Dr. Mayank Dhaundiyal
Explore India’s emergence as a premier MBA destination in this enlightening interview with Dr. Mayank Dhaundiyal, Dean of Jindal Global Business School. Discover insights on technology’s influence on education, challenges in curriculum integration, MBA evolution, recruiter expectations, and job market dynamics. Dive into the heart of India’s MBA landscape and uncover strategies for success!


In recent years, India has emerged as a beacon for ambitious professionals seeking endless career possibilities in the field of business administration. With its robust economy, dynamic market trends, and burgeoning ecosystem for entrepreneurship, the country offers fertile ground for MBA graduates to thrive and excel. Leading the charge in this transformative journey are top business schools, which are not only shaping future leaders but also revolutionising management education to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving global landscape.

In this latest installment of our exclusive interview series, we highlight Dr. Mayank Dhaundiyal, the Dean of Jindal Global Business School (JGBS) at O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU). With over 15 years of experience spanning corporate and academic sectors, Dr. Dhaundiyal shares his journey and perspectives on the dynamic landscape of management education. Currently affiliated with O.P. Jindal Global University, Dr. Dhaundiyal offers valuable insights into the role of academia in shaping a developing nation like India, the incorporation of technology and innovation in education, and the evolving expectations of MBA recruiters.

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Q1. With over 15 years of experience in both the corporate and academic sectors, including your time at Bennett University and now as the Dean of Jindal Global Business School, why did you choose the path of academia? 

Ans: Reflecting on how academia became my calling, it traces back to my completion of masters and a PhD in Europe. This academic pursuit took me across Europe, North America, and various global regions. Witnessing the significant role higher education institutions play in nation-building, even in developed economies, sparked a realisation of their crucial role, and I wanted to be a contributing agent to this sector. For a rapidly developing nation like India, these institutions, particularly business schools, stand as pivotal contributors to shaping the economic landscape.

India’s unique advantages, including a demographic dividend and stable political and economic foundations, set the stage for academic institutions to play a transformative role. The prospect of India becoming a major global power hinges on enhancing its economy. In this context, academia emerges as a key player, steering the nation towards development.

My small yet impactful role in this narrative involves contributing to the skill set enhancement needed for India’s journey to becoming a developed country. Having traversed through different continents and witnessed the diverse educational landscapes, I am driven by the belief that academia, with its transformative potential, holds the key to India’s prosperous future.

Q2. You started your journey with a B.Tech., followed by an M.Sc. in Marketing, and then a Ph.D. in Strategic Management. How has your academic experiences at institutions like the University of Dublin and the Vellore Institute of Technology shaped your approach to education and research?

Ans: Throughout my educational journey, spanning from BTech to an MSc in Marketing and eventually a PhD in Strategic Management, I’ve had the privilege of contributing to and being part of some great institutions. This trajectory has profoundly shaped my perspective on education, particularly in recognising the pivotal role of research.

In the realm of education, I’ve come to understand that research stands as a cornerstone, especially in the context of Indian higher education institutions. I see that Indian institutions are currently placing significant emphasis on topical research, acknowledging its resource-intensive nature. Cultivating a dynamic research environment requires essential components such as quality faculty and the right ecosystem. The symbiotic relationship between research and education becomes evident as innovative solutions generated through research directly address the challenges faced by various industries.

A crucial aspect of this interplay is the connection between students and faculty. In an environment where faculty members engage in cutting-edge research, this knowledge seamlessly finds its way back to the classroom, enriching students’ learning experiences. Addressing the gap between academia and industry is essential, and research serves as the bridge. Faculty-led research, closely aligned with industry challenges, not only solves problems but also attracts substantial funding from the industry, creating a mutually beneficial scenario.

When comparing Indian and foreign higher education systems, a notable distinction emerges. Foreign institutions exhibit a closer relationship with industries, highlighting an area of improvement for us – their Indian counterparts. This insight underscores the imperative for Indian institutions to strengthen their ties with industries, fostering collaborative research for mutual growth and advancement.

Q3. What do you believe is a significant obstacle in incorporating research discoveries into the standard curriculum, and do you have any recommendations for overcoming this obstacle to facilitate a smoother integration of research into the educational structure?

Ans: The crux of the issue lies in the disparity among faculty members’ methods and the nature of their research. This discrepancy hampers the seamless integration of valuable research outcomes into educational frameworks. A notable challenge arises when faculty members delve into highly academic topics, creating a mismatch with the pragmatic orientation essential in MBA programmes designed for industry relevance. Overcoming this hurdle necessitates an enhanced approach to assimilating research findings into academic contexts. This improvement should prioritise a streamlined method to ensure that students can derive maximum benefits from the rich insights generated through research initiatives.

