24 Jun 2020 12:14 IST

With unpredictability comes flexibility: ISB Dean

With a fluid scenario, corporates need to build the aeroplane while flying

In the wake of Covid-19, businesses need to be flexible to tackle unpredictable challenges, according to Rajendra Srivastava, Dean, Indian School of Business (ISB).

Speaking to BusinessLine, Srivastava said all firms have to become more sensitive to information as things are dynamic due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

“For instance, comparing this June with the same month last year for decision-making is irrelevant. The antenna needs to be up and listening becomes very important,” he said.

Stating that corporates need to “build the aeroplane while flying”, the ISB Dean said a re-look at financials is vital. “For instance, many companies have now moved away from an annual budget to a quarterly budget. One CEO even told me that they are on a weekly budget. With unpredictability comes flexibility,” he said.

Focus should also be on increasing the employee output and equipping staff to handle work from home on a computer instead of in office.

Covid impact

Covid-19 will have a negative impact by and large on placements this year, Srivastava said. “However, some sectors, such as IT, consulting and retail are growing in view of the new demands created by the current situation,” he pointed out.

There is a need for collaboration between the corporate sector, the government and academia to make students industry-ready in the changed circumstances, Srivastava said.

Programme revamp

ISB, which operates campuses at Hyderabad and Mohali, has geared up for the Covid-19 challenge.

It has totally redesigned its flagship postgraduate programme to meet the future needs of the students and is developing capabilities such as e-learning. About 20 per cent of the course this year has been made available online by the premier business school in the wake of the pandemic.

“Other programmes, including executive courses, have been redesigned in consultation with the students as they are already working and may have different challenges,” he said.

As of now, ISB is engaging the new batch of students with various online lectures by faculty as well as industry experts. It is also re-shaping the programme and duration of the course terms.

Research focus

ISB has also been engaged on various aspects of policy research in healthcare management and public policy in view of the current challenges and also initiated a programme called JumpStartIndia@ISB.

“We are creating live projects and trying to understand questions like what kind of support small business needs, impact of Covid-19 on the economy, stress on healthcare institutions, etc,” the Dean said.

The only way out from the current uncertainty is being alert and flexible, he said, adding: “We shall prevail.”