Hard to get A-grade faculty for B-schools

P. Saravanan | Updated on June 24, 2013

The faculty should be diverse in every sense.

B-schools should offer faculty the flexibility to pursue research.

The composition and quality of the faculty are of crucial importance with regard to the quality of management education programmes, such as full time/part-time MBA/PGDM, Management Development Programme (MDP), and in-company training programmes. At the same time, the market for academic talent has become more competitive.

Academics have become increasingly mobile, and business schools have to compete for academic talent. High rates of faculty turnover can be costly to the reputation of the institution and the quality of the instruction.

This also means that the smaller business schools have to compete head-on with the larger, resource-rich schools, which figure in the top ten business schools.

According to the latest information given by Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) in Lok Sabha, there are 3,644 business schools in the country offering Master of Business Administration (MBA) and 308 institutions offering Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM). It is essential for the leaders of the business schools to have a solid understanding of the factors governing the recruitment and retention of academic staff.

These are concerns uppermost in the minds of today’s business school leaders. The author attempts to address these issues based on discussion with other business school faculty members to enhance the understanding of the factors that are important for recruiting and retaining faculty.

Driving factor

The following factors generally drive faculty members across the world and, specifically, to India.

(i) Academic freedom; (ii) Adequate time for research and recognition of the work done; (iii) Opportunities for professional development and (iv) Remuneration

To some extent, business schools take into account the above mentioned factors in the current system. But still there is a scope for improvement on the following fronts:

Academic Freedom: The current system provides academic freedom to the faculty members to offer a course that is of current relevance; they can decide the content, valuation, pedagogy etc.,

Adequate time for research and recognition of work done: Research is a vital link between academia and industry as it attempts to bring to the class real life issues while helping industry in problem solving with theoretical under-pinning.

To practice this, faculty must have adequate time to interact with industry. In almost all leading business schools, permanent faculty clock in up to 200 hours in a year.

Thus, adequate time is not available for research, consultancy, case writing and the like. These activities, while enriching the experience and learning of the faculty, bring about better recognition among peers and visibility to the institute.

Opportunities for professional development: This is an area in which business schools developed significantly during the last few years. Opportunities have been offered to the faculty members to attend two national conferences in a year and one international conference in two years.

Apart from this, faculty members who pursue cross-disciplinary work must be encouraged and rewarded. Faculty members are encouraged to work with other members across the globe in a variety of activities, including case writing, research paper writing and the like.

Remuneration: The emoluments paid currently in all most of the business school are expected to cover the core-teaching load arising out of teaching. All other teaching activities such as research, case writing, and administrative work are to be compensated separately.

Depending on the faculty members’ interest, they can pursue one of the above. This, while enriching the business school, also gives necessary monetary incentive to the faculty.

Attracting the right academics: The faculty of the business school should ideally be a mix of Indian academics, foreign doctorate holders and people from industry.

This will give the institute the right blend of different perspectives and age profiles. This would require inviting specific persons to join in the faculty even if it is on a tenure or exchange basis.

Faculty recruitment should happen round the year, depending on the need for such a person from the subject or school’s point of view. To conclude, the above are a few possible strategies that a business school can adopt to attract and retain the best available faculty talent.

(The author is an associate professor in finance and accounting at IIM Shillong.)

Published on June 24, 2013

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