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Is there a death of Academic Leadership in B-Schools: Dr Rajesh K Pillania

“India's top business schools, including the Indian Institute of Management, are facing challenges in securing job placements for their students this year. The placement season is proving to be one of the most difficult ever for the top IIMs.” Times of India, Jan 19, 2024.

Education Post08 May 2024 14:30

Image: Dr Rajesh K Pillania

Image: Dr Rajesh K Pillania

This academic year, multiple news items focused on placement challenges in the premier institutions from both the public and private sector premier institutions. One easy explanation is the outside problems, such as a slowdown in some global hiring, etc. The scapegoat is the outside world and the problems created by the outside world! 

The problem of placements or employment challenges gets noticed, but is this the only problem or challenge faced by business schools in the country, both in the private and public sectors? Out of multiple challenges or problems, this article focuses on: Is there a death of academic leadership (Directors and Deans) in the country, particularly B-schools?

Generating a regular customer stream is one of the most difficult challenges for any business or organisation. Interestingly, this is not the most difficult challenge faced by academic leadership of premier institutions, as there are more aspirants than seats. A big majority of revenue, approximately 90 per cent or more, comes from student fees.

Getting quality inputs is one of the most difficult challenges for any business or organisation. Interestingly, this is not the most difficult challenge faced by academic leadership of premier institutions, as based on their legacy, they get among the best students in the country.

One of the most difficult challenges for any business or organisation is obtaining quality manpower. Interestingly, this is not the most difficult challenge faced by the academic leadership of premier institutions, as based on their legacy, they can attract good faculty and other staff.

Getting a brand name and network is one of the most difficult challenges for any business or organisation. Interestingly, this is not the most difficult challenge faced by academic leadership of premier institutions, as based on their legacy, the brand is there, and so is the alumni community and networks. This is a great help in the placement process.

So on and so forth. We can continue to examine other big challenges faced by businesses and organisations and compare them with those faced by premier academic institutions. Given so many advantages, is the academic leadership missing the opportunity given them?

In this background, there are five important questions given below:
How are the academic leadership of premier business schools in the country?   

Are they doing what best can be done in B-schools?
Are they making some real contributions besides passing out graduates year after year? 

Are they shaping the future of business education for good?
Are they pushing academic institutions to come up with some good theories?

There are many more questions. However, the important point is:  Does the academic leadership feel the need to ask and answer many such questions?

Business schools are already being questioned for their contributions in multiple forums in various countries. 
How long can business schools continue the same way?

Someone somewhere needs to start making a change. We hope this small article can encourage at least one academic leader to ask these questions and make some small changes!

(This author, Rajesh K Pillania is Professor of Strategy at Management Development Institute, Gurgaon. He is ranked jointly #1 in average research productivity in India, awarded top strategy professor in India, and popularly known as India’s Happiness Professor. His expertise is in making strategy, innovation, and happiness as simple, humorous, and applicable.)

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