Saturday, September 26, 2009

What b-schools ought to be doing now

The thoughts in the latest column (Schumpeter) of this week's Economist magazine set my heart racing. The author tore apart the assumptions and vested interests that are in-built into the business school industry world-wide. As the leader of a chain of five business schools (as on date), it's important for me to analyse this. I advise all b-school leaders to read this one for sure.

The key charges against the industry are -
(with stalwarts like the Harvard Business School named specifically)
  1. The B-school industry is self-serving to the extent of being technically wrong at times
  2. The Professors can pull wool over your eyes as long as their interests (read 'consulting assignments') are being served
  3. The products carry a one-sided view of the world - only the booms, not the busts
  4. In a new world order post the global-crash, serious reworking is needed
Based on my professional experience, my ratings for these four allegations
  1. One hundred percent correct
  2. Almost fifty percent correct
  3. Almost eighty percent correct
  4. One hundred percent correct
While reading the column, I instantly recalled every conscious decision we took while creating the vision for our business schools just 14 months ago. Put briefly, our vision can be summarised as
  1. Create leaders (students) that are down-to-earth
  2. Focus rigorously on global vision development
  3. Develop compassion, honest values, respect for simplicity
  4. Take a long term view, and develop it in the students as well
And do all this in an enviroment of world-class quality and culture.

All this has required (of us) a lot of resources, commitment and patience! I surely pray that we are able to deliver this year in and year out, irrespective of what shape the economy takes in the short term.

The golden rule that "Class is permanent" is our driving force. Sacrifice playing-to-the-gallery. Sacrifice short-termism. Sacrifice sick razzmatazz.

In an industry now populated with marauders/ land-mafia/ politicians/ scamsters posing as 'management gurus', we hope that our honest educationsts-led approach gets noticed and rewarded.



Akshay Kothari said...

Respected Sir,
It was really great Reading about your Vision for Customers of Education Industry.And surely i m proud to be a PROTON we are being delivered everything commited.
But it feels great Reading about COLLEGE DROPOUTS like Richard Branson,Subhash Chandra,Bill Gates,Gautam Adani etc. they had nothing what we get today and still they are playing in BILLION DOLLARS.We have to learn Management and Leadership here and they implemented it without learning.
Here comes the Question and i m still without Answer!!

Chetan Choparia said...

Respected Sir,

Nice to read this!

As I read the title of latest column (Schumpeter) of this week's Economist magazine.I recollect your words in our very first session on 20th July 09, my first day at Proton which I believe is "turning point of my life", You said that "at present what other business schools are providing to students and after some years their curriculum and teachings are not able to cope with present scenario" and after 2 months "Economist" is saying the same thing that what business schools are doing ?
We are getting more than what we are promised.
Our Honour Code, which I respect from my heart which has changed me as a person.

I proud to be a proton .

Thank You,
Proton Chetan Choparia
Fall 09

Bhejabhund (Rahul) said...

Respected Sir
As this whole blog and the concerned article of "The Economist" is on the education industry i just want to share one thing that the elementary education in India has to be reformed. Practical knowledge is not at all provided weather it be a school or a college. Few Business schools provide such type of curriculum which can actually groom a student into a professional. I am happy to be in PROTON that we are far better and ahead of many management schools of India. Your efforts will definitely give the sweetest fruits in the coming years.
I wish you all the success.
Rahul Mundra
Fall 09

Anurag Khandekar said...

Respected Sir,
This is the ardent truth, the renditions in industries and corporates are changing leaps and bounds and we need to adapt and adhere to their pace, I feel that i am fortunate to be a part of PROTON business school, where i was awakened from a deep slumber thinking that everything going around us is merry. Sir as you mentioned in one of the LTS sessions that the world is changing everyday and you need to adapt to that pace as a future manager or else you will perish. I would like to thank you Sir for enriching my knowledge. At last i would like to conclude by saying, "Survival of the Fittest".

Warm Regards,
Anurag Khandekar,
Carnegie Hall

Test said...

Anurag - indeed we need to keep pace with what's changing outside. And remember what I always say : "survival of the fittest" is just a fallout of "adaptation to the external environment, and natural selection". A general hint : try using simpler words.

