I chanced upon an insightful essay in Business Standard today. In it, a 1988 alumnus of IIM (A) and now Senior General Manager (ICICI Bank) – Madhabi Puri Bach – has put forth her views on what is missing in today’s business schools.
They seemed to echo my own thoughts on the subject; a subject I feel quite strongly about :
Gap 1 : The gap between Theory and Practice
While some institutes practice the "case study" methodology designed to build just this capability, the exercise tends to stop at the strategic level instead of exposing students to practical issues and tasks that need to be done at the day-to-day level. Allocating more time to guest lectures by industry practitioners and making two years of work experience mandatory are two ways to address this problem.
Gap 2 : The gap between Thinking and Doing
Most institutions tend to value high-quality thinking way above high-quality "doing" – a mindset that is perhaps responsible for more failures in the corporate world than any other single factor. Longer summer internships and informal sessions with alumni on their experiences should help considerably to change this.
Gap 3 : The gap between Functional and Organizational skills
Somehow, courses like Organizational Behaviour are treated as "fillers" and people who take them are not taken seriously, when the truth is that "people management" and working with teams is perhaps the most important skillset required in a manager.
Gap 4 : The gap between Short-Term and Long-Term thinking
Most classroom learning tends to focus on ideal long-term solutions, but managers need to learn how to effectively manage the short-term while simultaneously building for the long-term.
Gap 5 : The gap between Simple and Complex
What helps to make an effective manager is often simple things, not complex ones. Basic skills like familiarity with office software, effective communication, time management, etc. can go a long way in improving productivity for all concerned.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.