Population, the world over, is coming to terms with the reality of the new normal after the pandemic. With people going through similar lifestyle and lifestyle challenges, FMCG brands are attempting to leverage the opportunity to support communities.

For instance, P&G has created a Pampers Baby World App for parents. This app acts as a pregnancy and baby care guide. There are similar examples of other business establishments trying to find a cause that they can support. Even though these measures are part of brand empowerment and brand building, the strategic benefits of such actions can be immense.

Every organization tries to create positive moments of truth for their customers so that they can gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. So, why should educational institutions be left behind?

Business schools that are grappling with issues like greater student engagement and employability of b-school graduates need to use technological tools to establish communication platforms with students as well as parents.

What business schools certainly need to do?

Innovative methods of teaching are no longer an option now. With online classes becoming the norm, greater effort is needed to ensure higher levels of student engagement. Online classroom delivery must go beyond the regular rigmarole.

B-school teachers need sophisticated pedagogical tools to explain complex business theories. Creative approaches to solving complex issues need to be internalized.

Context-based teaching with real-life examples from the business world will ignite student interest in the sessions. Every attempt should be made to encourage reading habits among the students and develop their analytical skills and capabilities.

This is the best time for business schools to establish a rapport with the industry to understand the expectations that they have from B-school graduates. The gap between industry and academia can be bridged only through dialog.

While the marketing of core competencies is essential, business schools should also use functional tools like apps as part of their overall agenda to reach out to prospects and improve the funnel conversion rate. 

Every individual makes an effort to derive the maximum value from their purchases during these uncertain times. So, why should parents sending their wards to a b-school be any different?

Digital Transformation- A necessity at Business Schools

The invasion of digital technologies and social media has resulted in an information overload and attention-deficit syndrome among the population. Reading skills (especially among the younger generation) are slowly waning even as digital distractions and social media interruptions abound.

But it is high time technology is now put to better use. The rigors of the MBA program must be explicated well. Use of YouTube videos to reach out to students and parents to explain a b-school’s value proposition is of utmost essential. An omnichannel marketing approach will inspire confidence among parents and students.

It is vital to create awareness about the expectations of business and industry from B-school graduates. All other actions of the business school must begin with this goal in mind.

For example – an app to guide students about the subjects that they would study as part of the MBA program, selection of the right specialization, the additional tools that are needed to empower the student with the latest competencies, development of soft skills, the merits of students having a research orientation – there can be many additions to this list.

This can also be the right forum to educate students about principles of governance and ethics, developing an entrepreneurship mindset, and the benefits of demonstrating the highest levels of social responsibility by endeavoring to give back to society. With the kind of intellectual capital that business schools boast of, conflating the wisdom, experiences, and expertise of individual faculty members becomes an absolute necessity.

Read: How to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset?

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It’s much more than usual business

In addition to matters concerning academia, exhorting students to practice yoga and meditation as part of wellness measures and educating them about the right nutrition and diet will develop a unique bonding between students and their alma mater.

The point that I am trying to address is that time-tested measures of marketing the merits of a b-school education are no longer enough. Attempts have to be made to enlighten students about what the industry expects of them and what measures are needed for students to equip themselves with the latest skills, knowledge, and abilities to gain a firm foothold in the corporate world. As much as possible, avoid hiring MBAs. MBA programs don’t teach people how to create companies.

The business world has certain expectations of B-school graduates. Students joining a b-school have a set of expectations. Aligning these expectations to derive a fruitful outcome becomes crucial for a business school. This is only possible when the chasm between industry and academia is effectively bridged.

Ensuring the employability of their graduates is the Holy Grail of every B-school. Excellent communication skills of B-school graduates have now become a sine qua non to qualify for a corporate job. Managing the expectations of industry is ineluctable. If the pedagogy and teaching resources can be fine-tuned and worked around this goal, the results can be rewarding in the long run.

The business models of b-schools now need tweaking with a radically different approach to engender a massive transformation in the quality of education being delivered to future corporate leaders.

Check out the video below by the Wall Street Journal on how some business schools have already started to reinvent themselves and what students think of it.

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Professor Venkatesh Ganapathy presently works as Associate Professor (Marketing) in Presidency Business School, Bangalore. He has over two decades of experience in the industry, having begun his career as a management trainee in Castrol India Limited. He has several books and research papers to his credit.

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