The realm of professional education and the landscape of management professions have experienced profound transformations influenced by both the COVID-19 pandemic and the relentless advancements in technology. These dynamic forces have not only reshaped traditional educational models but have also revolutionised the field of management. In this interview with Prof. Sanghamitra Buddhapriya, Dean of Academics at FORE School of Management, we delve into various captivating topics, ranging from the current status of professional education in the post- and pre-pandemic world, examine the transformative impact of technology on management professionals, and discuss the crucial role that business schools (B-Schools) play in this evolving landscape.

1Q. How has the demand for Management Professionals changed in the pre-and post-pandemic era, considering the current scenario?

In the current scenario, the demand for management Professionals has witnessed a transformation in both pre and post-pandemic times. However, post-pandemic, the demand for management professionals remains strong as new opportunities are created in the market. One of the significant factors fueling this demand is India’s growing start-up ecosystem. According to the Indian Economic Survey, in India, the job growth among startups is predicted to increase by 24% between 2024-2027. Therefore, companies seek professionals who display good leadership skills and possess inventiveness to navigate complex organisational challenges, irrespective of industry. The demand for management professionals has evolved to require a diverse set of skills beyond just business acumen. Management graduates need to have the ability to adapt to new challenges, think critically, and have a proactive approach to problem-solving to succeed in the current job market.

2Q. Looking ahead, which three key factors do you believe will shape the growth of MBA education in the next three years?

The future of management education will be shaped by several factors, but three key factors that are likely to have a significant impact in the next three years are the impact of technology, changes in the job market, and the need for professionals with diverse skill sets.

The rapid advancement of technology is creating a demand for professionals with specialised skills, particularly in areas like data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. To stay relevant, Management programs will need to incorporate these emerging technologies into their curriculum and prepare students for the challenges of the digital age.

The job market is also undergoing significant changes, with the emergence of new industries and the evolution of existing ones. This means that the Management graduates will need to be equipped with the skills and knowledge to navigate these changes and lead organisations towards growth and success.

Finally, the importance of diverse skill sets among MBA students cannot be overstated. As the business landscape becomes more complex and competitive, organisations will need managers who can adapt to the needs of the company and are ready to work for different functions. Cross-cultural knowledge, working in teams, and solving complex problems are some of the additional skills. Management programs that emphasise these skills will be in high demand, and graduates who possess them will be well-positioned to succeed in the rapidly changing world of business.

3Q. Considering the fast-paced advancements in Industry 4.0, what are the three essential skills Management graduates should possess to succeed in their careers?

In today’s fast-paced business world, Management graduates need to possess more than just a degree to succeed in their careers. One of the most crucial skills they should have is digital literacy, which entails a basic understanding of technology and the ability to use various tools to improve business operations. This includes proficiency in data analytics, presentation tools, digital marketing, and other relevant technological applications. These skills can enable Management graduates to stay ahead of the competition, contribute meaningfully to their organisations, and grow their careers in a dynamic business landscape. Therefore, it is vital for Management programs to incorporate technology-related coursework and equip graduates with the necessary digital skills to succeed in the modern business world.

4Q. What are the strategies employed by FORE School of Management to provide MBA education that is aligned with industry trends and technology-driven for our future managers?

FORE School of Management is committed to providing Management education that is up-to-date with industry trends and technology. The curriculum of each program is designed to provide a mix of classroom learning, case studies, and special sessions led by industry professionals. This ensures that students receive practical insights into the industry and can apply their knowledge to real-world scenarios. Additionally, sensitivity training, industrial visits, and industry interaction further help students to understand the business environment and the challenges that arise in the workplace.

The programs are regularly reviewed by faculty and industry practitioners to ensure that they remain relevant and up-to-date. This review process enables the school to make changes to the curriculum as required and keep the programs aligned with the latest industry trends.

FORE School of Management recognises the importance of technology in today’s business environment. Therefore, the programs include hands-on training on the use of tools, techniques, and platforms that are relevant to the industry. This training ensures that students have the necessary skills to use technology in their future roles and be at the forefront of technological advancements in the industry.

Overall, FORE School of Management is committed to providing its students with an education that is comprehensive and prepares them for success in their future careers. The programs are designed to develop the skills required to navigate the changing business landscape, and the school’s commitment to industry interaction ensures that students are exposed to real-world scenarios and gain practical insights into the industry.

5Q. What are the five main factors that students should consider when selecting a b-school, and how is FORE fulfilling these requirements?

In my opinion, the five main factors that students should consider are the quality of faculty, curriculum, campus infrastructure, industry collaborations, and placement records. At FORE School of Management, we prioritise all these factors to ensure that our students receive the best education and opportunities for a successful career.

