A business school needs to invest in technology, faculty and support systems so that it can adapt with the change or adopt the change. Pawan Kumar Singh, Director, IIM Trichy in interaction with BW Businessworld, talks about management education, classroom teaching and its relevance, measures necessitated by the pandemic to compensate for as well as supplement classroom learning, among other things. Edited excerpts:
In your opinion, what are the strategic drivers for the institutes in the business education sector?
Given the broad change in the landscape of management education in the country, it is imperative that a business school demonstrate proficiency in a portfolio of activities such as teaching, research, training and consulting. In addition, early adoption of technology and investment in IT infrastructure by business schools is the need of the hour.
What are you doing to stay ahead and re-visualise your institution?
We strive to become a holistic business school with excellence in teaching, research, training and consulting and have invested significantly in IT infrastructure that helped us not only during the COVID times but also for our online certificate programmes and online management development programmes.
According to you, will there be an impact on on-campus education from the changed scenario?
On-campus education and online education caters to two very different segments. Our earlier experience in online education helped in temporarily transitioning on-campus education to online during COVID period. However, in premier business schools, both on-campus and online education will continue to grow in their own segments. While some of our online programmes are offered purely in that mode, rest of them have on-campus components where the participants spend some time in the campus.
How do educators need to reorient themselves for this change?
Teaching in a face-to-face session is very different from teaching in an online session. A faculty needs to be familiar with the technology and the features a platform offers while delivering an online session. There are several features and devices that can be used during an online session that could enhance the student learning experience. A business school needs to invest in technology, faculty and support systems so that it can adapt with the change or adopt the change.
How has the COVID crisis affected campus placements?
COVID certainly had a significant impact on how campus placements are managed. While the initial few months in 2020 were tough, with the help of several key stakeholders including recruiters, alumni, faculty and the student body, we were able to successfully navigate several challenges to provide the best opportunities for our students. Continuous support was provided to all students and alumni who lost their jobs and summer internships during the COVID period.
Many recruiters made a shift to conduct their recruitment process online after COVID. As we already made significant investments and efforts in ramping up our digital infrastructure, we were able to seamlessly transition into this mode and effectively supported all recruiters in this process.
What are the new management courses that should be introduced?
Periodically reviewing the curriculum, monitoring its quality and adapting the structure with the market requirements for the existing management courses is the need of the hour to make them more successful.
New management courses may be experimented with certificate programme before launching a degree level programme. We are offering several niche and focussed long duration certificate programmes through online education that cater to the diverse market needs.
Are we seeing more female students coming into management studies? What steps have you taken to ensure this?
IIM Tiruchirappalli has been seeing more female students joining the MBA programme for the past few years since moving to our own campus. This is due to the secured campus with best in class facilities that makes our institute as one of the most preferred ones for female students. In addition, the admissions process also facilitates more female students to join the programme.