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Dr Anup

Rendezvous with Dr. Anup Singh

Building Management Education & Evolving Entrepreneurship from an Indian Perspective

Recently the MBA Rendezvous team got an opportunity to interact with the prominent academician Dr. Anup Singh, Director General, Nirma University.

Dr. Singh is a PhD from University of Allahabad and Post Doctoral Fellowship from University of Michigan. With an extensive experience of 33 plus years, he has specialised in Management and Higher Education. He has been involved in developing policies and conducting trainings across countries in the South East Asia region. He has also taught in some of the top leading management institutions and provided corporate training in companies like ONGC, NTPC, Nirma and British Council, to name a few.

Our team got to speak to him about his views and vision for the future of management & higher education, building managers and well rounded MBA courses from an Indian perspective. Read below to find out more.

Team MBA Rendezvous : How Indian management education will shape up in the near future and your views on future of higher education in India.

Dr. Anup Singh : Management education is the queen of higher education and is most preferred form these days. The popularity of management education is only expected to grow in the future. Already, new formats of management education are emerging. The classical format is a 2-year programme, but now we have 1 year programmes as well and will soon be followed by 5 year MBA courses. The reason being that many students think that they do a 4 year engineering course, 1 year MBA preparation and then a 2 year degree course of MBA. This makes it 7 years in total and afterwards the kind of jobs that they find are no better. So a 5 year MBA programme is definitely going to pick up.

There are 3-4 trends that are going to pick up and will be significant in the Indian Management Education scene. Firstly, the management education has to be indigenised. Currently the management scenario in India is import oriented and globalized. The course is taught in English, the text books and case studies are mostly from America and the methodologies taught are also significantly American. There is nothing in the Indian context and that’s what people question about and we need to answer these questions. Right now India is the biggest hub of management education after the US. This is the first trend I would say.

Secondly, there is going to be a marriage between concept and context. Some people focus on concept and some focus on context. But for management education to be relevant it has to focus on both – concept and context. This has been happening partially but not fully and needs more work around the same. Next is that there would be more and more use of Information Technology in management education. When we started with management education, initially the students used to spend 1400 hours in the classrooms and now it is reduced 900 hours only. This means that they have almost 500 hours to study on their own and this can be very well facilitated by IT.

Last but not the least, there have to be much more connection with other countries because one form of MBA education will be that students will be moving to different MBA schools in other countries and they will want to have a global experience. It has not picked up but will pickup. One reason was that Indian students did not have money, but now they have money and prefer it for sure. These are some of the trends that will take place.

Team MBA Rendezvous : How theory and practices can be balanced in entrepreneurship.

Dr. Anup Singh : See, entrepreneurship is one area which has been highly ignored in management education arena. It was incorporated in the Western world much earlier and this is why NIRMA Institute of Management started a dedicated program on MBA (Family Business and Entrepreneurship) way back in 2004. The idea was to give them an education which was relevant to them.

The kind of formal MBA education that we have developed in this country has little usage for entrepreneurs here. The same is true for those who come from family business background. We need to understand that how entrepreneurship works in this country and how we can help them to initiate their start-up, as well as how small organisations work. The dynamics of large organisation and small organisation are very different from each other. We need to understand and develop cases for small businesses and also need to understand the nature of entrepreneurship in this country. We definitely need to learn from the west, but we need to fine tune that knowledge in the Indian context as well. If we ignore entrepreneurship, Indian management education will be incomplete.

Team MBA Rendezvous : How do you view the impact of Digitalisation on Business Communication?

Dr. Anup Singh : Digitalisation is inevitable because everything is being digitalised today. As far as the business communication is concerned, every organisation is digitalising itself now. This means that many of the documents being used would become irrelevant. Thus it becomes really important to understand how to communicate using modern technology. We know the etiquette of a brick and mortar based organisation, but we do not know the etiquettes of digitalised organizations. We need to teach them.

We also need to teach on how to strike a balance between work life and personal life. One flip side of digitalisation is that people are communicating even during the wee hours of the night. This definitely needs to be changed. So we need to be ready for the ‘Industry 4.0’ where everything is digitalised, where artificial intelligence and machine learning are being used. All these things have to be integrated not only in communication but in every subject of management.

Team MBA Rendezvous : What are your views on, ‘Teaching and learning methodology can create industry fit managers’?

Dr. Anup Singh : As I shared earlier that there has to be a marriage of concept and context. This means we need to teach less, probably not more than 800 hours. Although in today’s time, AICTE tells that you should teach around 900 hours, but if you want to give time to students to be in industry, we need to teach them for not more than 800 hours. They need to go to industry and do more projects, interview the managers and do summer and winter internships. This is possible only when there is time available. There needs to be an element of experiential learning. Case studies are not entirely the answer because they have their own limitations. We can only use them to a certain extent.

The answer to this is – project based learning. If we include project learning in management education then the context of industry will be included.


Team MBA Rendezvous : Isn’t it that the time has come and it’s the ripe time to test fresh students on the psychology for being fit for management education.

Dr. Anup Singh : It is very difficult to judge the students. Most of us today are in the business of rejecting the students rather than selecting them, even the top management schools, I would say. We may make ourselves believe that we are selecting the right students, but that’s the reality. There is no fool proof way to identify that this person will make a good manager or this won’t. Everybody has potential and when we take in the students, we develop them.

I have been a student of Psychology and I can tell you that most of the psychological instruments have their own fallibility. If there is anybody who claims that through these instruments they would be able to identify the future managers, it is not quite believable. We have to be honest and say that when we take students in, we need to develop them into managers – good or ok, it depends.

To Learn more from Dr. Anup Singh, Visit Here

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