Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Shaping the future of management education

By the end of this decade we can see two trends emerging—the true globalisation of Indian management education and much higher usage of technology.

For the past several decades, management education has been one of the most coveted disciplines globally. Applicants seek quality education that can fast-track their understanding of economies and business. Corporate firms are looking for job-ready individuals who can understand the bigger picture and contribute to their growth story. Business school graduates are driving change through leadership positions across industries and sectors.

Being a relatively recent discipline and the one that is context-specific, management education must undergo frequent changes. Innovate or die is the mantra that business schools have to adopt in order to stay relevant. They must appreciate the changes in the way business is done and accordingly review their curriculum, methodology and people. Business schools that insist on following the traditional approach will be doing a disservice to their students and to the recruiters as well.

The decade gone by saw two significant changes that management schools went through. The first was in terms of student profile. Diversity came into focus. Scholarship programmes were started for women students. Students with work experience across industries were invited back to the classroom—for this, the focus in the entrance criteria shifted from test scores alone to the candidate’s experience and exposure. Several business schools changed their entrance criteria and started giving credit to qualities beyond a test score. For example, in 2009, the School of Inspired Leadership introduced Caliper, a profiling tool that tests applicants for their leadership potential. The intent was to strengthen the diversity in business school classrooms.

The second change was industry involvement. Increasingly, senior executives became more conscious of the importance of contributing to education and were willing to make the time for this across business schools. They came on board as mentors, visiting faculty, guest speakers and for research collaborations, offering live projects—over and above industry internships—which gave students the opportunity to learn in a real-world setting under the guidance of seasoned professionals. Looking ahead, we can see two trends emerging—one is the globalisation of management education and the other is the increasing use of technology.

The world has definitely shrunk and business schools must swim with this tide. More and more students today ask for global exposure. While exchange programmes have long been part of the business school curriculum, now joint degrees are being offered as well, which lead to a diverse learning experience.

The time-honoured case study method of business schools is also being augmented by global immersion experiences where students do a live project overseas. This kind of real-world exposure in a different context and setting can prepare students for global leadership roles—much needed in today’s corporate context.

Increasingly, business schools are playing host to India immersion programmes for senior executives of other nationalities. They partner with other business schools and consulting firms to arrange a learning experience for their executive education programme participants. Recently, we met a delegation of women leaders from Chile to share with them our inspired leadership model. Such dialogues increase awareness about the Indian education system and deepen global partnerships, which, in turn, pave the way for students to enhance their learning.

One of the biggest reasons for this kind of cross-cultural exposure is the increased use of technology in the current business setting. This, in itself, is another upcoming trend in higher education today. Till recently, technology-related discussions may have been restricted to the MIS or statistics classrooms. Soon, technology will make its way into every classroom.

Going forward, the acute shortage of credible faculty and the resulting costs will lead to greater acceptance of online courseware. This can be of two types—recorded videos of in-house faculty or MOOCs (massive open online courses) by other schools. MOOCs are available freely across subject areas. MOOCs also give an opportunity to students to add to their repertoire of skills and improve the opportunities available to them after college. Today, a hybrid model of online and offline learning is developing the world over to maximise student learning potential.

In today’s digital era, an in-depth technical orientation is critical in every branch of learning. Across the board, technology has seeped into management subjects. Social media awareness in marketing, big data analytics, tech-based innovation, knowledge management, e-commerce and HR analytics are all gaining importance. Faculty and learners alike must be able to dissect data and be conversant with technology.

Business schools are fast accepting this fact and conversations are on about how to get the best faculty on board for this. Superior learning can happen if faculty has first-hand exposure to these areas. For this, the current trend of industry involvement as faculty is essential to make students job-ready.

Further, tech-savvy professors are also starting conversations through communities of practice on social media commons such as LinkedIn, SlideShare and others. This enables them to learn about the best practices from across the globe and selectively apply what is appropriate to their context. The rate of change of curriculum has to keep up with this tech-enabled speed of knowledge sharing and dissemination.

This invigorating combination of globalisation and technology-orientation will make business schools the best place to learn and grow. Those who keep pace with this transformation will emerge as winners in the minds of their students and industry partners as well.

Monday, 30 March 2015

DIRECTOR’S REPORT By Dr. Goutam Sengupta at convocation 2015

Respected Shri B K Jhawar, Chairman of this ceremony, Distinguished Chief Guest, Shri Susim Mukul Datta;  Board of Trustees, Members of the Trust;  Members of the Board of Governors; The Secretary General; Members of Advisory Board; Members of Academic Council; Members of Academic Advisory Board; Members of Industry Institute Collaboration Advisory Board; Principal; Academic Advisor; Distinguished Professors; Members of Faculty and Staff; Distinguished Guests, Members of Press and Media and Dear Students and their families.

