-schools need to relook at their selection process. Earlier, institutions had a penchant for selecting engineering graduates because the rigorous training benchmark institutes such as IITs and NITs had set a certain gold standard of performance for Indian engineering education. Slowly, that bias was replaced by elite institutions and selected professional courses such as Chartered Accountants, Finical Risk Management, Chartered Financial Analysts, etc. But, clocking a diverse cohort for the future requires the candidature selection process to undergo a massive transformation.
Some of the critical addition that the B-schools need to make is to consider the candidate's diversity in work experience and seek applications from those with vocational backgrounds, such as fashion, design, culinary arts, etc. Similarly, alternative experiences such as volunteering, involvement with a start-up, and entrepreneurship could be some novel yardsticks to measure the calibre of the candidate.
Overall, to be the harbinger of change that B-schools often endeavour to become, they must adopt new methods of selection to make the most out of its ambience, which in its ideal form is supposed to be a breeding ground of diverse ideas, experiences, and expertise, brought together by an eclectic host of candidates better yet, if the meticulousness shown in student selection is replicated across every stratum of management in the institutes, from academic staff to the administration, as it would mean an enhanced organic exchange of motions, compared to that in B-schools today.