All across the world,business education has quite a narrow focus. The application oriented subjects which have got practical value are being taught to students. This serves well when the pace of technological, economic and social change is slow and managers mostly have to act with functional knowledge. When the pace of change quickens, managers must wear leader’s hat and think broadly beyond their functional knowledge.
The best B-schools of the world claim to educate leaders who are going to make a difference in the world. To make this happen, B-schools need to look at the curriculum more closely and bring in the broad liberal education component which can make students think and act like leaders whose action will have impact on society at large. The broad liberal education should include subjects like political science, sociology, literature, study of classics , history, business history, philosophy and ethics and evolution of science and technology. The broad liberal management education will stretch imagination of management student beyond functional knowledge. Writing and public speaking skills should also be taught to make the offering complete.
Creating authentic, ethical and visionary business leaders should be the main aim of business school. These leaders can act as entrepreneurs and can also don the hat of a manager for day to day functioning if required. But they essentially remain a leader with broad social , economic and technological vision. They make ethical choices in their decision making. Without these kind of leaders , organizations will not thrive. In fact, companies like Enron and Satyam lost enormous value because of lack of those kind of authentic leaders.
Leaders with broad and general education have done pretty well. Anand Mahindra is one example who pursed film making and liberal arts education . Steve Jobs quest for calligraphy ,spiritualism and Zen Buddhism’s simplicity and aesthetics had enormous influence on business decisions he took . To get the glimpse of Bill Gate’s mind , one has to look at his wide and varied reading list. Leaders always look beyond immediate environment . Broad liberal education will help him doing that.
– Mr Rahul K.Mishra
Professor- Strategy and International Business, IILM.