It is my pleasure to have the privilege to introduce the Chief Guest of this 5th Annual Convocation of Calcutta Business School, Shri Susim Mukul Datta who is present with us today. Shri S M Datta is a towering personality in the field of management, respected by all, both for academic institutions of excellence as well as for corporates with global eminence.   He is Chairman of Court of Governors of Administrative Staff College of India. He was Chairman of IIM Banglaore (1995-2005) and Founder Chairman of Goa Institute of Management (1993- 2006). He was a member of the first Review Committee of IIMs, HRD Ministry, Government of India. He is non-Executive Chairman of Castrol India Ltd, Philips India Ltd, Peerless General Finance and Investment Company Ltd to name  a few. Shri Datta was the Chairman of Hindusthan Lever Ltd as well as of the Unilever Group of Companies in India and Nepal from 1990-1996. In addition, he was the Director on the Board of numerous companies which are globally acclaimed. Shri Datta is past President of Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Council of EU Chambers of Commerce in India, The Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industries to name a few.  Shri S M Datta graduated with Honours in Chemistry from the prestigious Presidency College, Kolkata and obtained his post graduate Degree in Science & Technology from the Kolkata University. He is a Chartered Engineer, Fellow of the Institution of Engineers (India), Fellow of the Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers and Honorary Fellow of All India Management Association. Susimda, we are grateful for your kind presence as the Chief Guest of this occasion.

May I request all my students to kindly stand up and give a standing ovation to our Distinguished Chief Guest with a round of applause.

I now turn towards placing the Director’s Report in this 5th Annual Convocation of Calcutta Business School.

Calcutta Business School has set itself different from the bandwagon of other business schools which are mushrooming all over the country. There are number of parameters which place us on a different pedestal in the league of business schools. The School is autonomous albeit AICTE approved and developed curricula which will not only provide the basic background and acumen for business operation, but also will stimulate the students independent thought process to approach the vast arena of management from various novel perspectives. This is evident the way our curriculum is structured in several clusters and the type of innovative course we offered. In addition to the 28 core courses, there are five clusters of specializations and each cluster has got 8 elective courses on varied areas of interest. In short, we provide wide range of choices to the students to develop their core competencies in conjunction with their inherent talents.  We are an institute where apart from regular interactive classroom lectures, pedagogy is more leaned towards case based studies, group projects, group activities and assignments, business simulation games and working on the floors of industries and markets. Residential structure of our institution and close linkage with the industry through industry institute collaboration board, where more than a dozen of reputed industries take active interest have helped us in setting up this kind of unique learning methodology. The institute gives lot of emphasis on values and ethics. We have unique courses such as, ‘History of Human and Business Development’ and ‘Total Quality Management’ and I am to announce that we have constituted special category medals for the students who have excelled in such areas which helps in developing ‘better human being’ which is the fundamental criteria of developing good managers for the future. I am happy to announce some of our graduating students shall be receiving medals in this convocation having excelled in these areas.

The institution is equipped with a state of the art library with books and journals, numbers exceeding 6550 and having access to more than 10000 e-books, e-journals and real time stock market information. The library system functions like issue, receipt, cataloguing, entry, viewing etc. is fully automated and operates on ERP platform. We have recently become the institutional member of DELNET which shall allow us to access their huge collection of e-books, e-journals, databases, videos, networked digital libraries of Theses and Dissertations.

 Modern Management Education is becoming dependent on e-learning. Recognising this fact, the institute has upgraded to a high-speed 20 MBps internet connectivity having superior quality in terms of speed and uptime, using a wi-fi network totally connected through optical fibres in the entire campus. The institute has also introduced an intranet (LAN) facility using an in-house server of 500 GB which has immensely benefitted the students and faculty as the lecture notes, presentations, case studies, research work, etc can be kept in a share folder which can be accessed and viewed by all concerned. The institute has installed an ERP network for online information and communication. Students’ results and students’ feedback on course and faculty are generated electronically through this ERP system.

To bring thrust on Quality Management Systems in the school, we have gone for ISO 9001:2008 certification which was awarded to us by STQC Certification Body, Government of India. The school is in process of accreditation from National Board of Accreditation (NBA).  

With respect to the faculty, we have full time faculty members with distinguished academic and research background from some of the world’s best known institutions like Wharton Business School; Johns Hopkins University; IIMs; XLRIs and IITs. Beside our full time faculty members, we have on board more than 12 international visiting faculty and guest faculty from all over the world from best-known institutions like University of Nottingham; Curtin Business School, Australia; University of Central Oklahoma; Montclair State University, Washington State University, Pullman, USA; Columbia University; Asian Institute of Management, Manila, Philippines; University of Cincinnati; Stanford University; University of Pittsburgh; Georgia State University, just to name a few, who visit the campus time to time and teach various courses.

