The B-schools in India’s tier 2 and 3 cities significantly contribute to the management education landscape as they institutions have brought quality management education closer to the students. With access to high-quality resources, availability of well-researched faculty and corporate connections, these institutions can play a transformative role. A few indicative ways are given below.

Innovation and Adaptability

The B-schools in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities can respond to changing local industry trends and requirements. Hence, good B-schools in these cities have the potential to become a trusted partner for providing solutions to local business problems. They also bring a wide range of business outlooks that range from small-scale supplier firms to manufacturing units that are present in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. They are also exposed to the uniquely Indian phenomenon of ‘jugaad’ that is widely recognised as a frugal innovation at its best. Exposure of MBA students to such out-of-the-box solutions to business problems equips them to be better prepared for their careers ahead.

They also play a crucial role in the economic development of the regions in which they are located since these schools produce a pool of skilled management professionals who can contribute to local businesses and industries, fostering regional growth.

Entrepreneurship and start-up ecosystem

They provide the necessary knowledge, resources and mentorship to aspiring entrepreneurs. MSMEs are expected to grow 7.2 per cent in FY23. There are around 633.9 lakh MSMEs in India creating 120 million jobs across sectors. There is a need for trained management graduates to meet the industry requirements.

B-schools in Tier 1 and 2 cities can play a vital role in designing tailor-made entrepreneurship development programmes. Trained management graduates from these institutions can render research and policy development services, and support them in their marketing activities and capacity building. These B-schools also have a lot of potential to empower rural MSMEs as they can help local businesses grow, innovate and drive economic development.

A good B-school in a rural area with local business ecosystem can produce well-trained future management professionals. This is true of any other B-schools in the country. But those schools that are working closely with the local business ecosystem are more closer to the ground reality.

Sustainability, sustainable development and integration of the MBA syllabus with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have become a reality. B-schools are at a crossroads and need to make their curricula robust enough to address the demands of the VUCA world. In this, Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities provide a unique opportunity for MBA students to work with local entrepreneurs, social enterprises and social development professionals to find holistic solutions to issues faced by larger populations. Hence, ‘SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth’ is achievable only if business targets are integrated with social goals and B-schools in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities have the opportunity to do the same.

Dr Durga Prasad M is Director I/C, TA Pai Management Institute (TAPMI)