Industry-ready business leaders – Are they born or created?

The significance of business education today is demonstrated by the sizable impact business graduates create in the business world. Business organisations globally aspire to infuse talented, capable managers and decision-makers in their teams. For any b-school, therefore, it is essential to impart skills and capabilities that are required to manage the real-world situations and challenges effectively. Though easy to point out, this is the most critical element of business education today that prominent b-schools are attempting to address distinctively.

At SP Jain School of Global Management, one of the key pillars of business education focusses on practice-related learning and reinforces the industry-readiness of the business graduates by developing crucial real-world skills. Collectively nurtured under the Industry-Interface projects, such initiatives are vital components of all the programs at SP Jain. Various types of projects like Applied Business Research, Capstone Project, Action Learning Project, and Regional Research Project opportunities are embedded across the Global MBA, Master of Global Business (MGB), BBA and executive programs at SP Jain to foster skills to design, evaluate, implement, and analyse developments in the corporate world and contribute to the professional practice.

These projects, following the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF), emphasise developing cognitive, technical, creative skills to investigate, analyse and synthesise complex information, problems, concepts and theories and to apply established theories to different bodies of knowledge or professional practice. Equally important, as per the AQF, is the development of cognitive, technical and creative skills to generate and evaluate complex ideas and abstract concepts and communicate technical and professional decisions to specialist and non-specialist audiences. Industry projects at SP Jain provide various potent opportunities to develop business leadership.

‘Knowing decision-making’ is different from ‘being a decision-maker’. Business leaders thrive on challenges and are comfortable with complexity and ambiguity. They constantly analyse the business environment, discover developments, issues or opportunities.  Industry projects serve as a productive platform to develop such capabilities that enable students to work effectively in unfamiliar settings while dealing with unfamiliar problems.

Industry project at large and Action Learning Project initiative, per se, has received several recognitions from the associated corporate partners. Various skills and traits evolve throughout the life cycle of industry projects depending on the transformative route and effort a participant undertakes. Empirically observed, some of the key traits that these projects help build in business leaders are captured below:

Competency:   developing adequate technical and subject skills
Capability:  practical wisdom, judgment, attitude & acumen
Conviction:  correct self-belief and deep insights into the decision
Commitment:  committing self, adequate resources and time
Connection: collaborate, understand & Connect well with the internal and external business environment in the context
Cognition:  awareness of issues, actions, inquiry, logic – thinking through various dimensions of the decision-set, potential responses
Communication:  correct & effective communication and with all stakeholders to command intervention, processes, and fallouts
Creativity:  creatively balance deductive & generative perspectives
Courage:  Courage and character, the risk-taking ability, the courage to probe, discourse and implement
Contingency:  Handling contingencies and be well prepared for contingencies

The SP Jain Industry Interface operations today span across geographies, not only where SP Jain campuses are located but even beyond. Out to create a global footprint through the industry projects and with a mission to contribute to the professional practice, the student teams have worked with several hundred companies globally.

Every year, SP Jain students engage with diverse industry-verticals and companies, from big MNCs to regional SMEs, and with an ever-increasing acceptance rate from employers, over the last several years, the portfolio of industry projects has become wider, further highlighting the pervasive impact that the business leaders of future can make.

About the Author

Dr Dhrupad Mathur is an Associate Professor and the Deputy Director of Faculty Management at SP Jain School of Global Management.

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