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Higher Education 2016-08-08

What B-schools must do to get it right in the higher education industry

There are three pillars on which any B-school is based - students, faculty and infrastructure. The intake of the students that you take should be quality par excellence.

What B-schools must do to get it right in the higher education industry

Higher education is a critical catalyst for economic growth & nation building. Globalisation, urbanisation, increasing income levels and aspirations, coupled with growing business complexities, have increased demand for business managers and hence management programs. India’s higher education system is the third largest in the world after U.S and China. What exactly are those in the higher education industry doing to keep up with the demand for world class Universities and institutes? In a one-on-one conversation with the education bureau of Franchise India, Professor M. L. Singla, Head & Dean, Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) informs us the essentials of running a good quality B-school.

Tell us about FMS.

FMS is one of the oldest management schools and the first B-school in our country which started a formal system of education for the diploma in business administration way back in 1954. Since the rankings of B-schools began, we’ve consistently ranked amongst the top 5 B-schools in India. As a university based B-school in our country, we’ve been No. 1 throughout. Primarily we are running 4 MBA programs. MBA program is a full time program which is flagship program of FMS. There are three evening programs, which are Executive MBA, which is meant for working executives having a minimum of 5 years of experience, and MBA Executive Healthcare Administration, which is meant only for doctors, medical practitioners and the Doctoral Program in Management.

What are the challenges you’ve faced so far as a B-school in India?

When you’re in a university set-up, the infrastructure is not going to be huge. So we do not have an 800 acre campus unlike other B-schools situated in the outskirts of city. Second, the resources are at par with other departments of the university and not at par with IITs, IIMs etc. Being a part of Delhi University, we have to follow the rules of Government of India and the University.

Related: Nuances of successfully running a B-school in India the MDI way

But at the same time, this location serves an advantage for FMS. As we are a part of the industrial hub of NCR, we have a major chunk of corporates coming in for placements. Also, being situated in the capital of India, it’s much easier to get your hands on the government sector, PSUs to come and speak to the students. There are world renowned departments in University of Delhi like Law faculty, Economics department, Sociology department, Anthropology department, Music department and others, so it becomes easy to drop on the academic resources of those institutions. Also, we share the infrastructure of the city. For example, if an event constituting 5000 people needs to be organised, we have a world class stadium that was constructed during the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Do you think the B-school market in India has what it takes to build entrepreneurs for tomorrow?

Entrepreneurship is related to the risk taking capacity of people. I do not expect 90 per cent of people going in for entrepreneurship and from those who do, not all become successful. I believe that a small percentage of people will go for entrepreneurship, though the trend is improving and is very encouraging now. Kids are taking 3 to 4 years to hone their skills and be comfortable with their personal lives and then they go out for becoming an entrepreneur. There should be a healthy mix of people going in for further studies, jobs, civil services, government jobs and entrepreneurship.

FMS has started a concept of placement holiday where students graduating this year can inform us and take a placement holiday for 2 years to try their hands on entrepreneurship. Any time during those 2 years, the students can let us know if they want to sit during the placement process.

What makes one B-school better than another?

There are three pillars on which any B-school is based - students, faculty and infrastructure. The intake of the students that you take should be quality par excellence. The admission process of not only FMS but other top 10 B-schools in India is beyond doubt a tough one to crack. If any school starts faltering on the admission process, it would never be on the top list.

The students here keep their faculty on their toes as a result of which our faculty becomes par excellence. We encourage our students to discuss and interact with teachers. Though some amount of professional differences is a must but up to an extent ensuring that the people continue working. Faculty which is not committed to its brand will not be committed to the students also.

Infrastructure should be adequate to provide students with good management education. Every B-school has its own culture, ethos and philosophy. Similarly FMS has its own culture and philosophy. People respect and regard each other and at the same time have their own opinions. I’ve always believed in one thing –Today I shall do better than yesterday, tomorrow I shall do better than today.

How do you plan to make education more engrossing and intriguing?

Students of B-schools like FMS spend a lot of time in campus. They can be seen coming in at 8:30 in the morning till 10:30 at night. We do not wish to increase their time but the enrichment of their time being spent here is essential.

Currently we have a lecture series going on where we have decided that we will be getting 62 top level CXO people to come and speak to them. We’ve also started a program called FMS Edge where we identify people with passion. Let’s say, if a student is passionate about rural marketing, a speaker will give a module of 15 hours with a select audience of 30-35 people. The instructor could be from HUL, ITC Dabur India or any from similar industry and also be passionate about rural marketing. We’re planning to launch 10 such modules and are still looking for someone to come and talk on managing bureaucracy. A senior IAS officer coming to give the module would be highly preferable.

We also will be having a module on Sanskrit as the best of management is explained in the Bhagvad Gita. Lord Krishna was considered to be the first born successful manager on the Earth. We also plan to have a module on NGOs and Music & Management.

Do you think B-school platform is essential for a bright future in management?

The reason for people rushing for B-school these days is that these schools are being refined wrongly. There has not been much of a churn in the ranking of top 10 brands of B-schools. No other institute has been able to bring itself on the top slot.

Most of the students and parents are not really able to differentiate between the quality institutes and so end up doing an MBA which may not land them somewhere in the future. Whereas only enlightened students understand the quality of a good B-school. For imparting any education in a formal manner structure is important. Had the structure not been relevant, the value of correspondence courses would have gone really high.

Good B-schools realise the value addition they provide their students. If you’re a brand, you would attract more people, amongst those people only the better would be able to join making the institute brighter.

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