Q4. How do you perceive the evolution of the MBA degree in recent times, particularly in the context of the current digital and global landscape?

Ans: Upon reflecting on the evolution of the MBA degree in recent times, especially within the context of our current digital and global landscape, I observe a transformative journey unfolding. Although the nomenclature has remained consistent since the early 1900s, the degree has undergone multifaceted changes, mirroring the dynamic shifts in industries.

The primary aim of these changes is to equip MBA graduates with the skills and training required to meet the evolving demands of industries. Notably, technology has emerged as the focal point of this evolution, playing a pivotal role in addressing daily challenges encountered by industries. The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into various facets of business operations underscores the necessity for business students to possess comprehensive knowledge of technology, enabling them to navigate the digital landscape efficiently.

Moreover, in the era of globalisation, where business transactions transcend national borders, MBA graduates must not only be adept in technology but also comfortable engaging with individuals from diverse cultures and languages.

Q5. Considering the prominence of technology and innovation in the business domain, how is your institution actively integrating these elements into its curriculum to meet the industry’s technological requirements?

Ans: Recognising the pivotal role of technology and innovation in the contemporary business landscape, Jindal Global Business School has proactively undertaken initiatives to seamlessly integrate these elements into our curriculum. Our institution acknowledges the imperative for business graduates to be well-versed and comfortable with the diverse technologies prevalent in industries today.

To achieve this, we have forged strategic collaborations with industry leaders such as Amazon, SAP, and IBM. These partnerships facilitate the delivery of specialised courses designed to equip our MBA students with the requisite knowledge. Furthermore, we encourage students to pursue certifications offered by these organisations, ensuring they are not only academically prepared but also future-ready for the demands of the industry.

Our curriculum encompasses a spectrum of courses aligned with future innovations, emphasising problem-solving, technological proficiency, critical thinking, and analysis. From Python programming to Artificial Intelligence, our students engage with cutting-edge technologies through both theoretical subjects and practical research projects. This approach ensures that our graduates, as emerging leaders and managers, possess a comprehensive understanding of how the latest technologies are reshaping the business landscape, enabling them to add significant value to their future organisations.

Q6. What skills and qualities do you believe are the most sought after by recruiters in recent times when it comes to hiring MBA graduates?

Ans: In the evolving landscape of business, where technology and AI have become mainstream, the skill set sought by recruiters for MBA graduates has undergone notable transformations. While certain timeless qualities like ownership, strong work ethics, and honesty remain imperative, the integration of AI-related technologies has accentuated the need for higher-order skills.

MBA graduates today are expected to navigate the complexities of AI and technology, demonstrating an ability to understand and execute tasks that require ambiguity tolerance. The capacity to work across diverse cultures and possessing an inquisitive mindset are now highly valued attributes. Despite the technological advancements, foundational skills such as taking ownership, maintaining strong work ethics, and perseverance continue to hold significant importance. These qualities are not bound by time and remain constants, shaping effective leaders and managers irrespective of the era.

The key lies in MBA graduates comprehending the reasons behind their recruitment—to provide solutions to day-to-day challenges as managers or leaders. This necessitates a down-to-earth and humble approach, coupled with a commitment to taking ownership of assigned tasks within specified timelines. The ability to bridge the gap between domain knowledge and the practical application of technology is a crucial aspect of the modern MBA graduate’s skill set, emphasising the ongoing need for a balanced combination of timeless attributes and adaptability to technological advancements.

Q7. Recent reports have highlighted top MBA colleges facing challenges in achieving 100% placement. What in your view, are the factors contributing to this, and how can business schools navigate these challenges to improve placement outcomes for their students?

Ans: In the current scenario, achieving 100% placement has become a challenge for many leading MBA colleges, a situation influenced by several factors. One significant factor is the cautious approach adopted by businesses, especially with the looming spectre of an impending recession. The slowed growth rates in several developed economies, although India stands as an exception, have made organisations wary of expanding their workforce. This cautious stance directly impacts the number of students they are willing to recruit.

Furthermore, the rapid integration of AI technology in businesses is another contributing factor. As companies increasingly adopt AI, the demand for certain traditional roles may decrease, affecting the overall placement scenario for MBA graduates. Additionally, the market is witnessing a surge in the number of MBA students due to the establishment of numerous new institutes, intensifying competition for available opportunities.

While these challenges pose temporary hurdles, the belief is that once the global economy picks up, companies will resume hiring at a more robust pace. It’s crucial to acknowledge that MBA graduates with strong skills are still in demand, and those with the right experience and mindset, especially those from reputable institutions, continue to find opportunities despite the prevailing market conditions.