Consultancy, Publications and Research Work is our main thrust area. I am happy to announce that we have forged an alliance with IIT Kharagpur to conduct joint industrial consultancy to bring forward much desired industrial rejuvenation. Currently, we are pursuing with one of the major Pharmaceutical company with global footprints to undertake a consultancy assignment for improvement in their shopfloor performance. Publications and research work conducted by our faculty have grown by more than 50% compared to the previous year where more than 51 research publications including book publication have already been authored and presented by our eminent faculty members. Along with our faculty, many of our students are participating in the research work and I am happy to inform that number of our students have received various awards for their presentations in conferences and publications in refereed journals, some of them are also present in today’s convocation.

Other than creating high quality managers for the corporates and eminent researchers, we greatly recognize our responsibility to create entrepreneurs which is call of the day. Our Chairman, Shri S K Birla has always been enthusiastic on this subject. I am happy to inform that we have setup ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship Incubation Centre’ with an objective to create budding entrepreneurs from within our students and for this purpose we have tie-up with National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN).

Recognizing the fact that our students are required to be equipped with modern day technologies in addition to their on-going PGDM programme, we have tied-up with SAP University Alliances, who are the global leader in Enterprise Resource Planning (Software) and we are offering this programme on optional basis. SAP University Alliance jointly with CBS is providing Certificate of Completion to the students who successfully completed the programme.

Under the category of executive education, we partnered with SAS who is the global leader in business analytics and the largest independent service provider in the business intelligence market in the world having more than 65,000 sites in over 135 countries across the world. We are already running a joint certification programme of six months duration with SAS at Shri Shikshayatan School premises, where the classes are regularly held at weekends with faculties drawn from CBS as well as from SAS.

Recognizing the fact that development of MSME sector is the backbone of industrial rejuvenation, we have been conducting special programmes for MSME sector in collaboration with Federation of Small & Medium Industries (FOSMI), we have been given a grant by Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India to conduct a research project titled “Extent of R&D and Innovation in MSME: Strategies, Determinants and Effects”. The project is moving as per stipulated schedule.

Our placement happens in 35 diverse industry verticals across 60 different national and multi-national companies mostly through campus interviews. We are achieving 100% placement of our students year after year since the inception of the school. Basic premise of our existence is on the fact that through our residential well devised 360 degree mode of imparting education to our students, we develop them as a productive resource and place them with industries of repute where they perform year after year and those industries come back to us again and again seeking placement of our students. This gives us the confidence that we are indeed in the right framework of imparting knowledge and education. It is also true that the swings in the market, the society and the environment which in general affect the B-Schools, do affect us as well but with the given resilience we are sure to march ahead and succeed.
The fifth batch of PGDM students of 2012-14 Batch who shall be formally conferred with graduation today have already occupied special places in leading corporates. The list of companies who employed our students is also very impressive. It includes names like PricewaterhouseCoopers, Standard & Poors, Berger Paints, Maerskline, ICICI Securities, Eveready, McLeod Russel, HSBC, Future Group, IIFL, Century Ply, XL Dynamics, Franchise India to name a few.  I sincerely thank all those organizations from the core of my heart and we look forward to having long term mutual beneficial relationship.

Finally, few words to the students who are graduating today:

Although you shall be formally leaving the school, you shall stay part of the CBS family throughout your life as distinguished alumni of CBS. I strongly urge upon you to maintain this relationship and help us to build together and uphold the brand CBS, your alma mater as altar of excellence. It is you who shall be the brand ambassador of your school to the world outside. Let us together nurture CBS to a level of excellence contributing to the nation’s growth and prosperity.

The nation today needs young corporate leaders for giving leadership in sustainable growth. I am sure that you shall work steadfast and fearlessly towards this pious objective with value based approach which this institute has embedded in your thought process during your two year stay in this campus. In your journey towards this, you shall face many hindrances and obstacles. You shall come over all those obstacles through your resilience upholding the culture depicted in the words of our Great Poet, Rabindranath Tagore:

       In Poet’s original words:

“বিপদে মোরে রক্ষা করো নহে মোর প্রার্থনা--
বিপদে আমি না যেন করি ভয়।“

In Poet’s own translation:
“Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers
but to be fearless in facing them.

Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain
but for the heart to conquer it.

Let me not look for allies in life's battlefield
but to my own strength.

Let me not crave in anxious fear to be saved
but hope for the patience to win my freedom.

Grant that I may not be a coward,
feeling Your mercy in my success alone;

But let me find the grasp of Your hand in my failure.”

