The context of doing a post graduation in management is generally that of making a corporate career in a managerial role. Therefore we need to understand the deliverables expected in a management program which prepares a student to take up the expected corporate role.
If one looks at the eligibility required for applying to a post graduate course in management it is graduation in any discipline. If you take an analogy to sports, a game that allows anyone to play it has to be an easy game which in this context implies that the theory, per se, in any post graduate management course is fairly easy.
Reason why students hesitate to accept the manegerial role?
The next piece to understand here, is that if the theory in the course is fairly easy, then why are most students still not considered well prepared to take up the managerial roles which they aspire for after studying these courses. The answer probably lies in the fact that the expectation is application of the theory which is extremely varied. For example while the 4P’s of marketing are the same and taught as it is for ages now, the application of the same with respect to a retail industry, an aviation industry, a pharmaceutical industry, an automobile industry, etc. are all different.
This piece is therefore supposed to have been treated by getting students to do case studies. But in reality the method of doing this is also like making students learn mathematics by solving various types of questions and yet if there is the slightest variation from what has not been practiced in the past, no student is able to apply. It sounds almost ridiculous but is true that students do almost 100 case studies in their program of study and yet are unable to solve very simple ones thereafter. This phenomena probably can be explained by the fact, that here also it is like giving structured predefined questions with known answers that ends up with a spoon feeding by the faculty without making the students think and do. The answer would always lie in making the students do, think and apply as a simulation to a real life contemporary problem which is unstructured. This is where the teaching pedagogy of problem based learning pioneered in India has been very successfully and has now been integrated and customized to the campus program target audience with the teaching pedagogy being christened UPLIFT.
Every practicing manager aims to reach the peak of any organization over their career and hence business management is about understanding every aspect of business. Therefore the first year which is the focused teaching part is common for all students whichever specialization they choose thereafter in the second year. The role of the chosen specialization is to show which initial role the candidate intends to choose at the start of their career and work their way up through that role.
Primary Roles/Specialization in a business organization.
The four manegerial roles in any business organization are manufacturing, finance, human resources and marketing. Manufacturing is more about the creation of the product or service and requires specialists in that domain while the remaining three are more in the realm of management i.e. finance, HR and marketing. There are others which have developed and evolved over time like IT, IB, etc. but the fact remains that these are subsidiary and have developed into specialist roles in organizations but the primary three roles mentioned first are the needed ones without which an organization cannot function.
Delving further into these specializations, there are alternate courses in finance like CA, ICWA, etc. but there is a clear differentiation of roles. The managerial role in finance also is not about direct number crunching but being able to handle the management aspects of the function which include team management, analysis of data and decision making, liaison with other department, cross departmental working, etc.
The human resource part is another important area which deals with managing the most important capital of any organization which is the “Human Capital”. To put in a nutshell, finding the right people for the right job and keeping them motivated while retaining them for a long term in the organization is the primary role. Obviously this encompasses appraisals, training and development, compensation management, etc.
As the world evolves and gets more mechanized marketing a product or service has become the primary key to success and the only course which delves into it the deepest is the management course. Also if one is to scan the career progression to the top, nine of ten times the person who makes it to the top has been involved in marketing or business development.
This again enumerates and explains further that solving real life unstructured problems, the way they are always happening in reality, is what needs to be taught to the students and make them capable of. Management is about the best handling of available resources and every decision has positive as well as negative outcomes. To ensure that positive part always overwhelms by a large margin on the negative part is the role of the manager. Those who learn to do that and can solve problems thinking on their feet are always going to be the most sought after management professionals and will never run out of demand.
Finally, the one domain which differentiates the management program from any other program in the world is the marketing domain.