TAPMI Director Vision Series: Staying Industry Relevant & Corporate Governance

Aristotle once said, “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”

Experiential learning has become an integral aspect of curriculums in business schools around the world. Staying up to date with the industry by constantly practicing through real life simulations is becoming more and more important with recruiters preferring industry ready, socially responsible graduates.

In this article, Prof. Madhu Veeraraghavan talks about the importance of constantly staying up to date with the industry and the experiential learning methods followed by TAPMI that ensures that TAPMI students are not only industry ready, but also socially responsible citizens.

TAPMI focuses on experiential learning methods and creating industry and socially relevant graduates. Can you tell us why it is so important for students to stay engaged with the industry?

A business school is only relevant if it is very well connected to the industry. It becomes redundant when you go away from where the industry is. So, for you to be a very relevant business school, you must remember that you are constantly in touch with what the industry is saying. Remember, we are never going to be able to employ all these people.

If TAPMIans are going to be placed outside in companies and they are going to head large positions, TAPMI’s going to be very proud. My alum is now heading a Grant Thornton or whichever company it is. We are going to be very proud about that fact. But for that to happen, we must constantly engage with the industry. The moment you stop engaging with the industry, you become redundant. You’re no longer relevant in the game. I’m conscious of this because I have always engaged with the industry throughout the 18 years of my academic life and this is a very common thing that you connect, you connect, you connect. There’s constant industry interface. Anything you do must also have an industry impact.

Impact can be in multiple ways. Impact can be in the problems, which I do. Impact can be writing a policy paper for the government of India. That’s also impact. Impact can be working with the communities at large. That’s impact.

We are now signed up with the UN Prime, right? We are the advanced signatory to the United Nations for responsible management education. The UN has 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). We are now bringing in 3-4 of those SDGs and integrating it in the TAPMI curriculum. Sanitation, water for children, when you talk about governance, you talk about ethics, they are all Sustainable Development Goals listed in the UN Prime. TAPMI is an advanced signatory. Signatory means you need to somehow bring these SDGs somehow into the curriculum.

I want my students to be socially responsible. I don’t want them to just know a corporate side. We want to get somebody out who has TAPMI values, who has integrity, who understands the ethical values, who knows what morality is, you know what the society wants. See we talk about excellence in research, education and practice. Practice also means to, obviously to corporate entities, but also to the society in which we live! I mean we are drawing so much from society, right?

Business schools are also going to give something back to the society. So, we work very closely with the local government, we work closely with the BC’s office, we do number of things with poor mothers and children and nutrition, why is breast feeding important, all kinds of activities.

We have got a center called Center for Inclusive Growth and Competitiveness here at TAPMI and that center largely deals with these kinds of activities. So, you have to be extremely connected to the surrounding, to the environment you live in, to the environment in which you operate. How can you be so removed from reality? That’s what business schools have done? They have disconnected or disengaged. This disengagement is the problem.

T.A. Pai Management Institute, one of India’s leading B-schools, has always focused on creating industry ready leaders who are trained to face the corporate world and its challenges. Director Prof Madhu Veeraraghavan has highlighted several objectives in alignment to his Vision 2022. In conversation with him, we discovered much more about the Vision 2022 and his thoughts on research, education and experiential learning.

For further articles in this series, click here.