MYRA School Of Business : Interview with Dr.Rajiv.K.Sinha

1. What according to you would be the
critical success factors for a next generation business school in India?

How do you want to change the “placements” mentality of Indian students?

The most
critical success factor is resolving the supply side constraint that prevents
the vast majority of students from being exposed to highly qualified faculty.
The primary shortcoming of business education in India is the undue emphasis on
placements without a concomitant focus on the quality of education being
imparted to students.  The vast majority
of students, often burdened by large loans that they (and their parents) can
ill afford, are very poorly served by business schools where the bulk of
teaching is done by professors without the requisite qualifications,
particularly in terms of exposure to research. 
This supply side constraint is the primary bottleneck and one that is
the major hurdle in providing world class business education in India to all
but a select number of students.

In
addition, the traditional business school pedagogy is built around the
principle that corporations should strive to maximize profits and shareholder
value. This image of the corporation, developed and sustained over decades of
industrial and stock market growth, has been called into question by the
precipitous decline in economic and social capital in recent years. While this
has led to a spirited debate about re-formulating business education based on
new principles of management, we believe that the answers lie not in
new-fangled ideas but in the incorporation of those fundamental and time
honoured tenets that have been the guiding force behind some of the most
respected and enduring corporations in the world.

These
management principles, as embodied by these firms, reflect an understanding
that corporations have a responsibility towards the society within which they
operate. These firms strive to be profitable and globally competitive, but do
so not just for the sake of shareholders but for all the communities they
serve. They invest in their own future but also evoke trust among all their
constituents and stakeholders by giving back to society through a variety of
programs that are designed to enhance societal welfare.  In other words, these corporations measure
their success through multiple ways: profits certainly, but equally important to
them, their ability to sustain the environment within which they operate.
Therefore, their “profit and loss statements” are not merely financial
documents, but implicitly capture their attempts to create products and
services that improve the quality of life, provide livelihoods and meaningful
employment for people and preserve the natural environment for future
generations. Accordingly, future managers need to enhance their world view and
look beyond the narrow confines of profit maximization and start focusing on
societal welfare.  To do so, they need to
be trained to be socially responsible mangers who are committed to evaluating
the environmental and societal impacts of their actions.

3. What are your views on developing
faculty strength in top grading an Indian business school?

With the
exception of a few schools, business education in India has a misplaced
emphasis on narrowly defined outcome measures such as placements and
salaries. The media tends to feed the
frenzy by emphasizing the salaries of the few students who tend to receive
extraordinarily large packages, thereby creating false expectations about
marketplace realities. Lost in this hype is the primary outcome that really
matter to the employers, i.e., the knowledge and quality of the students they
hope to recruit. Therefore, students need to understand the fact that
placements merely reflect current “employment” and not future
“employability”.   The latter can only be
achieved if they are exposed to the latest curriculum and techniques by quality
faculty. Therefore, the quality of schools should be judged by the knowledge
and abilities of their graduates and this is largely a function of the quality
of their teachers. This is the biggest bottleneck in business education in
India i.e., the critical shortage of world-class faculty and something that
MYRA has addressed head-on by recruiting research-active faculty from major
business schools in the US and Europe.

4. What’s your vision for MYRA School
of Business?

We hope to position MYRA as a premier business school by ensuring
that we belong to a select group of schools in India where the bulk of the
teaching is done by highly qualified and research-active faculty drawn from top
business schools throughout the world. 
While all schools have the same or similar goals, we are one of the very
few schools which ensured quality supply of education from the moment we
launched the school.  This is our key
value proposition and sets us apart from most of the new schools in the Indian
business milieu.  It is worth noting that
this is a concrete, action oriented step and not a case of adopting “mantras”
that are all the rage these days. There is no shortage of books and articles on
management mantras these days.  Most of
these mantras tend to focus on leadership, ethics, customer experiences, teamwork,
competitive strategy etc. However, while mantras can serve a useful purpose,
they can often mask important issues. 
For example, mantras about teamwork abound these days, but an obsession
with teamwork can destroy initiative and creativity. Often putting together
teams and convening regular meetings can give the illusion of delegation.  The same applies to ethics and ethical
behavior. It is easy to talk about it but when it comes to implementation it
requires a sense of moral outrage that is very rare to display given the lack
of job security in the corporate world. 
So mantras are fine so long as people think of the downside as well, but
the latter always gets drowned in the hype. 
We prefer to stick to the basics: focus on what matters most, to key
stakeholders, and try and do the best for and by them i.e., provide future
employees who have honed their skills with the help of some of the most
talented and experienced educators in the world.

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