ASMA B-School Summit Explores Into Technology Innovation & Solutions in a VUCA World

The 3-panel event was held under ASMA India’s Admission Hunt 2021 on 11th June

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ASMA, the leading community in academia, held its B-School Summit – part of India’s Admission Hunt 2021, on 11th June.

The three-panel virtual event featured a gamut of eminent speakers from the education industry and delved into understanding the different ways in which technology is constantly upgrading to be more suitable for generating appropriate solutions in a VUCA world.

During his riveting Keynote AddressDr Anil Sahasrabudhe, Chairman, AICTE redefined what VUCA means by saying, “I talk about these 4 letters – VUCA – in reverse order. A, instead of ambiguity, we need an attitude change and adoption to the new environment, instead of C for complexity, if we can collaborate, have a character of honesty and integrity and if we have confidence, we will be in a position to unite and overcome the challenges we are facing. V stands for victory or any VUCA circumstances that may come.”

The first panel of the day was moderated by Shubham N. Chatterji, Head – Education & Academia, SAS India and comprised Dr Christopher Abraham, CEO & Head – Dubai Campus, Sr. Vice President – Institutional Development, S P Jain School of Global Management, Dr Atish Chattopadhyay, Director, Jagdish Sheth School of Management, Tarundeep Singh Anand, Founder & Chairman, Universal Business School, Prof. Kamal Kishore Sharma, Director General, Taxila Business School and Prof Goutam Sengupta, Vice-Chancellor, Techno India University.

The panel discussed ‘Refilling the skill gap to increase employability by leveraging data analytics’.

Beginning the discussion, Tarundeep Singh Anand, Founder & Chairman, Universal Business School remarked, “We need to give a positive spin to the word VUCA. I believe volatility will yield to vision, uncertainty will yield to an understanding of these areas, complexity will yield to the clarity of purpose and ambiguity will yield to agility”.

He continued, “We need to ask ourselves what is the future of management education? What are the jobs of the future? We need to infuse the STEM theme into management education. Even older industries have realised that we must go digital; it has to be integrated into the DNA of the organisation”.

Adding to the discussion, Prof. Kamal Kishore Sharma, Director General, Taxila Business School said, “Specialisation has to be in the ethos and the basic structure of the organisation. The need for specialisation is much greater today; people need to be comfortable with technology. General education is losing relevance. Today, specialisation is in and generalisation is out”.

Dr Christopher Abraham, CEO & Head – Dubai Campus, Sr. Vice President – Institutional Development, S P Jain School of Global Management opined, “The combination of human wisdom with Artificial Intelligence is the future. Business schools are the future and the future is now. Business schools need to embed specialisations into the curriculum. In addition to the technology components, there are 2 critical components; one which we call smart skills – skills such as creativity and empathy. The next component is global intelligence, which is the ability of an individual to thrive in any global environment understanding the cultural nuances, the business practices and the economic and regional context before taking a decision”.

He added, “Businesses, business institutions and business students need to embrace this idea of technology and business, along with having the right global mindset and life skills”.

Speaking about some of the key changes he has witnessed in the academic field over the past years, Prof (Dr) Goutam Sengupta, Vice-Chancellor, Techno India University said, “Business Schools have to be completely agile. We don’t know whether the curriculum which we have built today will remain tomorrow, so agility is necessary. We have a great opportunity in front of us, the number of jobs now is more than there were pre-pandemic; it’s just the nature of jobs that are changing”.

Dr Atish Chattopadhyay, Director, Jagdish Sheth School of Management added, “Ultimately we are here to create value for our learners and for our society. Business schools as we know them will probably get unbundled; I think we will move away from the standard business school models to a model which may give rise to distributed business schools, with students being co-serviced by a cluster of institutions”.

Moderator Shubham Chatterji wrapped up the session by remarking, “Every time industry innovates, the content changes and the way it is taught has also started to change. So keeping this in mind we have also begun launching faculty development programmes, such as how to build a curriculum on Data Sciences, Analytics, AI and ML”.

The second panel discussed ‘Streamlining education, outcomes, research and feedback via effective data mining and analytics to ensure precision’. The panel was moderated by Dr Jitendra Das, Director, FORE School of Management and comprised Abhay Gupta, Founder & CEO, Luxury Connect Business School, Prof. Ramesh Behl, Director and Professor, IMI Bhubaneswar, Dr Krishnendu Sarkar, Chief – Strategy & Impact & Life Skills, NSHM Knowledge Campus and Dr Sapna Rakesh, Director, IMS Ghaziabad.