The excellent graduation outcome score of the FORE School of Management is proof of our outcome-based Programmes. Graduation Outcome is the parameter which evaluates the placements of the institutes. GPH [Combined Metric for Placement and Higher Studies] and GMS [Media Salary] are the key factors considered

In this context, it is important to take a view of the GO Scores of the NRIF ranking for 2022. FORE School of Management ranks 19th in the NIRF list, all Institutions Included.

When it comes to the admission process, we follow a holistic approach and look beyond just academic performance and CAT scores. We value all-round recognition of a student’s qualities and encourage students to be honest and composed during the interview. Overall, we strive to provide our students with the best possible education and opportunities for their future careers.

6Q. You have had a very rewarding and eventful 27-year of a career in the education domain. Could you share with us your career journey and how you became interested in academia?

My journey in the academic world has been quite enriching. Throughout my student life, my academic credentials have been outstanding. I decided to pursue a career in academics. So, after receiving the university gold medal for securing the first position in my post-graduation studies, I did my PhD from the Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi University.  I started my career as an Assistant Professor from a reputed management institute. My passion for research led me to pursue my post-doctoral research at McMaster University in Canada by receiving the prestigious Shastri Indo-Canadian Fellowship. This was a turning point in my career, exposing me to a different academic culture and research environment.

I  have been with FORE School of Management for a very long time and have taken up various positions such as Area Chair-OBHR, Professor in charge- International Relations, Professor in charge- Centre for Psychometric Testing and Research, Executive Chairperson-Admissions, Programme Director, Chair- PGP and now as the Dean of Academics.

My interests in various themes of organisational behaviour and human resource management have led me to design and deliver training programs for professionals of several leading public and private sector organisations across managerial hierarchies, which has been a fulfilling experience for me. I have also authored two books and published several research articles in reputed national and international journals.

Overall, my journey has been a rewarding one, and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to pursue my passion for teaching, research, training and consulting in the field of management education.

7Q. As the Dean (Academics) at FORE, could you share the most challenging aspect of your role and how you overcame it?

As the Dean (Academics) at FORE, my role is multifaceted and challenging. One of the most challenging aspects is to ensure the rigour of various academic programs offered by the institution and constantly keep the curriculum updated and relevant to the changing business landscape. We need to ensure that our curriculum is aligned with the latest industry trends and demands.,

To deal with this challenge, we continuously take input from industry experts. We have a robust industry interface that helps us understand the changing industry requirements. We regularly invite industry experts and leaders to interact with our students and faculty members, which helps us understand the expectations of the industry and taking appropriate action.

Secondly, we have a curriculum review committee that comprises of experienced academicians and industry experts. The committee periodically reviews the curriculum and suggests modifications as per the changing industry demands.

Lastly, we encourage our faculty members to attend conferences, seminars and workshops to keep themselves abreast of the latest developments in their respective fields. This ensures that our faculty members are equipped with the knowledge and skills required to teach our students effectively.

In a nutshell, we believe that constant innovation and upgradation of the curriculum is crucial to ensure that our students are well-prepared to face the challenges of the industry.

8Q. How would you describe your leadership style & what, according to you, is the 1st rule every leader should follow?

My leadership style is centered around empowering and enabling individuals to achieve their full potential. I believe in providing a supportive environment that fosters creativity and innovation while also holding individuals accountable for their responsibilities. As a leader, it is important to be approachable, transparent, and communicate clearly with my team. I am also a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion, which is reflected in the way I lead and make decisions.

The first rule that every leader should follow is to lead by example. As leaders, we must set the tone for our teams by embodying the values and behaviours we expect from others. This means demonstrating a strong work ethic, being accountable, and maintaining a positive attitude even in challenging situations. Additionally, we must prioritise our own personal and professional development to continuously improve our leadership skills and knowledge. Finally, it is important to remember that leadership is not about being the boss, but rather about inspiring and motivating others to achieve shared goals.

9Q. What advice would you give our young MBA aspirants who are about to start their MBA degree learning for the next two years? How should they approach the program to maximise their learning and growth?

Firstly, I would advise young MBA aspirants to be proactive and take ownership of their learning. MBA is a two-year journey that demands a lot of hard work, focus and dedication. Students should have a clear understanding of their goals and objectives and work towards achieving them.

Secondly, I would suggest that they take advantage of the various resources that the institution provides, such as the library, guest lectures, and workshops.

Thirdly, I would emphasise the importance of networking and building relationships with alumni, faculty members, and industry professionals. FORE currently has an alumni network of 7000+ professionals from across the globe. These connections can provide valuable insights into the real world and potentially open up opportunities for career growth.

Lastly, I would remind students to maintain a healthy work-life balance, taking time to themselves to rejuvenate and pursue their interests. The MBA program can be intense, but it is crucial to prioritise mental and physical well-being.

Also Read:

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