The 4th Indian B-Schools’ Leadership Conclave 2022 was held recently at New Delhi. The conclave which was organized by Education Promotion Society of India (EPSI) witnessed a huge response and full house participation from the academia, policy makers and thought leaders.
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The conclave was a grand success. It had to be as it was the first of its kind physical event after the pandemic situation, for the management institutes and delegates, speakers and leadership from the management education fraternity, did not want to miss the opportunity to gather under one roof once again just like the ‘old normal’.
The power-packed lineup of speakers lived up to their reputations, and a high level of deliberation happened on some of the hot and demanding topics including – global trends likely to happen; redefining hybrid learning; greater need of customisation and flexibility in MBA curriculum; Accreditations, Rankings; mushrooming online education and digitalisation – a threat or an opportunity; carbon footprints and responsibilities of B Schools; among various other topics.
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EPSI, has always been trying to develop a new perspective about the future of business education in India and with the last two years of the pandemic which have significantly affected how we all live, work, learn and think about the future, it is more important a task to think through, deliberate and create a future ready road map.
Dr. H Chaturvedi, Alternate President EPSI and Director BIMTECH set the tone of the conclave with insights for the future trajectory of Indian B Schools.
Dr. G Vishwanathan, President, EPSI, Founder & Chancellor, VIT University, Vellore, referred to the vast economic and demographic divide and difference in per capita income among the Indian states and stated how this inequality has been a bottleneck for India’s growth.
“Our manufacturing sector is lagging behind. In manufacturing, we contribute only 3% to the world whereas China’s contribution is 28-29%. So there is a lot we can do in manufacturing. Slowly, we should cut down on imports. That’s what our Prime Minister says – Make in India. In fact, I remember when I was in Parliament, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, the then PM used to say the same thing – ‘Import substitution’. She used to call it import substitution. If we’d taken this up in the 70s, by this time we would have cut down most of the imports in the country. Even now, every year we have about a 100 million trade deficit. Unless we close the gap, we can never grow to that extent where we expected to see ourselves,” said Dr. Vishwanathan.
Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Former Vice Chairman, NITI Ayog, New Delhi, and former faculty at IIFT New Delhi, spoke about ‘sustainable capitalism’ which according to him comprise of – ‘Shared prosperity’, ‘Environment sustainability’ and ‘Spirituality’.
He said in his speech, “Capitalism enshrines the most important aspect which is to give the greatest support to a private enterprise, for private spirit, private talent, private creativity but it has to be sustainable capitalism. As per UN Environment Programme, we have only a 20 year window and you can see the results already. We have seen the hottest April in 70 years. Shared prosperity – what do I mean by that? People refer to inequality mostly as income inequality between classes of people but we also have regional inequality.
We have got to create jobs where people want to live. Migration is something that probably our society will find very difficult at this stage. Apart from that, old capitalism doesn’t talk about one thing and that is gender inequality. Female labour participation rates are going down. The percentage of women in top managerial positions is miniscule. Another aspect of inequality which I want to talk about is inequality between stakeholders who’re involved in the same corporation. You have to make the farmers whose land you are taking, partners in your venture. Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of trusteeship must be brought up. One other aspect of inequality is access to quality education and nourishment. 58% of our children are undernourished, 50% of our women are having anaemia. How many of our students think about that? How many of our students have read the National Family Health Surveys files?”.
The Indian B Schools, despite the pandemic and the challenges thrown by it, have fared really well in the current placement season. However, as Dr. Anup K. Singh, Director General, Nirma University, Ahmedabad aptly put it, – What was the role of the B Schools in the phenomenal placements that happened this year especially when the students were all in virtual classrooms for the past two years?