February 28, 2024

Directors and Deans of top B-schools discuss challenges and opportunities for Indian management academia in the coming decade

Directors and Deans of top B-schools discuss challenges and opportunities for Indian management academia in the coming decadeBengaluru 21 December, 2023: India Strategy Conference 2023 (ISC 2023), jointly organised by IIM Bangalore, IIM Ahmedabad and ISB Hyderabad, hosted ‘Director’s Panel’ comprising Prof. Bharat Bhasker, Director, IIM Ahmedabad, Prof. Madan Pillutla, Dean, Indian School of Business, and Prof. Rishikesha T Krishnan, Director, IIM Bangalore at IIM-B campus. Dr. Raveendra Chittoor, Dean, Jio Institute, moderated the session. The distinguished panel discussed the challenges likely to be faced by academics in the management area in the coming decade as well as the opportunities, in the Indian context.

Director’s Panel

Prof. Bharat Bhasker explained that the major changes happening in management academia today are due to Information Technology gaining prominence. “Companies rely on IT-driven decision making, and new kinds of Strategies and business models are being developed. Academic institutes too need to leverage on these tools, adapt to this change and stay ahead.. Industry and academia work in tandem while conducting research. We often theorize concepts from industry. Practitioner articles also inspire us.”

Ruing the fact that Indian research ideas and practices often get documented from the West, he recommended that Indian institutes could bring in distinguished faculty from across the globe for joint research and publication.

Prof. Madan Pillutla was of the opinion that top Indian B-schools can learn from the new age EdTech companies, build on them and customize, thereby crafting newer academic journeys for students. “Institutes like ours have the resources and intellectual capacity to do that. We are at a point of massive disruption with a very rapid flow of changes in the last few years. There is a lot of interest in India in recent times. Professionals and academics want to come and work here, elite conferences are hosted here, there is comparative advantage in data collection efforts, and new research methods have also been devised. Institutes could help by canvassing and resourcing senior global academics who are gatekeepers of journals to come and guide Indian scholars to achieve high quality research and journal publications.”

Prof. Rishikesha T Krishnan highlighted the growing importance of online education and IIMB’s steps to keep pace with such developments, including the launch of programmes in Hospital Management and AI for Managers. “We have also incorporated online modules in our regular MBA programmes, like the one on Accounting. As scholars, we have to be thoughtful of practitioners, get their insights and make research more relevant and comprehensible.”

Regarding specific areas where young scholars may dig deeper, Prof. RT Krishnan listed digital transformation, digital payments, social innovation and entrepreneurship. “How to frame these phenomena interestingly and carry the same till conclusion, are important skills. In India, there is often a poverty of ideas and execution, while resources are not really a constraint. Study methods and frameworks employed by researchers from the West and use these in Indian research and data. This will result in newer insights, practices and businesses. We need to be among the best scholars of the world in whatever domain you choose, and then work towards it.”

Keynote address

The morning session of Day Four featured the keynote address by Prof. Gurneeta Singh Vasudeva, University of Minnesota. Naming her talk ‘Unpacking the Publication Process’,she spoke about her paper titled, ‘Public-Private and Private-Private Collaboration as Pathways for Socially Beneficial Innovation: Evidence from Antimicrobial Drug Development Tasks’

Paper submission and awards

The last two days of the conference included over 150 academic presentations across tracks including technology, innovation and digital transformation, ESG and non-market strategy, business and corporate strategy, internationalization and global strategy, family business and entrepreneurship, and leadership and human capital.

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