04 Jan 2021 19:57 IST

B-schools revamp course material to tide over Covid crisis

New specialisations are introduced; re-designing is under way to include the effects of Covid in the learning process

The global pandemic has upended the entire world and brought it to a standstill. It has had a massive impact on every sector of the economy. Even the education industry hasn’t been spared. As the events unfold, it is evidently clear that it will be a long way before we have everything restored back to normal. Along the way, there will be numerous significant changes in the way the world will now function.

Even business schools are getting acclimatised to the new trends taking shape. The changes occurring mean that there will be a demand for a fresh set of skills across various industries and verticals. And the B-schools are wasting no time in updating themselves. They are in a rush to modify their curriculum to accommodate these newly arising requirements.

Emerging skills

A recent survey highlighted that there are three skills that will be in high demand in the post-Covid era — management of strategy and innovation, management of tools and technology, and interpersonal skills.

The first skill is an umbrella term for creativity, innovation, strategising, and analysing the available data. When markets are unpredictable and highly uncertain, we require innovative problem-solvers and imaginative thinkers to make the most of what is available at hand. The second skill involves managing tools and technology. In today’s world, technology is the primary force driving growth across all sectors of the economy. For instance, as businesses switched to working from home, the shares of Zoom sky-rocketed. And lastly, interpersonal skills involve qualities such as leadership, communication, and human resources management.

MBA graduates bring many of these skills to the table, and employers rely on business schools to equip students with these skills and prepare them for the real world. However, there is a strong Covid-19 impact felt by B-schools, and to tide over the current situation, management schools need to overhaul their curricula.

Some of the prominent changes that are expected to gain importance are:

Flexible courses

There is, and will continue to be, an incessantly growing demand for online learning programmes. With time, these courses will become even more flexible and agile in terms of the skills they teach. They will also factor in segmentation which will enable students to choose specific learning trajectories or electives. Online courses also entail lesser costs, which is why they are going to see a high number of applications, at least in the near future. In addition, these courses are taught by multiple instructors together, making them highly comprehensive for the learners.

Rise of STEM MBAs

In the post-Covid era, there is growth predicted in the demand for tech and innovations experts. Hence, as a result, technical MBA specialisations such as Management Science, Statistics, Business Analytics, and Product Management are likely to witness more enrolments. Consequently, more programmes will have to be designed to accommodate new students.

Improved course curriculum

Educational institutions across the world are redesigning their course materials to include the effects of Covid-19 into their learning mechanisms and systems. For instance, certain management schools have introduced the Supreme Court’s cap on Covid-19 testing in their macroeconomics course. Similarly, many courses in finance, marketing, HR, and economics will be updated to address current-day questions.

Digital marketing skills

Digital marketing is creating ripples across the business world. Owing to the pandemic, everybody has moved online, whether it is to work or shop or just pass time. This makes up for a golden opportunity to focus on online marketing. Hence, more programmes on digital marketing are expected to come up. Every company wants to create a digital footprint for themselves and for this they need people who are experts in the online marketing landscape.

The world is evolving and its requirements are changing. However, changes are always under way. The current global pandemic has just acted as a catalyst in the process and has sped everything up. But even in this scenario, one thing is certain — management students are much sought-after. And B-schools are giving it their best to craft a relevant and innovative curriculum that is in-demand and will impart a world-class business education.

(The writer is Director, Fore School Of Management.)