The landscape of management education has undergone significant transformations in the last three years, more than what it has seen in the past couple of decades. The paradigm shift began with the surge in online education triggered by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. This pivotal transition thrust education into the digital sphere, fostering a dynamic evolution in pedagogical approaches.

However, another watershed moment unfolded approximately a year ago, around December 2022, with the emergence of ChatGPT — an AI breakthrough. The fusion of these two shifts has not only revolutionised education as a whole but has also significantly impacted management education, rendering it more expansive, adaptable and open to a diverse array of experiments.

From examination to AI-mination

With the advent of AI, management education in 2024 will see a lot of challenges with prompt engineering becoming more of a norm and a natural skill for students taking exams. In addition to this, newer tools are likely to come that will aid the take-home examinations for students. To cut down on the dependence on AI for the students and correct measurement of learning, management education will see efforts in making examinations immune to AI usage.

This shift necessitates a transition from conventional examinations to what might be termed “AI-mination.” The objective is to diminish or restrict AI applications in evaluating student’s learning outcomes. This shift will entail a return to proven, old-school methods such as in-class pen-and-paper tests, viva-voce assessments and role plays and simulations. These methods may limit the extent of AI-induced prompting effects, facilitating a more authentic measurement of students’ actual learning effects.

Tools to overcome “I don’t have time to read” problem

In tackling the prevalent “I don’t have time to read” syndrome in management education, educators will start adapting their strategies to accommodate various learning preferences. This involves crafting concise, multimedia-rich content to suit the accelerated learning pace. Breaking down extensive readings and incorporating podcasts, audiobooks and bite-sized case studies offering diversified learning experiences, catering to the auditory and visual preferences of students.

Audiobooks, for instance, offer an opportunity to transform lengthy texts into narrated versions, perfect for on-the-go consumption and internalisation. Embedding concise cases into the curriculum allows for a focused exploration of managerial challenges and solutions, encouraging critical thinking and decision-making in succinct yet impactful doses.

Management education, by harnessing these methods, will not only address the time constraint dilemma but also foster a more engaging, diverse and adaptable learning environment, aligning with the evolving needs of future business leaders.

Developing green skills

According to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, green skills refer to a holistic blend of technical knowledge, expertise and an intrinsic ability to deploy eco-conscious technologies and practices within professional domains. These competencies extend beyond a mere skill set, encompassing a spectrum of values and attitudes crucial for steering environmentally sustainable decision-making in both professional and personal spheres. Positioned at the forefront of the ecological transition, the youth can wield these green competencies to champion sustainable initiatives over extended periods, underlining their pivotal role in shaping a greener future.

Business leaders around the globe have started recognising green skills as the cornerstone of transformative change. This places a crucial mandate on business schools to adapt swiftly. The imperative isn’t just about nurturing graduates adept in commerce but about fostering a new breed of leaders equipped with green skills who seamlessly intertwine business acumen with a deep-seated commitment to sustainability.

As younger cohorts propel the ecological agenda, the cultivation of green skills within business education emerges as an indispensable pivot, steering the future of leadership towards a more sustainable, responsible tomorrow. Management education will be seeking greater policy coordination, social dialogue and collaboration with a varied set of stakeholders to develop green skills among the graduates.

Phygital is here to stay

Even as the pandemic is long gone, the enduring presence of phygital learning within management education remains assured. This blend of physical and digital learning — synonymous with adaptability and versatility — has firmly cemented its position. Specifically, within executive education and refresher learning, it allows learners to engage in remote learning while facilitating in-person collaboration during intensive sessions or workshops. Phygital will also remain relevant as it allows greater reach for management schools that are eyeing participation in government schemes of upskilling millions of people across the societal spectrum.

As these trends converge, they are collectively sculpting a new paradigm in management education — one that is more dynamic, inclusive and attuned to the ever-changing global landscape. It is imperative for educators, institutions and students to embrace these changes, not only to stay relevant but to actively participate in shaping a progressive and sustainable future for business leadership.

(Pratik Modi is Dean, School of Management, BML Munjal University and Satyendra Pandey is Associate Professor, Institute of Rural Management Anand)