‘We aim to boost entrepreneurial initiatives through corporate investments and mentorship’

In your experience as the head of your institute, what is the transformation management education has seen?

Management education was introduced in India to address the needs of individual businesses and large corporate organisations. After the establishment of IIMs, B-schools have ballooned across the country. At last count, there were 4000 plus, making quality control a difficult task. While India has the largest MBA market in the world, most of the B-schools in the country are striving hard to offer quality education, improve the employability quotient and mentor its students to become Thought Leaders. Acquiring benchmarks in quality education like the AACSB accreditation remains a distance dream for most of them.

WeSchool has always attempted to redefine its role as a pioneer in management education. One such area was in e-Business and leveraging technology. When we launched a PGDM program in E-Business, about a decade back, the then dot com bubble had gone kaput, and yet we were confident that the programme will succeed as technology and e-business trends are here to stay. The rest is history. WeSchool has chosen to embed principles of design thinking, innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership development as a horizontal character across all these programmes.

In terms of the classroom experience, professors are altering their approach towards stimulating more learning by the students, as compared to the earlier preoccupation with teaching. Students are pushed to learn, using new media, and bring issues to the class for discussion and debate. The use of video support has increased in the delivery of content.

What are the qualities that you look out for while admitting students?

We take into consideration past academic records, entrance test scores, but seek those with a strong EQ and personal qualities like passion, leadership, curious and creative mindset, empathy and readiness to be involved in social causes, extra-curricular activities and out-of-the-box thinking.

And the qualities that we look for are – ‘YES, I CAN!’ spirit, willingness and attitude to bring change, zeal to overcome adversities, dedicated approach, ability to develop and transform into leaders, blending demands of corporate professionalism with softer societal values and social development.

What is the gender ratio at your school? Do you think this is a valid question in management education?

With nearly 600 students from all over India enrolled in WeSchool’s full-time PGDM programmes, admissions are strictly on the basis of merit and there is no reservation on the basis of caste or gender. Interestingly, WeSchool has always had a healthy ratio of male and female students (Male: female – 1.6: 1.00 (2013-15 batch)). Women bring diverse perspective to classrooms, and as managers, are found to be more creative, resilient and transparent in their dealings. They are better than men at handling emotions and multitasking, and the same is being proved by the female students at WeSchool.

B-schools should focus on offering quality education to the right candidates to develop a leadership pipeline to mentor the Chanda Kochars, Indira Nooyis and Arundhati Bhattacharyas of the future to help them sustain, stabilise and grow in this competitive scenario.

Are there other kinds of diversity that you think are necessary?

Students with diverse backgrounds – geographic, ethnic, cultural – and varied work/ life experiences enrich the learning experience which also contributes to the B-school’s diversity. Leading B-schools are therefore making great efforts to create a diverse mix by understanding the persona in the application by using different tools. This includes searching for candidates who are not merely high up on the IQ dimension and entrance test scores, but also candidates who have displayed leadership qualities, including those who have had/are having entrepreneurial ventures etc.

What’s your placement record like? How many of your students prefer joining start-ups and social sector initiatives when compared to those joining large corporates?

We have achieved 100 per cent placement record every year. There is a definite increase in the number of students opting out of the final placement process, preferring start-up experience instead. While students are not willing to take the plunge with their own start-ups, the number of students willing to work in a start-up is increasing , with a preference for start-ups in the web-space, typically E- Commerce, Digital Media/Marketing, Data analytics , software solution-based application development companies etc. Last year (2012-14), 14 out of 60 students from the PGDM-BD (Business Design) programme chose this option. An equal number have also done so in previous years.

With an active Venture Mentoring Cell at WeSchool, we aim to boost entrepreneurial initiatives of our young MBA students with corporate investments and mentorship.

Can you provide a profile of your academic faculty?

Apart from remunerative packages that are best as per industry standards, WeSchool offers its faculty the freedom and environment to work on emerging/future trends, exposure to new developments nationally and internationally, opportunities for research as well as undertake consultancy projects and we leverage all this to attract the best faculty in the country. Permanent faculty members at WeSchool have graduated from the best universities, primarily in USA, Europe and Singapore, a number of them have strong corporate, entrepreneurial, professional and/or consultancy background, bringing in the much-needed updates in curricula and pedagogy through this vibrant industry-academia connect.

Also, do you plan to increase your geographical reach? Maybe start a new campus?

WeSchool, Mumbai, established in 1977 is the first among the management institutes to offer a Post Graduate Diploma in Management in new areas such as Retail, Family-Managed Business, Business Design & Innovation, Rural Management, Healthcare Management, Media & Entertainment Management and E- business. These programmes have been appreciated by both the corporate world and global academic institutions.

Weschool, Bangalore was established in 2008 at Electronic City Phase -1 and we have introduced 3 full-time courses: PGDM, PGDM–E Biz and PGDM-Business Design & Innovation. The Bangalore campus being a residential campus ensures that even the localites stay together in an environment of continuous learning. In fact, peer learning is very high on campus agenda.

We also have an establishment in Delhi that hosts a Management Development Centre to enable us to serve corporates in that region or companies that need training at multiple locations.

What do you think of MOOCs (online learning)? Do you think this makes learning democratic or is this a drain on college resources?

MOOCs today addresses many of the problems facing the education sector; they are, in a way, trying to bring back working adults into the educational system

Speaking from a MBA point of view, doing an MBA is not merely about gaining knowledge in functional areas such as finance which can easily be done with e-learning content supplemented by interactions with faculty members using Video/Skype. The real essence of MBA education is in personal discovery and transformation. This is something which cannot be easily replicated in an e- learning environment. The knowing-doing-being can only be partially addressed by any technology-based environment.

However, in a distant future, I also see the possibility of MOOCs coming to the rescue where the combined power of Cloud and mobile will be utilised to deliver high quality education at the grassroot level.

WeSchool offers Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) in the hybrid learning mode. A large number of corporates have also tied-up with WeSchool for providing the PGDM-HB course to their employees and are also sponsoring the programme.

Do you think the best Indian students prefer to do an MBA programme abroad? What are you doing to make management education in India globally competitive?

With the rising cost of education, travel and other logistics, even the best Indian students are choosing to stay on home soil to seek admission in institutes of higher education like the IIMs, IITs and others. And these institutes do compete wonderfully well with the best in the world and have acquired the reputation of mentoring many a CEO that are heading large multinationals and creating ripples of progress in the global business world.WeSchool has brought in the international experience through its strong links with foreign universities like Copenhagen Business School (Denmark) , Malardalen University and Jonkoping International Business School (Sweden), etc.

The Global Citizen Leadership (GCL) programme is a transformational programme designed in collaboration with Centre for Creative Leadership (CCL), a top-ranked, global provider of executive education that cultivates creative leadership — the capacity to achieve more than imagined by thinking and acting beyond boundaries. In the third year of its inception, students from WeSchool’s fulltime PGDM programs, Business Design, Retail, E-Biz, Healthcare and Rural Management (Emerging Economies) underwent the GCL programme this year.







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