Covid-19 has driven organisations to create flexible and adaptive operating models within record time. The share of digitally enabled products, digitisation of customer interactions and the supply chain has been fast tracked at an unprecedented pace (McKinsey Global Survey, 2020).
It is now accepted that the tipping point is well behind us, and a return to a projected normalcy beyond Covid-19 won’t change the pace of technology-driven transformation of organisations.
It is expected that by 2025, redundant and mundane roles will see a drastic decline from 15.4 per cent to 9 per cent, a 6.4 per cent decline (The Future of Jobs report, 2020). Approximately, 95 million new roles will emerge that are adaptable to new work norms between humans, machines, and algorithms.
The speed of technology has also opened up the spectre of skill and talent gaps. It has raised the fundamental question – does India Inc have the right kind of employee resource to handle the magnitude of change? The answer is clearly no. Most industries will be beset by as high as a 75-80 per cent skill gap (India Employer Forum, 2020). To get hired and to fit into emerging job roles will require a deep and sustained focus on skill development to meet the future talent demands of the industry.
4 reasons why management curriculum needs makeover in the post-covid era
The B-schools serve as a crucial link between knowledge and skill development and employment potential. Today, the management curriculum needs a makeover for four key reasons:
- There is an escalating demand-supply gap between industry expectations and the curriculum that B-schools have been holding on to.
- The bulwark of fundamental subjects taught in B-Schools is showing critical vulnerabilities owing to the technological leaps that have taken place in product and service development. Across business areas there is a huge leap in digitisation, and prevailing subject areas are not adequate to respond to this need.
- Accelerated technology adoption and exploration among users have led to a surge in big data analytics, cloud computing, AI, blockchain, and data security replacing conventional technologies as well as business models.
4. Businesses are boundless – platform-based businesses that have opened avenues for geographical free expansion (any market – any time) – this necessitates fresh understanding of that and audience.
Thus, it is important to firmly establish the connection between the emerging skill needs and the knowledge in the management curriculum, so as to meet the productivity standards expected from the industry.
Since 2019, a number of sectors like hospitality and tourism, retail infrastructure, real estate, and manufacturing have shown a downward trend in hiring the workforce. Whereas tech-enabled sectors such as IT and ITeS (education, BFSI, healthcare, e-commerce, m-commerce, social-commerce, etc.), market research, IT consultancy, logistics and supply chain have witnessed exponential growth across geographies. Businesses are becoming more agile and transforming to cater to the customised needs of end-users.
The toughest challenge among businesses is to reduce capital expenditure, manage operational overheads, and consistently deliver quality to ensure customer satisfaction.
Hence, they are bound to re-engineer their processes and migrate to the cloud, which has its own set of challenges of consistently monitoring customer data, and supervising data security and privacy compliance to avoid lawsuits.
As new business models are emerging to serve both B2C and B2B customers, the success of these businesses is heavily dependent on the authenticity of the data and uniformity in processes.
Today, senior executives count on data-backed stories, proof of concept (POC), interdisciplinary analysis (systems thinking), and experiments.
Consequently, future managers must be equipped with skills in systems thinking, data-backed business storytelling, business analytics, business intelligence, data visualisation, prototyping, etc.
It is urgent and necessary that B-Schools should respond to these ecosystem changes and offer subjects like service design, ethics in technology, cyber law, IT-audit, and contextual analytics (e.g., customer analytics, cognitive analytics, HR analytics, empirical finance, business strategy analytics). Furthermore, in the past decade, India has witnessed a surge in startups (approximately 38000) and the emergence of over 5,694 active investors.
Therefore, for future entrepreneurs, subjects like funding and valuation and risk assessment will prove valuable.
Demand for critical thinking and problem-solving skills
In a report published by the World Economic Forum (2020), it is predicted that future jobs would witness an increase in demand for skills that will enhance creative thinking and innovation at every decision level.
Critical thinking and problem-solving skills will be widely sought after. Management programmes must offer a blend of courses that enable future executives to get trained in design thinking and creative problem solving.
A new portfolio of soft skills courses will be extremely relevant – courses in self-management, active learning, digital stress management, developing a mind shift towards hybrid workplace – will add significantly to the skill and ability of future managers.
The Covid-19 black swan has shaken the world with massive changes in business circumstances. As Indian companies gear up to keep pace with the change, the window of opportunity for acquiring and re-skilling is narrowing down. B-Schools need to step in and fill this skill gap. They need to function as design hubs by embracing new subject areas and enabling cross-discipline research.
By Shilpi Jain, Professor, Information Technology, FORE School of Management, New Delhi and Sriparna Basu, Professor, Communication, FORE School of Management, New Delhi.