MBA graduates not ready for Digital Age: Perspective

 MBA graduates not ready for Digital Age: Perspective

Over past few years, I have spent time interacting with MBA students during their internship at Simplify360 or guest lectures or interview sessions. In most of these occasions, the topic of conversation has been around social media and its impact on business. I have found that students are very keen in understanding the concepts behind social media and understanding how can it be properly connected with business goals. But somehow they are not able to comprehend the social media landscape properly. They are certainly active on Facebook and some on Twitter, but they still are not clear on its use case across marketing or research.
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At the same time, I have also had opportunity to discuss regarding this with the professors and different faculty members in IIMs. So far, I have not witnessed any break through effort from anywhere beside having guest lectures and seminars. I believe that the idea of social media as a business tool needs to be built from ground up in all the business courses because it is affecting everything today. From government to media to business, it has transformed everything. This delay could result in a gap in the market for better business case studies.
On the other hand, I interact with brands and executives on daily basis concerning Social Media. And I see a huge disconnect in how brands are looking at social media and how MBA students are looking at it and how educators are looking at it. As a result, I wonder how this whole disconnect is going to be shaped in future. I can already see how this is affecting our industries , where there are huge communication gaps and weak level of understanding. Hence forth, brands are not able to hire better leaders for their goals and they have to rely on influencers and freelancers.
So I asked few students on their views about the topic. And they were kind enough to provide me their opinions. I got mixed opinions but the key echoing message was that more needs to be done.
Niketa Chauhan, member of placement committee and a student who is pursuing her MBA at Indian Institute of Management Tiruchirappalli.
In my opinion , we are entering in the digital era. Management students require to be better equipped with digital competencies than their previous generation. Digital era offers plethora of opportunities and very few B Schools are trying and bridge the gap between academics and industry need. Students from Tier I and Tier II  institutes have an competitive advantage attributed to their industry focused syllabus which offer courses in areas such as digital marketing, data mining, analytics, social media marketing, HR policies and social media to mention the few. They also have mentoring from the best-in-class faculties  and infrastructural facilities to ensure student-industry fit.
At the same time, emerging technologies create a demand for new skills making many traditional skills redundant. Fortunately management graduates are constantly exposed and guided to update their digital knowledge and hone related skills to become industry ready. Top B Schools continuously develop and offer  courses that enable students to master those ‘essential skills’ and become competent as well as a ‘right fit’  for the corporate world.
However, the need of the hour is that firms not only identify the needed digital competency for making employees productive, but also impart short training sessions to them and to the new recruits to enable them to gel with prevailing digital culture.
Khagesh Batra is currently a previous year student at Department of Business Economics, University of Delhi pursuing Master of Business Economics.
In India today M.B.A. is seen as chance for fatter pay package and shot at better corporate life. The number of M.B.A. graduates being produced has had a 5 year on year growth of 30%. But the world now is filled with digital products and media. It is digital age as we can say. M.B.A. is course which aims at creating managers and leaders with perspective that can learn and adapt in any situation.
Also, today’s generation which has seen Orkut, Facebook and Twitter have a natural tendency for digital age and products it has to offer. So there is no hurdle for M.B.A. grads in understanding on how to operate and work with them.
But there is still a small problem that lies within this simple statement. Knowing how something works and making it work are two different things. Even though M.B.A. programme may have trained them to be able to adapt to any situation but that is sometimes not just enough. Digital Age is not about just about adapting to it. It requires one to understand it and make it work. This may require skill which some may have natural talent for or some may have to work for it.  We see many corporate M.B.A. graduates who have their own social media profile are able to manage it but when it comes to social media profile of their companies or products they fail to manage it. There is something that disconnects them from this digital age even though they have been brought up with. Digital Media is not simple as just using it is, there still deep working which needs to understood before one can truly say he has learnt how to manage it.
Satnam Singh Wadhwa, PGP Student at IIM Kozhikode and has worked in past for 2 years as SAP Consultant at TCS.
Social media has caught up unprecedented pace in the recent year. With increasing number of recruiters, companies and users joining social media, the possibilities are endless. We are witnessing a new generation of thought leaders from various parts of the world with diverse experience in various arenas of life. These platforms have definitely helped the talented individuals, who earlier could not reach out to the world, to establish themselves. The social platforms have also evolved during the course of time from a source of raw information (e.g. Twitter) to comprehensive source of knowledge (e.g. Quora).
The vast numbers of interactions over social media platforms are valuable since they provide an insight into the mindset of various types of consumers. This informal knowledge, though largely untapped, presents huge scope in the domains of product development, consumer insights and other market research aspects.
While the premiere institutions such as IIMs are definitely leading in producing the best brains in our country to cater to the needs of the market, the field of action might be gradually shifting. With increasing number of consumers using social platforms to decide their consumption decisions, this seems to be the next battlefield for the next generation of companies. Thus, institutions and companies would definitely need to invest in upcoming research domains such as behavioral study of users on social media and content consumption traits. With an availability of such a huge dataset and ample scope for research, there surely lies vast ocean of opportunities for students as well as the researchers.
Niketa Chauhan, member of placement committee and a student who is pursuing her MBA at Indian Institute of Management Tiruchirappalli, has two and a half years of experience in digital marketing and business development with Cybermedia, South Asia’s largest business publishing house. She has authored an eBook on “Top 15 best practices for business on Facebook” and co-authored “Virality” and “Social Media Nightmares”, published by Simply360, a leading social business intelligence firm. These eBook reports have gathered immense attention from business leaders and marketing enthusiasts as it educates them on how trends and technology has changed the entire perspective of digital communication.
She was nominated and selected by HCL as an ‘Emerging Women Leader 2013’, where she was identified as one of the most promising leaders in the emerging technology domain.
Khagesh Batra is currently a previous year student at Department of Business Economics, University of Delhi pursuing Master of Business Economics. He is a Computer Science graduate from Jaypee Institute of Information Technology, Noida with 10 months experience with Cadence Design Systems Pvt. Ltd. a world leader in E.D.A. industry (Electronic Development and Automation).
A delhite who has been born and brought up in Delhi only. Khagesh has keen interests in varying fields. He is passionate about the financial markets and developments concerning them. But being an engineer he also passionate about computer related developments such as Social Media, Internet, new technology, mobile apps etc. He is also still a kid at heart and still regularly loves to catch his favorite cartoon and Anime’s. Some his most watched Anime’s are Dragon Ball Z, Naruto etc. A zonal runner up in Table Tennis tournament during his school days, he enjoys various sports apart from Table Tennis such as Cricket, Football, and carom.
He aspires to be financial engineer or financial consultant to technological firms.
Satnam Singh Wadhwa, a post graduate student at IIM Kozhikode, brings with him more than 2 years of expertise in ERP strategizing and implementation. He was highly appreciated and awarded for his contribution at Tata Consultancy Services. Keenly interested in entrepreneurship, innovation and research, he has also worked on various projects with UNICEF and State government of Kerala in the domain of research and business model innovation. In the past, he was awarded for strategizing and implementing a State level Road Safety Campaign in Bhopal, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh. He enjoys Punjabi Sufi music and photography.

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