Management Education - An Outlook
Management courses are offered in wide range of disciplines. Management covers courses in major areas such as marketing, human resources/ organizational behavior and strategic management etc. Teaching in these courses is drawn on a range of disciplines, which include mathematics, psychology, sociology, philosophy and economics. The ideas and practices from these diverse disciplines are applied to the understanding and management of voluntary, commercial and public sector organizations.
Education in management has two aims. Firstly, to increase the understanding of the factors which influence the conduct of organizations and secondly to provide students with the tools and techniques which they may use to influence organizational life.
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Management - a practical subject
Management education cannot be compared with studying other subject areas like chemistry, physics, mathematics or law etc. Management education can rather be compared with medicine. No doctor is allowed near a patient purely on the basis of theoretical knowledge. Doctors learn the professional skills by acquiring the practical knowledge that is taught by practicing doctors and hence they become experts in diagnosing the real physical condition of patients. In the similar way, in a business scenario also you have to do things, take decisions, take actions, and monitor results. You cannot operate any business by just planning what to do on paper. Planning is, though an important step in the process, there are many examples of businesses with excellent plans having failed because of non implementation of proper ideas.
How can this be done?
By having people who know about business techniques and can teach business management. First of all, the faculty is envisaged to be a special breed of people. They not only have high academic qualifications, but are also Masters or Gurus of the ideas they are discussing, "What we are doing right now" is the keynote among management students but, the thing which really makes a faculty special is the ability to teach and communicate in a very effective way.
One of the important things these people understand is that very few business situations will fit the textbook examples. The comparison with medicine is again valid. Each situation can be described as unique, requiring its own unique solution. To be able to do this, one should be able to analyze a situation, examine various alternatives and come out with solutions to solve the particular problem being faced or to achieve organizational goals.
The qualified faculty understands these situations and can correctly incorporate them into the learning process. Business today is global. Even the smallest company is affected by happenings outside its immediate geographical boundaries. Medium and large companies are automatically involved in cross-border business. The young businessmen and women needs to understand this, and, where necessary, to be able to exploit the situation. It is not possible today to teach domestic business and global or international business as separate subjects.
In the real world of business, few people can be expected to solve a problem themselves. The value of multiple inputs in reaching a better solution is widely recognized.
Management education enhances the managerial skills by sharing of ideas, the acceptance of others’ ideas and many of healthy discussions. Learning from other approaches is not always a natural and single study process. It has to come with active participation in a group of people and it happens in the Management Courses. Faculty and other students challenge statements, attack and defend ideas. The assimilation of other approaches forms an important part of the learning process.
Students coming from different spheres of life, bring with them all the advantages, disadvantages, fairness and prejudice of centuries of cultural heritage. These characteristics manifest themselves sometimes, in totally different approaches towards solving business problems and learning fundamentals of management. From all of these approaches there is something to learn. A multi cultured institute enhances the benefits gained from the participatory learning approach.