Thank you all very much.


March 28, 2015
Dr Susim Mukul Dutta

My long experience of convocation ceremonies at various venues including my own rights of passage at the Calcutta University six decades ago, I passed out in 1955 and this is 2015, that is sixty years – how old I am.
You, the young graduating friends, would want this ceremony to be over as quickly as possible. Logically, it is so because you wish to enjoy as you have got only a few fleeting moments of release and happiness as you step out of this treadmill of two year of learning only to enter the far more strenuous world of your chosen profession. Some of you have already started working.
I promise to cooperate with you and to ease the weight by being as brief as I can.
Now, your learning experience at the Calcutta Business School, I am told, has already sensitized you to the basic understanding that the business world is an integral part of the larger human society. You will all agree that human society is a splendid example of an organization which is constantly seeking growth and knowledge. Seeking advancement as well as enlightenment and always striving for self expression and renewal. Thus, as evolved through the ages, our society, human society, has encountered more and more complexity and greater and greater diversity.
In order to cope with this diversity, human society has evolved a number of specialized branches. And what we call the business world or corporate world is one of those specialized branches. The good news therefore is that the business world is not a strange world. It confirms to the overall values, overall social objectives and the norms of behaviour within the larger social or the national entity which gives us the shelter and the scope of our work.
And consequently, the reverse is also true. The bad news is that the business world is as much subject to the standards and expectations of the overall society as any single individual is.  I believe that your learnings in the human values area have prepared you very well to deal with this somewhat esoteric aspect of your future endeavours.
In this connection, I would like to remind you of some of the characteristic traits of business world which set it apart from other such specialized activities such as the world of knowledge, world of education, world of administration etc etc. Functionally, business acts as a very vital channel between the primary or secondary producer of goods and services on the one hand and the user or the consumer on the other hand.
Therefore business plays a vital role in generating sustained economic growth. Another such characteristics is the functionally implicable characteristic is necessity – is that of creating an economic service which we generally know and call as profit. This is a measure or the value which has created by this business activity and it adds to develop a society and of the nation. The widely known index of gross domestic product, we read every day of GDP and GNP, this is a measure which tries to capture the economic health of the nation arising out of the creation of this economic service.
Yet you must also remember that the very word profit carries some amount of social stigma which indicates a somewhat incomplete understanding of basic economics. All businessmen, everyone in the business world has to content sometime or the other with this conflict.
Even Kautilya, the political mastermind of the Gupta age, was not free from this dilemma. On the one hand he said, and I quote, “The root of wealth is fruitful economic activity, without it, both present prosperity and future growth will be destroyed.” On the other hand he also said, and I quote, “Merchants are all thieves, in effect, if not in name.”  And everyone in the business world has to live with this dichotomy when we deal with society at large.
Another major issue which is often overlooked by people who are just freshly entering the business is that the relative concentration of resources in the hands of each single business person. If you just take it into consideration the quantum of human resources, working capital, fixed assets, borrowing limits and so on, that even a young manager starting in the job has at her command, you will appreciate, these resources far exceed which the amount of resources which she could muster as an ordinary citizen. So therefore, business places an increased amount of resources at the hands of every individual. And business ethics requires that such resources are used in the responsible fashion for furthering the business goals.
It would also be worthwhile to remember that this of accretion of economic resources, results in accumulation of power and this power is both economic and social. Society understands this very well and it has created a social legal and moral framework which seeks to moderate the exercise of this power while allowing sufficient incentives to encourage the creation of the economic service which I mentioned earlier on.
Managing a business enterprise automatically requires leadership. But this leadership in business is somewhat different from say leading a battalion of troops into war. Every leader has to necessarily understand the strengths and weaknesses of the team members before formulating a strategy. What is special in a business situation as a leader has – necessarily – has to negotiate with each member of the team in order to create an integrated plan of action. How do we learn this? A manager has to learn this by learning first how to be a good follower and then only a manager can develop an understanding for the best way to lead a team.
These are of course a part of the time-honoured management. After all, is it not true that the best definition of true management leader was developed in the Puranic text of the Mahabharat. I shall recite a relevant couplet, just to remind ourselves of the true magnitude of the challenge which you are going to face and you have to surmount. It says, “O! Arjuna, sages like Janaka and others of his time have achieved the supreme goal only through perfection in work. Therefore you should follow their example. But while doing so you must remember the fruits of your work should lead to ultimate welfare and growth of the people.”
And those few words, to me, comprehensively define the real goal which we managers all seek to achieve in the manner in which, I suggest, you may seek to utilize your knowledge, your leadership skills, and your economic resources for promoting the social and national goals for ultimate progress and prosperity.