Are Business Schools Giving Adequate Importance To Their Program Research?

Shailesh Choudary, Principal, T.John Institute Of Management & Science Holding a PhD in Consumer Behavior from Vellore Institute of Technology, Shailesh has been associated with T.John Institute for over two years now, prior to which he worked as an Assistant Professor at PES University.

Management studies are not the same as they used to be. Earlier, there were only a few domains of specializations that Business Schools offered, since most people only considered these fields as viable career options. However, the last decade saw various changes in the general public in terms of their mindset, way of living, and source of income. This led to people broadening their career options and thus resulted in business schools adding many new subjects from diverse domains and industries.

Due to the change in mindset and thereby the demand, business schools have modified their course offerings dramatically. That is why nowadays, MBA courses like Healthcare Management, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Leadership, and Travel & Tourism are starting to be commonplace. While keeping-up with the fast-paced competition has led business schools to win over students, they usually make compromises in program research, thus resulting in half baked curriculums that would hurt in the long term.

With this in mind, the next obvious question is, what should business schools do? The answer to this question is two fold. B-schools must focus on two things research and experiential learning.

Why Do B-Schools Need Program Research?
Research is an essential component of business studies. As time changes, various concepts and fundamentals become outdated and do not apply in current times. This is why business schools have to make changes to the current curriculum or introduce a new program. While doing this, business schools have to perform a series of activities that involves understanding the current business landscape, requirements, nature, and impact of changes in an existing program or a new program.

Why should Business Schools focus on research?
Industry Related Knowledge: Every business school curriculum is designed to develop professionals with end-to-end knowledge of the particular domain they enroll in. But most business schools’ curriculum focuses on theoretical knowledge and lacks in job-related skills development. This has resulted in a decline in the placement number of MBA graduates since they are not jobready. To increase the placement number in their institutes and increase the placement options for their students, business schools must modify their curriculum as per industry needs.
Keep-up with the Current Trends: Technology is evolving, and with it, many industries are embracing automation. As per a recent report, nearly 30-50 percent of all job profiles will become automated in the coming two decades. To move with time and keep pace with the technological advancement is the need of the hour. Business schools must be ready for the changing business landscape, and their curriculum should prepare students for the future.

Investing in research builds a reputation for the institutes,and is likely to attract top quality teaching staff

Create a Better Reputation: Management education is a competitive domain as there are hundreds of institutes that offer management education programs. To standout, business schools have to reinvent their curriculum. But merely changing the curriculum is not enough business schools need top quality teaching faculty to guide their students. Investing in research builds a reputation for the institutes, and is likely to attract top quality teaching staff.

Teaching Faculty Development: The tedious schedule of a business school does not allow it’s teaching faculty to research or reskill themselves. Business schools can adequately address this issue by including research in their schedule, thus resulting in the development of the teaching faculty with respect to the current business trends and academics.

Now that we understand the importance of research in business schools let’s take a look at the other side of the coin experiential learning.

What is experiential learning?
Experiential learning is a method of learning through experience. It involves various activities performed by students that develop skills, values and provides overall knowledge of a particular concept with the help of direct experience and first hand learning.

Why should Business Schools focus on experiential learning?
Improves Learning: Rote learning is now an outdated learning method and has been replaced by ‘experiential learning’. As with experiential learning, one develops problem solving, critical thinking and decision making ability. These abilities developed by experiential learning not only help ones professional life, but also in personal life.

Merges Theory with Practical: Experiential learning goes beyond theory, as one gets to apply their education in realworld challenges. By getting a first-hand experience of how to implement a concept, one completely understands the principles involved to achieve the best output through a particular method.

Encourages Teamwork: Nearly all experiential learning activations emphasize group learning. By participating in these activities, students learn to work efficiently together. Besides they develop abilities to make execution plans analyze situations, and understand teammates, thus developing leadership skills in them.

Increases Engagement:Experiential learning involves students putting their knowledge to use in realworld situations. When students see the fruit of their labour, they experience a level of satisfaction that theoretical learning cannot provide thus leading to higher engagement in class and a greater enthusiasm for learning.

Creates Space for Creativity: Realworld problems can often be approached with more than one solution. With experiential learning, students develop abilities to think outside the box and produce creative solutions for any challenges they may face.

These are just a few ways in which research and experiential learning can help business schools. In the end, by reinventing the curriculum with program research and promoting experiential learning, business schools can develop professionals with greater knowledge and experience in their respective domains, thus amplifying their opportunities
and making them future ready.