Government Policy Should Encourage Autonomy in Managing Institutes : Prof Vinod K. Gupta, Director – Management Development Institute

Prof Vinod K. Gupta, Officiating Director of Management Development Institute (MDI), one of India’s premier B-School, is a well-known professor of Human Resource and Management (HRM). Prof Gupta shared his opinion on the incipient management issues and transformation in the management education in India with Pragya Gupta, digital LEARNING bureau.

Please throw some light on latest development at MDI? What initiatives MDI is planning to take in near future for bettering the management education?

MDI’s growth on all fronts – research, teaching, training, and consulting has been a key factor in development. In 2006 Association of MBAs (AMBA, UK and Europe) had awarded its accreditation to MDI’s PGPM, PGP-HR and NMP. Now in February 2011, in recognition of MDI’s rising profile as a B-school with global standards, all our six programmes have been awarded accreditation by AMBA, UK and Europe, making it the first B-school in India to have received this coveted stamp of approval.

MDI has the vision to be a global business centre for thought leaders and change masters for academic excellence and Continuous Innovations. MDI would also like to create thorough expansion of current activities in the areas of new product development, geographical expansion, and internationalisation. MDI’s Board of Governors has set up another campus at Murshidabad, West Bengal. We propose to start our activities in the new campus by 2012.

We plan to expand our reach both in India and abroad. We are also strengthening our international linkages with some of the best institutions of the world. This is to enhance the global footprint of MDI. MDI has partnered with about 50 business schools in the world for student and faculty exchange further fostering this opportunity.

Being located in the NCR, the institute is situated in the hub of corporate. Most of the Fortune 500 companies are present in Gurgaon giving us the opportunity to interact and collaborate with the industry.

What are your opinions on Foreign Education institution bill? Do you think inviting universities will solve the problems pertaining to education in India?

We welcome the Government’s decision to allow foreign universities to set their campus in India. However, strict parameters should be set for selecting the foreign educational institutes to ensure that only the best would be allowed. Clear rules, process and policies should be laid for these universities for setting up campus and functioning. These institutes should offer the same course curricula and degree here, which they offer abroad. This will encourage Indian educational institutes to gear up for enhancing the quality of delivery, quality of content sand academic rigour so as to be at par with the best foreign institutions. The Government should also ensure level playing field for the students who are coming from abroad to study in India. Accreditation should be in place for these universities. Accreditation puts systems in place. Process for allowing these universities need to be absolutely transparent and objective oriented without any biases.

However, it would be preferred if instead of setting their campus independently, these must be set up in collaboration with the existing Indian schools of repute. These would not only hasten the process but the students will get the best of both.

What are the key issues and challenges that need to be addressed to produce more skilled workforce?

Applied and practical knowledge is highly required for making people skilled to perform jobs but too much focus on theoretical knowledge still prevails in the country, which is a hindrance in producing a more skilled workforce. The courses should be designed in such a way that the students are encouraged to apply the knowledge and see the practicality of the same at the organisational level.

We are increasingly seeing that the traditional rote learning method is getting replaced by learning based on comprehension. What are the new emerging methods in teaching in management?
MDI uses the case method of learning – a pedagogy used extensively by MDI faculty and some of the best B-Schools worldwide. Many effective and pragmatic management development and MBA programmes use the case method of learning in a manner similar to that used in law and medical schools. The great strength of the case method in developing managerial skills stems from the fact that it forces one to take an active role in analysing real organisational situations.Apart from this, we use experiential learning, simulation exercises and role plays as our teaching and learning tools. The classroom sessions are interactive where there is active involvement and participation from the students. The out bound method of learning is an interesting way to learn beyond class room experience. Rote learning is a learning technique that focuses on memorisation. The major practice involved in rote learning is learning by repetition. By definition, rote learning eschews comprehension, so by itself it is an ineffective tool in mastering any complex subject at an advanced level. It should strongly be discouraged and replaced with concept oriented understanding.Please comment on transformation  of Indian Industry and Management Education? In the last three years we found that Indian business schools are more concerned about improving the quality of education and engaging themselves in carrying out researches and publications. Indian B-Schools are seriously considering national and international accreditation to improve their quality. MDI is the first B-School to get national accreditation from the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) and internationally accredited by SAQS and AMBA. India is witnessing industrial and business growth. As business grows, requirement for professionally efficient managers also grows. I can see that happening in India and therefore there is ample scope for business schools to offer business education to aspiring students.

How do you train the next generation of managers in the midst of unprecedented challenges with global economic meltdown?
Leadership development is an important aspect of any B-School curriculum. We should present the students an understanding of what and how the great leaders have been doing so that the students learn from their actions.

Should the government policy, rankings, and accrediting systems, that inevitably will emerge, reflect and support this approach? The government policy should encourage autonomy in managing the institutes.The rankings should have the credibility at the international levels and the accrediting systems should not only be foolproof but also bring out the areas that need to be improved by the institutes.

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