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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Find Your Passion

Article Collected by AndhraColleges.com - Education is My Passion

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Author : AJIT RANGNEKAR

HE CAN INTROSPECT COMPLEX ISSUES IN A JIFFY, AND SEE FAR BEYOND THE APPARENT REASONS FOR A PROBLEM.ISB DEAN AJIT RANGNEKAR AND HIS TEAM HAVE A LOT TO CELEBRATE WITH THE ISB BEING RANKED AS THE 12TH BEST BUSINESS SCHOOL IN THE WORLD NOW! INTERESTINGLY, THE DISCUSSION WITH EDUCATION TIMES CENTERED AROUND VALUES, AS MUCH AS IT DID AROUND BUSINESS RESEARCH

 That would you like to see happen at the ISB in the next five years, over and above everything that is already in place? 

    Certainly a greater emphasis on research. 

   I think we have achieved a lot on the teaching side and we need to do more on research.There is an enormous opportunity to do really exciting research in this country and in all developing economies that are not yet being done and we must fill that gap.The second thing we should do is think of how we are contributing to the society we live in and our emphasis should be not just for our businesses but on all parts of the society and the focus should be to create a major impact in all those areas. I would like to see all that happen in the next five years.

What is the biggest myth students have about an MBA education?

I think it has to be about the fact that MBA is a passport to better paying jobs. I think that is a ridiculous notion and something that we must all together very strongly refute.You simply cannot get a great career by going into something that you have no aptitude for. So choosing MBA education simply because it is likely to get you a higher paying job is not true. If you do a survey of a large number of students from even the top most business schools in this country, you will know that over the last 20 or 30 years a large number of them have not done very well career wise simply because they didn't have the aptitude; and then they have started other things. So we have to get more students away from this mindset and get them thinking in terms of what careers excite them. I think that is a collective job of media, of educational institutions, everybody.

Would you say that understanding the way business is done both in the West and East is now es sential for anyone aiming for a serious business career? Is the current body of research available deep enough to help a student understand both worlds?

Absolutely, there is no such thing as industry that is protected today from global forces. Very, very few probably and therefore it is absolutely critical for you to know how business is done, not just broadly in west and east but in every country. Doing business in India, I suspect, is very different from doing business even in Bangladesh and unless you understand that difference you will not be successful in Bangladesh. So that is important but your point is absolutely valid that, at the moment there is no research of high quality that enables faculty to teach the students about working in developing economies and that is the gap that certainly we at the ISB are very keen to fill in. It is not just ISB; I think we should encourage other educational institutions in this country to undertake high quality research on issues of emerging economies. One ISB is simply not going to be capable of doing justice to this whole subject.We have to create a large group of researchers who will look at the vast number of issues and of emerging economies. So that is just about India.What about China? What about Indonesia? What about Bangladesh? What about Brazil,Venezuela and so on? So there is an enormous amount of work that still needs to be done. 

Deans of several institutions have shared with Education Times the need to set up schools of law, engineering, humanities and business in one campus as is common abroad, to help students be more rounded is their approach to work. How would you respond to this idea? 

    Let's look at the facts. 

   First of all, there is hardly any university that does all these things, which is a high-ranking university on any academic front in India. In India, all the excellent institutions are single featured, so you get great business schools which are stand alone, you get great medical institutions which are stand alone, you get the national law institutions which are stand alone. So I think to claim that being a part of university is important is not absolute when it is not really being proven by hard facts. 

   Secondly, at what stage do you give people a wellrounded approach? Why must business schools, which are as it is one year or two year programmes, have to give well rounded education to people? By all means, let us give well rounded education programs at the under graduate level. I think that is absolutely necessary and the fact that we put people into a science stream or arts stream in school and do not at all emphasis humanities is a crime, but this merger of education and this well rounded education must happen at school level or at an undergraduate level. 

   So will there be a useful interaction between various faculties? Absolutely. Should we offer courses, for example, in business that has law, which as you know may be public policy? But to take it to an extreme and say all humanities must always be at all levels; I think it is a bit too much.The second thing is that obviously as a country we have not understood how to manage large complex organisations. So I am not convinced that converting institutions to universities is such a great idea.

Indian students do not generally think in terms of their passion and excitement while choosing a career path. Does that bother you?

Yes, it bothers me tremendously. But I think before we condemn the students let us ask what the industry has done about it. How much effort does industry make to explain to the students early enough what exciting career paths there are, and if you do not convey that passion and excitement how do you expect a student to know about it? So academic institutions and industry have to work together to show and demonstrate the passion and excitement in career so that then the students will choose the right one. At ISB, we have seen students choosing small exciting companies during recruitments over large well-established names because of the passion and excitement associated with that company. 

   One way of looking at the impact of the recession is that it has pruned businesses that did not deliver value, and has made several business schools worldwide rethink their syllabus. How did the period impact thought at ISB?

Rethink of syllabus happens all the time. It is not that you have to wait for a downturn to rethink the syllabus. So did this downturn affect syllabus? Absolutely. I think more and more schools started talking about risk management, more and more schools took a hard look at the quantitative financial modules and the economic theories. If anything big happens, the world rethinks it. So that is obvious, and we also have added (those subjects). But I think there is another more deep issue - how do people look at leadership? Is leadership still an issue of ‘greed is good’? I think unless we change that, will we continue to get sensible leaders? No we will not. So if we want to get responsible leaders we have to change the way leaders think and that is going to be the emphasis that business schools have to give. And we have certainly started looking at it sometime ago. Actually we had started looking at it even before the downturn started as to how do we change the make-up of leaders and the way they think? How do we get them to know about doing the good in the society? How do we get them to be responsible? And our students of class of 2010 have just taken the initiative of how do they become responsible leaders. I think I am excited about that. So I do believe that all of us will have to change, all of us will have to adapt, all of us will have to think about the future very differently. 
Source : Times of India
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