Colour movies revolutionized the black-and-white motion picture industry. Similarly, will Business Education 2.0 transform the business learning experience?
Studying a science mostly involves learning technical skills in the classroom. However, business can’t be taught or learnt in a similar fashion. For students to succeed in the boardroom, they need to see the world in colour, the way it really is. Most b-schools fail to recognize this, and continue to teach students in black-and-white.
“Of course, conceptual learning is crucial,” says Golo Weber, Assistant Professor, World Culture, S P Jain School of Global Management (S P Jain). “But to succeed in the workplace, one needs to supplement it with global exposure and business-oriented soft skills. Business Education 1.0, or the traditional way, is outdated and focuses only on imparting theoretical and conceptual knowledge. Business Education 2.0 on the other hand, is far more holistic – equipping students with practical, global and technical skills.” Prof. Weber, originally from Germany, holds post-graduate degrees from Oxford, Cambridge and Beijing Universities, and is part of the international faculty at S P Jain.
S P Jain has incorporated Business Education 2.0 into its curriculum by emphasizing three core pillars: tri-city learning, decision-making and personal effectiveness.
“One degree – three cities sums up the learning experience at S P Jain,” says Prof. Weber, referring to S P Jain’s unique tri-city model, conducted in Dubai, Singapore and Sydney. “In each of these cities, students learn first-hand about diverse business practices and cultures. Which other business program offers you this lifetime opportunity to see the world in so little time, from so many different perspectives?”
Global immersion activities and industry projects in these cities ensure that learning continues, even after classroom hours. In Sydney, for instance, students spend their weekends touring famous historical sites likes the Sydney Opera House and the Parliament House. Furthermore, students also engage in projects with local companies to gain a first-hand exposure to local business practices and cultures. Through these expeditions and by working alongside corporate and faculty mentors, students learn to adopt a multinational state-of-mind and make decisions that take advantage of global choices. A similar cultural immersion awaits them in Dubai and Singapore.
The tri-city model, coupled with S P Jain’s pedagogy that focuses on decision-making and personal effectiveness, makes for an impactful learning experience. As Prof. Weber notes, “Corporations are on the lookout for individuals who are effective and impactful. S P Jain’s pedagogy emphasizes an engaged learning approach in which the classroom transforms into a decision-making laboratory. Simulations, case studies and an applications-oriented pedagogy ensure that students are challenged to think; improve their cognitive, analytical, and creative skills; and emerge with innovative solutions. Decision-making skills, the lifeblood of any business manager, are put to test here.”
Similarly, a uniquely crafted Passport 2 Excellence (P2E) program emphasizes all aspects of leadership, including personality development and decision-making. In addition to communication skills, P2E assists students who wish to change careers, by familiarizing them with their new primary industry of interest. This “soft knowledge” helps students have successful job interviews and adapt better to a new work environment. “With P2E, not only are graduates well prepared to maintain strong leadership roles within their companies, but also to make a strong impact on their communities,” Prof. Weber remarks.
“A sound foundation in technical skills will help you devise a business strategy. But how do you take it a step ahead – assessing the functionality of your business idea or even implementing it? For students to succeed in the corporate world, they need to master those skills that help them make sound decisions, or even stand out at a golf course or a dinner party. You simply cannot get these with a black-and-white education,” says Prof. Weber.