There’s no place for rigidity in management course curriculum in a VUCA world!

The growing trend of several privately-run universities and management institutions offering specialised/niche postgraduate courses in management that are more strongly in sync with the requirements of Industry 4.0 [1] is a welcome development as it equips students to better navigate a world marked by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA), and, most importantly, makes them more employable from the standpoint of companies.

However, it would help, going forward, if these institutions could also develop the agility in addition to becoming open to the idea of making changes to the course curriculum of a specialised management program even while the program is on if the demands of employers necessitate such a step.

Rigidly sticking on to a course curriculum just because it had appeared proper when the program was conceived and started does not mean that it must be persisted with as originally envisaged if the business environment suddenly changes due to some black swan event/s [2] or the market entry of a widely disruptive technology.  

Modifying the curriculum because the circumstances demand such would work in the best interests of students by raising their employability quotient and ensure that they are not found wanting when it comes to the set of skills that a corporate is on the lookout for among fresh hires in a new business setting. Embarking on an initiative of this nature, if required, could also shore up the brand reputation and goodwill of the institutions, bringing with it gains for the facilities in the form of lower student acquisition costs and the ability to attract some of the best and brightest of aspiring management graduates.

There is little risk of a sudden modification in the course content being misconstrued by key stakeholders, especially by students (besides their parents and/or society of which they are a part), as an attempt by the institution to not do something that it had originally promised so long as the reasons for the pivot are clearly and transparently explained by the educational facility to all interested parties.

The All-India Council for Technical Education [3] – that regulates management education in the country – should be made aware of the changes that are being made in the course curriculum, and a detailed clarification provided of the rationale behind the move and the benefits that could accrue to students as a result. A similar information dissemination exercise should also be carried out with the governments of the states where the privately-run universities/management institutions are located so that they, too, are in the know of what is happening.

At the end of the day, educational institutions offering postgraduate programs in management mainly exist to ensure that students enrolling in such programs can take advantage of the learning that they obtain to find well-paying jobs at companies of their choice. Being adaptive and flexible in their approach even if that entails redesigning the course curriculum while a program is on should be something that privately run institutions offering management programs must not shy away from.       

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About the Author

Sumali Moitra is an Advisor at the Gurgaon-based R M Consulting. Views expressed are personal. Twitter: @sumalimoitra

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