The first speaker in the panel, Abhay Gupta, Founder & CEO, Luxury Connect Business School said, “In the past couple of years, there has been complete digitisation or technological intervention of our lifestyles.  And if academic departments as a function have to use the data, then consumer behaviour would be relying completely on how technology is giving us feedback. So data mining has become an important stream for people to understand how consumers are responding. More and more dependency of future managers will be on technology. More of us are using technology as consumers and not understanding technology as employers”.

Sharing his thoughts on how data analytics can help to personalise education, Prof. Ramesh Behl, Director and Professor, IMI Bhubaneswar Education is moving in a different direction. Now the student is trying to acquire knowledge in a more flexible and more personalised manner and that is what, being a faculty and institution, you need to understand. Every student is different and every student is trying to learn at their own pace. In order to achieve personalised education, we need to try to crunch this particular data, and this is where learning analytics comes in, where we try to understand the student from the 360-degree perspective and try to capture that particular feedback”.

Explaining how an institution’s vision and mission contributes to positive programme outcomes, Dr Krishnendu Sarkar, Chief – Strategy & Impact & Life Skills, NSHM Knowledge Campus, “As educational institutions, we happen to be one of the longest surviving brands. What makes an education institution? The vision and the mission help us to distinguish among institutions. We borrow our programme outcomes from the objects of our vision and mission. We must try to add the metrics when we connect and link our courses to our programme outcomes, and our course objectives are connected to our course outcomes. The best part is, that’s where the teacher and the learner can collaborate”.

Dr Sapna Rakesh, Director, IMS Ghaziabad added, “Hybrid education is here to stay which means a lot or part of the higher education institutions – even in the courses where students are present physically- assessments, interaction and involvement will move online”.

Adding to the discussion, moderator Dr Jitendra Das, Director, FORE School of Management remarked, “Any outcome for education and research, we have traditionally been doing it in a very unidirectional fashion. Now in the new era where we have been using technology for interacting with students etc, so the core question is, with the kind of technology available how do we use this data to sharpen the outcome?”

The final panel of the day discussed ‘How can statistics and data analysis help students in decision making’. It was moderated by Sasi Kumar Sundararajan, Head of Customer Success, Ken42 EdTech and comprised Prof Praveen Gupta, Director, Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management, Dr Asit K Barma, Director, Bharathidasan Institute of Management, Tiruchirappalli, Dr Kavita Laghate, Director, Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies and Dr Monica Khanna, Director, KJ Somaiya Institute of Management Studies & Research.

Moderator Sasi Kumar Sundararajan, Head of Customer Success, Ken42 EdTech opened the discussion by saying, “A recent IDC Research estimate says by 2025, a normal human being will depend heavily on data up to 30% and that humans will interface with devices every 18 seconds almost 4800 times a day and that is the extent and degree of data explosion that is happening and that has multiple dimensions”.

Prof Praveen Gupta, Director, Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management, said, “Data analytics is not a new thing, it has been there for ages, especially in industry, it has been used quite frequently. The VUCA world also presents numerous opportunities. What is more important is the application of data analytics in business and this is where the thrust should lie in decision making”.

Commenting on how technology such as AI is changing the business model today, Dr Asit K Barma, Director, Bharathidasan Institute of Management, Tiruchirappalli, Gradually the world is basically becoming an AI factory. The traditional, operational business model is changing. But as we keep building your capability in the traditional operational model and keep enhancing your capacity, you reach a level where you cannot move further. Today in this era of AI, as you have more data and you perfect your algorithms, then it becomes an AI factory. Today the traditional advantage of specialisation is giving way to universal competency.

Dr Kavita Laghate, Director, Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies explained why it is important to understand relevant data. She said, “Data collection has become easy, the availability of data, digitally, or otherwise has become easy. With digital technology, we can access and use data. But I do think we need to go back to the basics; the first principle – the data that you have may be noise or maybe actual data. So we must understand how to segregate them to come to the data which is relevant and which adds value to your decision-making”.

Dr Monica Khanna, Director, KJ Somaiya Institute of Management Studies & Research said, “There is a huge amount of blurring of lines between technology and non-technology based skills. We require a lot of analytics and information to have negotiations, for creative problem solving and business communication. Therefore, we need to build all of our business analytics and data analytics around that. We need to understand what we are doing the business analytics and data analytics for. I think one of the most important things data should help us with is ambiguity management because there are so many things that are known to use, but the objective is to make sense of it”.

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