Q8. In today’s evolving landscape influenced by AI’s impact on industries, do you consider AI a collaborator or a competitor in MBA education? How can MBA programmes equip students to navigate the changing dynamics between humans and AI?

Ans: The ongoing integration of AI as a revolutionary tool in the global business economy has sparked a significant debate about whether AI is a collaborator or a competitor to the human brain, particularly in the context of MBA education in today’s business world.

In addressing this debate, it is evident that AI is more of a collaborator than a competitor. While concerns about AI replacing human jobs persist, the key lies in the understanding and mastery of AI technology. Individuals who are well-trained and knowledgeable about AI become more efficient and, consequently, more employable. This parallels the historical trend seen with the invention of personal computers, where those adept at using the technology gained a competitive edge.

The widespread incorporation of AI in various industries, such as journalism and banking, exemplifies this collaboration. AI algorithms generate automated news briefs, and in banks, AI technologies provide information to customers, reducing reliance on human services. As businesses across generations adopt and integrate technology, job roles are evolving, and individuals proficient in AI technology find themselves in high demand.

In essence, the debate surrounding AI as a collaborator or competitor underscores the importance of human adaptability and technological literacy. Rather than being a threat, AI serves as a valuable collaborator, enhancing efficiency and creating opportunities for those who embrace and understand its applications.

Q9. In your view, what are the key strengths and unique selling points that can put India on the global map in terms of gaining recognition as a destination for MBAs?

Ans: India’s endeavour to emerge as a prominent destination for higher education in management is recognising the unique selling points that distinguish us on the global map. From a managerial standpoint, India’s distinctive positioning is evident in the abundant opportunities and challenges it presents.

A pivotal factor contributing to India’s allure is the wealth of learning opportunities intertwined with the challenges encountered by the country. Indian businesses, renowned for their frugal innovations tailored to local conditions, offer invaluable insights into the purview of management & business education. The innovations observed across various sectors, whether in for-profit enterprises or not-for-profit and government organisations, demonstrate a unique approach. For instance, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) accomplished remarkable feats at a fraction of the cost incurred by its Western counterparts.

This learning potential emerges as a significant advantage for Indian schools aiming to establish themselves on the global stage. The capability to integrate insights from diverse corporates and societal facets into MBA curriculum positions India as a hub for holistic managerial education.

Q10. As someone deeply connected with various national and international organisations contributing to MBA education, What in your opinion, are the top 5 factors that students should consider when choosing a business school for their MBA?

Ans: In the realm of MBA education, selecting the right institution is a critical decision for aspirants. There are five key factors that an MBA aspirant should carefully consider before committing to a degree.

Firstly, the faculty plays a pivotal role. Since a significant portion of a student’s time is spent in the classroom, having well-trained faculty with the right pedigree to deliver courses is crucial for a comprehensive learning experience.

Secondly, the overall brand of the university holds immense importance. The choice of an MBA institution becomes a permanent fixture on a student’s CV. Hence, having a reputable brand associated with one’s academic credentials is a long-term advantage.

The third factor is the composition of the peer group. Learning doesn’t occur solely from faculty interactions; it is also enriched by engaging with diverse peers. The cosmopolitan involvement, cultural diversity, and geographical representation within the student body contribute significantly to the overall learning experience.

Additionally, the placement record of the institution is a crucial consideration. Assessing the companies that visit the campus placement drive, along with understanding the trends in both salaries and profiles offered to students, is essential for gauging the institution’s effectiveness in propelling graduates up the corporate ladder.

Q11. In today’s context, how would you define success, differentiating it from traditional, materialistic perspectives? Furthermore, how can one effectively measure success, whether in personal or professional spheres?

Ans: The definition of success has evolved beyond traditional materialistic standards. In contemporary times, success is perceived in a holistic manner. Monetary wealth is no longer the sole measure; instead, happiness and health take precedence. Health encompasses not just physical well-being but mental and relational health, including the quality of family life. Success is about using money as a means, not an end, an instrument to acquire happiness in life. As individuals differ, so do their perspectives on success, evolving from one’s 20s to 50s or 60s. While money holds significance, it should not be the ultimate goal.

Q12. Provide a concise description of MBA in contemporary times using only 10 words.

Ans: An MBA is something that lets you understand business and excel at it. 

For aspiring MBA students, this celebrated postgraduate degree equips individuals to comprehend and excel in the intricacies of business. Opting for a renowned B-school enhances life prospects. It’s essential to embrace challenges with ownership, maintain a continuous learning mindset beyond the MBA, and persevere through inevitable failures.

Thank you, dear readers, for your incredible support and enthusiasm for this interview. We’re thrilled to have you engaged on PG, and there’s more exciting content coming your way. Be sure to stay active on our platform for more captivating reads, and don’t forget to check out our recent articles here. Happy reading!

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