08 Jul 2015 19:10 IST

Management is a way of life: Jayshree Suresh

Jayshree Suresh, Dean, School of Management, SRM University

The Dean of SRM’s management dept says focus needed on case studies and philosophy

Over her four-decade career, Dr Jayshree Suresh, Dean, School of Management at SRM University, has juggled several roles: entrepreneur, academic, leader and writer.

She has spent nearly 12 years at SRM University’s management department. Before that, she spent a decade each at IIM Ahmedabad and MOP Vaishnav College, Chennai. In all these years, she has come to believe that management is a way of life and can enrich any person who has a holistic world-view.

“Management is a subject that can help you with your life. It is not just for business, it can help you tune your mind so that you learn to listen to others, and then you take your decision,” she says. Jayshree further elaborates that management is an applied subject and involves practical application of disciplines such as science, psychology, economics, mathematics, and so on.

Change in outlook

“Students should change the way they look at things. They should have an open mind and should consider all possible solutions to any problem,” she says.

She believes management education is a means to this end.

One problem that plagues industry in India, she says, is narrow-minded compartmentalisation. She explains: “If you compartmentalise and say: I am a finance person and I will do only finance, then it will not work.”

While a holistic view and a thirst for knowledge can make a true professional stand apart, Jayshree believes that understanding the philosophy of management and the needs of key sectors is essential.

SRM’s MBA programme, which has an intake of around 600 students in the Chennai campus alone, has taken a stride toward imparting such niche knowledge in various sectors.

Electives and case studies

Jayshree says: “We offer 8-10 verticals, such as pharma, retail, hospitality, auto, and so on. Normally, colleges offer just functional specialisations including finance, management and HR. But at SRM we offer not just the functional courses, but niche electives as well. For instance, if you take hospitality, there are six electives under this. Students get a hands-on experience in each of the sectors of their choice.”

Industry electives designed, anchored, taught and assessed by professionals, PhD programmes in management and a new course called Master of Management Science are some of the new courses that Jayshree has helped introduce at SRM.

To sharpen this focus on industry needs, Jayshree also strongly believes in the case study methodology to develop-problem solving capabilities and inculcate practical understanding.

Practical knowledge

She says that in India, most management students are fresh graduates, and don’t know how an organisation works or have little experience in entrepreneurship.

“Unless you discuss it with cases, you won't be able to give them practical knowledge,” she adds. “Case studies help students to connect the dots between theories and concepts, and practical life.”

Philosophy of management

The ‘accidental academic’, as she jokingly refers to herself, says that, in addition to ethics of management, students should also be taught philosophy of management.

“Our understanding is that ethics is a manifestation of our values, and hence comes at the end. Before that there is a philosophy. Values are derived from the philosophy, and hence an understanding of corporate philosophy and values is essential,” she says.

To hear Jayshree talk about the philosophy of management in detail, click here .

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