Research needs to be reflected in the curriculum design.

"Interview of Dr. Urvashi Makkar"

Profile of Dr. Urvashi Makkar

Dr. Urvashi Makkar, is a seasoned academician with a knack of entrepreneurial spirit and persistent passion for continuous learning. With a varied experience of 21 years in academics, research, training & consultancy,

Dr. Makkar has Ph.D., EPHRM-IIM Calcutta, MBA, PGDCA, B.Sc.(Physics) to her credit as educational qualifications.

Keeping her journey to contribute in the areas of Research and Consultancy, She was accorded as ‘Trainer Associate & Local Coordinator’ for UGC sponsored workshops on Capacity Building for Women Managers in Higher Education. She started ‘Journal of IMS Group’ as its Founder Editor-in-Chief, and got it listed in Cabell’s 11th Management Edition¸ USA. Also, she is the Founder Chief Editor of International Journal of Customer Relations. She is holding the Chair of Sr. Associate Editor in Editorial Board of IARS’ International Research Journal, Malaysia and Member, Board of Editors, International Journal, Environmental and Social Psychology, USA.

Dr. Makkar has conducted more than 50 EDPs/MDPs/Workshops and has been associated extensively with Research & Consultancy assignments of reputed companies, handled International Consultancy Assignment at Kenya Institute of Management, Nairobi, Kenya, related to Organizational Performance Index as Lead Researcher and AICTE funded research project under Research Promotion Scheme as Principle Investigator. She attended the International Conference on “Sustainable Development, Environmental Public Participation and Social Quality” at Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China from June 20- 26, 2014 and delivered Key Note speech on “Indian Perspective on Environmental Issues”.

She has to her credit more than 76 publications in refereed International/National Journals and has authored/edited 10 books on CRM & Retail with reputed publishers like Tata McGraw Hill.

She has also attended various National & International conferences/ seminars, presented research papers & chaired technical sessions at Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, Harvard University, Massachusetts, USA, Universities Malaysia Sarawak, Malaysia, IIT-Bombay, IIM-Ahmedabad, IIT-Kanpur, IIM-Kozhikode etc. She is a Board Member of “Asian Observatory of Social Quality (AOSQ), the Asian branch of International Association of Social Quality (EU funded Project) at Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China.

Team MBA Rendezvous met Dr. Urvashi Makkar, Director General, G L Bajaj Institute of Management and Research, for a chat on various aspects of Management education in today’s times. Here’s an excerpt:

Team MBA Rendezvous - Essentially MBA is specialized education but in absence of research, the credibility is shaken and MBA has become another degree which gets you a job. In ever-changing business scenario, how would you like to overcome the quality issue? Would it be through the route of curricula & pedagogy?

Dr. Urvashi Makkar - Management degree has often been thought of in terms of its utilitarian value, it has become a gateway to get a job in the market. Unfortunately, many management institutes are offering degrees and diplomas that are devoid of any research component. I think, research component has to be integrated in the curriculum. These days, there is huge opportunity for market analytics, market research, data analysis and other research dominant areas. Most jobs are making use of research instruments. For instance, even for B-B(Business to Business) selling, the sales professional has to be well versed in customer risk analytics.

Research needs to be reflected in the curriculum design. This should be backed by current software requirements, for example, SPSS(Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) has to be taught as an integral capsule of research methodology which we are doing at GLBIMR. The second way of integrating research is by introducing new subjects with research component that can become strong assets for students in their careers, like MCIT (Management of Change, Innovation and Technology) at GLBIMR, which emphasises on innovation and IT.

Curriculum revision and upgradation on a regular basis is, thus, the need of the hour.

Team MBA Rendezvous - As a senior Professional Academician, how do you visualize the future role of MBA Institutes?

Dr. Urvashi Makkar - The future role has always been under scanner. MBA institutes can contribute strongly in nation-building, if this role is taken seriously by management education promoters. The reality is that management professionals are needed in all sectors today- hospitality, retail, banking, public transport, logistics, inventory management, to name a few. The impetus needs to be on quality rather than the number of professionals produced. This will be realised only by management institutes.

Team MBA Rendezvous - Since overall jobs are shrinking and Industry is not shying to raise the issue of employability with B schools, so how would you wish to rectify and reinforce skilled MBA pass-outs?

Dr. Urvashi Makkar - It is more a question of producing quality management professionals with corporate readiness. Any management graduate, to be ready to take up any responsibility needs certain specialised skills, so the focus should be on the curriculum which should include the component of skill enhancement. For instance, certain value addition certificate courses such as six sigma, digital marketing or quality management can be offered to students with the curriculum. Another way can be by introducing pedagogical innovation in campus such as, live projects, research projects, talk series, corporate interaction and so on. At GLBIMR, we have Corporate Mentorship Programme, each student is assigned a corporate mentor who guides them.

Team MBA Rendezvous - If social behavioural skills are so critically demanded by Industry then how B School can meet this demand?

Dr. Urvashi Makkar - Our B School has some way to go before it can be counted in the elite list. Even then, I feel, that institutions like ours, are contributing much more to the society, as the elite institutions have become isolated islands, catering to a select few, whose contribution to the society can be questioned. Whereas we cater to students from tier II cities, rural areas, suburbs etc. The challenge before us is to instil good social behaviour, public speaking skills, confidence in them and I think, therefore, we are making a bigger difference to the society.

Team MBA Rendezvous - Who will be your ideal candidate to join GLBIMR?

Dr. Urvashi Makkar - We can’t be choosy. Business is a prime factor in sustainability of our institution. We don’t have much choice in rejecting candidates. Still, we do look at their MAT exam scores, written aptitude tests and interview rounds. We get raw candidates, who we have to train from scratch. I am proud of these challenges as none of the elite institutes like IIM face this. We exercise a defining influence in students’ lives and transform their lives.

Team MBA Rendezvous - What will be your advice to students in areas of dream job, competition and work life balance?

Dr. Urvashi Makkar - Our students can’t afford to wait for a dream job instead of plunging into a job directly after the course from GLBIMR. They need to grab the first job from the campus, then work their way up, learn the tricks of the trade and once they are ready, they can vie for their dream jobs. Our course acts like a skill building process that enables them to progress in the industry in the long run.

As far as work-life balance is concerned, to put it bluntly, the concept of work life balance is not ingrained in our students. In fact, they are trained to put aside their comforts and pursue their careers single-mindedly, at least initially. In the Indian scenario, students who work hard in the first 2-3 years see more growth in their careers and realise the difference in culture once they move to MNCs. The concept of work-life balance, sadly, does not exist in the Indian environment.

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