The majority speaks of management education as being the panacea of contemporary life! While that is very true in terms of industrial infrastructure, administration, hotels and health care, for instance, people seem to be forgetting doctors and engineers. Considering the enormous transformation that education underwent during recent decades, the process of study and learning has evolved so rapidly. What are the essentials of a well-taught management curriculum?
The rise of unlimited apps extends well to educational life and beyond. In the olden days, books and blackboard beside the chalk and some charts perhaps constituted teaching aids. They may still exist today, but so much has changed in terms of the technological landscape in the classroom. Laptops, tablets, and smartphones appear to be overtaking books. Smartboards have combined web facilities with the green board of old.
Thus, the educational aids today consist of a series of apps! Regarding attendance, class work and homework, feedback and ratings, dozens of apps simplify the complex task of maintaining paper and pen records. Projects are everywhere in education and so are presentations. They get organized and delivered most efficiently through technology based apps designed for the purpose. It has been quite a while now that institutions have implemented such procedures, at least where sufficient facilities, resources, and technological devices are available. Management particularly being an essentially challenging field amidst global competition, the need for effective learning practices is felt all the more. The chalk and talk days of rote learning are long past in the new age of enlightened study through a variety of learning aids, acquisition of practical skills and guest lectures.
Hands on knowledge and experience, internship programs and work experience do help to break the stranglehold of theory in learners’ minds. It is unfortunate that traditional education and the examination system required committing information to memory. Applied to hotel management, for instance, and every professional program like pharmacy, how will the student learn about hotels and the pharmaceutical industry? Certainly not from books alone. Whether it is a weekend visit or months of internship, the trainees need to work in hotels or pharma factories not only to get a feel but to understand the intricacies. If the trainees are fated to spend a lifetime working in a particular field, they better learn the field well.
While teaching aids like videos do provide very informative and interesting learning experiences, the knowledge vacuum can only be filled through real experience.
If management trainees have forged experience certificates to gain admission to B-schools, they are at risk. If the B-school did not provide adequate practical exposure through internships with excellent companies in media, for instance, the graduates do not really job ready when they pass out. They may be academically successful, but something is lacking in understanding industry ground realities. Bookworms may succeed in learning entire books by heart, but facing real situations may be challenging. It is true that technology has succeeded in creating virtual realities within the classroom that copy the situation out there. Consider the simulated machines on which driving is taught.
Yet the best software and reality program can at best be a copy. The world of nature is best understood inside a forest or park rather than watching television programs on nature, though it can be an enjoyable learning experience. Like wild animals born in zoos that have no real understanding of the nature element, unable to survive out there in the wild.
While considering fields like banking or event management as examples being taught in management institutions, can it succeed without guest lectures? While B-school alumni carry a wealth of qualifications and experience in renowned companies, they are no longer professionally employed. It is like getting wet in order to swim. The truth about the present in the industry can only be revealed by those holding professional designations like Manager and Director.
While the alumni go to great lengths to challenge students’ experiences within the institution, enough motivation needs to come from external sources. Not all the guest speakers are presently employed in the field of manufacture of furniture. Retired professors also possess valuable experience. In an institution, a new face immediately arouses interest compared to the faculty seen every morning and afternoon. Young trainees are ever willing to interact with guest speakers, far more than with regular alumni. As seen on the television every day, impromptu debates elicit tremendous interest, connecting various cities or countries.
Even if guests speakers are not physically present, online technology enables a meaningful give and take, seminars and workshops online. Authorities and experts share valuable experiences and provide feedback to learners. Questions are asked and answered, and thus the learning for a lifetime is getting closer to perfection.
Students and trainees never had it so good like in the present digital universe. Just like the fabulous and realistic atmosphere built up by good movies, the digital world replicates reality. It is forecast that the technology of the future would construct landscapes according to the fancy of the moment like a forest, desert or mountain. Changing surroundings would be achieved at the press of a button.
Many students experience problems of language adjustment when they proceed abroad to study. Why not provide learning experiences in a second language that they are familiar with and know well? Learning essentially knows no language barriers. Learning about the market forces would be understood no matter in which language it was taught. Bridge courses would be needed to improve understanding of the local language so that knowledge transfer could take place.
When students of African countries attend college in American universities, they need to struggle with English! Immersive experiences would rid them of the phobia and teach the elements of a language they are not confident with.
Management education would be incomplete if the textbook was not translated to practical learning experiences. Teaching aids and guest lectures consolidate and improve what is taught and experienced. Language problems need redress on a large scale.
At GIBS we make sure candidates have the best education experience in the form of superior study aids, immersion programs and guest lectures from eminent industry leaders.