The excessive focus on business related subjects has made management education less inclusive of other disciplines. Transdisciplinarity involves combining perspectives and methodologies from multiple fields to address complex and ever-changing challenges. It provides a holistic understanding of business problems and will equip students with the ability to think ‘out of the box’ for practical solutions.

For example, literature provides insights into human emotions and behaviour. A finance student who is fond of literature could use the insights to better understand market dynamics and investor behaviour. HR students with an interest in literature may have a deeper understanding of human relationships, communication, empathy and cultural awareness.

Revamp Stop Being Taught, Start Learning

The traditional pedagogical approach in management education should be re-evaluated in favour of a more personalised and modern approach such as heutagogy. This learning approach, which is centred on self-determined learning, is more closely aligned with the demands of the modern workplace and the development of transferable trans-disciplinary skills that are essential for life-long learning. Incorporating heutagogy through self-directed projects and coaching, business schools such as the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business and the Faculty of Business at the University of Wollongong are embracing this approach in their MBA and executive education programmes.

Though sustainability has remained a buzzword in management education, there has been no visible changes in the curriculum and practices. Leading business schools are increasingly prioritising sustainability and incorporating it into various aspects of their curriculum, research and overall operations rather than just dedicating a few elective courses to it. For example, Harvard Business School and the Stanford Graduate School of Business announced their commitment to achieving carbon neutrality and implemented many initiatives on campus to reduce their carbon footprint, such as energy efficient lighting and building systems, recycling, composting etc.

Emotions matter

Future leaders need to be socially sensitive ones who can give heed to people, empathise with them and motivate them. Despite its commitment to grooming the next generation of managers, B-schools have been criticised for snubbing the emotional needs of students. The rigorous class schedules and home works of B-schools don’t provide many avenues for students to express their emotional concerns, and, if they do, many schools do not have proper arrangements to facilitate the support required. The need of the hour is well-rounded managers and leaders who appreciate all sides of business and can hone their personal and behavioural skills to adapt to changing situations.  Top B schools like Sauder School of Business, have developed an ‘emotional capital’ report to evaluate individuals’ personalities and attitudes. 

On Accreditations

The pursuit of accreditation should be organic and natural, aligned with the values and culture of the institution. Setting up unsustainable standards and processes just for the sake of obtaining or maintaining accreditation goes against its spirit. At the same time, innovating new and unique learning practices should not be impeded by accreditation requirements. The standards set by accreditation agencies should be inclusive and flexible enough to recognise and appreciate the unique learning practices and innovations that align with the institutional environments.

(The writer is Assistant Professor of accounting, economics and finance, TAPMI. Views are personal)