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MBA at IIMs: Teaching Pedagogy

Nov 16, 2018 19:10 IST
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MBA at IIMs is a dream for numerous students, but rarely do they know what awaits them once they enter the campus of a B-school. Want to know what you will learn after joining top MBA colleges in India? What will be the learning processes and teaching pedagogy that IIMs follow? Let’s hear it directly from Prof. Anindya Sen – Ex-Dean – Academic and Programme Initiatives IIM Calcutta.

Extracts from the Interview:

Teaching Pedagogy at IIMs

When students come to B-schools, they come with certain expectations and views about what being at a premier B-school like IIM Calcutta is going to be like and what are they going to learn here and other expectations related to this topic. But, the important thing to note here is that, different B-schools have different culture and different ways of imparting management education. Therefore, the teaching pedagogy and learning process at different B-schools will be different.

If we look at management education today as against what it was 3 or 4 decades back, one will realize that it has undergone a drastic transformation. In the 60s and 70s, managers were majorly produced for the Public Sector Enterprises. Surely, there were a few private sector businesses, but they were majorly family run business entities. In short, the demand for professional managers / management, who were skilled in the art of business management, was less. Compare that to the current time, the scenario of management education has changed drastically. Today, most companies, be it in public sector or private, seek professional managers who have certain skills and the right attitude, for their organization.

This is where skills that a premier B-school imparts to the students come into the picture. The skills that B-schools like IIM-Calcutta instil in a candidate depend upon two things i.e.

  1. The dynamic nature of the market / economy
  2. The hyper competition that is prevalent in the market

These two factors compel a B-school to revise, improvise and reinvent the skills that they teach to their students and the teaching pedagogy that they follow. A management graduate or a management student cannot rest on their past laurels. This makes innovation and presence of mind the two most important skills that B-schools teach the students.

Simply put, a B-school prepares a student not only by helping them gain some specialized skills but instead they give them the right tools that can be applied to different situations and circumstances to solve any problem. In other words, they don’t have to reinvent the wheel but instead know how to use the wheel in the best possible manner to solve the problems that they will encounter in their professional life.

Similarly, while B-schools don’t teach specialized subjects or skills, they do help the management students keep track of the latest and upcoming trends in the business world and help them understand their impact and the problems they might encounter in these new and upcoming fields. For instance, it is common knowledge that emergence of new domains as Artificial Intelligence and Genetics have the potential to change the world that we live in. But in addition to knowing this fact, it is also important for a business manager to know why AI or Genetics is going to be a big thing in the near future and what the possible applications of these new domains are. 

So, B-schools like IIM Calcutta have adopted a two pronged approach in their teaching pedagogy.

  1. Prime focus theories, basic ideas and concepts which is more aligned with the teaching format that is followed in Universities
  2. Focus on Case studies and application based usage of tools. This approach is more associated with B-school learning process at the global level.

This two pronged approach to B-school teaching pedagogy makes learning process at top MBA institutes more holistic in nature i.e. it covers both theoretical learning as well as the application of different theories and concepts.

About the Expert:

Prof. Anindya Sen is a faculty of the Economics Group at IIM Calcutta. In addition, he was also the Dean - Academic & Programme Initiatives at IIM Calcutta in the past. He has also been a member of the Board of Governors as the faculty representative at IIM Calcutta. Apart from IIM Calcutta, he has also been associated with IIM Ranchi as Director In-charge for over two and a half years.

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