Industry 4.0 era: MBA degree trends that will give you edge over your peers

Industry 4.0 era: MBA degree trends that will give you edge over your peers

Every year, over 2.5 lakh students apply for management degrees.

One of the most sought after postgraduate degrees, it promises a world of opportunities for people who expect to get highly paid jobs in companies, sectors or functions of their choice. Students are also spoilt for choices now as more institutes offer degrees and diplomas. So it is a treasured option to gain job-ready skills.

With more digitisation across functions and with the market and technology influencing changes, skilling is today becoming more critical than ever.

At a broader level, Ashish Munjal, Co-Founder & CEO, Sunstone, a higher education firm, says, “At present, a relatively small portion of the Indian workforce is upskilled and trained as per the industry demands. As per data, only 5% of the workforce has any formal skill certification, and merely 2% has any formal skill training. To equip students with the skills needed for Industry 4.0, there is a need to focus on experiential learning. But that said and done, we must note that skill development cannot take place without a solid base in basic education. This has become even more critical as the world crawls back on its feet after a global pandemic, and the employment landscape has undergone severe changes.”

How does it apply to the management degree?

Years back, the Indian School of Business (ISB) had reimagined the traditional MBA as we knew it, in both duration and audience.

As with the broader skilling domain, over the last few years, there are increasing questions being asked about the real-world applicability of the old-school MBA curriculum.

When it comes to a management degree, Ashish explains, “What we require is a unique and integrated management course. This kind of learning involves providing practical and real-world insight to the students as compared to traditional management courses. Management courses need to be designed to disrupt traditional classroom learning by imbibing a ‘field-first’ approach and should offer new-age specialisations that cater to Industry 4.0.”

Let’s take a single function and analsye this emerging need:The world of marketing as we know it has changed today. Data plays a critical role in enabling the return on investment of marketing programmes, and content is a key differentiator when it comes to branding.

So, the kind of skills that one needs to arm oneself in this one function while pursuing an MBA should include social media expertise, performance marketing, content marketing and search engine optimisation, among others.

Let us take another horizontal trend: environmental, sustainable and governance (ESG) solutions. Where would this fit in a traditional MBA programme? Would it be part of the strategy class? Would the finance class teach people how to plan for better governance structures and push for sustainable growth?

These emerging trends and considerations are reasons why an MBA can benefit from a market-facing reboot.

This can happen in many ways: Restructuring of the curriculum, bringing in professors of practice for industry focused learning, more collaborations on innovations between academia and industry, through the startup cells and deep alumni engagement.

Today, there are organisations working on different options for this kind of a reimagined MBA.

How can students benefit?
Ashish says, “This as a result can open many managerial careers for students such as digital, social media marketing, analytics, etc. Aligned with this need, the National Education Policy is working towards empowering students for sustainable long-term career growth. NEP is promoting education that places equal emphasis on academics, practical knowledge and industry exposure. As new-age technologies continue to disrupt industries, higher education institutes will need to help students become more agile, adaptive, experienced, digitally literate and resilient.”

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Author: Shirley