In the world of business management today, appropriate skills happen to be a determining factor for success. On the ground level, however, one finds that there is a serious lack of skills or skill-gaps in the graduating business school students that is affecting their overall employability and career progress.
Skill gap is a two-way challenge for business school graduates. On the one hand, students don’t get commensurate returns on their investments, while on the other hand,the industry doesn’t get qualified and properly trained future managers. A few exceptional schools, like IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, Faculty of Management Studies, and Asian Business School are making conscious efforts to address this issue.
Some recent studies on the current scenario in management education have highlighted this skill gap. For instance, according to the India Skill Report 2019 (an annual survey), only 36.4% of MBA/PGDM graduates are considered employable. The assessment was carried out by testing a large pool of candidates on English, critical thinking skills, numerical aptitude, domain knowledge, and behavioural competence. MBA/PGDM graduates appear to be losing ground consistently, given that the same survey has shown employability among MBAs falling by 6% over a period of 5-years.
There are many factors contributing to this decay: unscrupulous promoters setting up fly-by-night B-Schools, the presence of many non-AICTE certified programmes, inexperienced faculty body, and lack of industry exposure in the programmes. This has led to a deterioration in general standards that make graduates ill-equipped to face the real-life challenges that industry poses in a volatile and ever-changing world. Sadly, at the most basic level, many graduates also suffer from poor communication and technical skills.
Asian Business School (ABS), Noida has a long history of creating capable business managers. The various PGDM courses offered here are AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education) approved.For each PGDM programme, the emphasis is put on creating future-ready managers who are ready to contribute from the day they are recruited from the campus.
To identify and understand the skills required by employers, ABS always remains engaged and involved. The top B-School in Delhi NCR has created a forum where an employer’s representative can experience the institution’s commitment and communicate their knowledge of required skills. A variety of activities ensure that the curricula at ABS are regularly maintained and improved upon – chief among them being through meeting accreditation requirements, both at the national and international levels. By considering industry inputs regarding the skills and competencies needed, and then ensuring that such skills are incorporated into the curriculum and properly measured, a clear pathway can be created in which graduates can add immediate value to an employer’s operations.
On the academic front, ABS’s courses focus on furthering practical learning through an optimum mix of lectures, classroom discussions, case studies, role-plays, group discussions, quizzes, and special sessions with industry and trade professionals, management games, sensitivity training, management films, industrial visits, industry interaction and, last but not the least, the International Immersion Programme. Students are encouraged to present their cases through individual or group presentations. Furthermore, opportunity is provided through the participation of students in various seminars and workshops.
The endorsement for ABS’s methodology comes from the recruiters. ABS continues to improve on its placements record year after year. New-age organizations are happy to find the skill sets they are looking for. The continuous efforts by faculty at ABS to keep the pedagogy relevant to the workplace, has been a rewarding experience. Prominent recruiters from across sectors and industries have been visiting our campus. Every year,ABS attracts new companies in addition to the existing organizations. It has been receiving positive feedback from recruiters, who are hiring its students for diverse roles and responsibilities in different domains.
At ABS, students are encouraged not to rest on past achievements. They are always inspired to work hard and prepare well in advance. The placement office – viz. Corporate Resource Cell (CRC) – works rigorously with the students to help the young learners distil their academic learning into practical lessons and sharpen their ‘soft skills’. Since training in communication skills is woven into the curriculum, robust communication becomes a way of life for students rather than a skill to be learned just before interviews. It is the same with other skills like using spreadsheets or presentation slides. Moreover, the vibrant Student Council and Student Clubs also helps students to bolster their leadership, event management and mobilization skills. This approach has enabled several ex-students of ABS to reach distinguished leadership positions working with multinational and Indian business groups in India and abroad.
Guest Sessions with distinguished alumni and other industry leaders are another important source of gaining up-to-date knowledge for ABS students. These sessions with distinguished guest speakers help students to keep in touch with industry, ask questions, and develop linkages with their curriculum. ABS’s location in the heart of Delhi NCR also helps the B-School to tap into a rich pool of speakers from manufacturing and services, and bureaucracy and the government.
To conclude, it can be said that if India is to deliver on its potential of being the growth engine of the world, we need to address the skill challenge by adopting initiatives that are learner-centric, inspire innovative thinking, and encourage life-long learning.