Rahul - you must have noticed the number of basic things we are working on, at PROTON. We have realised that management education in most institutions is a grand farce, at least in India. PROTON is a strong, solid, fearless reply to the entire establishment that we are capable of creating an alternative, and we have created it. Nothing, and nobody can stop our effort to shape some of the most reliable leaders of tomorrow.

Chetan - I am glad you remembered that. The entire Top Team at PROTON realised this years ago. Frankly, I do not think much of the IIMs (and other Top Govt. B Schools) either. Minus the great students they manage to attract, they are almost nothing. Several of the professors are political, and several of the remaining (who are not) are either busy chasing tenures, or consulting industries (and we know what that means.. read the article). So be confident and very proud of who you are, and what you are doing at PROTON. In just a few years, if you truly put into practice what we are learning together, you will be at the top.

Akshay - you too can "play" in billions of dollars. Education is not needed for that. Grit, tenacity, vision and loads of luck are. Education may just end up facilitating that a bit more. best of luck :-)

Menal said...

Respected Sir,
The field of education needs a drastic change in India.The syllabus that was thought years ago is still being thought to students in most of the colleges today.But being a PROTON makes us feel proud because the change that is required has started from PROTON.Things that are actually required are being implemented here.And Sir with your blessings and are hardwork may be some of the PROTONS can make this drastic change there is nothing impossible in this world.

With Regards,
Menal Lunawat,

Swatee singhal said...

Respected Sir,

I'm a Pt student and i really THANK YOU for making us aware of the fact that what actually a B-school provides, how we have to use its resources and make the best out of them and above all what leadership means,much before we actually join a B-school; through LTS,Gk sessions, blog, Ad-Pro and many more channels. I would cherish these all throughout my life.

I wish you and your team all the very best for your present and future endeavors.

I'm proud to be a part of PT family where values are not only confined to words, but are actually implemented.

Swatee Singhal
Pt student

Test said...

Menal and Swatee - the seeds of success lie within you. The problem is many of us take a lot of time identifying that WE ARE the miracle (that's a line I've borrowed from "Bruce Almighty!). But that's how it is. So the sooner you identify that truth, the faster will the action be. Best of luck!

Vipul kothari said...

Dear Sir,
Warm Greetings
Education system of India is changing drastically and adapting with this change and in fact creating the change, is the need of the hour. Now a day’s education industry is becoming a factory of producing degree for students (But only few schools are really successful).Everyone has a false notion in his/her mind that opening a institute or B School or a college is the most profitable thing. But luckily it’s not like that easy. It requires serious determination with commitment. I proud to b a PROTON and part of Proton Business School.

Great insight by you Sir.

Proton Vipul Kothari

Test said...

Hey Vipul, good to hear that!

shraddha said...

Respected Sir,
I read this article .No doubts it was a truth teller.I remember that in one of your sessions you said that 90% of B-Schools will not survive after 2 years because of their redundant curriculum.
And the Economist gave the same message in this week's edition.

I contradict the 3rd key charge of the industry(of your log post)because Proton is preparing us, for next 30 yrs, with the both-sided view of world -the booms and the busts as well.

I am proud of being a Proton and feel myself very lucky to be a part of this change.We are getting ready to conquer the world with the 'Positive Transformation'.
Thank you Sir
Proton Shraddha

Akash said...

Dear Sandeep Sir,

Today, on Diwali, I learnt your blog address. "The Economist" or not, I'd recommend everyone to read YOUR columns!

Despite being just magicians, we too are feeling the challenges and opportunities of global exposure because for the first time, they are right here, perched on our door-steps. Yet...we feel confident of our future. The reason - our immovable belief in strong basics. One might not be gifted with vision but a bit of common-sense dictates that following some evergreen principles(e.g. quality, honesty), long-term success will be assured. Fluctuations will check our commitments so that men can be separated from boys. Given that, Sir, your honest efforts need no recognition and reward. There is no need to hope too. It is, somehow, an automatic process which is fool-proof too. Like a beautiful painting amidst gray buildings and concrete, quality and hard-work shine as if they generate their own energy. One can't help but notice it.

2008 was tough. Not so much because of the recession but because everyone was busy trying to find that new equilibrium which follows every panic. Now I think we all are more settled. And ready with new courses of action and renewed determination. Things are already looking up. And we are very optimistic of the coming times.

Sir, you remain, as ever, an inspiration. Through your blog, I'll hear you time and again and recharge myself when the going is tough.

Thank God I know you!